Don’t be that girl, she scolded herself silently. Just go with it.
Lavished with attention and told how beautiful she was, a part of her felt lucky to have his attention—and yet as his hands explored her body without permission, she went rigid. This was a man she’d admired; a successful, intelligent man she’d wanted to work with and be mentored by. As he kissed her lips she held perfectly still but her lack of response did not deter him. Neither did her silence.
When he bent her over the desk in his office, taking her from behind, Sara struggled with how to say “no” and how to verbalize her feelings without hurting his. She couldn’t. It’s been five years since the incident and Sara still won’t call it “rape,” but the waver in her voice when we discuss the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein tells me it still hurts. Sara still works with the same architectural firm and won’t risk her career to out the man who sexually assaulted her.
“He’s not famous like Harvey Weinstein, so no one cares,” she says.
As dozens of actresses have come forward to share their traumatic encounters with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, it’s crucial to understand the importance. These women are speaking up in sisterhood and the public is listening—not because of who he is but because they can relate. If it hasn’t happened to you, then it’s someone you know.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and one out of every six women in the United States has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. Victims of sexual assault will carry those invisible scars for a lifetime. It’s the deep, dark secret some will never share.
Every woman that has courageously come forward with a #metoo hashtag has increased the visibility, showing us just how prevalent this issue is. Social media has given power back to the people, with an instant feedback loop that keeps the conversation alive. You don’t have to be famous to have a voice, and when our voices unite they are heard.
Webcam model Ginger Banks has begun using her social media platform to create the difference she wants to see not just in adult entertainment, but beyond. She’s started right at the top: bringing attention to the notorious alleged behavior of porn’s legendary hedgehog, Ron Jeremy.
Discussing the sexual assault allegations against Ron Jeremy online in forums was eye-opening for Banks, who has recently been considering the move from webcam model to professional porn. “I started posting on industry-only forums, and producers and industry people were telling me to get used to it. That’s just what happens in porn,” says Banks. “When people are telling me I should expect to be sexually assaulted at my job that’s something I’m not going to stand for. The normalization of it is what disgusts me.”
Motivated to shed light on the allegations against Jeremy that had somehow slid under the media’s radar, Banks made a ten-minute video presentation with collected tweets, articles and commentary. Her goal, she says, was to offer evidence in one easy-to-find place and then allow people to decide for themselves.
Seeing that Ron Jeremy was hired to host the annual webcam awards for a company she’s spent the last eight years working with was the last straw for her. She messaged the company, and was public about her opinions: “I tweeted that I had a problem with a known groper presenting an award.” Banks then messaged the cam company (in a direct message to her, they agreed not to work with Jeremy in light of the allegations) as well as the convention Jeremy was set to appear at. Banks urges performers to use their collective power, saying, “We need to stop supporting people that don’t support us as performers, when you go to these shows people buy tickets based on whether or not you’ll be there.”
Banks describes some of the videos she saw online, in which fans will follow Jeremy around a convention just to catch him groping people—a behavior that Banks says “pisses me off when it gets excused.” I another, she sites the Twitter testimony of a popular cam model who goes by “Miss Lollipop,” who wrote last year, “Not my 1st, but at a my 1st adult con, posing for a photo w ron jeremy - he slips his finger under my panties and into my vagina. #notokay.” Several other models replied to her tweet with their own Jeremy horror stories.
Though Banks has only met Jeremy once, in 2015 at an adult expo, tweets from women she admired— fellow cam models who said they’d also met Jeremy—caught her attention, particularly the allegations that he’d groped them.
A one-woman crusade, Banks says she took it upon herself to contact fellow models, the adult expos, and the companies sponsoring the shows to ask them all why they’d support a convention that supported Jeremy when he exhibits this type of behavior. “I was shocked when Exxxotica said he wouldn’t be there,” says Banks. “It also made me feel really good that’s a direct result of what I was trying to accomplish.”
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Jeremy seems confused about why Banks has chosen to target him on social media. “So she admits she doesn’t know me but I’ve groped her friends?” asks Jeremy. “You’ve worked with me in the past and you didn’t have a problem with me, right?”
I acknowledged that we’d worked together on set without issue.
“I’m older, chunkier, hairier but there are women out there that still want to see me. A lot of women that come out to see me want me to sign a boob,” says Jeremy. “If I ever grabbed a girl against her will I’d have a face like a panda bear. If I did something against someone’s will I’d have been punched in the face by now.”
He adds, “The girl who’s claiming I put my fingers up, I don’t buy that story. I don’t think that happened, maybe I was massaging. I’ve done that. Maybe a little tap, pinch, squeeze. I’ve done that but I always ask first.”
As Ron Jeremy and the once untouchable media mogul Weinstein fall from greatness, Ashley Fires demands to know why the man she says “almost raped me” isn’t facing a harsher sentence within the adult industry. Fires tweeted: “In the wake of recent actions taken against Weinstein, Ailes, O’riley [sic], Jeremy. Why is James Deen still granted shade to abuse women?”
Fires is one of almost a dozen women who have accused porn superstar James Deen of sexual assault, including his former partners, the influential adult actresses Stoya and Joanna Angel. In an essay first published at The Daily Beast, former porn star Tori Lux claimed she was “ruthlessly attacked and degraded” by Deen, while porn star Amber Rayne described her horrifying experience shooting a scene with Deen in graphic detail.
“We were in a piledriver, he was fucking me in the ass and I said something like, ‘Yeah fuck me like that you son of a bitch.’ His face twisted and he came down on my face two times—close-fisted,” said Rayne. “I was punched in the face while he was still in my ass and then he starts going crazy on my butt—extreme, brutally fucking it. He just starts shoving things in to the point where he ripped it and I bled everywhere. There was so much blood I couldn’t finish the scene.”
In late 2016, just one year after the numerous sexual assault allegations against Deen surfaced, he received 33 XBIZ nominations between him and his company, and was allowed to grace the same ceremony as his first accuser Stoya, who was hosting the event.
“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,” I wrote at the time.
The nominations and awards appearances left many in the adult industry scratching their heads. “I feel like its all been swept under the rug and it’s back to normal for James Deen,” adult actress/director Tanya Tate told me. “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.”
Deen has maintained his innocence, telling The Daily Beast late last year: “I’m James Deen forever. That’s why I didn’t pursue any defamation charges,” he says. “Every attorney I spoke to said it’s the sex workers curse. There’s no way to get a jury of your peers or people that will understand. I feel like the media didn’t do their due diligence and distorted the facts. How can I say [to a jury] these stories about rough crazy sex hurt my career? They’d just look at some of my scenes.”
Multiple sources have also informed The Daily Beast that Deen recently entered into a financial settlement with porn actress Holly Hendrix over a shoot that allegedly turned violent. Hendrix, however, could not confirm the details of the settlement. Deen claims there is no truth to this, telling The Daily Beast: “Me settling with anyone is completely untrue…There was never even a suit to settle.”