Adult entertainment’s growth as a mega-industry in the internet era is hardly a new story. According to a 2013 Huffington Post article, 30% of all data transferred across the internet is sexually explicit in nature, with sites generating more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. As a business, its existence hangs on its actors, who seem to continue emerging amidst promises of riches, a glamorous lifestyle and a window into the world of fame.
Many of those with experience in the world of adult entertainment know better. While most people have at least some awareness of the dirty, seedy underbelly of the adult film business, those involved have had to face the exploitation, unfair and abusive practices head-on and may do not get out unscathed. Horror stories from the industry include tales of coercion and rape, sexually transmitted diseases and infections and men lording their positions of power over vulnerable women.
Although the industry itself has been slow to react in an attempt to curb some of these sordid practices, those within the inner circle have continued to step forward and share their own stories. While some adult stars may indeed enjoy their profession and willingly accept their role within the framework of adult film, others have openly expressed their disenchantment with what has come to be a great professional and personal regret. Here are 10 adult actors who have openly expressed a hatred of their job:
10. Linda Lovelace
Linda Boreman, better known as Linda Lovelace, was an adult-star-turned-anti-industry crusader before her death in 2002. Best known for a starring role in the iconic hardcore film Deep Throat, she became involved with professional producer Chuck Traynor, whose constant physically and mentally abusive behavior quickly exposed the dirty underbelly of the industry. She alleged that Traynor coerced her into the industry by pointing a shotgun at her head and forced her into performing sex acts on him and others by threatening her family. Boreman later became a novelist and public speaker, allowing her to share stories of her harrowing adult career.
9. Jenna Jameson
One of the most famous names on this list, Jenna Jameson certainly knows the ins and outs of the industry, but she was also once an exploited young starlet looking for a money-making opportunity. She specifically has derided the process of girls getting into gonzo films seeking their big break. This scenario typically involves, as Jameson puts it, being “taken to a crappy studio apartment in Mission Hills and penetrated in every hole possible by some abusive asshole who thinks her name is Bitch.” While it didn’t end her own career, Jameson believes many girls never return based on the initial awful experience.
8. Brenn Wynson
A former kink gay adult star, Brenn Wynson quickly became alarmed by the industry’s laid back complacency surrounding STDs. According to Wynson, the lucrative nature of the business offers little motivation for actors to disclose their diseases and even less motivation for those behind the scenes to doggedly pursue any suspected health concerns. He specifically targeted Kink.com, who he claimed treated him like trash and tried to smear him as he walked away from the business. It has been difficult, he alleges, to pursue a normal life outside of the industry thanks to the malicious insider influences.
7. Shelley Lubben
Shelley Lubben’s difficult experiences in the adult entertainment industry prompted her to found The Pink Cross Foundation, a platform for reaching out to adult industry workers through providing emotional, financial and transitional support for those who want out. After spending eight years as a stripper, escort and actress between 1986 and 1994, Lubben has counseled over 300 male and female workers, as well as those struggling with sexual addiction.
6. Danielle Williams
There’s something distinctly taboo about the prevalence of “injuries” among adult film stars, but that hasn’t stopped Danielle Williams from opening up about her cringe-worthy experiences. She recounted a time in which a piece of muscle from her anus fell out on set while she was filming. Sadly, this isn’t all that rare an occurrence, with some females even unable to have children on account of damage done to their reproductive systems. Williams has also derided the culture around the business that shrugs off disease concerns, creates a desperation that leads actors to extreme types of adult film and can even result in suicide.
5. Alexa Cruz
Vanessa Belmond performed under the name Alexa Cruz for years before becoming an advocate against adult film, aiming to spread word of the dangers associated with the business. Her checkered history in the industry includes multiple chlamydia infections, a bout of gonorrhea, explicit injuries related to sex acts on camera and heavy tearing and bleeding. Belmond has also expressed concern for her reputation as an actress, acknowledging that it’s a hard reputation to shed, particularly when you know that your films will exist online long after leaving the business.
4. Andi Anderson
Getting swept up in the adult star lifestyle doesn’t just mean being exploited and engaging in aggressive, unsafe sexual practices that you aren’t entirely comfortable with. There’s also a drug and alcohol-fueled side to this so-called “glamorous” life that Andi Anderson experienced to the extreme. She recalls being out of control with cocaine, alcohol and ecstasy, all of them being plentifully available. Anderson now reflects on a time that substance abuse and prevalent hardcore scenes were turning her into a person she didn’t want to be, leading to extreme depression and lonely sadness.
Brittni was the film name for Jenna Presley, a now-retired adult actress who rose to fame as part of the Jenna Jameson-hosted reality TV series Jenna’s American Sex Star and who was identified by Maxim magazine as one of the 12 hottest adult stars in the world in 2010. Although Presley had no illusions about what she was getting into when she decided to begin a career in adult film, she quickly addressed the numbness of the work she was doing through drugs and alcohol and even engineered several failed suicide attempts. She later turned to Christianity, initially (and strangely) while continuing a career in adult film before her Christian faith won out.
2. Ashlynn Brooke
Despite remaining in the adult film industry as a director and producer behind the scenes, Ashlynn Brooke has spoken candidly about ultimately coming to reject and resent her time in front of the camera. Brooke says that she reached the point where she “would have exploded” if she had another strange man with his hands all over her while she attempted to pretend to enjoy it. She recalls becoming progressively desensitized and growing more and more emotionless towards her surroundings before quitting as an actress when she had her first child.
1. Anita Cannibal
A veteran of more than 14 years of industry experience, Anita Cannibal has seen it all and probably done it all as well. She recalls an HIV crisis that rocked the business in 1998 and remembers seeing HIV-positive performers being systematically dismissed from the set so that they wouldn’t be identified as actors and, thus, wouldn’t count towards any damning statistics. It is hard not to respect the word of a wily, world-weary veteran when she says, “There are a lot of cover-ups going on. There is a lot of tragedy. There are a lot of horrible things.”