There’s No Room for “Casting Couch” Porn in a #MeToo World

By KC

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In light of the recent #MeToo movement, it’s no wonder why eyebrows are being raised at the porn industry which sells exploitive fantasies that mirror many individuals’ real-life abuse.

In the internet world, there’s a joking (but true) rule that if something exists, there is porn of it—and if no porn of it is found at the moment, it will surely be made. But the seriousness of the #MeToo movement and its associated sexual abuse allegations bring weight to this often lighthearted observation.

Related: Why Does Porn Get A Free Pass To Capitalize Off Of These Unacceptable Categories?

In fact, the #MeToo movement has helped trigger a decline in popularity of one porn fantasy that hits too close to home for many—casting couch porn.

What’s “casting couch” porn all about?

The centerpiece of this porn genre is the casting couch—a term that many in the entertainment industry have made light of over the years. It’s used in reference to the practice of actors or actresses being awarded parts in a production in exchange for granting the casting director sexual favors.

Casting couch porn gained traction back in 2007 when the first iPhone was made available to the world and low-budget, amateur porn was on the rise.

Related: Can You Tell The Difference Between #MeToo Stories And Porn Plot Lines?

Scenes are usually set in a dingy, poorly-lit basement office. The storylines are often the same: someone (typically a woman) enters to interview for an acting position—like a movie, modeling gig, or adult film. The video producer makes it very clear to the viewer that the job doesn’t exist.

The performer or “potential model” sits on the infamous black leather couch across from her “interviewer,” where he eventually coerces her to have sex (read: he rapes her) to make sure she’s fit for the job, or in exchange for a job that, again, the viewer knows doesn’t exist.

Most casting couch videos include a hidden camera piece—meaning the person doesn’t know he/she is being filmed.

Sometimes, the situation is presented as though the person knows they’re walking into an audition for a porn film. But most often, the “fantasy” is that he/she thinks they’re going in for a legit interview when there isn’t really a job at all—and they end up being tricked into being humiliated and sometimes trying sex acts they say they’ve never tired before on camera.

This idea that many performers are naive and taken advantage of in the industry is this genre’s very selling point.

The problem with what casting couch porn normalizes

Bottom line: this genre of porn makes fantasy out of horror stories that so many people live every day when they’re trafficked and exploited into doing porn under false pretenses.

Related: Just Because Porn Performers Do Porn, Doesn’t Mean They Like It Or Asked For It

The power dynamic of dominance—typically a man controlling a woman—is a concerning nuance of casting couch porn, and really mainstream porn in general. But consider this: casting couch porn depicts a fantasized version of something that’s really happening in our society.

It capitalizes on real-life abusive scenarios that many men and women—both in and out of the porn industry—deal with all the time. Don’t believe us?

Read this story about an abusive director who has taken advantage of women in the porn industry in his home. And this story about a performer’s first shoot turning into a nightmare because of a producer’s assault. And this case of a well-known porn agent who trafficked his performers. And this one that details how there are multiple Harvey Weinstein-types in the porn industry.

Casting couch porn and the #MeToo movement

Outside of a pornographic context, this exploitation happens often in Hollywood itself. For decades, influential producers have offered ambitious actors or actresses a role in exchange for sexual favors—whether explicit or implied. Men and women have also endured this type of abuse in a variety of different ways while on the job in the entertainment industry.

Related: The Weinstein Effect: Selective Hearing When It Comes To Sexual Exploitation

The #MeToo movement has brought many of these instances of abuse to light.

As a recap, Tarana Burke launched the #MeToo movement over a decade ago in an effort to aid underprivileged women of color who suffered sexual abuse in areas where rape crisis centers and sexual assault workers weren’t present. She told CNN, “On one side, it’s a bold declarative statement that ‘I’m not ashamed’ and ‘I’m not alone.’ On the other side, it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you.’”

The movement became mainstream in 2017 when an actress tweeted the phrase following the start of an investigation into decades of sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Within hours, #MeToo went viral on social media as millions of people across the world shared their own accounts of sexual assault.

The popularity of casting couch porn seems to have followed the same timeline. Clicks, views, and downloads grew steadily from 2007 and eventually peaked in 2016, then quickly dropped and have continued falling since 2017.

We’d venture a guess that the role of the #MeToo movement in associating faces and firsthand accounts with this type of exploitation has something to do with its popularity decline.

The success #MeToo has brought to the movement

Think about this: why is fantasizing about vulnerable individuals and their abuse popular? It’s taboo, it’s off-limits, and pornographers will take any chance to obscenely exploit easy targets and normalize real-world sexual harassment and assault if it earns views and clicks, no matter the cost.

Due to its widespread popularity, the #MeToo movement has played a role in helping individuals reexamine their consumption of casting couch themed porn. That’s significant progress—but there’s a long way to go.

Related: Award-Winning Porn Director Suspended After Sexual Assault Allegations Surface

The #MeToo movement can’t only be a social media trend—it’s important for individuals to take action when it comes to the issue of sexual exploitation. Society must acknowledge sexual exploitation in all its forms. It isn’t possible to fully support #MeToo while turning a blind eye to the porn industry.

Casting couch porn is just one genre among countless others that exploit, normalize, and fuel the abuse of so many across the world today—including that of porn performers themselves. Now that the conversation about sexual exploitation has become more mainstream, we can help society make the connection between #MeToo and the porn industry as a whole.

The post There’s No Room for “Casting Couch” Porn in a #MeToo World appeared first on Fight the New Drug.