Rape Porn Industry
Cosmopolitan UK|February 2019

While Hollywood reels from the fallout of #MeToo, another film industry is imploding under the weight of its own storm of sexual misconduct allegations. The only issue: that industry is porn. Which means not everyone is willing to listen. Catriona Innes investigates

Catriona Innes

‘DO YOU WANT TO SNIFF MY TESTICLES?’

THERE WAS A SATISFIED LOOK ON HIS FACE AS HE SAID IT. He ignored the woman when she raised her head, looked him straight in his eyes and replied “no”. He wasn’t taking that for an answer. So he asked again.

The reply was the same.

“No.”

So he took matters into his own hands, reaching for a fistful of her hair and pushing her backwards onto the mattress behind her. Then he began to pound his crotch repeatedly in her face. Again. And again. And again.

Barely a metre away a crowd of people had gathered. No one said a thing.

UNTIL RECENTLY, STORIES LIKE THIS WEREN’T SPOKEN ABOUT. Not publicly anyway. They were uttered in whispers, passed from woman to woman, warnings not to “deal” with certain people, to watch out for themselves.

Then, one woman decided to speak out; her decision caused a snowball effect – others began to tell their stories, and name names. Not just this man, but others. Lots of others.

For the first time, people were listening. People cared.

You think you know this story. But you don’t. The woman who claims this happened to her is an adult performer who has starred in over 60 pornographic films. In the majority of films, what happens to her on set is consensual; a job. But in this case, she says what happened wasn’t. As for him? We don’t know. Those watching may have thought it was part of the scene. He might have thought it was, too. It’s what makes something that should be simple a lot more complicated.

JAMES DEEN IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE PORN STAR. He has dark ruffled hair, artfully placed stubble and bright blue eyes. Squint and he could be Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgely, or Zayn Malik, a clean-cut TV or pop star whose poster young girls might hang on their walls. In 2012, his fame broke through porn circles and into the mainstream: there were gushing profiles written about him in both GQ and Esquire. He once starred in a (non-pornographic) movie, The Canyons, with Lindsay Lohan, and his relationships with fellow adult performers Stoya and Joanna Angel were tabloid fodder. He used to tour up and down America speaking at high schools and colleges on matters of sex education and consent. His intelligence and seemingly feminist principles earned him the nickname “the Ryan Gosling of porn”.

And then, in late November 2015, his ex-partner Stoya took to Twitter. In two public messages she wrote, “James Deen held me down and f*cked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up any more.”

He responded with his own tweet: “I want to assure my friends, fans and colleagues that these allegations are both false and defamatory. I respect women and I know and respect limits both professionally and privately.”

Yet it set off a domino effect. One by one, more women came forward, each with their own claims regarding Deen’s behaviour – on and off set. Amber Rayne – who had considered herself a friend of Deen’s before her death from an accidental overdose in 2016 – told of a point early on in his career, where he carried on with a scene so violently, despite her bleeding, that she eventually needed stitches. Joanna Angel, also a former partner of the star, told of multiple occasions of sexual violence while they were together. Tori Lux spoke about how he “pounded his crotch in her face” on set, an incident that left her “messed up, for a long time”. In total, 10 women came forward. He was never charged. When we contacted him for this feature we received no reply.

Later, in an interview with The Daily Beast,* he went through each allegation one by one, offering his own explanations. Most he flat-out denied, or says were grossly distorted stories of what actually did happen. “When you take porn activity into a polite society it sounds really twisted,” he said, adding that, “All the accusations are from either ex-girlfriends or events that happened on set.” His break-up with Stoya was “not a clean break-up”. When asked why he believes allegations have surfaced, he said he knows a number of former adult performers who, once out of the industry, “change their desires and perceptions about things that have happened in the past”.

Even before Deen was in the industry, there have long been rumours of sexual foul play in the world of adult film – both male (largely on gay adult productions) and female stars subjected to scenes they did not want, or agree, to take part in. They have largely remained silent – with performers telling me that there’s a fear of bullying, work being withdrawn in reprisal and a perceived prejudice of authorities keeping them silent. Some didn’t want outsiders to take these incidents as a black mark against the entire industry – feeling they already faced enough judgement.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM COSMOPOLITAN UKView All

'Personal Brands Are Built On Being Genuine'

Award-winning broadcaster and best-selling author EMMA GANNON, 29, on how to get ahead in a modern world

2 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
July 2019

Strong, Fit And 300lb

Model, activist and now... unlikely fitness icon. Tess Holliday opens up about her wellness journey

4 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
July 2019

Mix & Match

If February is for couples, then single people are claiming March as their own. Why? According to research recently released by Tinder, March was the UK’s most active month on the app last year, making a match more likely. The reason? Spring, thinks Tinder’s dating and trend expert Dr Darcy Sterling: “New beginnings are everywhere, so it’s a natural time for romantic connections to bloom.” Want to stand out from the prime-time-swipe crowd? The data suggests that being tagged as an entrepreneur, adventurer or scholar earns women the most right-swipes. *Changes bio immediately*

3 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
April 2019

She's A Cockney Rebel

Last summer’s Love Island winner became the most talked-about woman in the UK – simply by being herself. But when the cameras stop rolling, who is the real Dani Dyer?

10 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
April 2019

My Best Sex Ever Was… With A Reality-TV Star

For Olivia,* a work event brought her face to face with her ultimate fantasy…

3 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
April 2019

“I've Finally Discovered Love Doesn't Have To Be Limited To One Person”

A year into his polyamorous journey, Jack* has found himself somewhere he never expected – in happy, committed relationships with two separate women

3 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
February 2019

Rape Porn Industry

While Hollywood reels from the fallout of #MeToo, another film industry is imploding under the weight of its own storm of sexual misconduct allegations. The only issue: that industry is porn. Which means not everyone is willing to listen. Catriona Innes investigates

10+ mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
February 2019

How I Medicated With Make-Up

When a lipgloss soothes a young girl’s pain of being bullied, what happens next? LAURA CAPON explains what life is like when you’re addicted to cosmetics

8 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
February 2019

The Obama Love Rules

A bit of relationship advice from the former First Lady (with a little help from her friend Oprah)? Oh, go on then

4 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
February 2019

“Embrace Your Lows As The Best Lesson”

How KATRINA LAKE, 35, founder of Stitch Fix, turned her jackpot idea into a billionpound styling service…

2 mins read
Cosmopolitan UK
February 2019
RELATED STORIES

UK'S BENTLEY POURING BILLIONS INTO ELECTRIC CAR OVERHAUL

Luxury automaker Bentley said this week it is pouring billions into upgrading manufacturing to accelerate its electric vehicle development plan, joining other auto brands shifting away from gasoline engines.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

Q&A: INTERNET GUARDIAN RON DEIBERT OF CITIZEN LAB

The internet watchdog Citizen Lab has been remarkably effective in calling to account governments and private sector firms that use information technology to put people in peril.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

‘SOLD BY AMAZON' PROGRAM ENDS FOLLOWING STATE INVESTIGATION

Amazon will end its “Sold by Amazon” program after an investigation by Washington state’s attorney general found it was anticompetitive and violated antitrust laws, according to court documents filed this week.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

TESLA POSTS RECORD PROFIT, WON'T PRODUCE NEW MODELS IN 2022

Tesla Inc. on Wednesday posted record fourth-quarter and full-year earnings as deliveries of its electric vehicles soared despite a global shortage of computer chips that has slowed the entire auto industry.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

DC, 3 STATES SUE GOOGLE SAYING IT INVADES USERS' PRIVACY

The District of Columbia and three states are suing Google for allegedly deceiving consumers and invading their privacy by making it nearly impossible for them to stop their location from being tracked.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

HOT STUFF: LAB HITS MILESTONE ON LONG ROAD TO FUSION POWER

With 192 lasers and temperatures more than three times hotter than the center of the sun, scientists hit — at least for a fraction of a second — a key milestone on the long road toward nearly pollution-free fusion energy.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

NORTH CAROLINA CHOSEN FOR SUPERSONIC PASSENGER JET PLANT

A Colorado-based aviation company announced this week that it has chosen a North Carolina airport as the manufacturing site for next-generation supersonic passenger jets.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

PICASSO HEIRS LAUNCH DIGITAL ART PIECE TO RIDE ‘CRYPTO' WAVE

Pablo, meet Crypto. Heirs of Pablo Picasso, the famed 20th-century Spanish artist, are vaulting into 21st-century commerce by selling 1,010 digital art pieces of one of his ceramic works that has never before been seen publicly — riding a fad for “crypto” assets that have taken the art and financial worlds by storm.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

SAMSUNG REPORTS ROBUST PROFIT BASED ON CHIP STRENGTH

Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday its operating profit for the last quarter rose by more than 53% from the same period last year as it continued to thrive during the pandemic while relying on its dual strength in parts and finished products.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

JAPAN'S MITSUBISHI, ENERGY BODY JOIN GATES' NUCLEAR PROJECT

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency have signed an agreement to participate in a next-generation nuclear energy project with TerraPower, a company started by Bill Gates.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535