On Saturday, the adult actress, writer, and model Stoya accused her former scene partner/boyfriend James Deen, who’s been labeled porn’s “boy next door,” of rape, first tweeting, “That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.” Then she added, “James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.” Stoya’s allegation led other current and former adult industry performers to speak out against Deen, including industry veteran Joanna Angel, and the Twitter hashtag #SolidarityWithStoya trended worldwide.
This is Tori Lux’s story.
My name is Tori Lux, and I’m a former adult performer. In June of 2011, while shooting at a major porn studio, I was assaulted by James Deen.
While James wasn’t performing with me that day, he was present on set—and almost immediately after I’d finished my scene he began to antagonize me. I hadn’t even had time to dress myself when he said, with a smirk on his face, “Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” “Nope,” I replied in a neutral tone. “I’ll repeat myself: Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” he asked, more aggressively this time. I replied with a firm “No,” in order to establish my boundary—which James then disregarded by grabbing me by the throat and shoving me down onto a mattress on the floor.
He proceeded to straddle my chest, pinning down my arms with his knees. Then, he raised his hand high above his head, swinging it down and hitting me in the face and head with an open palm. He did this five or six times—hard—before finally getting off of me.
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.
A few people with whom I’ve shared this story over the years have asked me why I didn’t call the police as soon as it happened, or publicly speak up about it shortly thereafter. The reason for that is because people—including the police—tend to believe that sex workers have placed themselves in harm’s way, and therefore can’t be assaulted. Of course, this claim couldn’t be further from the truth, as being involved in sex work does not equate to being harmed. Despite porn being a legal form of sex work, and it occurring in a controlled environment such as a porn set, this blame-the-victim mentality is still inherent in much of society. In turn, sex workers are silenced and our negative experiences are swept under the rug as we try to protect ourselves from the judgment of others—or worse, a variety of problems ranging from further physical attacks to professional issues such as slander and/or blacklisting.
Simply put: I was afraid.
We are forced to smile and pretend we’re always in control and in love with our jobs, when in reality, there’s a multitude of experiences one can have on any given day of shooting—good, bad, and neutral—just like every other job. It’s not as black-and-white as people like to assume. My goal in writing this is not to paint the industry as a whole as oppressive or dangerous, but to shed some light on one fucked up personal experience of mine, in which James Deen ruthlessly attacked and degraded me, leaving me with mental wounds that took years to heal.
I hope to encourage you, the reader, to open your mind to the bigger picture regarding stigma and safety within the sex industry. Being silenced is what keeps sex workers in danger, and the stigma is what keeps sex workers silent when they’re attacked. It’s a vicious cycle, and I hope we can work together toward humanizing one another and preventing instances like this from continuing to happen.