Consent, Coercion and Rough Race Play Gone Wrong: Who’s Looking Out For Adult Performers?

Chatsworth, Calif. — Adult performers Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon sent tremors through Porn Valley today, when they leveled charges of abuse, deceit and consent violations on the set of  two separate rough sex / race play scenes opposite male talent Rico Strong, in a video created and posted to YouTube by fellow performer Nikki Hearts.

Both Raven and Nixon were already veterans of rough sex and interracial (IR) scenes.

The allegations are so disturbing that Hearts, who is Raven’s wife, added a Trigger Warning to the video’s title and description, noting “this video describes violent acts of sexual assault.”

In the video, Hearts also provides “her perspective on the abuse” for some reason.

Consent, Coercion and Rough Race Play Gone Wrong: Who's Looking Out For Adult Performers?

Riley Nixon bolstered her own claim with the following astute tweet:

Porn Twitter was fast to react.

Consent, Coercion and Rough Race Play Gone Wrong: Who's Looking Out For Adult Performers?

The outpouring of support from the adult community is telling. As performer Kimberly Kane wrote today on Twitter, “feelers went up” among the women of the adult world when they heard Raven’s and Nixon’s accounts, simply because incidences of ‘bait and switch’ impinging upon consent are regrettably far from unheard-of — particularly in the experience of performers who self-book shoots.

In a statement, the Free Speech Coalition also expressed its outrage of the charges leveled by the two performers who stated that they had “suffered abuse, consent violations, deception and assault”

“A performer’s control over their own body is an inviolable principle of this industry. Consent is always granted, not taken. Violating consent is not only unethical, it’s criminal.

“Sex workers do not give up their right to consent when they enter a set or sign a contract.”

Nikki Hearts and Leigh Raven

A little rough

When performers are violated in the way the women describe, disrespected, abused and taken advantage of, two questions obtrude themselves: who is to blame, and whose responsibility is it to shield performers from this kind of violation?

Another issue bears clarification: what these performers have alleged may be criminal, but it’s probably not sexual assault under California law.

A rape conviction in California, as in most states, requires 1) nonconsensual sexual intercourse, 2) accomplished by means of threats, force or fraud, or with a victim who is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting.

According to the women’s own accounts, they consented to sex, as well as to some amount of violence. The crux of the sexual assault issue is whether any force, coercion or duress was used to make the women have sex, or continue having sex.

The allegations in this case appear to concern consent obtained by fraud and/or an overstepping of boundaries.

But since this is a contractual workplace situation, where rough sex was the bargained-for thing, it’s not (as some have wondered aloud online) a clear case of “rape by deception”. That crime has been interpreted to include private consensual intercourse that follows a material misrepresentation by one of the parties—a significant lie that one party tells the other to obtain consent to sex.

A 2013 legal analysis of this issue put it this way:

Consent on false pretenses seems, on its face, very different from non-consent, in some of the ways that an armed robbery seems very different from a con game.

In addition to our visceral sense that rape is categorically different from consent on false pretenses is the suspicion that a large number—if not a majority—of people have engaged in obtaining consent under false pretenses.  That is, deceiving a potential sexual partner about one’s desirability is common in sexual interactions.  People routinely wear perfume and deodorants that disguise their body odor; they wear makeup that disguises facial flaws or install hair plugs that disguise baldness; some color, straighten or curl their hair or undergo cosmetic surgery (including breast enhancement and reduction, liposuction, etc.).  Many prospective sex partners would be turned off to sex with someone if they had the opportunity to see or smell the deceiving individual in all of his or her glory.  Yet it would utterly trivialize the crime of rape to suggest that wearing hair plugs or using deodorant might convert consensual sex into rape.

Traditionally, one cannot consent to what amounts to a criminal act. However, there are notable exceptions, such as sports (think: prize fighting or hockey), in which participants agree to the risk of violent force and/or incidental injury.  This represents a criminal law version of the civil law principle volenti non fit injuria (Latin for: “to a willing person, injury is not done”) under which valid consent does not make for an actionable injury because the prospective plaintiff consents to run the risk (not the certainty) of injury arising within the rules of the game being played.  

The principle is: when someone engages in an event accepting and aware of the risks inherent in that event, then they cannot later complain of, or seek compensation for an injury suffered during the event.

Many debate whether consensual sexual activity is properly analogous to “sports”, but the present situation is even more complex: it involves an employment contract, not a consensual outing, and the issue exists of whether valid consent was ever obtained in the first place.

Firstly, because, according to his accusers, Rico Strong’s actions on set allegedly violated the conditions set forth in the sit-down “consent talk” between and amongst the talent and the director, and secondly because the women were allegedly led to believe (by Rico) that the scene was something far milder than what he knew the director wanted.

Now, I don’t have a problem with rough sex content or race play scenarios, as long as everyone involved knows what is expected of them and has their boundaries respected.  And we must also bear in mind that producers of rough scenes have generally courted controversial reputation: something that may make them an inviting target.

I’m not aware of any evidence that the producer misled anyone in this case; the deception, if any, seems to be alleged to have been done by male talent Rico Strong, by using his personal relationship with the female performers to get them to come to set.

However, the existence of an intimate three-party relationship between Strong, Raven and Hearts is a double-edged sword, for it might add another level of complexity that would be absent in a strictly business situation.

Rico Strong

Is this the end of Rico?

Rico Strong is a large man. He too is a veteran of race play and rough sex scenes. And he is either a reliable performer with whom directors and talent “never had a bad experience”, or an angry, petty thug; it all depends on who you ask.

Opinions of directors I’ve spoken with run the gamut, although it appears that his rep has gotten worse since his February 2016 Caverject-induced priapism surgery forced a costly break from employment.

Several porners have also claimed that Strong has a gambling problem, and is often somewhat desperate for cash.

I’ve also heard a few stories like these, which were Tweeted today:

Two performers repped by the small agency Coxxx Models added their own experiences:

However, the veracity of Anastasia’ Rose’s account has been cast in grave doubt. And even if every charge and complaint that turns up online about Strong is true, the only thing that matters in this case is what actually happened after Riley Nixon and Leigh Raven showed up to their respective sets.

Strong responded to Nikki Hearts’ posting of the interview video with a series of angry and incredulous tweets, reproduced here in part:

One may draw a number of conclusions from Strong’s response, but it’s dangerous to do so.  His vehement public stand might show a guilty man in denial, or an innocent one blindsided by nightmarish allegations. After all, what is the “appropriate” response by someone who has been falsely accused? How different would it look than a guilty person’s deflections?

Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, improbably accused in 1970 of murdering his wife and children, then stabbing himself almost to death to cover it up, is widely believed to have turned public opinion against him after his demeanor was adjudged “inappropriate” in his TV interview with Dick Cavett.  American Amanda Knox was subjected to the same kind of criticism during her murder trial in Italy.

Such second-hand postmortems are highly subjective and unreliable, and in the case at hand, it will all come down to what the video(s) shot on the day in question, the statements of direct witnesses, and other material evidence, shows.

Leigh Raven’s wife Nikki Hearts had this to say:

UPDATE – March 12:

Raven, who has received a hard time online, has appealed to people’s perceptions of the site she erroneously claims paid for the shoot (Facial Abuse) — which she may have selected because it is undeniably a soft target — and of her own propensity for truth..

Whose job is it anyway?

 

While Leigh Raven booked her scene without the use of a talent agency, Riley Nixon was booked for her January 2018 scene through her former agent, whom she did not name in the YouTube video.  Nixon, a Penthouse Pet and AVN/XBiz Starlet of the Year nominee, is still listed on the website of Gregg Dodson’s Skyn Talent, but she has moved on and is currently self-booking.

Self-empowerment aside, the risks attendant to booking one’s own work, in porn, or any area of entertainment, may best be illustrated by the case of aspiring model and ex-Raiderette cheerleader Linda Sobek.

Sobek self-booked a modeling shoot with a photographer named Charles Rathbun in 1995.  He got her drunk, then raped and murdered her, and her remains were later found in the Angeles National Forrest.  I knew her agent at the time, and she was certain that Sobek had become a victim because she had surreptitiously taken a job behind her agent’s back.  She didn’t have to pay her agent a fee, but she lost her life.

Entertainment is a competitive and often cruel business; Los Angeles is charged with insults, flattery, rejection and approbation. With the adult industry hammered by free online porn, steady work can be hard to come by.

A paucity of jobs also tends to drive down wages. In both cases, with Leigh and Riley, other adult directors claim the ladies were grossly underpaid. Allegedly they received only $900 each, which is reportedly quite low for a 50-minute scene that is 30 minutes of extra rough bj and 20 mins of rough sex.

As the outrage over the sexual harassment and rape charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein rages, some victims, such as Rose McGowan, blame the agents and managers who repeatedly sent young actresses into Weinsteins lion’s den. Their number one job, McGowan et al correctly assert, is to protect their clients.

Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon was quoted in today’s Hollywood Reporter as saying that Hollywood rewards actors who “don’t ask questions”, adding:

“It’s very complicated, in my business especially, because it’s all about your sexual currency,” she said. “Whether you actually deliver to anyone in charge to get a job that way — people hire women they want to be with and men they want to be. And anyone that falls in between is a character actor.”

“”I think that we can’t condemn someone, we can’t slut-shame somebody for embracing their seductiveness. But, at the same time, you want to have enough power and economic stability to able to say no, to not be in a Harvey Weinstein situation where your work is held hostage and you’re forced to do things you don’t want to do.”

These sentiments were seconded this week by actor Michael Caine, who explained in an interview how new talent in Hollywood are often preyed upon.

‘It’s when they’re slightly unknown and they need it. Do you know what I mean? You can’t tell Elizabeth Taylor, ‘You’re going to have to screw me to get this part.'”

In the adult business, just as in Hollywood, there are good agents and bad ones. The best among them would likely not have ever booked the scenes in question, and if they had, things would have certainly gone down differently than what has been alleged.

A quick check of which talent agency represented the women who have this week come forward with stories of abuse is revealing. Performers would be well-advised to be extra cautious when accepting bookings made by agents who are not physically located in the same city as the producer, or who treat their agency business as a sideline to other enterprises.

Leading talent agent and AVN Hall of Famer Mark Spiegler of Spiegler Girls told Ethical.porn:

A lot of the time, especially if the girl is new, they don’t really necessarily know what’s coming. Like if we’re gonna have girls work for Kink.com — who are actually pretty ethical … they treat the girls really nice — but before I let anyone work for them I have them watch [their content], you know, to get a sense of what’s coming. Because even though what you see on screen is not how it’s made, you get more of a sense. Some other people will just throw the girls in there, and they don’t care…. I want them to go into a shoot with the most possible information.

But also, I tell everyone, if there’s a problem just call me. Don’t wait until afterward… And sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people feel under pressure that, you know — “We’re on camera, we gotta get the product done.” — that they’ll just go through whatever and complain afterwards. But, you know, once they know us and the business, they know to just call us.

Where the problems arise — it’s kind of our business to filter those out. I mean, there are particular people that we won’t book the girls with… Like Max Hardcore — we’d never book girls with him. That’s our job — to try as best we can to filter out the negative stuff for the girls.

Agent Sandra McCarthy of OC Modeling told me, “I always tell the girls: the one thing is, if you’re ever uncomfortable on set, grab your phone and call me and make me the bad guy.  Sometimes producers will push them. I say to my talent, ‘Tell them you need to go to the bathroom, or grab a cigarette, and call me.’

“I’ve literally gone down the set when girls have called to say they’re uncomfortable. Directors don’t like that; but I won’t take shit.”

McCarthy also repped Rico Strong at one time, but says she dropped him.  She is not a fan of his behavior, or what she views as his attitude toward women.

In no way am I blaming any performer for anything that may happen to them on a self-booked shoot, or any shoot; the fault and culpability lies strictly with the offender.

In terms of prudent preventative measures, allow me to repeat here the advice of adult producer/director/performer Jules Jordan: ask detailed questions, and educate yourselves.

And remember that the power to say ‘no’ is yours, as performer Jaclyn Taylor noted:

But talent agents are there to protect you. It’s what their fee is for.

As the adult business continues to work on ways to propound ‘best practices’ and push out the deadbeats and wrongdoers, agents will remain the first and best line of defense for performers.

I never felt more satisfied or optimistic than when I rode the river in my youth.

16 Replies to “Consent, Coercion and Rough Race Play Gone Wrong: Who’s Looking Out For Adult Performers?”

  1. mharris127

    Why is it often the overly tatted skanks like Nicki and Leigh that get into trouble like this? I accept that there are some exceptions like Aubrey Sinclair (who does not have any tattoos to my knowledge and is appears to be attractive) who was out and out raped on set by a director/performer a year or so ago but many of these types of victims seem to be overly tatted, unattractive women — more per capita than their representation in either the adult film industry or society in general. Is it that society and most adult film producers won’t accept such people and they are forced to the margins of the business to make a living and find a lover? Christy Mack is also a good example of this phenomenon.

  2. Karmafan

    If you are gonna make your living with your body you should keep it in the best shape you can to maximize your $$$$. Shaving your head, piling on tons of tattoos and such limit the opportunities and profit you can make. The vast majority of porn fans that buy scenes, memberships, and DVDs all list tattoos as their #1 porn complaint.

    Many think one or two small tattoos are OK but lots of tattoos, giant back tattoos, or full sleve tattoos are a huge turnoff and distract from the action.

  3. mharris127

    Sam, just because these chicks look like utter skanks doesn’t mean they deserved to be beaten or whatever happened to them any more than Aubrey Sinclair (a very clean-cut girl without many tats) deserved to be raped on set last year because she is attractive and that director’s dick took over for his brain (Aubrey’s agent paid her half of her negotiated fee as a “kill fee” out of his own pocket but $600 or so is a pittance for a forcible rape, even $600 million wouldn’t be enough to cover the hell that girl must have been and still is going through over it). None of these chicks deserved to be beaten or raped. However, it should be pointed out to people thinking about entering the industry that if they tat themselves like a Soledad or San Quentin three-time felon (nothing against three time felons but they tend to not be attractive) they are going to be forced to the margins of the industry where shit like this happens. I am a believer in informed decision making, this is part of that. Should it be like that? No way in hell. Unfortunately, it is. I think it is understandable why tatted skanks would be forced to the margins of this industry — how many people want to see some overly tatted prison girl fuck anything — very few. Can you imagine someone in the A list end of this business like Greg Lansky, Jacky St. James, Axel Braun or Will Ryder having much call for the chicks pictured in this article — hell no! Even Jim Powers has said (paraphrased) several times he doesn’t like to use tatted skanks, he even compared them to “Philadelphia biker slags” once that I know of. In practice Jim is pretty lenient on what talent he will use (except for his work for Fucking Awesome which is attempting to be a high-class studio like New Sensations or Wicked) but his opinion is he would rather not use tatted chicks in his movies.

  4. sam mfc

    Calling females Skanks helps marginalize them. Discussing their tats or looks means nothing as you pointed out this can happen to any female.

    Harping on those issues makes this site hostile. Is it your goal to help fix this issue or to use it as a sounding board as to what looks turn your on or off?
    You’re so focused on tearing girls down based upon their looks rather than the predators. Shows which team you are on, which is the predators. Cause every time you post seems to be attacking the women in this biz in one way or another.

    Do you hate women?

  5. mharris127

    Sam, I don’t intend to tear anyone down. I asked a reasonable question and justified my answer. How should I have described overly tatted, unattractive women? Society in general doesn’t want to see some chick that looks like San Quentin’s finest fuck, we want to see attractive, at least somewhat feminine women in our porn. I also said they didn’t deserve to be beaten to a pulp or raped. I was pointing out that mainstream porn has little use for people that look like Nicki and Leigh, putting them in danger as they take jobs on the edges of porn that are less scrupulous than a AAA or AA porn company. You don’t see people like Melissa Moore and Riley Reid getting assaulted or raped on set, that is because they are feminine and pretty enough that they have more job offers in the industry and as such they can pick and choose their scenes — and stay away from those with a shady reputation (yes, Riley has a couple of tats on her back but they are relatively tasteful and she doesn’t look like the female equivalent of a Hells Angel; I also know Melissa has taken a break from the biz to mourn her late father but I think she will be back very soon).

  6. I am The Man from Nantucket

    I watched the Video that is already in its last 3 minuets of 4 of its just well known about by a few industry peeps. Thats all. WHAT ARE THESE MONTELY FOOLS DOING IN PORN anyways ?
    CLEARLY these two buffoons are seeking attention.
    The cognate medley interviewing failed in the attempts of spin doctoring once viewed. Who filmed this psycho babble rants was not really documenting a “victim” at all. The biggest cheer leader stirring the pot was the “victims” fucking WIFE ? OMG and WOW

    Foul allegations for sure. The female Husband proli got all butt hurt when the wife “FEELINGS FOR MANHOOD STARTED TO GO UP” leaving the feeling for women going down” when she saw two males now on the set and with one male as a sitting observer in his 30’s and was “very good looking” as the alleged victim stated. This perhaps tripped her the other way. She alluded to this. The so called “victim” says this in her own words. Watch the video.

    This must have set off the manly looking female husband into a rage when she heard of the lovely day her wife had on set and lost it.
    The rather unhealthy nauseating female husband’s body language seems to me like she is now uncertain if the wifey will stick around after being dicked down by a big black cock, Wifey is now confused and the contrast of a big black 13 inch dick over Vag before her birth day was like Christmas came early for her. The homely manipulative handler holding the camera has an ax to grind for sure with the men who turned out the wifey there for a quick second, This was too much to bare for a struggling embattled jealous improvised millennial.

    Jealosy is a hell of human trait. Someone is in need of some psych therapy and happy meds.

    Get over it. I bet the cops saw this video and the sex scene footage then weighed out the claim of a raping or whatever, laugh to themselves and wanted the two girls to just get the fuck out of the office and have them get a hair stylist ASAP.

    This is a joke really. Lets focus on helping those who were really raped and swindled. This is not one of those situations.

  7. mharris127

    Nantucket, I can’t make a definitive psychiatric diagnosis on these two idiots but am a testament that “happy meds” do work for a small number of people. Therapy can help, too but medication is the mainstay of psychiatry today.

    These chicks shouldn’t have been (non-consensually) tortured on a porn set. I had to add non-consensually as I can’t knock Casey Calvert (who would probably enjoy a Facial Abuse scene if they would only tie her up, too — and she is a lot more attractive than their usual third-rate chicks), Cherry Torn, Lorelei Lee, Mona Wales and the late Amber Rayne for enjoying and getting off on CIA-like torture sessions, whatever floats their boat and makes them cum. Unfortunately, Tweedledee and Tweedledum ruined their chance for any porn jobs besides Facial Abuse and similar third-tier sites/companies when they tatted themselves up to look like a three-time loser San Quentin felon (if LaTuna cocksucker and ass pussy Rob Black were still in business he would love the tat fetish as he would have a steady supply of skanks to torture fuck on film and then bounce their paychecks all over Chatsworth). Even Max Hardcore had enough sense not to pollute his borderline obscene movies with chicks that look like this article’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum. That left them susceptible to being taken advantage of like they (evidently) were.

  8. mharris127

    It has come out that at least Nikki and Leigh were likely lying about the whole thing. The pinged-back article has the producer compliance videos posted, they appear authentic and Leigh didn’t have the demeanor that a rape victim would have and sounded forthright about not having been raped or harassed on that set. There is a later article with almost three hours of video that I haven’t watched yet, I might do that later but I don’t have to see the actual scene to know that while I don’t approve of that production company’s content that doesn’t mean she was raped or otherwise legally assaulted.

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