CYBERSPACE — NPR’s 1A March 26th 2018 program “Missing From #MeToo — Sex Workers” led by host Joshua Johnson presented a guest panel of female professionals from the adult entertainment industry: Cris Sardina (Coordinator of Desiree Alliance) Siouxsie Q (Host of The Whorecast podcast, author, and Secretary of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee), adult film director Jacky St. James, and queer adult filmmaker Shine Louise Houston (Founder of Pink and White Productions).
According to the segment description: “The MeToo movement has upended a status quo that tolerated sexual harassment at work. Well, at some workplaces. Exotic dancers, adult film actors and escorts still fear retribution and ridicule for speaking out. This month, two porn actors [Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon] spoke up with allegations of “misleading booking practices, excessive face-slapping and choking, and boundary violations.” In an interview with Cosmopolitan, rapper and former stripper Cardi B cast doubt on whether MeToo would be relevant for all women.” The show, which also included thoughts on Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minute interview, the recent passing in Congress of FOSTA-SESTA, and the NYC Stripper Strike, and asks: “Are women in work that relies on sexuality on the margins of MeToo?”
Covering a wide array of topics, the 47-minute segment drew comments from listeners and presented guests the opportunity to sound off about recent events, expose stigma, and dispel misconceptions related to sex work.
“Nobody should be shamed for their career choices, and making the assumption that people working in the sex industry are somehow ill-equipped at deciding their career path is lunacy,” shared Jacky St. James. “We should be protecting the rights of women everywhere.”
When asked what actions the adult industry has taken against sexual allegations, Shine Louise Houston said, “Performer advocacy has been going on for a while, just like the #MeToo movement has been here but has only recently exploded into the mainstream. Inside the sex work industry, there have been efforts; Red Light Legal and other organizations have been around for a while. This isn’t something new, but we’re going to keep persisting.” Implying that the larger visibility of #MeToo will have a positive impact on sex workers ability to be heard, she added, “Our own strives towards worker safety and consent on set will continue, and I see this movement getting stronger and stronger.”
The broadcast was met with enthusiasm from listeners and the panelists saw it as an encouraging evolution towards the adult industry taking control over the narrative about what it means to engage in sex work.
“Getting the opportunity to speak on the National Public Radio platform about such important issues felt like a huge step for the movement, said Siouxsie Q. “I’m so grateful for how respectful and welcoming the producers of 1A were with us. I hope we see more people from our community being given a seat at the table during these kinds of conversations.”
Cris Sardina agreed and on behalf of her organization stated: “Desiree Alliance thanks NPR 1A for an unbiased interview. Sex workers presenting ourselves with our views about the discussions presented today, gives the autonomy and voice back to us. We know what’s best for our communities and I couldn’t be more proud to be with a panel of intelligent, strong, and vital women that represent our industries.”
“In order to protect our performers and the rights of everyone working in the sex industry, speaking openly about assault and harassment in the workplaces critical,” said Jacky St. James. “Today’s NPR broadcast was the start of a very important conversation. And just as #TimesUp in the mainstream world, so too is it for the adult one.”
As the #MeToo movement grows, conversations like these will continue to educate the public and bring sex worker experiences into the mainstream.
1A is produced by WAMU 88.5, and distributed by NPR. Listen to NPR’s 1A recorded program here: https://the1a.org/shows/2018-03-26/missing-from-metoo-sex-workers
Press credit: Pink and White Productions