Rape Allegations Against Porn Star James Deen Raise Consent Issues in Porn Industry

Adult film actress Stoya accused her ex and porn star James Deen of rape.

ByBY JUJU CHANG, KATIE YU and LAUREN EFFRON
December 02, 2015, 2:36 PM

— -- Adult film star James Deen, known as the cute guy with the sheepish grin, has built an entire porn empire on his boy-next-door persona.

The 29-year-old is arguably the most popular male porn star in the $13 billion dollar American adult film industry, appealing to female fans as the “sweet and sensitive” guy. Deen has mainstream movie credits with “The Canyons,” where he starred opposite Lindsey Lohan, and he has built a loyal social media following.

But, that carefully-crafted image of the “feminist sweetheart” was tarnished this weekend when adult film actress and writer Stoya, Deen’s ex-girlfriend and once frequent co-star, took to Twitter and accused Deen of raping her.

“James Deen held me down… while I said no, stop, used my safe word. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore,” Stoya tweeted Saturday.

Her rape allegation was re-tweeted over 10,000 times and launched the trending hashtag #SolidarityWithStoya.

“Stoya is-- she is beyond honest,” said Kayden Kross, Stoya’s friend and business partner. “This has been something that has been eating her up for some time and she struggled whether to say something because the cons are so much greater than what she perceived the pros to be. I mean the pros are obviously the behavior stopped and she can get that weight off her shoulders, she doesn’t have to be silent about it anymore.”

Stoya’s accusations prompted two other adult film actresses to come forward with claims against Deen, raising questions about consent and the perceived blurred lines between work in the sex industry and actual sexual assault.

“Typically the statute of limitations for rape in California is six years, but you’re going to need a complaint, you’re going to need someone who’s not just going to go on social media, but going to go to the police and say, ‘I want this person charged,’” said ABC News’ chief legal analyst Dan Abrams.

Deen has not been charged with a crime and has denied Stoya’s accusations on Twitter, writing in a series of tweets that "there have been some egregious claims made against me on social media" and that "these allegations are both false and defamatory."

“I respect women and I know and respect limits both professionally and privately,” Deen wrote in another tweet.

Deen declined ABC News’ requests for comment on this story beyond what he has already tweeted.

He did not address porn star Ashley Fires’ story to the Daily Beast that Deen allegedly sexually assaulted her in the communal shower at a porn studio. Tori Lux, a former adult performer, also wrote an essay to the Daily Beast alleging an assault claim, writing, “I was afraid… James Deen ruthlessly attacked and degraded me, leaving me with mental wounds that took years to heal.”

“There are of course the anonymous commenters who say it’s not rape it’s just trespassing if you’re a sex worker,” Kross said. “But the overwhelming majority has stepped up in support of Stoya.”

Deen can file a defamation suit against his accusers, but if he does, Abrams said, then "all of this becomes fair game."

“So for him to file a lawsuit, he better be telling the truth that none of this happened,” Abrams added. “Otherwise he’s going to be exposed, not just in the court of public opinion, but in the court of law.”

The multiple accusations against Deen did prompt several porn studios to take action. Kink, a porn studio specializing in rough sex, severed ties with Deen, who was their highest-profile male star. Another studio, Evil Angel, suspended sales of all videos featuring Deen and released a statement saying the accusations are “of a nature so contrary to our company values.”

The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee accepted Deen’s voluntarily resignation as a board member and, in a statement, vowed to “stand with performers and other sex workers who are victims of any sort of sexual assault.”

“There are still names out there,” Kross said. “They may say something, they may not, and that’s their call."

Amelia McDonell-Parry is the editor-in-chief of The Frisky, a feminist lifestyle blog where Deen was a featured sex advice columnist. She announced an end to all future columns from Deen, effective immediately, in the wake of the allegations.

“People look down on the porn industry and they look at it as a sort of seedy, dirty thing, but you know what, when push came to shove, they rallied behind her [Stoya] and I think that is awesome,” said McDonell-Parry.

“For the most part I liked his advice,” McDonell-Parry told “Nightline.” “I liked the fact that it was very focused on consent, it was very focused on communication… I still think the advice itself was good but… who knows if it was genuine.”

In his columns and public speaking engagements, Deen always preached the idea of respect and boundaries. The discrepancy caused McDonell-Parry to struggle with her decision to give Deen a sex column, but when she heard about the rape allegations she said she was “deeply upset.”

“I had been working with him on a sex column for a website targeted at women was-- it’s kind of like the worst thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my professional career,” she said.

The latest allegations could hurt Deen’s mainstream appeal, but Kross, for one, is not sorry.

“I’m proud of her,” she said. “I’m proud of the people standing up to support sex workers, to support women, to absolutely put their foot down and say there’s no gray area. I’m glad it [the accusations] happened in a public place because it sends the loudest, clearest message it can.”

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