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Women in Porn Accuse Top Agent of Sexual Abuse, Trafficking


NBC recently reported that one of the porn industry’s top agents, Derek Hay, “has been accused by women whom he represents of fraud, sexual abuse and links to an illegal escort business — accusations including coercing performers to pay off ‘unconscionable’ fees and penalties either in cash or by performing sexual acts on him.”1

In a 75-minute NBC documentary, several actresses share how they were “financially manipulated and funneled into prostitution.” Their eye-opening interviews portray Hay as a controlling bully, sexual harasser, and possibly a trafficker.2

“It was horrifying when I found out, 6-7 years later, that I was sex trafficked and I didn’t even know. That’s how good he is at it,” shared Lydia Dupra who first filed a complaint against Hay in 2013.3

A more recent complaint filed in 2018 with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office by several other performers stated that “Most egregiously, he coerces some of his performers into ‘escorting’ and then, should they seek to terminate their (illegal) contracts, threatens to ‘out’ them for performing illegal sex work.”4

The complaint goes on to reveal that if they do not comply, Hay destroys their careers by refusing to book them for work.5

As these women speak of his harassment, control, abuse, and fraud we see a new story of sex trafficking emerge, one that exists in the porn industry—a place many people aren’t aware trafficking takes place. Since I was trafficked in porn at 14 I know these realities well and how key this moment of linking porn and trafficking is.

RELATED: My Life at Age 11: Trafficked in a Portland Brothel

“I’ve represented people in all aspects of the adult entertainment space for more than 20 years. I feel that this may be my most important case to date,” said Attorney Allen Gelbard.6

These women petitioned the Labor Commission for their freedom from Derek Hay and to get what they were owed. They weren’t thinking about the implications we now see. They simply wanted to stand up to his abuse both for themselves and for those who couldn’t speak.

“Nobody should have to have sex with someone in power to get better work and to be treated better… I’m speaking out now because there have been so many other girls who were in my exact same situation that couldn’t speak out… And his time is up,”7 shared Hadley Viscara, who is using her screen name.

The Trafficking in Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age….”8 Since I was 14 when trafficked in porn my story falls under the last part of that definition. These women’s stories reveal trafficking by the force, fraud, and coercion that was enacted on them.

The fraud begins with recruitment. Lydia Dupra said she saw being in porn as an opportunity to get out of poverty. “You are going to be in hair and makeup every day and make thousands of dollars,” she was told. “I had stars in my eyes,”9 she said. The reality was far different.10

When the girls leave the agency… they never get their 1099. They are shredded because they do not want the girls to know how much the companies really paid them.

Their checks went to Hay’s agency LA Direct, instead of directly to them. LA Direct would cash them and take out “deductions owed” to them. One invoice for $7700 for 9 shoots resulted in only $495 being paid to the woman.

Lisa Ann, who worked for 25 years in the porn industry both as a performer and as an agent for Derek Hay had more insight on this fraud. “When the girls leave the agency on bad terms, which if they leave the agency it is on bad terms, they never get their 1099. They are shredded because they do not want the girls to know how much the companies really paid them.”

Several girls in the NBC video also recounted living in “model housing.” Rent for their housing was either demanded from the cash they were given or simply taken out before they got it. Their free movement was restricted by their driver who was also their house manager.11

At the house they lived under a three strike rule. A strike could be canceling a shoot, being late, or violating any of the house rules. On the third strike, a girl and her belongings were driven out to the middle of nowhere and left there. They lived in fear of this kind of brutality, fear that they would not survive physically, financially, and professionally. “If they are not hungry they won’t show up for work,” Hay told Lisa Ann.12

At the house they lived under a three strike rule… On the third strike, a girl and her belongings were driven out to the middle of nowhere and left there. They lived in fear…

“Agents typically work for their clients, but in the XXX industry it often seems to be the other way around. It’s the agent who dictates how often work is booked, at what rate, and when to choke it off. Many agents lock performers into lengthy exclusivity contracts… and few companies in the business will risk filming a model an agent doesn’t explicitly authorize. After all, one model isn’t worth the wrath of an agent who can withhold 50 more,”13 revealed Aurora Snow of The Daily Beast.

RELATED: CA Senator and Notorious Porn Producer Push for Legal Pimping

This control of movement, money, and survival is textbook pimp tactics. It is sometimes coercion, sometimes outright force.

“Pornographers are pimps, third-party sex profiteers, buying and selling human beings to johns, who are consuming them as and for sex,” says Catherine MacKinnon in her article “Pornography As Trafficking.” “For pornography, women and children are recruited, transported, provided, and obtained for sex acts on account of which, typically, money is given to pornography pimps.”14(also known as “agents”)

Laura Lederer who co-authored “The Slave and the Porn Star,” agrees. “Often, women involved in the production of so-called mainstream hardcore pornography are pressured by their agents, directors, and fellow performers to engage in sexual activity that they do not want to participate in… This pressure can cross into sexual assault, but in some circumstances it can also be a form of human trafficking… Forced participation as a performer can constitute sex trafficking.”15

We as a culture are not used to looking at porn as a place where harassment, abuse, and even trafficking happen. Maybe this is because we see these women in porn as less than human. I know I saw myself that way after being trafficked in porn.

“The easy excuse people like to make is, ‘That is what you get for being in porn.’ The people that work in this industry are not less human beings than people that work at the mall,” Lisa Ann powerfully articulated.16

The easy excuse people like to make is, ‘That is what you get for being in porn.’ The people that work in this industry are not less human beings than people that work at the mall.

Women and girls in porn are human even when we, the exploited, do not believe it ourselves. And as human beings, we can be defrauded, abused, harassed, and trafficked. Those elements are clearly present in this story, in my story, and in the porn industry. Will we see it and use our voices to speak out about the injustices and crimes being carried out there?

These women did. Hear their voices speaking out truth.

“Consent is not for sale… You are not saying hey you bought me so you are allowed to do whatever you want. And that is something I did not know until I retired (from porn).” Lydia Dupra17

“When a predatory agency takes advantage of adult performers, they need to be held accountable… I’m incredibly proud of the performers that have decided to speak up, knowing the retaliation they will face. I hope that this will set a precedent for the future… This is our #MeToo movement.”18 Charlotte Cross

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Photo credit: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Footnotes

  • 1. Przygoda, Dan. “Porn Actresses Take On Powerful Industry Agent.” NBC Connecticut, NBC Connecticut, 15 Mar. 2019, www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/business/Porn-Actresses-Accuse-Top-Agent-of-Fraud-Sex-Abuse-506831051.html?fbclid=IwAR0-JBxIHB-Ti_-Sz0cGd4kMI2bXRydXEVd4uoU6i–Ilm3676jOW7Umzyk.
  • 2. Ibid
  • 3. Ibid
  • 4. Ibid
  • 5. Ibid
  • 6. Miller, Dan, et al. “Four Performers File State Labor Complaint Against Hay, LA Direct.” AVN, 4 July 2018, avn.com/business/articles/legal/four-performers-file-state-labor-complaint-against-hay-la-direct-785254.html.
  • 7. Przygoda, Dan. “Porn Actresses Take On Powerful Industry Agent.” NBC Connecticut, NBC Connecticut, 15 Mar. 2019, www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/business/Porn-Actresses-Accuse-Top-Agent-of-Fraud-Sex-Abuse-506831051.html?fbclid=IwAR0-JBxIHB-Ti_-Sz0cGd4kMI2bXRydXEVd4uoU6i–Ilm3676jOW7Umzyk.
  • 8. “Human Trafficking.” The United States Department of Justice, 9 Nov. 2018, www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.
  • 9. Przygoda, Dan. “Porn Actresses Take On Powerful Industry Agent.” NBC Connecticut, NBC Connecticut, 15 Mar. 2019, www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/business/Porn-Actresses-Accuse-Top-Agent-of-Fraud-Sex-Abuse-506831051.html?fbclid=IwAR0-JBxIHB-Ti_-Sz0cGd4kMI2bXRydXEVd4uoU6i–Ilm3676jOW7Umzyk.
  • 10. Ibid
  • 11. Ibid
  • 12. Ibid
  • 13. Snow, Aurora. “Porn’s Superagent Comes Under Fire: ‘I Was No Longer of Value’.” The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 17 May 2018, www.thedailybeast.com/porns-superagent-comes-under-fire-i-was-no-longer-of-value?ref=scroll.
  • 14. Catherine A. Mackinnon, Pornography As Trafficking, 2005, Michigan Journal of International Law, Volume 26, Issue 4, Pg. 993-1012, https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1241&context=mjil
  • 15. Laura Lederer, Robert Peters & Shane Kelly, 2012, The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography, The Protection Project Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society, Issue 5, Pg 1-22, https://www.rescuefreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/slave-and-the-porn-star.pdf
  • 16. Przygoda, Dan. “Porn Actresses Take On Powerful Industry Agent.” NBC Connecticut, NBC Connecticut, 15 Mar. 2019, www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/business/Porn-Actresses-Accuse-Top-Agent-of-Fraud-Sex-Abuse-506831051.html?fbclid=IwAR0-JBxIHB-Ti_-Sz0cGd4kMI2bXRydXEVd4uoU6i–Ilm3676jOW7Umzyk.
  • 17. Ibid
  • 18. Miller, Dan, et al. “Four Performers File State Labor Complaint Against Hay, LA Direct.” AVN, 4 July 2018, avn.com/business/articles/legal/four-performers-file-state-labor-complaint-against-hay-la-direct-785254.html.