The newest outbreak just reminds me of how little has changed since the 2004 outbreak, although I think the performers may be treated better now. It’s very upsetting.
I came into the industry in the fall of 2003. Porn was just becoming mainstream. Seymore Butts had a successful cable show. Jenna had achieved rock star status with her book television appearances. Howard Stern had a popular show on E! The porn industry was presented as a harmless, fun career choice where the girls made millions of dollars. People thought the houses that Vivid shoot in are the actual homes of the performers. They thought all the girls had the option of using condoms and picking who they work with. With a friends connection I got in the industry.
Reality set in on my first trip the valley. I was in my mid 20’s, the directors kept telling me I was old. They were insistent that the fans wanted girls that were 18. It didn’t matter how young you looked, they went by your actual age according to your driver’s licence. And if a girl was 18, had frizzy hair and a stomach that hung over their pants that girl was still getting more work than you.
Gangbangs and double-anal were all the rage. There were agents that wouldn’t even take girls unless they did them. Injuries were commonplace and directors were often unsympathetic. I was on a set where the director was telling this HUGE guy to pound into me harder and it was really hurting. The director, who is still respected in the business and working today threatened to cut the scene and not pay me. He said I didn’t belong in the business. Then, he called my agent and said I showed up on drugs. In the real world that’s called slander.
On another set I was on for a popular company the girl who was shooting before me (I think double-anal) was injured. The director and everyone else there was more concerned about the loss of money from the cost of location and kill fees than the well-being of the girl. They seemed angry with her.
Every sentence out of directors, or company owners mouths started with “These stupid fucking girls.” It seemed like the men in the industry hated women and were mostly into each other. I wondered if that was how double-anal was invented.
Also, since it was before 2257, it was also common for companies to shoot girls from other countries for cheap. Durring bookings we were often told, “Wow, your rate is so high. I can get a girl from Czech Republic or Brazil to do a DP for $150.” We were basically called greedy for wanting a rate we could live on.
I left my second trip to LA in March of 2004 thinking that someday soon there would be an outbreak of HIV because of the lawlessness and too much faith in the AIM testing system. And I had a feeling that when it were to happen they would find some girl to blame it on. Sure enough, a few weeks later I saw the headline on the front page of the New York Post that there was an outbreak. And sure enough when girls names came out, they blamed Lara Roxx.
I always compared my career as a performer to smoking. It was something I did that I didn’t try to kid myself into thinking it was healthy. Face it, it’s not on many levels. I always prepared myself for how I would handle it if something were to happen. Most performers don’t even insurance to take care of them if they get sick or injured.
I love Sharon Mitchell and AIM, but testing is not enough. Condoms haven’t hurt Wicked’s sales. Weekly internal exams should also be manditory. This shouldn’t have happened two more times.