The primary focus of the piece is performer and producer Ashley Fires, 37, who announced that she is outraged and disgusted to be nominated for a 2020 XBIZ Award alongside Deen for her scene in “Anal Destruction 7”.
In reality, she is NOT nominated alongside him; Deen did not direct or appear in the scene in question, his company merely purchased the scene and released it. This is the kind of hysterical charge we have come to be expect Ms. Snow to promote (or conjure), however the worst part is that it detracts from the details of the incident in question.
“The reason I put him on my ‘no list’ was because he almost raped me,” Fires previously told The Daily Beast. “I was getting out of the shower of the communal bathroom at Kink, I reach for my towel to dry off, and he comes up from behind me and pushes himself and his erection into my butt,” she continued. “He pushes me against the sink and starts grabbing on me and I was like, ‘No, no, no James, no,’ and he released me from his grasp, and says, ‘You know, later if you want to fuck around I’m in room whatever-it-was. I was like, ‘Fuck you.’ I didn’t even know this guy, he was so out of line and entitled with my body.”
She was the third woman to accuse Deen of sexual assault.
James Deen had been porn’s Golden Boy; he was invincible. But the charges against him came at a time before the #MeToo moment took hold in western culture.
Adult film star and former Deen girlfriend Stoya tweeted Nov 30, 2015 that ‘James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safe word. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore’.
In a Dec. 2015 Daily Beast interview — his only one on the subject of the sexual misconduct accusations– Deen addressed the accusations made by Stoya:
What I do know is that Stoya and I did not have a clean break up. It was pretty messy, full of a lot of emotions and both Stoya and I are to blame for that. She made threats towards me and harassed one of my employees. She spit at this employee as well as sending very inappropriate texts. I have spent this past week terrified and confused so I can’t help but run through the details of our relationship in my head. The reason Stoya made this claim could be as simple as her finding out that my current girlfriend and I are moving in together. We have mutual friends, one of our friends notified Stoya of this information. It could be as calculated as Stoya trying to drive traffic to her website. Which I have to say is very well done and I am proud to have the movie I produced for her up on the site, but the same day this happened she pinned a tweet about her site that just so happened to have an update with me in it right above this madness. I can’t speak to her reasoning or motivations.
However, there were accusations that demanded to be taken very seriously indeed.
A 2016 piece at Jezebel, entitled Kink Changes Performer Guidelines Following James Deen Abuse Allegations, notes:
Kink.com, the San Francisco-based BDSM and fetish porn studio at which a portion of the alleged sexual assaults by James Deen took place, has changed its policies in an attempt to prevent future abuses.
Vocativ reports that the studio . . . has developed a new set of rules for performers that “emphasize consent, attempt to guard against potential abuses and encourage reporting of any violations of Kink’s guidelines.”
. . .
James Deen was dropped by Kink days after porn star/writer Stoya first accused him of rape in late November; at the time, the studio acknowledged that it “may have lapsed” in ensuring performers’ safety off-set.
Evil Angel also announced would suspend its relationship with Deen:
“In light of the recent accusations against James Deen, Evil Angel today has decided not to sell any newly created scenes featuring Deen,” John Stagliano, the company’s founder and president, told BuzzFeed News. “While our company presents what is consensual and exploratory about aggressive and rough sex, these accusations are of a nature so contrary to our company values that we feel it necessary to suspend the sales until more information is available.”
An avalanche of accusations against Deen followed, and as is often the case with such high profile charges, people who were completely full of shit joined in to get their fifteen minutes of victimhood celebrity. Among these were Kora Peters and the obviously-impaired Nicki Blue (an Erika Icon client, who recanted in 2016, writing that she would “publicly apologizes [sic] to him and kink.com. I also don’t mind working with him in the future.”)
Despite his dismissive Daily Beast interview, several of the allegations were not so easily brushed away.
Another ex-girlfriend, Joanna Angel, said that he had pushed her head into a sink while they were having sex and she felt like she was going to die. “He started dunking my head in the water while he was fucking me,” she said.
Porn star Amber Rayne came forward to claim that she said something to the effect of, “‘Yeah fuck me like that you son of a bitch.’ [Deen’s] face twisted and he came down on my face two times—close-fisted. I was punched in the face while he was still in my ass and then he starts going crazy on my butt—extreme, brutally fucking it. He just starts shoving things in to the point where he ripped it and I bled everywhere. There was so much blood I couldn’t finish the scene.”
Deen claims that the situation with Rayne had been “grossly distorted by the press,” and in April 2016, Rayne died after mixing cocaine with alcohol during a 13-hour bender.
I have been, and remain, a critic of the “power differential” analysis of sexual relations, inextricably tied as it is to radical feminism and the Marxian view that all oppression and bigotry, including sexism and racism, must be viewed as structural and/or institutional in nature. The latter perspective has given the world idiotic mantras such as “black people can’t be racist”, the Patriarchy-rooted “even the poorest white has more privilege than the richest black”, as well as the furious resistance within progressive circles to calling out anti-semitism because Jews are not considered to be as downtrodden as other minority groups.
Nevertheless, in the case and context of James Deen, what we find is a man who, for most of the period during which these events, actual or alleged, took place, was the most popular and highest paid male performer; a producer of some significance; as well as a mainstream heartthrob and darling of the world media.
Jezebel’s Rachel Vorona Cote wrote that one of Deen’s accusers, Lily LaBeau, “implies that Deen’s power in the sex industry enabled him to abuse his co-workers without recourse. In fact, she told [Derrick] Pierce that she had not protested when he entered her scene because ‘since he got so much work…[she] didn’t want him ‘getting pissed off.’”
She even continued working with him in order to advance her career. And indeed, she ultimately snagged a small role, due to Deen’s recommendation, in “The Canyons,” where Deen starred with Lindsay Lohan.
The comparison to Bill Cosby might be more apt than many in the world of adult would be comfortable admitting.
Another performer, Tori Lux, wrote:
In June of 2011, while shooting at a major porn studio, I was assaulted by James Deen.
While James wasn’t performing with me that day, he was present on set—and almost immediately after I’d finished my scene he began to antagonize me. I hadn’t even had time to dress myself when he said, with a smirk on his face, “Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” “Nope,” I replied in a neutral tone. “I’ll repeat myself: Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” he asked, more aggressively this time. I replied with a firm “No,” in order to establish my boundary—which James then disregarded by grabbing me by the throat and shoving me down onto a mattress on the floor.
He proceeded to straddle my chest, pinning down my arms with his knees. Then, he raised his hand high above his head, swinging it down and hitting me in the face and head with an open palm. He did this five or six times—hard—before finally getting off of me.
Disoriented and nursing a sore jaw, I stood up—but before I could collect myself, he grabbed me by my hair and shoved me to my knees, forcing my face into his crotch several times before shoving me to the floor. I was completely stunned, having no idea how to react. I felt pressured to maintain a professional demeanor as this was a major porn set, with other people present and failing to intervene.
The adult industry, like the entertainment industry (and the arts) at large, contains a significant percentage of high strung individuals, many of whom struggle with emotional issues and substance abuse. The business of determining credibility can be an especially messy one.
It would be silly to think that a predator would not be aware of this reality.
“I can tell you something that Kelly [Stafford] said, when she worked with James,” [Rocco] Siffredi told [writer Marlow Stern].
“I asked her, ‘How was it working with James?’ ‘He hates women. That’s in your soul,’ she said. I said, ‘Why do you say this?’ Right after she said this, the big news came that James Deen got [accused]. I’m like, ‘What the fuck is going on, Kelly?’ She said, ‘I told you, this guy, in his eyes, I saw that he hates women.’”
By 2017, Deen was no longer a phenomenon. His mainstream film, “The Canyons”, had tanked and the magazine profiles (one commentator described them as “breathless”) that portrayed hum as a boy next door heart-throb were gone, never to return. He was no invited to pose for the paparazzi on Hollywood premiere red carpets.
In July of that year, he was accused of having improperly blocked the distribution of a documentary about him that included the rape claims against him. Director Maria Dimopoulos alleged that Deen thwarted the film’s distribution on Showtime Networks by taking the signed releases from her producer’s office.
Deen claimed that he owned the material, and decided to bury the whole project rather than see the accusations against him aired again.
Ashes to ashes.
Look over there
Earlier that month, Raven had famously filed what turned out to be a false police report against African American performer Rico Strong claiming an on-set sexual assault that, nanny cam footage later showed, had never occurred.
Ambition is like that.
Viscera then filed a police report against her then-agent Derek Hay that same month, alleging improprieties in their two sexual encounters — seven months after the fact.
Viscara discussed the matter with Deen, and, according to Viscara, he directed her to get in touch with an editor and wanna-be documentary filmmaker named Dan Przygoda at NBC.
Deen had heard what many in the adult business had: Przygoda was assembling a takedown piece on Hay (with whom Deen had long had a working relationship). The resulting hit piece would ultimately include a litany of he said-she said accusations against Hay and demented assertions from a rogue’s gallery of the disgruntled that included glib narcissist Lisa Ann and “Heaux Mentor” Lydia Dupra.
Hadley followed his advice, contacted Przygoda, and added her dubious claims to his program.
By helping Przygoda, Viscara and Lisa Ann crucify Hay, the pot was calling the kettle black, indeed. But more to the point, Deen’s act of sabotage and deflection can also be seen as part of a continuing effort to avoid a reckoning of his own.
James Deen is not stupid, and he’d been around the block. He surely knew what Lisa Ann and the others were all about. I believe he probably knew what Viscara was all about too, when she asked for his advice and/or assistance.
Dare we ask, what kind of person would so blithely add fuel to an obvious witch hunt, and betray colleagues who would be drawn into that familiar fire by doing so, after having barely scurried through the inferno on of his own? What kind of person would subject someone else to that?
That’s a thing that’s in your soul. And I have trouble accepting that a man innocent of the core charge against him — a kind of sociopathy — would or could do such a thing.
What I keep returning to is something more than the belief that “where there’s smoke there’s fire.” The people tasked with investigating his actions certainly believed something was wrong: Kink.com had decided to dump him and revamp their own guidelines to better protect performers.
We live in a time when accusations are aired and amplified on social media; when guilt by accusation, ‘trial by Twitter’ and makeshift kangaroo courts have become the norm in the adult world.
The accusations against Deen pre-date the #MeToo era, which is likely the main reason why he still has a career in adult at all. A quirk of history has left the adult industry with James Deen.
In January 2019, John Stagliano announced that Evil Angel would recommence working with James Deen. The comeback performance would be part of the movie “Consent”.
However, Stagliano got spooked — reportedly after a run-in with Tracy Clark-Flory, the clumsy propagandist who masquerades as a journalist — and the scene was cut from the movie.
Before his fall from grace, James Deen had been porn’s Golden Boy and a bona fide mainstream celebrity; he was the top male performer and a producer/employer who worked with top companies in addition to running his own; he had a massive fan and customer base; he was the top of the food chain. He had the power.
The adult industry be well served to re-examine the charges against Deen in that light, and to consider, with each new online accusation of the post #MeToo era, what a real power differential looks like.