Judge Allows NCOSE-Driven 'Trafficking' Claim Against Studios to Move to Trial

Judge Allows NCOSE-Driven 'Trafficking' Claim Against Studios to Move to Trial

SAN DIEGO — In an unusual ruling supporting a lawsuit sponsored by NCOSE (aka, Morality in Media) attempting to link adult industry studios to “human trafficking,” a California judge ruled that, although the contracts signed by a former performer were valid, the arbitration agreements that were part of them should be disregarded and the lawsuit should move forward.

On Thursday, Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Anello denied a motion by porn studios to implement the arbitration clauses in the contracts signed by a Jane Doe for scenes they had distributed.

According to the complaint Doe filed, aided by anti-porn lobby NCOSE, she briefly worked in the adult industry around 2009-2010. At the time, she alleges, she was represented by someone named Cissy Steele (aka, Cissy Gerald), a person claiming to be an adult modeling agent.

Doe claims that her relationship with Steele, who is cited a main co-defendant, would fall under the definition of “human trafficking.”

But the complaint also names a number of adult studios and sites active a decade ago — Diabolic, Black Ice, Zero Tolerance, Third Degree, Elegant Angel, KNPB Media, Tubexxxone.com, Wreal, AV Entertainment, Asexbox.com and Excalibur Films — as co-defendants on the basis that they distributed scenes allegedly featuring the Jane Doe.

That lawsuit — which was promoted worldwide by NCOSE as a landmark moment in the anti-porn crusade they have been waging since the early 1960s — alleges that the studios “were instrumental in knowingly aiding, abetting, facilitating and participating in Steele’s sex trafficking scheme, while knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that she would use means of force, fraud, and/or coercion to force Jane Doe into engaging in commercial sex acts in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (‘TVPRA’).”

A Campaign Driven by NCOSE (aka Morality in Media)

On September 25, 2020, NCOSE issued a press statement titled “NCOSE Law Center Files First Ever Anti-Trafficking Lawsuit Against Pornography Producers on Behalf of Survivor.” The propaganda item was picked up without question by mainstream outlets and also disseminated by NCOSE’s fellow War on Porn advocacy groups.

Judge Anello’s decision on Thursday allowing the NCOSE-promoted action to proceed without moderation is considered highly peculiar in legal circles.

Even though he found the arbitration agreements “were valid,” reported legal news site Courthouse News, “a federal judge Thursday nonetheless declined to enforce the agreements to avoid potential conflicting court rulings in a novel Trafficking Victims Protection Act case.”

Diabolic Video Productions, Black Ice, Zero Tolerance Entertainment and Third Degree Films claim the performer agreements signed by Doe are valid.

Doe claims she was forced by Steele to appear on the videos and surrender her earnings to the agent.

Visual Editorializing

Judge Anello’s denial of the adult studios’ motion to compel arbitration in the case, Courthouse News continued, “paves the way for Doe’s federal anti-trafficking lawsuit, touted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center as the first filed against a pornography producer and online pornography website on behalf of a survivor, to go to trial.”

Courthouse News, however, chose to contradict their own report of the peculiar decision by visually editorializing with a stock black-and-white photo of the lower half of an anonymous barefoot woman grabbing her legs, unsubtly emphasizing the "human trafficking" angle pushed by NCOSE.

The Defense Speaks

XBIZ spoke to the studios’ attorney, Jonathan Brown, from noted industry firm Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria of Buffalo, New York, who said that while they are “disappointed in the decision, it is important to note that the motion had nothing to do with the merits of the case.”

“Our clients had nothing to do with the alleged sex trafficking that occurred over a decade ago, and we look forward to all of the facts coming out,” Brown added.

Main Image: Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Anello (Source: Southern District California)

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