#SolidaritywithStoya: How a Tweet Changed Our Perception of America’s (Former) Favorite Male Porn Star

Porn power couple Stoya and James Deen quietly broke off their relationship a few months ago, without sharing any details about it. To fans, they seemed to be a picture-perfect couple within a controversial industry. This changed last weekend when Stoya opened up about being sexually assaulted by former partner James Deen on Twitter.

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Since then, Tori Lux,  Ashley Fires, Kora Peters, and Amber Rayne have shared their own sexual assault experiences perpetuated by James Deen, whose real name is Bryan Sevilla. While any instance in which a male celebrity is accused of sexual assault and has numerous victims speaking out about it disturbs me, this one especially made me feel sick. I interviewed James Deen in February, where we discussed the porn industry and consent. He was adamant about the importance of consent throughout the interview, which made me believe that he’d be the last person to ever consider committing such a heinous act. Despite keeping their personal lives under wraps for the most part, Stoya and Bryan seemed to be a normal, loving couple who respected each other. The fact that there are more than three women speaking out about their assaults is surprising, to say the least. I knew he previously posted a controversial rape joke on Twitter, but I foolishly believed that he would never seriously do anything like that.

Although I’m not into porn and don’t consider it to be sexually pleasing for the most part, I did enjoy watching James Deen’s self-produced porn. Knowing that he has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women changes this; I cannot look at him the same way ever again. We are so used to hearing male celebrities being accused of assault and then either ignoring these stories or finding out that they’re false that we turn the other cheek when there’s a high chance that it actually happened. I honestly do not want to believe that he lied to me , but I cannot help but think that this rings true. Stoya has received support from many women (causing the creation of the #solidaritywithstoya hashtag on Twitter), including fellow porn star and James Deen’s ex-girlfriend Joanna Angel. While Joanna hasn’t released her own official statement about her history with James Deen, she wrote a tweet saying “He’s dead on the inside and dead to me . He’s literally the worst person I’ve ever met . That’s all I’ll say for now.” Sydney Leathers recently shared to The Daily Beast that Joanna warned her about him, “She told me when I first got into the business that I should avoid him—that he has boundary issues, basically that he tries to break women.” Ashley Fires’ statements about her experience with him matches Joanna’s warning. Here is an excerpt of what she told The Daily Beast:

“The reason I put him on my ‘no list’ was because he almost raped me,” said Fires. “The only time I’d ever seen this guy, he walked into the green room at Kink [studios], picks up Jessie Cox like a caveman, grabs her by the hair, and takes her off somewhere… and I can only imagine.”

“Later on that night, I was getting out of the shower of the communal bathroom at Kink, I reach for my towel to dry off, and he comes up from behind me and pushes himself and his erection into my butt,” she continued. “He pushes me against the sink and starts grabbing on me and I was like, ‘No, no, no James, no,’ and he released me from his grasp, and says, ‘You know, later if you want to fuck around I’m in room whatever-it-was. I was like, ‘Fuck you.’ I didn’t even know this guy, he was so out of line and entitled with my body.”

It’s important to note that none of these women have anything to gain from revealing this information. If anything, this may cause them to lose some fans. Although Stoya is recognized by many for her writing and is a relatively well-known porn star, James Deen holds more power in the media. He is often regarded as a “feminist porn star,” even if he has spoken against that title before. He initially received plenty of support from female fans on social media, but more Stoya supporters are responding to the tweet and speaking out about not believing him, offering some hope that he won’t get easily get away with his behavior now that was brought to public attention.

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While it’s still hard to ignore that almost 1,000 people have liked his statement, the support that Stoya and the other women have receive so far is extraordinary. When the victims are sex workers, it is more difficult for them to be believed and have their allegations taken seriously. People often believe that sex workers should always expect sex and want it, no matter what. This is obviously incorrect, as boundaries and consent are and should be a vital part of any type of sex work.

In this case, the women are being listened to and supported more than in other similar cases. Kink, a porn production company/BDSM site, recently announced its decision to cut ties with James Deen. The Frisky also announced their decision to no longer publish his sex advice column What Would James Deen Do? and remove advertising to his  production site.

It may not seem like much, but the fact that many large porn production companies are choosing to disassociate themselves from James Deen shows that they care about their female performers’ safety. It’s alarming how the porn industry is more willing to listen to the victim’s stories and cut ties with James Deen, unlike Hollywood, as we have seen with previous cases, such as Terry Richardson, who continues to profit as a celebrity “photographer” despite assaulting multiple women.  I am hopeful that these public statements by the victims will result in something positive, achieving justice.  Nobody should ever have to experience rape and sex workers deserve every right to work in a safe environment where their boundaries and consent are respected. 

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One thought on “#SolidaritywithStoya: How a Tweet Changed Our Perception of America’s (Former) Favorite Male Porn Star

  1. Pingback: How A Series of Tweets by Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors Caused a Domino Effect of Sexual Assault Survivors | BITCHTOPIA

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