Porn Industry Looks Back on One Year Under President Trump: ‘I Don’t Feel as Protected’

Porn stars wiggled and jiggled, peddling their flesh to online consumers via webcam as IRL fans gaped behind booths and velvet ropes during the annual AVN Adult Entertainment Expo held in Las Vegas earlier this year. At the same time, over two thousand miles away in Washington, D.C., a man who believes in grabbing women “by the pussy” was sworn into office, sending a ripple of fear throughout the adult industry. Yes, few knew what to expect for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration.

“I’ll never forget when Trump came into office. It was during my very first virtual reality scene in Vegas. The news came as a shock and nightmare,” recalls adult actress Alex Harper. “Even for someone like me who is work-oriented and driven, it was hard for anyone to concentrate.”

Despite having appeared in a softcore porn, distaste for the former reality-TV star turned president morphed into an unprecedented loathing among porn stars, and in 2017, formerly open supporters of Trump clamped down as fear of losing work kept them quiet. (Even now, adult stars hesitate to comment on politics, often declining interviews at the mere mention of Trump.) Accused of breaking the cardinal rule of consent—groping one of porn’s leading ladies without permission (or consequence)—the porn industry rallied behind Jessica Drake, with #notmypresident hashtags creating a hostile divide between Republican and Democratic-leaning adult stars. Politics became a shameful secret, as conservatives in the industry were more apt to divulge closeted fetishes than risk being on the wrong side of porn’s majority.

It was the year politics became more intimate than sex.

Two months into the Trump administration, Russia declared war on porn—blocking the popular porn company Brazzers, which according to a Russian court ruling had a “purely negative impact on the human psyche.” Panic ensued in the States over whether our own government would follow suit, given how the GOP platform branded porn a “menace” and “public health crisis,” and Trump idolizes Russian leader Vladimir Putin. A ban like that could’ve crippled the online market, where adult companies are now more reliant on internet profits than DVD sales. With baited breath, the industry waited. And waited. Yet nothing happened.

“Under the care of the Obama administration, the campaign of hope as some called it, porn stars had a sense of security that is currently lacking.”

Iconic porn company Evil Angel, one of the pillars of adult entertainment, remained steadfast, having already faced—and been acquitted of—an obscenity charge in 2008 under the last Republican president. Evil Angel’s Chief Financial Officer Adam Grayson says 2017 was a great year for the company, noting that for the adult industry not much happened in the first year of Trump’s presidency. “Our team of directors continued to create market-moving content while we expanded our reach in many markets,” he says. “Sorry to say for all the alarmists out there, but the administration had no impact on any of it. We’re hoping 2018 is even more exciting and profitable.”

Business figures may not have been impacted but morale certainly was. Under the care of the Obama administration, the campaign of hope as some called it, porn stars had a sense of security that is currently lacking.

Anxiety about being a sex worker has increased under the current administration, according to adult actress Tasha Reign. She harbors concerns over whether or not women in the adult business will be granted the same rights and protections as other women. “I feel like the country I live in has shifted,” says Reign. “I don’t feel as protected as I used to. If I was raped at a party, would anyone believe me?” Reign is concerned not just for the fair treatment of sex workers but for every marginalized group, and worries that minorities are less safe these days under President Trump.

Regardless of which side you’re on, most would agree that Trump acts unpresidential—mocking fellow colleagues and name-calling online, thereby normalizing bully behavior. James Bartholet, who’s played Trump in several XXX parodies, feels this is one of the ways in which Trump has negatively impacted the adult industry. “The president puts these tweets out, setting a bad example, making it seem cool to be a bully, saying whatever you want online,” says Bartholet. “Bullying can be the cause of deep depression. Being in porn doesn’t give us thick skin. Some of us are fragile and this online bullying has to stop.”

Adult film actress Tasha Reign appears at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It’s damn near impossible to demand that people take online bullying seriously when the leader of our country obviously doesn’t. Unfortunately, porn stars are easy, accessible targets for online harassment and earlier this month, porn superstar August Ames took her own life after receiving a slew of online death threats over a controversial tweet.

With over half a decade of experience in the adult business, Anikka Albrite doesn’t feel much will change in the industry. Regardless of who is in office there will always be a storm to weather—some worse than others. “There’s been a lot of panic and uncertainty with Trump in office,” says Albrite. “Whether it’s Trump or someone else who wants to shut us down, it’ll come up again and with a Republican government and Senate it’s more likely to be serious the next time around.” Still, Albrite remains optimistic, hoping something good can come from current political pressures—like a pearl fashioned out of irritation in an oyster.

Albrite’s husband, three-time AVN Male Performer of the Year recipient Mick Blue, tends to agree with his wife. From a performers’ and directors’ standpoint, the adult business keeps chugging along with little variation. On the subject of politics, what the Austrian native finds most interesting is how little say people here have in the political system. “In Austria the people who vote have more say in who gets elected,” says Blue. “In America you have the choice of two people who are essentially pre-elected by the political parties. Every year I hear people say the system should change but there seems to be little interest in changing it.”

As this year draws to a close, the porn industry may be a little too relaxed. Trump, if anything, is unpredictable. With the repeal of net neutrality set to take effect in 2018, the adult industry may suffer yet. A popular adult content producer/performer in the UK, Harriet Sugarcookie, wants to remind American porn producers about the importance and impact future online regulations may have. Noting issues with porn production since the “UK government has eroded internet freedom to attack the adult industry,” Harriet SugarCookie says the measures taken in the UK have been more involved than what Trump’s done to porn here in the U.S. “I think everyone in America should keep an eye on how the new age verification laws are implemented in the UK as I think America could follow if this form of censorship is successful in the UK,” says Sugarcookie. “It would change how people are able to watch porn.”

Such a change would drastically alter how the adult industry regulates and profits from content. Trump’s made few efforts to cripple the pornography industry in his first year but there’s still three years to go.

“It’s understandable as a sex worker to be cautious during Trump’s presidency,” says Alex Harper. “He may be the President of the United States, but he’s also the face of sexism, racism, ignorance, bigotry, and chauvinism. Those are valid reasons to be afraid of an average Joe, let alone someone with power. That is where the fear lies.”

Source: thedailybeast.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *