After Multiple Sexual Assault Allegations from Fellow Performers, James Deen Stars in Porn Film about Consent

By KC

Normalizing Abuse Isnt Normal
Cover photo credit to AP, retrieved from Jezebel.com.
TRIGGER WARNING

Performer James Deen who was barred for three years from popular porn company Evil Angel following a series of sexual assault accusations has recently been reinstated with a lead role in the explicit pornographic documentary film titled Consent—and it’s just as contradictory as it sounds.

Deen’s history of alleged sexual assault

In 2015, after talk on the internet of Deen’s popularity among women as an “embracer of feminism,” Deen’s ex-girlfriend and fellow porn performer spoke up via Twitter:

“That thing where you log in to the internet and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist…James Deen held me down and f— me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”

Since then, about a dozen women have come forward with claims of physical abuse and sexual assault against Deen. Although he has yet to be formally charged and continues to deny the accusations, the confirmed account of one of his accusers seems to be profoundly telling.

Fellow performer Lily LaBeau publicly described her experience that was later corroborated by actor and director Derrick Pierce—who was present for two of the incidents involving Deen—and a third female performer who asked to remain anonymous.

Some performers and directors set boundaries prior to filming, although these limits aren’t always adhered to, and performers are often pressured or manipulated to do more than they’re comfortable with. This is intended to keep performers safe, particularly in the BDSM genre where performers are involved in “pain play” and aggressive sex acts, and the line between scripted and real expressions of pain or cries for help is often blurred.

This was the case for LaBeau on two separate occasions when Deen violated her “no” list.

The first occurred in 2011 when performing in a “vanilla” more tame film directed by Derrick Pierce. “The first thing he does is walks over, I’m tied up, and he spits in my eye. It just went from zero to sixty, just degrading.”

Pierce confirmed that he had to repeatedly tell Deen to refrain from kink that was excessive for the shoot, and that the scene had to be cut from the final product. “He doesn’t like limits,” Pierce recalled.

Related: Why Shaming And Victim-Blaming Porn Performers Adds To Their Mistreatment

In a later incident, LaBeau was the lead in a live-stream BDSM group sex series for popular BDSM site, Kink.com. Deen was there as a spectator and not scheduled to perform, but eventually jumped into the scene.

She said Deen hit her in the face so hard her jaw locked in what was “the most traumatic thing that’s happened to me in my career.”

At one point, Deen grabbed an electrical shocking device called a cattle prod and held it near LaBeau’s head. LaBeau said the device was on her “no” list and that Deen was well aware of it.

“The cattle prod makes me go into complete panic,” she said. “When you pull it out I’m done, I’m scared, I’m crying, I can’t think.”

LaBeau screamed to Deen, “It’s on my ‘no’ list! It’s on my ‘no’ list!” He stopped, but a few minutes later, put his foot in LaBeau’s mouth then slapped her so hard her jaw locked and she had to be removed from the scene. Here’s how she recounted what happened:

“I heard and felt an almost crack from my ear down to my chin. I couldn’t close my mouth. I honestly don’t remember what happened after that… I’m still dealing with trauma from it. Even to this day, certain people holding my head a certain way will bring up a lot of trauma and cause me to start crying.”

Related: She’s One Of The Top Most-Searched Performers Years After Leaving Porn—See Why She Now Hates The Industry

Pierce, who was there as a performer, remembers the crew tending to LaBeau’s injured jaw. Sometime after, she looked at him and mouthed the words, “Help me.”

When asked why she agreed to the impromptu scene LaBeau said, “I didn’t, he just picked up the stuff and I didn’t want to make a scene.”

She also expressed that because Deen gets so much work in the industry, she fears making him angry, and what getting on his bad side could do to her career. “Because he worked so much it was heavily suggested that I don’t put him on my ‘no list’ from my agent,” she said.

LaBeau expressed that this wasn’t just an isolated incident, but is an industry-wide problem. She said, “James isn’t the only one who’s crossed boundaries. James is the one that was the worst, but there’s been other ones. It’s not just James that’s the problem.”

Evil Angel under scrutiny for casting Deen in Consent

Following these accusations, John Stagliano—pornographer and owner of film studio Evil Angel—barred its directors from working with Deen.

Now, three years later, Stagliano—who himself was recently accused of violating performers’ consent during a shoot—has decided to lift the ban in a bold way, claiming, “I don’t like to run away from controversial subjects. I like to run toward them.”

Related: When The Line Between Consent And Coercion Can Get Blurred During Porn Production

Consent will depict explicit sex scenes alongside documentary-style footage, with the claimed intent of “educating viewers about consent.” It features a segment about rough sex with BDSM performer Casey Calvert, who, according to Stagliano, specifically requested to do the scene with Deen.

Stagliano said, “Is [Deen] a perfect person? Probably not…This whole thing of ‘brand somebody for life, he’s always a bad person,’ that’s just wrong… I figured three years was enough time…I didn’t know how long the sentence should be, seriously, number one. Number two, I didn’t have all the information. Number three, all my competitors are shooting him anyway. Number four, he’s admitted that he did some bad stuff.”

Related: Would Taking Away The Issue Of Performer Exploitation Make Porn More Acceptable?

It’s clear that not everyone in the industry agrees with Stagliano’s decision. Several performers have spoken out with disapproval. Evil Angel director Evil Chris said in a recent interview, “This movie makes me uneasy, just so you know…it’s a movie called Consent and James Deen is in it.”

Store - General

The growing issue of abuse victims in the porn industry being silenced

It’s also clear that there seems to be a fear of speaking out about abuse within the industry, and that there isn’t a formal process in place for reporting and resolving these incidents that protects abuse victims and holds abusers accountable.

In several cases, the accusers’ careers have suffered far greater than the accused following allegations. For example, Ashley Fires, one of Deen’s accusers who is openly unhappy about the Stagliano casting decision, has expressed that speaking out was “devastating” to her career.

According to Calvert, “We haven’t figured out as an industry what to do about allegations of misconduct on set, and until we have those systems in place, my priority is my own safety and well-being.”

No matter the industry’s efforts to claim that consent is their standard, it’s clear that exploitation is often the norm. Many performers experience fear, manipulation, pressure, shame, and marginalization that prevent them from reporting their abuse or getting the help they need while holding abusers accountable for their unacceptable actions.

The bottom line is—whether we’re talking about Consent or mainstream porn in general—for consumers, its nearly impossible to know if the porn they view is actually consensual or a documented incident of real abuse—and the risk isn’t worth it.

The post After Multiple Sexual Assault Allegations from Fellow Performers, James Deen Stars in Porn Film about Consent appeared first on Fight the New Drug.