The “other” industry is fairly scandalous in itself. Around the world and on a yearly basis, there are calls both to fully legalize it and to fully criminalize it. Some believe that it can be a corrupting influence, while others think of it as a healthy and normal part of life. Opinions are always split on this issue, so it’s no wonder that any time the barest hint of further scandal crops up, it spreads like wildfire.
There have been lots of scandals of people being caught with adult materials or demonized just for creating them, so we won’t go into those here – we could be here all day just listing them. Instead, we’re going deeper into the more shocking scandals which have rocked this industry, causing problems for prominent figures within it and often allowing them to become all the more famous as a result.
It’s kind of funny that the adult entertainment industry is one that we are not really supposed to talk about in polite conversation. You don’t see it mentioned on the news all too often, and most people would never admit that they know anything about it at all. But on the other hand, when a scandal arrives, everyone wants to talk about it and moralize.
Here’s your chance to do so, with 15 of the biggest scandals to have come out of this industry. Are they results of a corrupting scene which should never exist in the first place? Or are they cases of a few bad apples making the whole industry seem sour? You decide.
15. Michelle McGee and Jesse James
Adult entertainment is bad enough, but when it crosses paths with the world of Hollywood entertainment, the gossip gets extra juicy. That was the case when Michelle McGee, a star of plenty of adult films, decided to go public with her text messages that proved she had been having an affair with Jesse James. Jesse was married to Sandra Bullock, who at the time was hit particularly hard because she had only just made an acceptance speech at the Oscars which thanked her husband. To add insult to injury, McGee is known for being heavily tattooed and working as an alternative model – she even has tattoos on her forehead. It wasn’t James’ first indiscretion, and also not his first relationship with a woman from the industry. It seems that some habits are hard to break. But really, how bad can Sandra Bullock be that, at a time when her career was riding high, he had to go off and cheat with someone like that?
14. Melissa King
Beauty pageants are certainly not what they used to be – there seem to be millions of titles out there, and they are all just about worthless. The only people who really care anymore are the other pageant contestants. Maybe that’s why Miss Delaware Teen USA had to branch out into other forms of employment in order to make ends meet. Melissa King was given the title, but soon had it rescinded after it was discovered that she had made a film before winning. Not only was this a huge scandal, but it also boosted her career quite a bit. That video became one of the most viewed and torrented for that whole year, proving that if you have a video to promote, you can do worse than entering a traditionally vanilla industry just to shock everyone. Needless to say, Melissa’s time as a pageant girl is done, but she has a promising career in that other industry ahead of her.
13. Jenna Jameson’s Life
Most adult entertainers get caught up in scandals when they are part of the industry, not after they leave it. Jenna Jameson became almost a household name for her time as a star, which saw her take part in many high-profile films and picture sets. She then retired, but went on to hit more headlines than she had when she was acting. She got into a relationship with a UFC fighter, Tito Ortiz, which lead to reports of domestic disputes and accusations of both of them using drugs. They had twins together but were soon fighting for custody over them, and the relationship went the same way as her two previous marriages. She has also been arrested and has appeared on reality TV shows, including one of her own. Apparently, times have been hard, as she has since gone back to webcam modelling after losing custody despite being heralded as one of the most popular actresses of all time.
12. Celebrity Tape Leaks
There have been so many leaks of this kind that we just had to wrap them all up into one entry. When a celebrity makes a tape with a partner, they want us to believe that they were filming it just for fun and their own viewing pleasure. Then somehow the tape gets out and they are just so embarrassed that it happened at all. But here’s the thing: most “leaks” are actually overseen by a manager who knows the quick route to success. Is it any coincidence that, after a video leak shot Paris Hilton to fame, her friend and former stylist Kim Kardashian accidentally had the same thing happen to her? Is it a coincidence that they both ended up with reality shows and high-profile lives? We think not. Of all the tapes out there, Kim’s is probably the most famous, but there are a lot of others who have fallen prey to the same strategy.
11. Bella Knox On Campus
What is it with university students getting exposed as adult stars? Bella Knox was just an ordinary girl about campus at Duke University until she decided to confide her deepest and darkest secret to a friend. Of course, finding a new friend at college and spilling everything to them never does end well, and soon everyone around the campus knew that she was really Bella Knox, a star in the adult film industry. Someone then went to the press with the story, and her real name was exposed. It was a fairly unsavoury moment, with many people decrying those who took away her right to privacy and prevented her from having a normal college experience. Still, it worked for her career, as she quickly became internationally recognized. It’s just a shame that she wasn’t given the chance to try for a different lifestyle instead if she had wanted it.
10. Brent Corrigan’s Age
Most of our scandals here have been on the straight side of the industry, but the gay side has had its problems too. Brent Corrigan found himself embroiled in a high-profile case when he starred in some bareback movies for Cobra Films. He was an ideal candidate because of his Zak Efron-esque looks, but it soon turned out that all was not as it seemed. Forged documents were used because Corrigan was actually only 17 when he took part in the filming. He was also in a relationship with 40-year-old Bryan Kocis, the owner of Cobra Films. In 2005, Corrigan admitted that he was underage, and the videos he had made had to be pulled. Perhaps most shockingly, Kocis was never charged, but he ended up being murdered by a couple of male escorts two years later. Corrigan returned to adult entertainment, this time staying away from the bareback scene.
9. The Library Girl
Kendra Sunderland quickly became known as ‘the library girl’ in early 2015, after a video of her quickly went viral. She had been working on a webcam site, filming private shows for her viewers, and someone suggested the idea of doing a live cam in a public place. That’s when she slipped out to the library at the Oregon State University, where she was studying. She stripped off at one of the study desks there and performed a number of tricks on camera in what was reportedly an hour-long show. Some enterprising viewer decided to copy the recording and release it, and the clips – for which she earned $700 – went viral fast. She was fined by police and given a criminal record after her identity became known, but it also made her one of the most searched stars of the year with a clearly promising career ahead of her. She dropped out of the university to pursue it – perhaps lucky, as there is little doubt about them allowing her to continue her studies.
8. Traci Lords
Even more high-profile than the Corrigan case was that of Traci Lords. She was a model and ended up doing glamour work before she moved fully into the adult entertainment industry with a few films. She quickly became popular, and had starred in more than 100 films by 1986. That’s when federal authorities found out her real age. She had actually been just 15 when she started modelling, and was underage in all but one of the films that she made. No one ever went to jail because of her films, but there were plenty of court cases thrown up by the scandal as well as new regulations for the industry. Lords went on starring on film, though this time it was normally as bit parts in TV shows or small-budget films of a more legitimate nature. She was a household name for a time before her star began to fade.
7. Kendra Jade and Jerry Springer
In 1998, footage was released that had been taken by a camera hidden in the closet of a hotel room and pointed at the bed. What did it capture? Jerry Springer, who was then at the height of his infamy as the host of the number one reality show in the US, enjoying some quality time with Kendra Jade. Kendra was an adult entertainer with several films to her name already, but this was not the most shocking part of the story. No, it was that her own step-mother also happened to be enjoying that same quality time along with her. Springer had already been caught in a few similar scandals over the years, such as writing cheques for ladies of the night, which lost him a seat on the Cincinnati city council. It did nothing to hurt his reputation, as that had already been tarnished irreparably. On the other hand, Kendra spiralled into alcohol and drug addiction until she quit the industry to get married.
6. James Deen Accused
Certainly the biggest scandal of the last few years has been the accusations against superstar of the industry James Deen. He has been one of few stars to make a few small forays into more family-friendly entertainment, but his career may be short-lived if anyone pays attention to his latest court proceedings. A group of women, actresses in the industry, have accused him of assaulting them and doing things without their consent on screen. He has said in his defence that he has been known to stop shooting before when women have burst into tears and told him they didn’t want to proceed. This has raised an ugly view of the industry from the point of view of women’s rights: is signing a contract all that is needed for consent, or should women be allowed to refuse to take part in a scene after the fact? It’s clear what the answer should be in a moral world, but apparently the industry disagrees, as Deen’s filming schedule has not slowed down since the accusations were made public.
5. Sasha Grey Reads For Kids
Sasha Grey was part of the industry and made a big name for herself thanks to plenty of popular and high-profile films. She was well-known enough to make the news a few times, which is why it’s incredible that some local authorities in Compton didn’t expect anyone to remember why she was famous. At least we assume that must be the reason why they booked her to read aloud to children at the Emerson Elementary School there as part of a book trail. It’s pretty incredible that they decided a former adult entertainer was exactly the right person to come and read to a room full of first graders. She was photographed in 2011 in the classroom, and the local council bizarrely at first attempted to pretend that she had never been there in the first place. Sasha spoke up to confirm that she was there, embarrassing the district even further.
4. Cameron Bay’s HIV Crisis
You probably would never have heard Cameron Bay’s name if it was not for the scandal that she took part in. She was involved in a film shoot that went disastrously wrong when it turned out that her screen partner had not been properly screened for infections or disease. It turned out that he was HIV positive, and he had passed it on to her. Unknowingly, four other actors were also infected, as well as Bay’s unwitting boyfriend. The resulting news story caused a scandal because it demonstrated that proper care and attention was not being taken to prevent the spread of diseases within the industry. It also meant that there were a total of 6 actors now out of work and looking for a way to continue their lives with treatment for the disease, which can be expensive. Bay gave several tearful interviews around the time about what had happened and how.
3. Anara Gupta’s Tape
Back in 2001, Anara Gupta won the Miss Jammu beauty pageant at age 15. By 2004, when she turned 18, she was embroiled in a huge scandal. This is one of the most widely publicized scandals related to the adult industry in India, and certainly caused a lot of shock when it broke. A DVD of a movie starring Gupta, or at least allegedly starring her, was released in 2004 and she was arrested for starring in it. She was held in custody for 10 days and admitted to being involved, saying that she was forced into it and then blackmailed with the release of the film. A forensic lab in Hyderabad concluded that she was not the woman in the video, while a lab in Chandigarh concluded that she was. She retracted the confession and claimed to have been tortured during her illegal detention, which she sued the police for. Later she starred in a film about her life which portrayed the video as an underhanded trick by a police officer.
2. Mia Khalifa In A Hijab
Mia Khalifa is the pseudonym of an American-Lebanese actress who became famous literally overnight when her scandal broke. She had taken part in a film shoot where she was wearing a hijab, which was obviously found to be hugely offensive by international Muslim communities. She even received death threats, but continued working in the industry all the same. It was probably the best course of action – after all, her career has taken off hugely. She was the most searched star of the adult industry in both 2014 and 2015, so not only did she manage to capitalize on the scandal, but she also made it last. One thing’s for sure, she is likely to be a recognized name in the other industry for a long time to come thanks to the popularity of that video and the work that she has done since. She’s appeared in international headlines and will continue to do so.
1. The Linda Lovelace Story
If you have seen the movie Lovelace, or if you were around for the original release of Linda’s most famous film in the 1970s, then you know all about this. Linda’s film was one of the most famous of all time, and is even credited with revolutionizing the industry as a whole. But it was when she finally told her own story that the real scandal began. You see, Linda had been brought up by abusive and strict religious parents, so she was delighted when her boyfriend offered to whisk her away from them. But he turned out to be violent and abusive, forcing her to work in the industry and make the film that made her famous. It was this that gave her the power to escape him, ironically enough, and tell the world what had really happened. She wrote a memoir, which was eventually turned into the film you can watch today.