I’ve been reading everything I can about Stoya’s allegation, and the allegations of others. I’ve also been reading Deen’s Twitter feed – something I never did before.
So here’s where I am:
I have no idea what happened. But his tweets (things like “It’s not rape if you yell surprise!” and “I am going to invent a rape warning whistle so you could be like. Attention I am about to rape. I think that will be better rape prevention” ) and his legalistic denial leave me persuaded that, unless he gets his shit together quick, he won’t be part of my porn repertoire – and neither will venues that continue to display his porn. (They’ve got something like a week to get all Deen porn down – X-Art, I’m talking to you.)
Yesterday, I wrote the statement I’d like to see him make. No doubt, he’s huddled in an office with lawyers telling him not to speak. That’s what lawyers do. If he issues denials that are explicit, he risks consequences beyond those he already conceivably faces. His denial was intentionally vague – it’s not even explicit what “egregious claims” are “false and defamatory.” This is fine. It’s what lawyers do.
He needs to do more.
He needs to get in front of this, and to establish, conclusively, that whatever happened between him and Stoya (and Tori Lux, and Ashley Fire), he hates rape, and will work tirelessly to fight rape culture. (And, he needs to do this without calling them liars. That would be uncool. Even if they are.)
Fighting rape culture means that, if you’re going to tweet about little candy hearts that say “Rape Me!” you have to contextualize that, to say that such a candy heart is only fun if it also has consent on the back of it. If you’re going to star in films that depict rape or domination, you have to be clear – probably within the content of the movie – that consent is an important – and sexy – part of any such act.
I don’t know how clear I’ve been about all that in the past, but you can bet I’m gonna step that shit up. I’m not big on rape play. But I do do dominance, and consent, and safe words, are always part of anything I do (if “no,” or “stop” isn’t the implicit safe word). I always ask women about their limits, about their fantasies, and I respect them. (In fact, I respect them so much that more than one submissive woman has read my respect as evidence that I’m not, in fact, a Dom. Whatever that is.)
I have no idea if James Deen does these things. But I know that it’s incumbent on him now, if he wants to have any sort of a future, to figure out how to lead the way on this issue.
For many, I’m sure, it’s already too late for him. With each passing hour, he’s losing more fans.