LOS ANGELES — NBC released today a 75-minute exposé investigating accusations against prominent industry agent Derek Hay and his agency LA Direct Models by several adult performers he formerly represented.
Hay, who has also performed under the name Ben English, founded LA Direct Models in his native U.K. in the early 2000s and built it into a leading LA- and Vegas-based operation during the last two decades.
NBC producer/editor Dan Przygoda reported the piece by interviewing performers Bunny Colby, Lydia Dupra, Adria Rae and Hadley Viscara, all of whom had been represented by Hay. Przygoda also interviewed Lisa Ann, who worked for Hay’s agency during a break from performing in the mid-2000s, and performer and sex worker advocate Siouxsie Q, who offered illuminating context about how some of Hay’s business practices differed from industry standards.
According to the final credit plates, the documentarists “made repeated attempts to interview Derek Hay on-camera for this documentary.” After indicating he “would be open to the interview,” Hay stopped communicating with the filmmakers after they refused to agree to “a set of pre-conditions, such as that no single answer could be edited and must be show in full.” Hay’s associates, accused in the documentary of running an escorting operation parallel to the agency, also refused to cooperate with the film.
The article that accompanies NBC’s documentary points out that four models (only identified as “Jane Doe”s) filed a complaint last June with the California Labor Commissioner. The State Labor Board of California is tasked with regulating modeling agencies like LA Direct and also with approving contracts between talent and agencies.
NBC reports that the models “say in the complaint that they fear retaliatory physical or mental harm and the ruin of their careers by a powerful industry insider.”
Hay, during a hearing before the state labor commissioner, denied any wrongdoing.
Przygoda’s visual storytelling mixes important first-hand accounts about Hay with salacious re-enactments featuring typical mainstream clichés about sex work — female torsos in lingerie, eerie musical cues, hands counting dollar bills, etc. NBC says it has spoken to 26 current and former adult performers and agents who “made allegations similar to those contained in the complaints to the labor commissioner.”
NBC did not interview the “Jane Doe”s from the June 2018 complaint, focusing instead on other models who have also spoken out against Hay and LA Direct.
Adria Rae, one of the performers interviewed by Przygoda, said she agreed to participate because she was “terrified […] that another young girl could fall victim to something like this.”
Rae was referring to what the documentary depicts as a pattern of controling behavior on Hay’s part towards LA Direct’s models, starting with unusually lengthy contracts, unclear accounting practices, a culture of intrusive surveillance, leading to what NBC’s story describes as the way they were “financially manipulated and funneled into prostitution.”