One of the main themes of docs was how ‘family friendly’ mainstream companies profited from porn, with mobile phone companies now one of the main purveyors of pornography, and search engines such as Google making money from advertising porn, and Visa/Mastercard profiting from sex industry transactions. What was also highlighted was how these companies were secretive about these profits, not offering breakdowns in there accounts as to where exactly the money was coming from (a ‘forensic accountant’ was engaged to investigate!).
There was also a section on how pirated copies of pornography were readily available in developing countries, and how they were altering the culture there (this is covered already here).
What I’d like to concentrate on though, is the accounts from the women and men working in the LA sex industry, and what this demonstrates about the nature of this huge industry.
In the first documentary the film crew went to a shoot for Anabolic. The unnamed woman performer said that she was still in pain from the porn shoot the day before; the director said it was “work not fun” and the performers did not make a lot of money.
There were no condoms used. The, also unnamed, male performer said he would prefer condoms, but “nobody wants that.”
Sharon Mitchell of the AIM clinic said that only one major company (Wicked) was still using condoms after the HIV outbreak that caused a temporary shutdown of the porn industry in 2004. Male performer Randy Spears said he has no confidence in HIV testing as a method to prevent transmission in the industry.
One unnamed male performer said that all the men were on Viagra, because the violent nature of what they were being asked to do made it difficult for them to get aroused. He had to use lubricant all the time (because the women weren’t aroused either), he had been puked on (whether this was a deliberate part of the performance or an unintended consequence isn’t clear), and he had only worked with a tiny number of ‘girls’ where it was not the case that “before a scene they were crying in the bathroom.”
Performer Nikki Jayne was interviewed. She said that her first film had involved simultaneous multiple penetrations, and she described “porn girls” as “guinea pigs for people at the top.” She wanted to get into producing (and therefore away from being in front of the camera), because she was not happy with the way she was treated.
There was another interview with Barbie Bucks, who had ‘worked’ with Max Hardcore (who has now been found guilty under obscenity laws). She described him as a “total psycho” who “doesn’t let you go.” She also described how, before a shoot, she was obliged to eat food that “comes up chunky”, and that during “your throat bleeds, you vomit.” She also said that she was “scared at the start [of the shoot] and scared all the way through,” and that “[you] can’t say no.”
For more on conditions in the LA porn industry, see:
My fears for all Felicities [EDIT: link updated]