Jenna Jameson is once again the talk of the porn industry. An icon with close to 200 adult films under her belt, Jameson is still idolized by many women getting their start in the biz. But there will never be another Jenna. The former Queen of Porn has achieved more mainstream recognition than any female porn star, despite remarking at the 2008 AVN Awards, “I’ll never, ever, ever spread my legs again in this industry. Ever.” While shaming the adult industry is apparently forgivable, a series of alt-right social media tirades has forced even Jameson’s most ardent supporters in the XXX world to reexamine the woman who’s come to represent it.
Since the start of her conversion to the Jewish faith, a journey she embarked on in order to marry her shady Israeli jeweler/fiancé Lior Bitton, Jameson has adopted a fierce and public anti-Islam stance, ranting against Muslims online and clapping back at those in disagreement. She regularly shares stories and videos about the alleged havoc wreaked by adherents of Islam from dubious far-right sites like the pro-Trump agitprop outlet Breitbart and conspiracy theory forum Infowars, along with bigoted replies from her army of close to 700,000 Twitter followers.
Her XXX industry defenders, who would mostly like to remain nameless, point out that the terror of ISIS hits a bit close to home for Jameson, who is eight months pregnant with Bitton’s baby. She tweeted: “My husband is a morrocan Jew… his family was forced from morocco by the escalating violent Muslim climate there.”
But then there was the time Jameson made headlines for her apparent defense of the KKK. Jameson tweeted: “Do the klu klux klan follow a religion that orders the death of apostates? When was the last time we saw a klan member blow up infidels?”
Shortly after her alleged defense of the KKK, Jameson followed it up with another tweet clearly not in favor of the Klan, or Democrats: “Yes, and thank god they’ve been all but eradicated and forced into obscurity… no thanks to the democrats who created them.” (The KKK was affiliated with the Southern Democrats, but those people were mostly absorbed into the Republican Party following the implementation of Nixon and Goldwater’s “southern strategy.”)
Jameson claims it was all a misunderstanding in the service of defending her family. She explained to The Daily Beast, “Another Twitter follower compared ISIS to the KKK and I responded with facts. Saying I defend an organization that wants the death of all Jews is wrong. I am Jewish and so is my family.”
Nonetheless, many who revered her as an outlaw-idol of porn now find her tirades on Twitter shocking.
“She’s progressively gotten more aggressive and I feel like she’s trying to be controversial,” says 21-year-old porn star Janice Griffith. “Being a sex worker people look down on us, we’re stereotyped and put into these rigid boxes of who they think we are and what we do, and now she’s doing that to other people. I expected better from her.” Before entering porn almost four years ago, Griffith looked up to Jameson, admiring her shrewd business acumen and the space she carved out for herself, but now says she feels bad for her. “I try to stay away from the crazy, I don’t follow Jenna Jameson or Trump,” says Griffith, who’s changed her Twitter handle to “janice hates trump” to weed out the “undesirables.” Arguing politics on social media is an exhausting waste of time for adult film actress Richelle Ryan, who says she learned her lesson after putting her two cents in during the election. “When I came out and posted a couple of tweets supporting Trump I had so much backlash! It was so stressful to constantly defend myself, so I applaud anybody that can dish it back,” says Ryan. Before she entered porn ten years ago, Ryan was an exotic dancer by the name Jenna, paying homage to her idol. And Ryan’s admiration for the former porn goddess hasn’t dissipated. “She has a lot of balls. I respect anyone that comes out and speaks his or her mind,” says Ryan. “It’s extremely draining to argue with people over politics because you’re not going to win. We all have our own views.”
It’s that lack of restraint that one of her old colleagues remembers most about her. As fellow “contract girls” for Wicked Pictures in the mid-‘90s, former adult actress Serenity (who left the industry over 12 years ago) encountered Jameson frequently over the years—on the same sets, signing at the same conventions, and attending the same meetings. “The Jenna I knew back then wasn’t so political but I don’t find it surprising or out of character. That’s just Jenna,” Serenity tells The Daily Beast. “Jenna is a flamboyant personality. It’s why she was separated from the pack.”
Yet, some may wonder how it’s possible to respect Jameson’s public defense of Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right fellow traveler who was forced to resign in disgrace from his perch at Breitbart after video emerged of him defending hebephilia.
Jameson tells The Daily Beast that she does not condone Milo’s comments, but empathizes with him. “I think people were quick to judge and label him without realizing he was a victim of sexual abuse,” says Jameson. “Having been a victim myself, I know people can deal with the pain of victimization with callousness.”
“She’s had a lot of pain in her life,” notes Serenity. “It wouldn’t surprise me if that were coming through on some of her stances.”
The 42-year-old ex-porn star clearly appears happy to embrace the controversy of her alt-right views. She idolizes Ann Coulter (“I want to be her when I grow up”) and the illuminati-obsessed Paul Joseph Watson, has called Iran “a cancer,” regularly shares anti-Muslim scare stories, and even tweets anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros funding cabals of liberals (the irony is apparently lost on her). She even trolled Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is a Muslim, into blocking her on Twitter—before declaring him “anti semetic” for doing so.
Jameson’s attacks on outsiders are rubbing the porn industry the wrong way, especially when so many women in porn understand what it feels like to be marginalized firsthand. It’s shocking that someone who has represented the adult industry can be so intolerant. Born in Serbia, and then raised in a Serbian community in Canada, it wasn’t until her teens that Nina Kayy relocated to the United States. Kayy, a 28-year-old adult actress, no longer looks up to Jameson and finds her controversial outbursts on social media disturbing. “She’s a minority too: she’s a woman and she was an adult performer. She’s also been harassed so I don’t understand why she can’t relate to other minorities,” says Kayy. “For me, it’s very important to not be complicit when it comes to race, bigotry or homophobia. You have to be active in fighting it.”
Identifying as neither Democrat nor Republican, Kayy says she simply has a problem with hate. “I don’t want to make excuses for her. She’s an adult woman with her own agency. She didn’t grow up in a privileged environment. She was stripping as a teenager and her last name was inspired by a bottle of whiskey. She didn’t have a perfect life so I don’t know why she feels so privileged,” says Kayy. “Her comments are extremely ignorant and it’s disturbing to see hate speech like that from someone who should know better. She is allowed to have an opinion but we also have to call her out when it’s hateful and offensive.”
As a fellow mother, Alana Evans, vice president of APAG (Adult Performers Actors Guild) and an active porn star, understands that being pregnant can be stressful and worries about Jameson’s condition. “When you’re pregnant you can’t always do other things, but it’s not healthy for a woman in this stage of her pregnancy to be engaging in arguments with people,” says Evans. “I would love to come over, turn the phone off, rub her belly and say it’s okay, we’re not going to talk to anyone until these babies are out… because she’s gone off the deep end.”
Meanwhile, not everyone is surprised to see that Jameson has embraced the corrosiveness of the alt-right. “Nothing’s changed,” says her ex-husband Brad Armstrong. “She’s not news… she’s a cautionary tale.”