LOS ANGELES — Following Stoya's sexual assault allegations against ex-boyfriend James Deen on Nov. 28, adult star Ashley Fires was one of the first women to publicly share similar experiences with him, and now she has penned an open letter published by BuzzFeed News calling for a safer work environment in porn.
"What happened to me in the bathroom as I was getting out of the shower happened without cameras and without corroboration," she wrote. "We were the only two people in the bathroom. James Deen forcefully assaulted me."
Due to the lack of physical evidence, the absence of corroborating witnesses and the stigma of working in adult entertainment, Fires was reluctant to inform the police. “I didn’t think the police would believe me," Fires added. "The treatment of sex workers by law enforcement is well known."
Her hesitation was compounded by the potential social and legal backlash that the adult industry faces, whenever incidents of sexual assault arise. "I was also reluctant to come forward because I am protective of the adult industry," explained Fires. "I did not want to feed into the misconceptions and negative stereotypes of sex workers and porn performers. I did not want to shed an unflattering light on my beloved industry.
"It is time for space to be made in the industry for a safer work environment; an environment that gives performers a voice to be heard," she said.
"Are there other options besides smiling and nodding as your check is dangling in front of you?" wrote Fires. "While knowing that if you speak out you will be labeled as difficult or not hired again? Many performers have reached out to me during this time and wanted to come forward with their own personal experiences but did not due to fear of being blacklisted or losing work."
Issues of performer consent and the power of directors has become a subject of intense discussion in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against Deen.
"No matter what the producer says, or the director wants or what you think the culture on set will permit, assault is unacceptable," she concluded. "Assault, sexual assault and rape are always crimes. Even in porn, this line is clear."
To read her letter in its entirety, click here.