Dear porn industry,
We, the undersigned former porn performers and survivors, are calling on porn producers, directors, and agents to stop recruiting impressionable teens into porn. The implications of appearing in a pornographic film are significant, with potential lifelong consequences. For many, it has destroyed their lives. We are asking you to end this injustice by raising the age of entry into porn from 18 to 21.
Before we began shooting porn scenes, we had no understanding of the extreme physical, emotional, or psychological trauma that awaited us. Some of us weren’t even old enough to drink alcohol, and, as brain science reveals, the decision-making part of our brains wasn’t fully formed.
Even to perform stand-up comedy in most venues, individuals have to be 21 because of the environment they’re in. Yet, as teenagers, we were penetrated in dehumanizing and dangerous sex acts by grown men—sometimes groups of them—subjecting our young bodies and minds to extreme trauma.
At the hands of agents, producers, and directors, we have experienced:
- Being made to appear as an underage minor
- Being made to enact sadistic pedophilic fantasies
- Being rushed into signing consent forms, with no idea what we just said “yes” to
- Being coerced in high pressure situations to do sex acts we’ve clearly said we will not do
- Being victims of violent sexual assaults
- Sustaining physical injury, psychological trauma, and/or being placed at risk of sexually transmitted infections
The fact that this trauma is immortalized in images and videos only multiplies the damage. Once this content is circulating on the internet, nothing can permanently remove it. This is one of the greatest sources of our pain, because we feel re-traumatized with each new view.
Maggie, a signatory on this letter, shares, “Between ages 18-19 I was in about 130 pornographic movies… Violent sex and making girls look like teenagers, or younger, was the goal. At times the violent sex made us bleed, at which point the cameras would stop rolling, while it was cleaned up. Once it was cleaned we would just resume filming again. I was so naive as an 18-year-old. I desperately wanted to believe I was in control of this very scary situation. Now when I look at myself in these movies, I see myself being raped over and over again.”
Maggie’s story is representative of so many young performers whose youth is being exploited and abused for someone else’s pleasure and gain. There is a crisis of suicides, widespread drug and alcohol abuse, and an early mortality rate, predominately among young female porn performers.
In 2017-2018 alone, young porn performers Olivia Nova, August Ames, Turi Luv, Yurizan Beltran, and Shyla Stylez all died within just months of each other. All of them were under 21 when they entered the porn industry.
And it’s not just performers from the industry who are raising concerns about this. Producers and directors are speaking out about the dangers to young performers.
Prominent porn producer and Adult Video Network Hall of Famer, Axel Braun, shared, “After 23 years in the business, I have come to strongly believe that an 18-year-old fresh out of high school has a completely different perspective on life than he or she will have three years later… I simply don’t feel comfortable anymore, shooting talent under 21.”
Many other voices from within the industry mirror Braun’s sentiment.
We know that porn producers and agents scout 18 to 20-year-old girls because of their youthful appearance, and for many of us this was the case because the “teen” genre brought higher profits. But what’s being sold is the fantasy of having sex with a child or minor, and being compelled to perform in scenes like this is extremely damaging to our mental and emotional health.
What’s even more abhorrent is that performers like us are being used to create content that is normalizing child sexual abuse and promoting a criminal fantasy to millions of viewers worldwide, many of whom are acting out this abuse on real children.
We are grateful to still be alive because far too many of our fellow young performers have died by suicide or drug overdose. They may be gone, but their tragic passing lights a fire in us to be all the more vocal about this critical message.
We’re tired of being chewed up and spit out by an industry that profits off the vulnerability of youth. We’ve had enough. Using teens in porn is blatantly exploitative, deeply traumatizing, and is destroying beautiful young lives.
We are calling on porn industry producers, directors, and agents to stop using vulnerable teens in porn. You can end this by raising the age of entry into porn from 18 to 21.
Brittni De La Mora
formerly known as Desi Foxx
formerly known as Elizabeth Rollings
Kelly R. Patterson