Yesterday, tweeting from the Union page I made a follow up tweet to a series of tweets that was interperted in a way I never meant/thought it would be interpreted. I was dismayed even more when our President let me know John Stagliano had just done an interview with our counselor Lianne and they coincided together, leaving many to think I was tweeting in support of John Stagliano or didn’t believe it was ever a directors fault. I commend Ginger Banks for speaking out and getting a police report filed. I want to apologize to performers that would think I’d ever stand by any consent violation regardless if verbiage was used. I want to dive more into of course this, but also provisions and protocols that should be in place.
When I initially was tweeting it was about performers rights to onset comfort. Telling them they have the right to cut at anytime to call for a break, better footing for a position, maybe the position isn’t working for you, if you feel ill, or even for snack/water you have that right as a performer on set. I told performers they need to speak up on these issues if the director is asking earnestly about their comfort, because consent to sexual activities is ongoing. A good director will know this and its why some may check in a lot if the scene is more agressive or if you are a newcomer. This is why I said speaking up when asked is so important, because again consent is an ongoing act, and if the director can’t tell from your body language or face they may continue the scene not knowing. That isn’t to excuse the director or to excuse the discomfort you were having on set.
I love performers. I love my industry, and I constantly want to help approve better protocols in it. From testing to onset issues to peer to peer interaction. I also want performers educated on their rights and actions they can take so they don’t feel helpless and they don’t feel like nobody is in their corner or they don’t have any options. I want performers to understand what a Union can do for them, what we offer, what options they do have Prosecution wise or just reporting to the union. I want them to know their rights so predators in our industry can’t prey on them.
These type of consent violations have been going on for many years, with the same performers and directors still working and thriving. The one that stands out to me most is the case with Nikki Benz, due to we made our consent list named rightly The Benz List. You’d think being who Nikki is this sort of thing would never happen to her. What happen to her on that set, the bruises, the lack of concern for her safety. Standing on her head, the forcefulness, they might as well have been filming a rape scene vs a porn scene. Nikki went to the police, she spoke out, she documented, she went to the DA office and they told her there wasn’t “sufficient evidence” to take her case. According to Nikki the DA said from watching the video tape “We couldn’t tell what was acting and what wasn’t.” So instead of anyone helping her, Nikki had to seek her own lawyer, while at the same time being persecuted by some in our industry and being sued by the director for defamation from an adult performer lawyer who has close ties to FSC. The director also had the support of the makeup artist, set personell, and yes even the co-star who later dropped off the case and is still thriving and working who did the head stepping and abuse to Nikki. The director Tony T still pleads his innocence, and it’s rarely spoke about anymore. Brazzers did fire him eventually and put out a statement in support of Nikki, but no real consequence was taken or justice on Nikki’s behalf.I am still mad about it and I think even a tad triggered and wanting so desperately for performers to stop taking this treatment and utilize all the resources we can. I’m just tired of something like this happening every 3 to 6 months and there is a twitter outcry and in a few weeks the abuser is right back to directing or performing. These people shouldn’t be allowed to shoot or film if that’s how they treat performers!
Fast forward to Ginger Banks and Jenny Bligh, again staff, director/company owner, co-star against models. Ginger Banks and Jenny Bligh have both been speaking out against the male co-star Manuel and John Stagliano. Ginger Banks filed a police report, but months and months later. There is also one statement earlier saying it was basically miscommunication/these things are basically normal from Ginger, and now she says she realizes it was assault after speaking to a friend outside our industry. Which is wonderful, but it allows for interpretation from investigators and a judge. Also what evidence they provide will be looked at. Unfortunately that is how the law works in these cases and lets hope it will be in their favor.
Which brings me to protocol and steps if you are sexual assaulted on a set. Also things directors should look for on a set if verbal isn’t used or they yes, but the body language says different.
What should you do if you are sexual assualted or your comfort is violated:
- If you’re in danger or need medical care, call 9-1-1. Get away from the person who assaulted you as soon as you can!
- Save everything that might have attackers DNA on it Avoid washing up or showering. Don’t brush, comb, or clean any part of the body. No matter how dirty or violating it may make you feel. If possible dont change anything at the scene of the assault. These steps will make it easier to collect evidence of the assault if you decide to prosecute. If you cannot refrain from urinating, before seeking help, urninate into a clean glass jar or in a cup. If you feel like you have to change, make sure you save everything in a brown paper bag, not in a plastic bag it will chemically render them useless during evidence collection procedures!
- Go to a hospital emergency room as soon as you can! Even if you feel like everything is okay, there may be something going on internally you don’t realize! If it was rape get a rape kit completed. Will be useful to collect evidence.
- Report or Call the police within 72 hours of the attack or violation
- Contact the Union immediately if sexual assaulted whether your comfort rights were violated and not respected or your consent was violated!
- Contact your local sexual assault center to seek counseling or call the National Sexual Assualt line at 800-656-4673
- Document your experience, use our Benz List so all what you agreed to is documented (take a picture of it and send it to your email or print out the filled at form for safekeeping in your files), save any correspondence and send all complaints to the director/performer on the day of or within 72 hours so all documentation is there!
- Use NOMORE.org which offers an extensive list of telephone and online resources that can put you in touch with services in your area!
- Get apps that share your location and can be pushed from your phone to alert police
What is Sexual abuse and assault:
- sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual that you do not agree to!
- Consent is ongoing and can be relinquished at anytime! If it is relinquished and you don’t obey these orders! You are violating consent!
- Sexual assault can be verbal and visual not just touch!
- Consent is clear and unambiguous. Usually both parties will be enthusiastic and give clear verbal permission. Always remember SILENCE is not an indication of consent, you should always clarify!
- Consent is ongoing, you should have permission for every activity at every stage of a sexual encounter in real life and on set especially! Always remember consent can be REMOVED at any time, all parties can change their mind! Performers can change their mind at anytime!
- Consent is coherent! If they are not sober you should not be shooting them!
- Consent is voluntary! Consent should be be given freely and willingly. Repeately asking someone to do an act until they eventually say yes is not consent, that is coercion! No one is obliged to do anything they don’t want to do period!
- You do not have consent if you use threats or intimidation to coerce. Telling them they wont be paid or threatening to end their career is COERCION!
- If you are using your position of authority or trust to gain the consent with coercion that is also NOT CONSENT!
- You ignore their wishes or nonverbal cues to stop and you try to convince them to keep going that is again COERCION and NOT CONSENT
- Directors/Performers should only do the sexual acts that were agreed to, if you do things that were not agreed to do then their CONSENT WAS VIOLATED
- If you have to pressure them to keep going or say yes to a act on set you know that the model is uncomfortable and you are violating their RIGHTS as a human and a performer!
Phrases That Indicate Verbal (but because we are performers we should also look at body language and eyes!)
- Im sure
- I want to
- Don’t Stop
- I still want to
- I want you to
- This is awesome
- Keep going
Phrases that indicate you do NOT have consent: Pay attention directors and performers!
- Most obvious NO
- I don’t want to
- I don’t know << this is a key one on set if a model seems wary be conscious directors and co-stars!
- I’m not sure << This too
- I don’t think so
- I want to, but << if they are saying but you know their comfort level has been reached.
- This makes me uncomfortable
- I don’t want to do this anymore
- This feels wrong
- Maybe we should wait
- Changing the subject
- Scared to answer
- Stumbling on words and seems to be unsure
- Pushing Away
- Pulling Away
- Avoiding Eye Contact
- Shaking their head no
- Not responding physically, just lying there motionless
- Looking scared, sad, confused, aprehensive
- Walking off set
I again want to apologize for anyone I offended or made think I supported any of the actions taken by John Stagliano or any predator in our industry that has committed a consent violation or ignored the performers comfort. These actions have to stop! They will stop one way or another. Hopefully the steward program helps alleviate, and more models start standing in solidarity and protecting each other from these serial abusers. Hopefully fans get alerted and they also get involved. This will be a group effort to chase these type of actions and individuals out of our industry!
Lots of love and Luck Kelly