On James Deen and Company

James Deen

In the wake of accusations of sexual assault and rape leveled at the world’s most famous adult performer, James Deen, by a growing number of his female colleagues, the performer has found himself not only the newest most-hated man in porn, but persona non grata at Evil Angel and Kink.com, two companies that once championed him, for years distributing his distinct brand of rough sex to all corners of the World Wide Web, and aiding his ascension to mainstream stardom.

Numerous voices have been raised since Stoya first dropped her 55-word Twitter bombshell, accusing Deen of rape, including those of Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Nicki Blue, Kora Peters, Lily LaBeau, and Amber Rayne very few of them with a complimentary word about to the disgraced cocksman. Although obviously reluctant to go into too many specifics, Deen’s former girlfriend Joanna Angel was arguably the most damning, not only telling reporters that she considered Deen “dead inside” and “dead to me” but also that his domineering treatment of her left Angel fearing for her life, a whimpering wounded dog of a person.

While no charges have been pressed and Deen has largely remained silent of the matter aside from an interview with The Daily Beast explaining his position to Aurora Snow, it’s been largely left to others in the industry to shed some light on how the crimes (if indeed perpetrated by Deen as alleged) were ignored, dismissed, or swept under the proverbial rug. And these other voices aren’t necessarily coming from the usual places. Retired dick-thruster Voodoo took to Twitter to point out that Deen and, really, anyone else who doesn’t know when they’re crossing someone’s personal sexual boundaries and potentially committing assault should not be in the adult entertainment industry. Period. Hard to disagree with that!

Arabelle Raphael, an underrated performer seen at Burning Angel and Kink.com, spoke to The Guardian about the controversy surrounding Deen and placed the burden on the culture of the industry itself, as well as society at large. So, an easily solved problem then? Perhaps on an individual level – Raphael heard disquieting warnings about Deen and thusly put him on her “no” list – but when victims are remaining silent of fear of dismissal, unemployment, or public ridicule, it’s no leap to look at the industry in a slightly different way. Aside from obvious measures that could be taken or improved to ensure the on-set safety of all performers, there’s also the issue of subtle coercion and manipulation that encourages those experiencing or witnessing an assault or dangerous, threatening behavior to keep their traps shut lest they destroy any chance of their burgeoning career taking off. Opening discussion of what has until now been viewed largely as an in-house problem to greater society (even if only via hashtags and soundbites) can only serve to increase the public understanding of how sex work can and does fit into the lives of those who choose it as a career path, and the responsibilities of those who consume it.

In the end, business is business, and it’s not exactly surprising that everyone from assaulted performers to immensely powerful studio owners and super-agents are out to protect their earning power and potential profits by at least partially ignoring harmful on-set behavior and conditions, but it’s at least a relief to see that rape and sexual assault is considered in porn to be bad business. With Joanna Angel and Phoenix Marie among those insisting that, even with its faults, the adult industry isn’t inherently unsafe – “I do not want the public to blame porn for anything. I think he is a bad egg. There are bad eggs in every industry.”

Perhaps if less public and media attention was being corralled onto the issue of mandatory condom use and instead towards creating a safe environment for porn workers socially and psychologically, as well as physically, one where performers with histories of abusive behavior are vetted, the groups seeking to exploit the Deen situation to hasten the shutting down or restricting of porn’s relative freedom might actually produce something that does what they always say they want to do: help victims, ensure safety.

Men’s Mags: The Web Generation

Earlier this month, Mr. Pink’s brought you word that two classic magazine publications targeted at male readers were going down for the count after months and months of declining circulation. As we bid farewell to UK-based FHM and Zoo, there is reason to be hopeful and think positively even while commiserating with mates over pints at your local. The men’s magazine, it appears, is moving online.

badoink

Launched back in 2005, BaDoink at first seemed like any other confused upstart porn studio. Hosting third-party produced content alongside its own carnal creations, even providing custom software to control your video streaming and downloading more completely than any other site could claim. BaDoink soon expanded to include pornography from ten studios, TV-playback capability via Roku, Chromecast, AppleTV and other devices, and mobile device and smart phone compatibility, as well as a slew of blog posts, articles and advice columns, and all sorts of news from around the world, related to sexuality and otherwise. Look at BaDoink today, though, and you’ll see it looking even more like a comprehensive entertainment experience for the heterosexual male: a Google Glass app, 3D viewing, 4K Ultra-HD movies, 360° “immersion” videos, and even content designed to be used with the Oculus Rift virtual reality device. There’s even a brand-new VR division of BaDoink that’s been appropriately named BaDoinkVR. Although still quite low on content having launched only five months ago, BaDoinkVR adds a hugely satisfying dose of hardcore VR porn to your plate, provided you either have your own headset or order the free cardboard VR goggles from BaDoink.

Stiffia is another network pushing towards a magazine-style arrangement. Currently hosting an amazing 94 websites, each offering both full-length and digest versions of original content, Stiffia has the whole porno movie element covered, but there’s far more to Stiffia’s success than that. News items flow to the site constantly, giving readers a break from beating off to learn something new, ogle Selfie Loving Latinas or Hot Amateur Cosplayers, read why Everybody Loves Thongs or follow your favorite performers on Twitter and Instagram via the built-in feed.

Stiffia is expanding as rapidly as it is winning over new viewers, so perhaps now’s the time to check it out and jump aboard, before it reaches critical mass and eventually jumps the shark. As for BaDoink and its new VR strain, look for more from Mr. Pink, including a review of the BaDoinkVR viewing platform and headset, next week.

The End of the Men’s Mag?

Playboys

From Playboy’s game-changing success in the sixties and seventies to the US-advance of popular UK lifestyle publications like Maxim and FHM, the journey of the men’s magazine has been an intriguing one. Where women’s mags traditionally revolved around homemaking and social decorum, only to shift towards sex tips and body shaming in the 70s and 80s, men’s lifestyle publications seemed to diverge into outright pornography or thinly-veiled pornography (no nipples) and five-page guides to curing a major hangover. Now, with the closure of UK-based rags FHM and Zoo, it seems the end of this era of male-focused lifestyle publication is nearing its end.

Launched in 1985, For Him Magazine (FHM) led the new wave of lad culture combining intense alcohol consumption, a fondness for near-naked chicks. With circulation declining notably in 2015’s first half – 67,000 units; down 20% from last year – FHM regrettably seems to be closing down publication for good, announcing the closure on its website Tuesday. The weekly-published Zoo, too, is ending its assault on modesty and puritanism by shutting down its presses after 12 years and more than 600 issues, shattering the spirits of what few readers it had managed to retain after the great migration of horny dudes to the World Wide Web, the new (digital!) den of iniquity.

The announcements from FHM and Zoo come just one short month after Playboy Magazine announced it would not feature fully-nude women on its pages after March 2016. With Playboy neutering itself and Loaded, Front, Bizarre, Nuts all knocking back brewskies in magazine heaven, and now the announcement that Zoo and FHM are going down for the count, could the entire men’s magazine industry have kicked the proverbial bucket? Former FHM Features Editor Martin Daubney doesn’t seem to think so, insisting that lad culture will survive, even thrive, online. “The anti-lad mag campaigners are deluded if they feel this represents some hollow victory against ‘lad culture,'” Daubney told The Telegraph. “It is my prediction that, in time, the campaigners who despised the lad mags’ lifeblood will look back on these magazines as a period of relative innocence, that they would welcome back in a heartbeat.”