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6.24.17 3:18 AM ET
A brunette performer in her mid-twenties is too afraid to be named, even though all she’s confessing to is being a conservative. “Can I be anonymous?” she asks, radiating anxiety over going against the porn grain. “This is so intense, my friends have lost work over this… you should know the industry is biased and no one will admit it.” She refuses to come out as a Republican. Even as an anonymous source, the label seems to evoke extreme paranoia. No longer sure who she can trust with her secret, politics are scarcely mentioned even among her closest friends. Fear of losing the job she loves has kept her quiet.
“It’s not safe for me to speak,” she shares in a near-whisper.
Being a Trump supporter in the adult industry is dangerous. A mere mention of He Who Must Not Be Named, even to a group of conservative porn stars, will make the entire room go silent. Those who once joyously elected the reality TV star to office now cower in fear, refusing to discuss politics for the sake of their careers. Earlier this year, adult stars candidly chatted about endorsing Trump during Las Vegas’ Adult Entertainment Expo, one of porn’s largest gatherings of the year. But now, a mere six months later, being an outspoken conservative porn star is unheard of. Given the scarcity of work these days, being on the political fringes of a liberal-minded industry just isn’t worth it.
No one really expected Trump to become a hardcore enemy of the porn industry. Even after he signed the anti-porn pledge last year he still maintained support from a small group within the industry. He did it to get the right-wing vote, they rationalized; he’s a disruptor not a politician and that’s just his strategy to get elected, they’d say. But that all changed when, like James Deen, our current president was accused of breaking porn’s golden rule: the rule of consent.
Consent is one of the hottest issues in the adult industry. It’s what legitimizes the fantasy; what renders a host of brutal acts tolerable. It’s the difference between empowerment and enslavement. After Jessica Drake—one of porn’s leading ladies—accused Donald Trump of groping her, she transformed into a one-woman protest symbol, donning an American Flag dress and a purse with the hashtag #notmypresident to the porn Oscars. Republican-leaning porn stars were faced with a choice: maintain loyalty to one of their own or continue to endorse Trump, thereby discrediting Drake’s claims. They chose silence.
“I haven’t heard a peep from the people who once supported him,” says porn director/performer TarantinoXXX. “People in the industry are afraid of who might speak out against them; they’re afraid of the backlash. Once you get backlash from prominent people in this business you’re out of a job. You’ll stop getting work and it’ll push you down.”
He’s right. Every porn star who’d once been an outspoken Trump supporter—many of whom I’d spoken with during and immediately following the election—refused to go on the record, fearing possible industry backlash.
Keeping quiet about politics is exactly what one of the top adult agents recommends. “Being a Trump supporter would not be beneficial in any way for a girl’s career,” says Mark Spiegler. “This is show business, and if you want to get hired you give them a show.”
Even Brandi Love, an A-list porn star who admitted to me that she’d shed “tears of joy” while watching Trump’s inauguration during this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo, has gone radio silent. While her social media feeds still contain the rare #MAGA post, her pro-Trump rhetoric has died down considerably in recent months, and she’s made it a point to ignore my repeated requests to talk Trump. Numerous other popular porn stars have followed suit.
Likening the tug of war between conservatives and liberals to ultra-competitive sports fans, porn helmer Glenn King tries to be open-minded about who he hires, regardless of political beliefs. “I cast very carefully. I look for performers who are reliable and don’t bring drama to set,” says King. “As long as the performer gives a great performance and doesn’t cause problems on set, I’m not concerned with political views.”
But not everyone doing the hiring in the adult industry is as understanding.
Porn director Brad Armstrong, who works alongside Jessica Drake at Wicked Pictures, won’t outright say he wouldn’t hire a Trump supporter but makes his distaste for them crystal clear. “To me, most Trump supporters show an incredible lack of character. I’d have a hard time dealing with them on a personal level if they were on set voicing their warped sense of values,” he says, noting that this is his own opinion and not that of Wicked or Drake. “And when you’re naked on set things have a tendency to get kinda personal.”
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