Entertainment

08.16.14

Christy Mack: The Porn World Unites Over A Fallen Comrade

The adult film industry has banded together to aid the mohawked starlet, who says she was beaten to within an inch of her life by her ex-lover—an MMA fighter named War Machine with a history of violence.

On Aug. 8, porn star Christy Mack allegedly suffered a vicious attack that left her hospitalized with 18 broken bones, a broken nose, ruptured liver, fractured rib, multiple stab wounds, and numerous missing and broken teeth.

“I believed I was going to die,” she tweeted of the incident. “He has beaten me many times before, but never this badly. He took my phone and canceled all of my plans for the following week to make sure no one could worry about my whereabouts. He told me he was going to rape me…”

Mack, 23, claims the brutal assault was carried out by Jon Koppenhaver, an MMA fighter and ex-porn star who, in 2008, legally changed his name to “War Machine.” The two appeared nude together in the Jan. 2014 issue of Hustler, but she says they broke up in May.

An alarmingly high percentage of women in the adult business have found themselves in an abusive relationship...

She shared her account of the incident on Aug. 11 via Twitter, stating that War Machine came to her Las Vegas home unannounced at 2 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 8, found her with a male companion, and, “Without a single word spoken, he began beating my friend; once he was finished, he sent my friend away and turned his attention to me.” Mack says that after being stabbed in the "hand, ear, and head," and having a portion of her hair "sawed" off, the knife he was using broke, so War Machine went to the kitchen to find “a sharper, more stable knife to end my life.” Sensing an opportunity to escape, she says she ran out the back door naked and began pounding on neighbor’s doors until someone finally let her in and drove her to the hospital.

After Mack’s horrific story went viral, Koppenhaver went on the run from the law and claimed, via a series of tweets, that he, a 32-year-old pugilist, was the victim—not the girl who appeared to be beaten to within an inch of her life.

Mind you, he also claimed that Mack was his “property” approximately two hours after the alleged attack took place:

Now, it's easy to say “get out before its too late” or “leave at the first signs of abuse,” but that's the gift of being on the outside: clarity. As countless victims of domestic violence can tell you, it’s not only hard to leave, but when he apologizes and swears it'll never happen again we believe it. An alarmingly high percentage of women in the adult business have found themselves in an abusive relationship at some point in their career.

“I think that's why girls in the industry have been so supportive, rallying behind her so strongly because we've all been there,” says porn star Mary Carey. “There have been girls in the industry who have had cancer—who have had horrible things happen—and you've never seen quite so much support.” When the news about Mack’s situation spread, a surprising number of adult industry insiders sprang into action. Stars took to social media to spread the word about an online fundraiser that aims to raise $100,000 to help offset the cost of her medical bills. So far, it’s generated over $67,000 in donations in the first week alone. This isn’t the first porn star-sponsored fundraiser, but it’s far and away the most successful.

“When an adult film star gets HIV and we say lets raise money for their health care and only raise $500 it’s kind of sad,” says Carey. “I wish we could raise money for everyone when something bad happens but this is unfortunately something everyone relates to.” Yes, most of us in the adult industry have experienced the stereotypical porno dude who becomes the “manager.” He books your work, drives you to set, wheels your suitcase in, helps you collect your check and, of course, spends it. Along with all this comes a certain possessiveness; these manager-boyfriends begin referring to you as their property, and a sense of ownership is created. War Machine tweeted out this same sense of entitlement towards Mack in the days leading up to the incident.

Anger wells up in veteran porn star Alana Evans as she shares her frustrations over the Internet trolls siding with War Machine. “To see the rest of the world come at Christy as though this is somehow her fault—are you fucking kidding me?!” exclaims Evans. “Even if she was cheating on him, they're not married, we work in porn, and we have sex for a living so we have different rules about sex—or at least most of us do. So for that line to be crossed over something so silly and to watch people defend War Machine, I literally want to leave my house and smack them.”

For these reasons, Mack’s close friend Ivan, known to industry insiders as “IamIvan,” has chosen to shy away from social media during this turbulent time. He wants to focus on helping his friend—not shaming the haters or even drawing publicity to himself. Some suspect that Mack’s most vocal supporters aren’t motivated by compassion so much as the fame that accompanies a publicized good deed. “It’s sad that so many people have taken this as an opportunity to promote themselves,” says Ivan. “People forget that a person almost got killed for no reason.”

Regardless of their intentions, the porn industry has united in support of Christy Mack, with many echoing the sentiments of adult film icon Jesse Jane. “I give her props for getting out of there, being in so much pain and being so scared,” says Jane. “She was beat up and naked and to run like that, well, she’s a very strong woman because a lot of people would have just stayed there.”

After several days on the run, U.S. Marshals caught up with Koppenhaver before Dog the Bounty Hunter could, arresting him at 1:45 p.m. on Friday on suspicion of domestic battery, lewdness, strangulation, assault, and coercion. They found him at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Simi Valley, California, with “a small quantity of cash and some pizza,” according to the Simi Valley Police Department. Koppenhaver appeared on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter and, in addition to having some choice words for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, was booked for misdemeanor assault in 2007 and 2008, and then served two years on a felony assault charge in 2010 after attacking a female bartender. While in prison, he wrote on his (truly insane) blog that, “The oppression of MEN is worse than oppression of Jews in Nazi germany, worse than the slavery of Blacks in early America... I'm not exaggerating either.”

“I’m glad this part of her journey is over,” says Ivan. “She can sleep well at night knowing he isn’t going to show up” Since the tweet, Mack’s kept a low profile, leaving her whereabouts and what hospital she was in off social media. Many still feared for her life while War Machine was on the loose.

With any luck, this frightening ordeal will open people’s eyes. “Hopefully this raises awareness and makes girls in abusive relationships realize they need to get out because they don’t want something like this to happen to them,” says Carey.

When her wounds have healed, perhaps Mack can use her newfound celebrity to help others in danger. After all, she isn’t just a victim—she’s a survivor.