Adult Industry Critics & Myths

Allison Vivas
In one of my previous blog posts, I suggested that those who focus their efforts around casting the adult industry in a negative light need to instead put their efforts towards real issues and problems in society today. I stand by that post, but with the recent false accusations made by Morality in Media about our industry, I was reminded that the adult industry needs to play an active role in dispelling the misconceptions spread by such critics as much as possible.

There are a number of respected voices from within the industry who do get out there and speak positively about the adult industry, and who try to counter the myths, misconceptions and outright lies that get spread around by our industry’s harshest critics. A few recent great examples:

John Stagliano - Response to “Pornography Harms”

Anna Span, Johnny Anlais, Jessi Fischer - Winning the porn debate at Cambridge

Mark Kernes – Morality in Media’s Latest Lies on Porn and Sex Trafficking

Joan Irvine- They’re Back, But they Never Went Away

Ron Jeremy- Representing the industry in Porn Debate at church

When it comes to this sort of ‘push-back’ against the unfair and untrue claims leveled at our industry, it’s a case of the “more the merrier;” the more each of us individually speaks out, whether casually or in an official capacity while representing our respective companies, the better it is for our industry as a whole. When we don’t, and the claims made by our critics go unchallenged, the impact of their false claims might not be immediately obvious, but it is there.

Just this week, two non-adult business acquaintances of mine inquired about some things they had read (and must have believed, at least to some extent) about our industry, including Morality in Media’s statement that 90% of sex workers are have been forced into sex work against their will.

In response to their questions, I told these acquaintances the real (and real mundane) details of how adult content production takes place, from dealing with modeling agencies, to AIM testing, model releases, 2257 documentation, legal review by our attorneys, and so on. I emphasized that adult production companies are law-abiding entities, who not only adhere to industry-specific regulations like 2257, but also comply with all the same requirements that any other manner of business must follow, like paying taxes, abiding by employment laws, and other general business regulations. The criminals who engage in things like human trafficking, on the other hand, generally do not do things like set up corporate entities, rent out office space, maintain large staffs, provide benefits to employees, or store things like model releases and identification documents.

The bottom line? The people who engage in the sort of activities described by Morality in Media are just criminals, not part of ANY legitimate industry, much less part of the adult entertainment industry.

I also pointed out to my mainstream acquaintances just how absurd it would be for an adult company to engage in horrible behavior along the lines of that alleged by Morality in Media, and then subsequently seek publicity through mass advertising and media exposure not only of the company, but also of the performers who that company has supposedly forced into indentured servitude. That would be like if the executives at Enron had held a press conference in the late 90s for the express purpose of bragging about their amazing accounting skills!

I find that simple statements and analogies like this can quickly put atrocious accusations to rest, just as quickly and easily as those accusations came to be believed.

All of us involved with producing adult content know that most studios and producers handle the process professionally, and the actual goal of our effort is fulfill our customers’ perfectly natural desire to enjoy adult entertainment. We know that our industry isn’t about human trafficking, or prostitution, or any number of illicit activities that some of our critics allege – but those outside the industry, including the mainstream media and consumers, don’t have the benefit of our “insider perspective,” so it’s important that we get out there and actively counter the false accusations that are directed at us.

In 2011, I’ve resolved to speak out more openly and more frequently against the myths, rumors and stereotypes that cast our industry in a negative light, and I appreciate the great example others have set. I hope many more in our industry will join in the campaign… the more the merrier.