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02.06.16 5:08 AM ET

James Deen Is Back in Porn: Why Has the Adult Film Industry Forgiven the Accused Serial Rapist?

He’s attended an awards show that Stoya hosted, collected two Porn Oscars, and is back shooting sex scenes—just months after a series of horrifying allegations.

There’s no flunking out of porn, apparently.

Lust isn’t politically correct. Sexual desire doesn’t necessarily follow a code of morality—or ethics for that matter. So when the adult film industry swiftly backed away from one of its leading megastars after a series of rape and assault allegations, the mainstream media quietly applauded, giving the oft-derided porn world kudos for doing the right thing. Yet only three months have passed since the horrifying allegations and James Deen appears to have been welcomed back with open arms… or has he?

With girlfriend Chanel Preston—head of porn’s de facto safety union—by his side, Deen walked the red carpets of the XBIZ and AVN Awards, smiling and posing as if it were business as usual. What’s worse, the XBIZ Awards were hosted by Stoya, Deen’s ex-girlfriend who was the first of several women to accuse him of sexual assault. Stoya was locked into an iron-clad contract to host the ceremony, and was forced to endure the indignity of facing down her alleged attacker in a public forum, surrounded by friends and colleagues.

Though Deen received a whopping 33 XBIZ nominations between him and his company, the popular porn star left without a single award. AVN was a different story. There, at the “Oscars of Porn,” Deen was awarded two statues as part of ensembles—one for best group sex scene and the other for best double penetration scene.

While prominent companies Evil Angel and Kink were applauded for cutting ties with Deen in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, the scenes he has done for them will continue to be available for purchase, generating profits for as long as consumers are willing to buy. As his work continues to sell, companies will be inclined to hire him. This is the nature of the business (and reliable male performers are hard to come by).

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Deen claimed he was “completely baffled” by the rape and assault allegations and appeared to blame Stoya’s initial accusation on their “messy” breakup. On Dec. 30, 2015 Deen giddily tweeted his excitement at returning to work.  

And the week after the Adult Entertainment Expo, Deen tweeted a thank you note of sorts to those in the industry who’ve stood by his side.

Deen continued to air his sentiments, blogging his appreciation for working in the adult industry, referring to it as a privilege. “I don’t have a job because of me,” Deen wrote. “I have a job because of long long LONG list of other people. The companies that continue to shoot me, the directors that insist that i am in their movies, the women who want to have sex with me, the people who watch the movies i’m in and continue to support me.” He added that he was incredibly honored by the support of his co-workers, which he said meant more to him than nominations or trophies.

AVN Hall of Fame recipient Alana Evans has remained supportive of Deen throughout the ordeal. As an industry veteran and a survivor of rape, Evans says she cannot emphasize enough the importance of filing a police report.

“If you don’t go to the police you have no stance. If you’re not going to stand by your own words then how am I supposed to stand by you?” says Evans. “At that point, that person is a liability. I wouldn’t want to be on set with that person, I wouldn’t want to work with them because they might claim something happened that didn’t.”

Evans is not alone. There are a number of women in the industry who aren’t just willing to work with Deen, but want to.

“I have worked with James since the allegations and I feel the same way as I always have, honored and excited,” says adult actress Mystica Jade. “He has always been there to give me advice, to guide me, to help, to teach me about communication. In fact, he’s the one person I feel the most comfortable around. I never feel pressured into doing anything I am uncomfortable with.”

Still, many in the industry continue to harbor their doubts about the accused serial rapist, who’s been accused of sexual assault by as many as nine women, including Stoya, Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Joanna Angel, Nicki Blue, Holly Jee, and an unnamed woman who went by T.M.

“I feel like its all been swept under the rug and it’s back to normal for James Deen,” says adult actress/director Tanya Tate. “Although he didn’t go to trial and he’s not being charged, there were numerous allegations, it’s not just one person. There’s no smoke without fire.”

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As a performer you have to trust your scene partner and as a director you have to be able to trust the people you’re shooting because if something goes wrong, as a director, you might be held responsible. That’s a risk Tate isn’t willing to take, which is why she says she’ll no longer hire Deen for her productions.

There is a clear divide within the industry among those who believe the allegations and those who do not, but few on either side—especially the anti-Deen crowd—are willing to comment publicly, since he still carries considerable weight within porn.

Despite the awful allegations, some industry agents, directors, companies, and performers seem to mostly care about only one thing: the almighty dollar.