The porn world fascinates many people. However, many remain ignorant of the dark side of the industry – particularly the abuse models encounter.
Veteran adult star, Yurizan Beltran, was found dead yesterday by friends at the age of 31. It appears she died of an overdose.
Beltran performed in more than 200 titles since 2005. She worked with top producers such as Brazzers, Hustler, New Sensations and Digital Sin.
News of Beltran’s death comes whilst the industry is coming to terms with the suicide of August Ames. Many attribute Ames’ death, barely a week ago, to bullying within the industry.
The death of two adult models within such a short period is a shock. However, I suspect these are just the tip of the iceberg, and that many more porn stars have been driven to commit suicide.
So what is causing these women to take their own lives? Is it the so-called “family” they have been surrounded by for their most of their adult careers? – is it a pre-existing condition? – or is there something else going on that needs to be looked into?
Having worked in the adult industry some 20 years ago, I understand, first hand, the journey these models have been on.
I entered the industry for the money, the sex and the sense of belonging. Of these, my greatest disappointment is the false sense of security offered by my peers. However, I feel strongly that I need to speak out. And I do so in the full knowledge of the backlash I will endure. Yes, I am fully expecting to be attacked from industry insiders, some of who are completely unable to understand anything outside “porno land”. Indeed, many of whom don’t really understand what is going on within the very industry in which they work!
Women enter pornography for many reasons – financial, security, a desire to be wanted to name just a few. When they are asked about their experience in the industry and speak openly, they also speak of the “slut shaming” they received.
When I left porn, I never went back. I am one of the very few to achieve this. I managed to put up a hard fight against those very same “slut shamers”. I am proud to say I rose above that and made a name for myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very pro-porn in the correct conditions. And I am equally strong in my view that no model should enter the industry without knowing the pros and cons associated with that decision, which I talk openly about on TV.
You will feel part of a big family who support you while you are working and speak positively about the industry. However, report anything negative, and you will be turned on. And the attackers will be the very people who made out they are your supporters.
The UKAP (uk adult producers) committee leader says he wants to make the industry safer for models, producers and other industry participants. Yet, shockingly, a model recently reported being sexually assaulted by one known performer, and then bullied on-line and shamed by the very person who runs the organisation. Furthermore, she reported it to him because he had put out a warning to women not to work with a man who had done time in prison for beating his wife a week earlier.
Many people came out to support this model against the abuse she had received. Indeed, when I challenged him, I was quoted on-line under his page “Naked Truth Podcast” as a “freeholder of a vagina”.
Seriously, how on earth can such a person who purports to have the interests of adult industry workers at heart state publicly that “If people really cared about their safety then they should not walk into situations they can’t deal with”; and “ I am not your daddy”.
He then used UKAPs own twitter feed to say “I’ve discussed this with a couple of members and seen the text exchanges. There is nothing to mediate. You admitted and apologised profusely. This is not our business.” Why put this out on social media for the world to see. She came to the committee to ask for assistance; she reported the guy; and she was told it was her own fault and an apology from the accused was enough! No woman asks to be sexually assaulted.Come on!
And I have to ask – Is this just him or the whole committee thinking this way? I assume it’s UKAP, as it went out under their feed. If this is not the case, then I think all members need to question their social media responsibilities before one man takes them down – the very same man who retweeted all the victim’s private messages to him and “victim shamed her”.
Somewhat pathetically, he then stated that people should not work or trust me and my services. Seriously? I know more about the industry than he ever will from a woman’s perspective, and I will not accept that access by models to specialists should be blocked by him because I think he is wrong. Kelly and I are simply trying to offer a much-needed service to models but are being stopped for fear of exposing the real dark under belly of UK porn.
I took up this issue because I am qualified counselor. My colleague, Kelly Berg and I have particular empathy and skills to help adult models. We are former adult stars. We have survived the abuse within and backlash from our chosen careers. And we are here to help. And we can help. Whatever your problem – whether simply to find a way out of the industry; or, something more serious – we are here to help – WE WILL TAKE ACTION.
Kelly and I believe in the importance of choices, ethical porn and the safety of models. We don’t accept sabotage, rape, assaults, abuse, bullying and many of the other negative experiences encountered by many within the industry.
We often receive abuse ourselves for revealing the truth and not agreeing with certain people. For example, we will never agree with the text received from the committee leader who thinks it is ok to allow certain models to fake HIV certificates. Similarly, we will never agree it is acceptable for such a so-called leader to attack models who are victims of indecent assault.
Kelly and I always maintain that models should think long and hard about joining or remaining in the industry. Once you have been in the industry, people are quick to judge you in all areas of life. Your life will never be the same.
Sadly some will enter the world of porn and never leave. Others will take their own lives. Our message is do not tolerate abuse from anyone, let alone your peers. Report abuse immediately to someone you can trust. If you need assistance in reporting issues to the correct authorities we will help you.
Kelly, and I are qualified in counseling, particularly in transitioning models from adult to regular work if you require it. After all, we did so successfully. We will also provide the truth to anyone wanting to enter the industry, there are some good folks, just not enough.
As I said at the outset of this article, I fully expect to be the subject of backlash and abuse myself for publishing these views. However, the truth is out there in black and white for viewers to see. I only speak the truth. Maybe its about time that pornographers should be licensed, and the industry subject to proper regulations, including producer health and safety responsibility, workplace insurance and background checks and led by real leadership.
LIanne Young and Kelly Berg
There is famous saying in life – It is nice to be important, but important to be nice.