Philly Adult Film Star Stoya Accuses Ex of Rape on Twitter

Her tweets saying that James Deen raped her are causing a firestorm. Deen has denied the allegation.


A screenshot of Stoya from Clayton Cubitt‘s video art series hysterical literature.

Stoya, an adult film actor, podcast co-host and writer from the Delaware Valley, triggered a controversy this weekend with two tweets that suggest her pornstar ex-boyfriend, James Deen, raped her.

Deen denied the allegation on his own Twitter feed:

But in contrast to the “let’s wait and see” attitude among Bill Cosby‘s fans and colleagues in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him, the adult film community is wasting no time in condemning Deen, with a hashtag #solidaritywithstoya. Though early support was voiced by fellow adult stars like Deen’s ex-girlfriend Joanna Angel, the hashtag is now trending among feminist organizations and men and women of every stripe, including Canadian Trailer Park actor Sarah Dunsworth:

The editor of the website The Frisky, Amelia McDonell-Parry, tweeted that she felt “horrible” about hiring Deen to write a regular advice column for the site, “What Would James Deen Do?” Mere hours after she learned of Stoya’s accusations, McDonell-Parry tweeted this:

Then, in a post she wrote explaining her decision to sever professional ties with Deen, McDonnell-Parry said:

I very much liked James Deen. I enjoyed working with him on WWJDD. I asked him to do an advice column because I liked his directness and his confidence, but most of all, I liked his emphasis on communication, honesty and, most of all, CONSENT. That he has been accused of violating Stoya’s consent, that women I respect have since contacted me directly to say that they know of others to whom he has done the same thing? Well, I’m fucking heartsick over it. This makes it impossible for me to work with him any further, to give him a forum for giving advice that he is accused of not following himself. No amount of good rapport between us or traffic to his columns would EVER supersede the fact that I BELIEVE WOMEN.

McDonell-Parry wrote that she knows some people will want to hear Deen’s take on Stoya’s claims, and see evidence that what Stoya is saying is true. But she writes:

The court of public opinion is not a court of law, and I don’t need Stoya or any woman to “prove” that she has been raped for me to believe her. Women who come out as rape victims are far, far, far too often not believed. This is especially true of women who work in the sex industry, with people actually wondering aloud if porn stars can be raped.

Since Stoya posted her tweets, two other women have come forward with explicit allegations that Deen assaulted them. Writing for the Daily Beast, former adult film actor Tori Lux also pointed to the problem of credibility for women who work in the sex industry:

A few people with whom I’ve shared the story [of Deen’s alleged assault against her] over the years have asked me why I didn’t call the police as soon as it happened, or publicly speak up about it shortly thereafter. The reason for that is because people — including the police — tend to believe that sex workers have placed themselves in harm’s way, and therefore can’t be assaulted … sex workers are silenced and our negative experiences are swept under the rug as we try to protect ourselves from the judgment of others — or worse, a variety of problems ranging from further physical attacks to professional issues such as slander and/or blacklisting.

Another of Deen’s former colleagues, Ashely Fires, told the Daily Beast in a separate article that Deen is “the only performer she absolutely refuses to work with” and that “the reason I put him on my ‘no list’ was because he almost raped me.” After describing a violent encounter with him, Fires says, “I didn’t even know this guy, he was so out of line and entitled with my body.”

Deen, who does a good deal of BDSM porn, has been the subject of many magazine articles and even a Nightline special as he’s made a bid for crossover appeal. He has a fan in Bret Easton Ellis, who admires Deen’s affect in his S&M scenes: “There are these weird long flashes of tenderness that you don’t really see in straight pornography,” Ellis told the Observer. (The two apparently bonded over the fact that they’ve been subject to “feminist hysteria.”)

Speaking about his BDSM work to the Observer, Deen said:

“I’ve been into rough sex pretty much my whole sexual life and so I’m not, like, bad at it. I don’t know how to say it without being a hideous prick, but I’m pretty good at having rough sex. It got to the point where a lot of girls who aren’t into that type of sex were afraid to work with me because they thought I was going to slap them in the face or something. But I only do that if the girl is into it. There’s no reason to choke somebody if they don’t like getting choked. Then you’re basically being an asshole.”

He also explained to the Observer that the sites that he works for, like, “make girls sign ‘limit sheets’ that rate their comfort level. “It’s not like I’m beating women or sending messages that it’s okay. Actually the opposite. Why don’t we just say it? The submissive is always the dominant party.”

Meanwhile, Stoya is keeping a low profile after her tweets, with a pinned note on Twitter saying she’ll be away from social media for a while to get some work done. Stoya and fellow adult film star Kayden Kross own the website TrenchcoatX (NSFW), on which she personally appears in about one scene per month. Who’s the featured star of a film on the front page of TrenchcoatX right now? James Deen.

Update 12-1-2015: Another woman has come forward alleging that James Deen sexually assaulted her in Las Vegas at a party in 2009. One of Deen’s employers, Kink, has now ended its professional relationship with him as a result of the allegations. Deen has also resigned from his position as chairperson of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.

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