Back in December, porn star Nikki Benz took to Twitter to allege that she was assaulted during a shoot with Brazzers, an adult entertainment site notorious for it’s high-production, sometimes rough-sex movies. Benz wrote that during her shoot, she was choked by one of her costars. When she demanded that the director end the scene, he ignored her and kept rolling.
Now, AVN is reporting that the movie’s director, Tony T., and the performer, Roman Nomar, are suing Benz for defamation, claiming that her Twitter confession has caused them “sustained shame, mortification and hurt feelings.”
According to AVN, the porn industry’s trade journal, after filming a scene, performers are asked a series of industry-standard questions on film as a sort of video waiver. Those questions include whether they were on set out of their own volition, whether they had fun and whether they would do it again. Nomar and Tony T.’s attorney, Karen Tynan, showed the footage to “select industry members” on Wednesday. At first, Benz answers no to the third question, but in another take, she’s asked the question again, this time answering “yes.” In her initial tweets, Benz says that she was forced to approve of the scene in order to receive payment for her work.
Since then, several other female porn actors have come forward in support of Benz’s claims, including Carter Cruise, Gen Padova and Dana DeArmond, who tweeted that Tony T. “pulled the same shit” with her and that “Brazzers directors cross the limits of female performers and bully them so they don’t talk about it.”
The responses of the accused is nothing new. The father of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer tried for rape, wrote a letter stating that his son’s life has been “deeply altered forever” by his trial. Such exemplifies the prevailing misconception in cases of sexual assault that accusations made against men can damage their reputations beyond repair, traumatize them or make them pariahs.
But evidence shows that this attitude is not based in reality: Casey Affleck, whom two women accused of sexual harrasment in 2010, just won a best actor Golden Globe. Woody Allen, alleged to have abused adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, continues to make movies starring the biggest names in Hollywood. James Deen, accused of rape by several women, still wins AVN awards for his performances. (Editor’s Note: None of the aforementioned men have been convicted; allegations against them remain unproven.) Meanwhile, Daisy Coleman’s house was burned down and she and her family were forced to flee their hometown after she accused her high school’s football star of rape.
It shouldn’t have to be repeated at this point, but sure, let’s do it: the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress say that PTSD is a common side effect of rape and assault. And if your trial for rape embarrasses you, that’s part of the point. It’s a small price to pay in comparison to what the victim of such a crime will contend with the rest of her (or his) life. Aka, not just the shame of having been violated, but also the constant barrage of victim-blaming our culture almost certainly directs the victim’s way. Benz is the latest example of that.
In a statement, Brazzers admitted that “some of the alleged conduct could have occurred” but that they have severed all ties with the producer associated with the movie. Benz has yet to comment on the lawsuit.