“There were times that I did fear for my safety, but I felt trapped,” adult actress Joanna Angel revealed today of her allegedly abusive six-year relationship with fellow porn star James Deen. “I didn’t know what to do. I felt very worn down and beaten down.”
A shaken Angel went on the Jason Ellis SiriusXM radio show Wednesday to break her silence on Deen, who is facing damning claims from several women who have accused porn’s “boy next door” of rape and assault.
Angel, the porntrepreneur whose Burning Angel label frequently featured Deen after the two met at the start of his career, described Deen’s behavior while they were dating from 2005-2011 as extremely controlling and emotionally manipulative.
Her most harrowing story revealed a moment in which Angel says she feared for her life as she and Deen were having sex at home. According to Angel, Deen dragged her by the hair and held her head submerged in a sink filled with water as she tapped for air. “At some point he dunked my head underneath and it started to feel like forever. I started to think, ‘I’m gonna die here,’” she said.
“I started to get really scared and I was tapping and I was tapping, and finally he picked my head up. I started crying and he threw me on the floor and said, ‘You’re a horrible submissive. I’m bored, I’m gonna go fuck someone else.’ And he just left the house.”
She also remembered waking up on numerous occasions to find Deen on top of her. “More than once I woke up to him choking me in his sleep… He really is a scary person.”
"He got more violent and scary the more famous he got ... He knows there's something wrong with him," she added.
Deen’s ex-girlfriend and scene partner Stoya was the first alleged rape victim to come forward last week, triggering an avalanche of testimonies from other women in the adult industry.
“James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword,” she Tweeted. “I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”
Stoya earned a show of support from media and her industry peers, but none more high profile than Angel, who Tweeted to her, “You have my support Stoya. I’m here for you.”
As the Deen rape scandal unfolded, Angel declined media requests, but the porn industry continued to be rocked as other women came forward to stand with Stoya. Tori Lux detailed her own alleged assault to The Daily Beast. Porn stars Amber Rayne and Kora Peters also shared their allegations of on-set rape committed by Deen, who took to Twitter to denounce all accusations against him.
"Disoriented and nursing a sore jaw, I stood up—but before I could collect myself, he grabbed me by my hair and shoved me to my knees, forcing my face into his crotch several times before shoving me to the floor. I was completely stunned, having no idea how to react. I felt pressured to maintain a professional demeanor as this was a major porn set, with other people present and failing to intervene."
Porn stars Amber Rayne and Kora Peters also shared their allegations of on-set violations committed by Deen—both captured on camera as porn crews stood by. Another adult actress, Ashley Fires, told The Daily Beast that Deen "almost raped" her as she was exiting the shower after a porn shoot for S&M company Kink.
Deen officially took to Twitter to denounce the claims against him. "I want to assure my friends, fans and colleagues that these allegations are both false and defamatory," he Tweeted. The scandal nevertheless lost Deen the support of gossip blog The Frisky, where he wrote a sex column, and porn companies Kink and Evil Angel, which severed ties with him.
Angel declined to comment on her ex-boyfriend prior to Wednesday, although adult actress Sydney Leathers told The Daily Beast that Angel had once warned her about Deen: "She told me when I first got into the business that I should avoid him—that he had boundary issues, basically that he tries to break women. I took it to mean that he is dangerous."
Caught off-guard during a filmed interview with The Drive, Angel did not mask her disdain for Deen. “If I discovered him I would like to just put him back where I found him,” she said, clearly uncomfortable. “I guess I don’t like the guy very much, so I’d rather not take credit for releasing that monster… I think he sucks.”
Speaking with Ellis, a shaky Angel explained how she’d met the 18-year-old Deen at the start of his career when her own company was still growing. They started dating and shared an interest in rough sex that soon spiraled out of control.
“As soon as I moved in I started seeing red flags,” she said. “He started to get extremely controlling of who I was allowed to work with, who I was not allowed to work with. He would do whatever the fuck he wanted whenever he wanted… We were in this open relationship that was only open on his side.”
Deen was so controlling, Angel said, that he scrutinized her makeup and clothing and told her she wasn’t allowed to masturbate without his permission. “He considered almost anything cheating, including masturbating,” she said. “I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time… it’s ridiculous to think that I didn’t run away.”
Angel said the toxic relationship affected her sexual drive but Deen was permitted to cheat on her to satisfy his own. “I started to get disgusted by sex. I wasn’t horny at all,” she said. When she put her foot down, she said, he kicked her out. According to Angel, Deen once told her, “’I don’t have any respect for girls in porn. They’re just holes for me to stick my dick in so I can make money and go home.’”
Angel said that the relationship sent her seeking help from a therapist, who urged her to break up with Deen.
“I felt like I wasn’t a person half the time,” said Angel, breaking down on air. “I felt like a very weak dog, and I couldn’t do or say anything without permission from, like, my owner. That’s how I felt 99 percent of the time.”
“I want to make it 100 percent clear to defend my industry, this does not represent porn, it represents a specific individual. I do not want people to blame porn. I think he is a bad egg. Please don’t blame the industry.”