Shocking evidence raises the question: is Leigh Raven being manipulated by her wife, Nikki Hearts — or is it the other way around?
On March 9, we reported on extraordinary charges that a veteran male performer and director abused and intimidated female talent Leigh Raven during a porn shoot, writing,
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.
Following the release of Nikki’s video, both Raven and Hearts have made additional claims via the one-sided platform afforded by social media.
This was a major story, however, we never published a follow-up.
The charges made by Raven and Hearts were, on their face, extraordinary, and as the late writer Christopher Hitchens famously remarked, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
Frankly, we could tell there was something fishy about it, but no one was yet willing to talk.
Today, however, MikeSouth.com was provided an advance copy of a press statement made jointly by all the participants in the shoot other than the accuser, Leigh Raven; copies of text messages to and from Hearts and Raven regarding the shoot; as well as the complete unedited 2-hour 39-minute “behind the scenes” video of the entire shoot.
The evidence that Leigh Raven and, perhaps even more, her wife Nikki Hearts, fabricated the claims is damning to say the least.
Here is an exclusive preview of the first 30 minutes of the unedited “behind-the-scenes” video recording:
And below is Leigh Raven’s exit interview.
Tofu and Just Dave told us that Raven became “antsy” to get out of there once Nikki arrived to pick her up but had to wait in the car.
In addition to having to give the male talent time to shower so he can join the female performer on the couch for the on-camera farewell, there are other inherent delays: on a two camera shoot such as this one, the video has to be downloaded from the cameras’ data cards so that there is room for the exit interview. This can take several minutes.
Before we get to Rico Strong and the crew’s official statement, allow me to answer the question, ‘Why did we suspect something was amiss?’
At some point after the shoot, Hearts took Raven to the police, where she made a statement. (She also complained to Cal-OSHA).
After the Nikki’s YouTube video was published, Just Dave went to see the police. The detectives wanted to speak with him about the case, so Raven must have leveled charges that at least approximate what she claims in the video.
These are severe allegations of extremely wanton and bold behavior: that a group of individuals (all men) conspired to systematically and horrifically abuse a young woman in a workplace setting, even though they knew they had professionally recorded what would constitute clear evidence of their crime(s), and despite the fact that the revelation of their actions would result, at the very least, in professional ruin, and at most prison sentences.
Because there exist videos, documentation, and at least three eyewitnesses to the events of March 6, the police would, as a matter of procedure, request to review whatever materials Dave possessed.
But Just Dave walked out of that police station after screening the video. And no other witnesses were brought in.
I knew that the only way Dave and Rico would have remained uncharged after that video was played for them, in the face of the heinous allegations made against them, was that the video does not show events as Raven and Hearts have described them.
This tweeted statement by Hearts provided another clue that something is rotten here.
Hearts admits that the video is exculpatory on its face. But she says that doesn’t matter.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald recently tweeted (concerning an unrelated matter): “The hallmark of a deranged conspiracy theorist is that all evidence, including evidence that negates the theory, is instantly converted into further proof of it.” I think that phenomenon may be seen in action here, as well.
The second problem is, logically speaking, fatal to their claims.
If the video of what transpired should not be believed because Leigh Raven convincingly acted as if everything was fine, and laughed and joked around, in order to manipulate and “appease” the crew, then how were Rico and, especially, Just Dave to know that anything was wrong?
If Raven was lying and acting to hide her discomfort and terror, and was so good at it that it warranted a public statement to convince readers that Raven’s actions captured on the tape does not tell the real story, then what is the basis to claim that the people on set knew, or should have known, otherwise?
And then there’s this tweet by Leigh Raven:
As we noted in our initial coverage, performers came out in support of Raven en masse:
I happen to respect Charlotte Sartre; I think that, in addition to being a first class performer, she’s a very bright person. But whilst a show of support for her friends is both understandable and commendable, in the subtext of her tweet lies the flaw inherent in the “believe all women” underpinning of the #MeToo moment.
Here is the full press statement by Just Dave, Rico Strong and Dave’s production assistant, Tofu.
Official Statement of ‘Just Dave’, ‘Rico Strong’ and ‘Tofu’ Regarding Claims of Assault and Abuse Made by Performer Leigh Raven and Her Wife Nikki Hearts
Picture if you will, the following scenario:
You’re an independent contractor in a competitive industry that has been financially battered for more than a decade. You create a legal product, but one which, historically, has left you maligned and shunned by sectors of the population. You have enemies you have never met that want to put you out of business or behind bars. Nonetheless, through diligent hard work, by virtue of your reputation, and with the collaboration of similarly-situated individuals, you eke out a living for yourself and your family.
You have a constructive day at work. Despite a glitch early on, where a contractor didn’t show up, a replacement is found and everyone pulls together as a team to create a commercially-viable product. In fact, everyone is still smiling, laughing and embracing as they leave the workplace to return home to their families. It was a good day.
Then, a couple of mornings later, you wake up to find that one member of the group has changed her mind about what transpired on the job. Her significant other has placed her in front of a video camera, and together the two of them make shocking and potentially career-killing false claims about you, personally, as well as the events that transpired at work.
Now imagine a social media frenzy that creates a snowballing effect in which anyone who’s ever held a grudge against you jumps into the fray.
To defend yourself would be seen as proof that you are indeed a misogynistic bully. You have no choice but to watch your good name trashed while you sit sidelined, wearing boots of clay.
We, the production crew and male performer who worked on a consensual “rough sex” / race play video shoot featuring adult performer Leigh Raven, don’t have to imagine this scenario; we are living it.
On March 9, 2018, we were stunned and, frankly, devastated to find that a performer named Nikki Hearts had posted on her YouTube channel a video she made of herself and her wife Leigh Raven. In this false and defamatory video, they claim that Raven had been “abused” and “assaulted” by us.
(A third performer, Riley Nixon, appears in the video making assertions about a different shoot months earlier, but that is a topic for another day.)
Hearts’ video, which is still posted on YouTube and currently has over 133,000 views, carries the following description:
Trigger warning, this video describes violent acts of sexual assault. Porn Performers, Leigh Raven & Riley Nixon open up about their assault experiences endured while working for director, Just Dave; for sites believed to be linked to Facial Abuse. Nikki Hearts, wife of Leigh, describes her perspective on the abuse.
These accusations are extremely dismaying and defamatory, however we were immediately struck by three facets of the video:
1) Neither the attached video description (presumably written by Hearts) nor Raven’s account correspond to the actual documented events of that day. Nor does the sensationalistic description match up with Raven’s claims in the video. Instead, the video shows the couple ticking off a checklist of sociopolitical catchphrases about male violence, intimidation and oppression vitiating a woman’s consent;
2) Raven is coached by Nikki Hearts throughout her “testimonial” (Raven claims on camera that Hearts was interjecting to help her remember things); and,
3) having Hearts coach, interject, and later turn the focus on herself to talk about an incident where she was not present is odd to say the least.
Director Just Dave, male performer Rico Strong, and production assistant Tofu are all horrified by, and absolutely deny, each and every accusation or implication of assault, sexual assault, deception, bullying, and consent violations made in the video, its description, and elsewhere online by Hearts and Raven.
Leigh Raven was fully informed of the requirements of the scene, repeatedly gave knowing, affirmative consent, and was not coerced or intimidated in any way by any of us either before, during, or after that March 6 shoot.
As a matter of course, we turn away models who express unease with any element of a scene for which they have been booked. It is for this reason we take great pains to fully and accurately explain the requirements of the shoot.
This is because a performer who is unhappy, ill at ease, and just doing it for the paycheck would be suffering unnecessarily, andwould not provide the level of performance required to create a commercial scene. It’s simply not worth it for anyone involved.
We state unequivocally that there was no abuse and there was no assault, and today we have released the so-called “behind-the-scenes” footage of the entire episode to demonstrate these points.
The video is completely unedited; the only modifications that have been made are: a mosaic video effect to blur out details contained on the performers’ personal identification documents, and a “bleeping” of all audio where a performer’s identity or private details were spoken aloud.
What really happened
On March 6, the scheduled female talent for a shoot at Just Dave’s studio flaked on us. The male talent booked for the scene, 14-year veteran performer Rico Strong had driven in from Las Vegas for the shoot, and, seeking to salvage the day, offered to contact a young female performer he had met a few weeks earlier, Leigh Raven.
After they met, Strong, Raven and her wife Nikki Hearts fast became what he calls “flirty friends”. The three had “hung out” together not long before the shoot — in Hollywood at a room in the Roosevelt Hotel paid for by one of Hearts’ clients — and Hearts had acknowledged having a “crush” on Strong.
Although we had previously passed on Raven, and the scenario to be filmed that day had been conceived for a performer with a different look, based on Strong’s recommendation he was given permission to contact Raven as a possible substitute.
Strong reached out to Leigh Raven at around 1:30 pm to check her interest and availability. She was interested, so he then called to explain that it was a “rough sex” / “race play” scene, and described the scenario in detail.
There was no bait-and-switch as has been alleged; Strong did not tell her that the shoot was for Facial Abuse because in fact it wasn’t — the scene was created for a different website not yet online. In any case, Facial Abuse does not produce interracial “black on white” race play scenes, so the point is moot.
After Raven accepted the gig, Just Dave’s production assistant Tofu called her and again described the scene, clearly identifying it as a race play scene. Much of the content Dave and Tofu produce parodies social issues, and this scene was no different. Raven explained that she did not want to spew racial epithets on camera, and we explained that this would not be a problem. Many female performers shy away from such scenes, for fear of being painted as racist on social media by people who don’t fully grasp the difference between play-acting and reality.
This is a theme that, unfortunately, re-emerges in this saga.
Once Raven arrived on set just before 6:00 pm, Just Dave described the requirements of scene to her for a third time, and — with a camera rolling — obtained Raven’s knowing, affirmative and enthusiastic consent. The video shows Tofu and Just Dave painstakingly determining Raven’s ‘do’s and don’ts’ and explaining that the procedure for having filming stop whenever Raven felt uncomfortable for any reason was merely to say “stop”, “don’t” or “cut”. This is a point that the director emphasizes to Leigh.
Raven and Strong performed the scene, and per Just Dave’s protocol, a stationary secondary camera captured every moment, even when Dave had called ‘cut’. Contrary to Raven’s contention in her wife’s YouTube video, this procedure is not all that unusual.
As the video clearly shows, at no time did Raven ever complain of inappropriate behavior, ask for the scene to stop or the cameras to cut despite having been invited to do so should any problem arise.
The video also illustrates the effort Just Dave makes to maintain physical distance from the performers. He never touches them — he doesn’t even hand them lubricant. In essence, Tofu is placed between Dave and the performers so there is never a misunderstanding or a question about inappropriate touching.
Later that evening, Hearts arrived at the studio, and sat in her car outside for an estimated 20 to 30 minutes, waiting for the scene to wrap, the performers to wash up, the routine exit interviews to be filmed, and Raven to be issued her paycheck.
It was only after Raven learned that Hearts had arrived and was waiting outside that she became slightly agitated and “antsy”.
Raven was paid the agreed-upon $900 fee, and because she had booked the scene without the aid of a talent agent, she was given an additional $100, representing the “agent’s fee” that he did not have to pay to a talent representative.
After Raven signed her paperwork and received her paycheck, Rico carried her bags out to Hearts’ car. They all hugged, chatted and kissed goodbye.
Consistent with Hearts’ stated crush on Strong, before she and Raven drove off she gave him a gift of Gummy Worm candies that she had purchased for him.
Raven then deposited her paycheck and never attempted to contact anyone associated with the shoot to express distress, displeasure or dissatisfaction of any kind.
However, something happened after the fact that led Nikki Hearts to put Raven, and for some reason, herself, on video to attack and defame us so viciously.
Hearts’ YouTube video is filled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations. These misstatements of fact all lean toward portraying our film set as a dangerous, oppressive environment from which Raven felt she needed to “escape”. Rico, who stands five-foot-nine, is described as a six-foot hulk. Just Dave is portrayed an aggressive and irritated dictator who needs to be appeased, and so on.
The women have said they were not motivated by money or attention to make these charges. However, most people who make public accusations are willing to repeat them to, and withstand scrutiny from, interviewers. Hearts has tweeted that she’s not interested in being contacted unless you want to pay her, or you’re celebrity attorney Gloria Allred (famous for her coordinated media events).
We suspect a dark motive for several reasons.
These women have gone out of their way to blur the difference between the portrayal of abuse and actual abuse; of race play and racism; of consensual rough sex and criminal interpersonal violence. They have referred to a film set where a scene that portrays abuse was filmed as an “abusive film set.”
These two women are sexual performers experienced in fetish and rough play. They know better.
In addition, by (incorrectly) linking the shoot to the controversial website FacialAbuse.com, they made a transparent attempt to hit an easy, high-profile target.
And let us not forget that public accusations like these do not simply represent an airing of “dirty laundry”; they provide ammunition for those that would say pornography and the people who produce it are savage and immoral “patriarchal” oppressors.
There is a high price attached to a Trial by Twitter. Just Dave’s shoots have ground to a standstill, and Rico hasn’t worked in more than a month. A leading talent agency’s response to the accusations was to ban both from ever working with its roster.
And as we have seen, public accusations are not always what they seem.
Less than a week after Hearts and Raven posted their YouTube video, another starlet, Ana Rose, accused the Exploited College Girls website and its male talent of disregarding her boundaries, “preying” upon her naiveté, and placing her in a situation where she “feared” that would happen if she did not go along with what they demanded of her.
Rose too found widespread support on social media and in the adult press, and some of her supporters exaggerated her complaints to make their own extremely serious and entirely unsupported allegations of misconduct. And then, last week, Rose acknowledged, through her attorney that “the dispute arose from miscommunication, misunderstanding and a failure to completely and fully communicate,” and that there was “at least some mutual fault.”
Rose and the producers announced they had reached “a private, mutually satisfactory” settlement.
Did Raven and Hearts concoct these lies for ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’? Or for some reason about which we dare not speculate?
* * * * *
The video evidence
The falsehoods and contradictions in Hearts’ YouTube video are so numerous, reference to them must necessarily be summary.
Leigh claims that having a camera hanging in the corner of the room was “bizarre for a porn set.” In fact it is not, and the fear of false accusations is the reason many producers feel that they must take such precautions
She claims that after having difficulty vomiting for camera, “the men” present were “irritated”, and an “aggravated” Just Dave had someone “throw” her a bag of apples, saying, “Well, I hope you like apples.” She claims she felt “afraid” and that she then began quietly eating apples, “covered in saliva [and] snot . . . sitting on the edge of the couch wanting this to really be over.”
This scenario is a complete fabrication.
Raven can be seen holding, and happily eating, an apple beginning at 04:50 on the tape, during the section of the tape where the performers show each other their STI/HIV testing clearance and discuss their ‘do’s and don’ts’. That was more than 23 minutes before Rico even stepped into frame during the filming of the sex scene.
Raven also complains that the face slap that opens the scene was too aggressive, “very painful”, made her “see stars” and “stunned” her. However, the video shows, at 28:26, that her reaction to the slap was a long hearty laugh. Not for one instant does she behave “stunned”. She expresses no displeasure or discomfort, physically, verbally, or in any other way. Instead, she repositions herself on her knees before him to start the scene.
The first bit of vomit comes at 1:19:57, with no further apple intake required, or demanded.
Similarly, she neither registers nor expresses any discomfort with the over-the-top race play dialogue at any time.
To the contrary, after the first cut, Strong dons Raven’s persona and jokes about leaving because the scene is “real aggressive” and “not what I signed up for.” Raven’s response is another robust laugh at his suggestion.
Nikki Hearts’ YouTube video seemingly anticipates and seeks to preemptively dismiss all argument to the contrary by asserting that Raven was too cowed and intimidated by the angry “irritated” men on set to speak up, and thus went along with their demands. But the video shows that none of the production crew ever appear angry, threatening or less than professional in their interactions with Raven.
In light of the many misstatements and misrepresentations in Raven’s account, this explanation of why she never objected, never called cut, and instead laughed and joked with the crew, is far too convenient.
Not only does Raven never treat Strong with any coolness or animus in the video, she behaves tenderly towards him throughout, dropping character in between cuts to make out with him, lick his nipple, caress him, perform fellatio, and otherwise help him achieve erection.
In Nikki Hearts’ YouTube video, Leigh Raven categorizes the scene as “a very very very rough blowjob.”
No one who’s ever watched rough sex scenes would consider the March 6 scene among the roughest scenes out there. Not even close.
By way of example, readers are invited to compare the sex captured in the behind-the-scenes video with the scene Raven filmed in January (for the as-yet-unlaunched NikkiAndLeigh.com) entitled Hooked: The Blowbang of Leigh Raven (the scene she mentions during the pre-interview, in which she was hung upside-down from hooks in her knees for 45 minutes while performing a “blowbang”.)
Mentioning the scene on Twitter, Raven enthused: “I popped all blood vessels in my face & have blood covering the whites of my eyes, but it was all so worth it.”
In our considered opinion, the trailer for that scene (available here) is harder than the entire scene she filmed with us on March 6.
* * * * *
Raven’s wife, Nikki Hearts, has led the charge against us on social media, and one of the most troubling aspects of this incident is that Ms. Hearts has expressed the view that the actual video evidence should be ignored in favor of her and Raven’s construction of the incident made after the fact.
The professionalism with which the production staff lead both performers through the various consent protocols on display in the video was only a facade, according to this narrative.
Referencing the unedited “behind-the-scenes” video recording of the entire March 6 shoot, Hearts wrote:
“My wife would never ‘cry rape’ & has a great reputation in this industry. Any reputable company / Director will know/see that.”
Since Hearts raises the issue of reputation, allow us to state that we have never had a criminal investigation into any of our shoots. Just Dave has been shooting for 15 years, and Rico has been performing for 14 years. Tofu has worked with Dave for over three years. Between us, we have worked with pretty much everyone in this business at one time or another.
Hearts also claims that Raven’s positive deportment shown in the behind-the-scenes video — smiling and laughing between set-ups, etc… — Hearts wrote, was actuallyevidence of Raven using a “survival technique” to “GET OUT OF THERE.”
Our response to this all-too convenient claim is to ask: if behaving as though one consents, having a positive, cheerful demeanor, and refusing to take a director up on his offer to call for a ”cut” in the action if a boundary is overstepped, constitutes behavior that is not to be trusted or believed, then how could anyone on the set have known that she was (allegedly) distraught or experiencing intolerable discomfort?
And moreover, we ask: by the standard Hearts and Raven propose, what behavior would EVER constitute proof of “real” consent? What Hearts and Raven propound doesn’t merely attempt to rescind or invalidate consent, it un-defines consent as a concept.
Furthermore, the notion that the value of hard evidence should be subject to the sole interpretation of an alleged victim who has no evidence but his or her word is likewise an insidious concept.
A post published on Leigh Raven’s Twitter account on March 12 suggests that 1) anyone who knows Raven, or 2) anyone who’s ever seen finished content published by “the company”, [incorrectly referring to Facial Abuse], would “know” that she is not a liar. The former claim is a logical fallacy, and the latter is something worse, with dark implications; it is an assertion that porn content reliably captures and represents the reality of a given situation.
This is both false and diabolical. Rico Strong cites the example of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Django Unchained: should viewers of Quentin Tarantino’s film truly believe that Mr. DiCaprio is actually a sadistic racist because portrayed one so convincingly?
Whilst we’re pleased that Leigh Raven and Nikki Hearts’ video has also triggered a wave of mature discussion of boundaries in adult production, we hope that the conversation will not end there. What also needs exploration is the devising of fair, honest methods for handling such claims that lead to fair and just results without the charade of an online warlock hunt.
Accusers and their followers, and the public at large, must understand that one-sided Twitter trials tend to lead to results not in line with the principles of fairness, due process and the dispassionate administration of justice. An online mob out for vigilante justice does not advance the causes of sex worker rights or fair treatment for sexual minorities.
We are certain viewers of the full March 6 video will reject Hearts’ and Raven’s fictionalized narrative, and that is why we have made the recording available today.
Finally, it’s our sincere hope that after watching the complete video, everyone familiar with this outrageous story will apprehend the all-too-real fear and dread shared by all adult content creators. False and defamatory accusations, even completely outlandish ones against long-time producers or directors offered with no hard evidence, can have devastating consequences. The potential of false charges to destroy hard-earned careers based on an accusation alone — on words— is very real indeed.
To every adult producer we warn, ‘this could happen to you.’