Tag Archives: sex workers

PurrVerse: Adult Sex Workers Are Arrested When We “Think Of The Children”

my redbook

I woke up one morning last week to my Twitter in an uproar. That’s reasonably common in my world, as many of the people I follow are marginalized and there’s a lot to be angry about. Turns out that the FBI has seized MyRedbook, a California site where masseuses and escorts could advertise for clients for free, and arrested two people, Eric Omuro and Annmarie Lanoce,  in connection to “using the mail and the Internet to facilitate prostitution” as well as money laundering under several aliases.

As of right now it’s not entirely clear if those arrests were the main focus of the sting, or if there will be more upcoming. It’s terrifying to many people close to me, who used MyRedbook to advertise their erotic entertainment services because other options like Eros were too expensive or less trafficked by paying customers. We don’t really know what options sex workers who had profiles up on MyRedbook have to protect themselves from investigation. I’m among them, as I used to advertise on MyRedbook as a professional dominatrix. Keep reading »

PurrVerse: Behind The Lens With Sex Worker Photographer Isabel Dresler

purrverse-photography

Recently I got a chance to meet Isabel Dresler (safe for work), who I’ve taken to calling “photographer to queer porn stars.” She’s shot with some queer porn faves like Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, Andre Shakti, and Siouxsie Q. We got to chatting at a shoot for the cover of the East Bay Express on the local porn scene, where Betty Blac, Jolene Parton and I helped fulfill her desire to have a photo taken while she was being smothered by breasts.

There’s an interesting combination of intimacy and high fashion that manifests under her gaze. I was curious to ask her a bit more about it, as well as why she decided to focus attention on marketing photos for sex workers. I liked how she called herself more of a scientist than an artistic photographer, investing her time in the study of her subject (which could be anything from insects to fancy homes). Everyone seems to be obsessed about the sex part of sex work, but it’s still work. As such, middle class indoor sex work often requires some practical and related investments: a decent website, a second phone, and, of course, some excellent photos.

Here’s my conversation with Dresler, after the jump: Keep reading »

19-Year-Old Girl Committed Suicide After Being Cyberbullied Over Amateur Porn

alyssa funke 052114

When Alyssa Funke of Minnesota was 18, she filmed an amateur porn for a site called CastingCouch-X, which features “Fresh New Amateur Girl Porn Videos.”

In March, the porno was posted online. At some point thereafter, says her family, former classmates at Stillwater Area High School began harassing Alyssa over social media, calling her a “porn star” and slang words for “slut.”

On April 16, Funke shot and killed herself. Keep reading »

PurrVerse: The NYPD Now Limits Using Condoms As Evidence Of Sex Work — But This Issue Is Far From Over

PurrVerse: The NYPD Now Limits Using Condoms As Evidence Of Sex Work — But This Issue Is Far From Over

The NYPD has finally agreed to ban the confiscation condoms as evidence from people they suspect of being sex workers. With similar measures having been fought for and won in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., this seems like a win for sexual health, right?

Well, sort of. The headlines I keep seeing aren’t actually accurate: “NYPD to stop seizing sex work suspects’ condoms,” “NYPD To Stop Seizing Condoms From Suspects As Evidence Of Prostitution,” etc. This sort of shoddy reporting might mean that the public thinks that condoms as evidence is an issue over and done with, when in fact there is more to do. The policy announced by  NYPD Commissioner Bratton bars confiscation of condoms as arrest evidence in prostitution, prostitution in a school zone, and loitering for the purposes of prostitution cases, which is a great start. But it’s not as overarching as the mainstream media seems to think it is. Keep reading »

NYPD Will Stop Confiscating Condoms From Suspected Sex Workers

todays lady news
  • New York City’s mayor announced today that the police department will no longer confiscate unused condemns as evidence of prostitution. Sex workers rights advocates have long pointed out that the practice discourages people — especially those at risk of being profiled as sex workers by the police — from carrying condoms in the first place. [AP]
  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has appointed five new members to the state’s Board of Health to review women’s access to health care in the state. In particular, they will look at how the legislature has restricted access to reproductive healthcare, particularly abortion. [MSNBC]
  • The Secretary of Defense said he thinks the military’s prohibition on transgender folks serving should be reviewed. [ABC News] Keep reading »

Frisky Rant: “Walk Of Shame”‘s Problematic Plot Shames Sex Workers & Drug Addicts For Cheap Laughs

Frisky Rant: "Walk Of Shame"'s Problematic Plot Shames Sex Workers & Drug Addicts For Cheap Laughs

Oh, I wanted to like “Walk Of Shame.” I wanted to love it. What’s not to love about a movie starring Elizabeth Banks, Gillian Jacobs and Tig Notaro? I was ready for a hilarious rom-com starring several of my favorite funny ladies.

Instead, in the screening room, I sat next to my friend who runs IndieWire’s Women And Hollywood blog and we spent the entire moving grabbing each other’s arm in the dark and incredulously whispering, “This is so fucking offensive.” And not edgy-funny-offensive. Like, ew-offensive.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, where do I start? (Spoilers ahead, obviously…) Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Porn Stars Learn They Can’t Bank On Chase

chase-bank-042214

I’ve written before about issues around payment processors and the sex industry, how businesses like Paypal, WePay and Google Wallet were shutting anyone they suspected of sex work out of using their services.

Well, turns out that a trickle down effect is happening within the banking world, as Chase recently sent letters out to hundreds of porn performers telling them their bank accounts would be shut down May 11th. Perez Hilton posted a photo of one of these letters from adult performer Teagan Presley, and while I am somewhat loath to link to his blog, I think it’s important to read the language. You’ll notice that Chase never specifically cites adult work in their decision, just that they “reviewed the account and determined that we will be closing it on May 11, 2014. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.”

I’m sure they’re terribly sorry. Just as they were really apologetic for refusing to process payments for Lovability CEO Tiffany Gaines. Her crime? Selling condoms, because they’re “adult-oriented material”. The same adult oriented material, of course, as Trojan, who could process their payments with no issues through Chase, but never mind. As long as they’re really sorry about it. Keep reading »

“Ice Road Truckers” Star Tim Zickuhr Accused Of Kidnapping Sex Worker

  • Tim Zickuhr from the History Channel reality show “Ice Road Truckers” has been charged with kidnapping after allegedly restraining and beating a sex worker whom he had hired after accusing her of stealing money from him. The woman, who goes by Snow White, was able to get him to call one of her friends,  who just so happened to be a cop, to supply the money. Smart lady. Zickuhr has been charged with first degree kidnapping, extortion, and coercion. What a disgusting story. [TMZ]
  • Something called KODE Magazine claims that Lindsay Lohan told them during an interview that she’s dating a “married” guy “with kids” who once sent a jet to pick up her. [Daily Mail UK]
  • New couple alert: Richard Gere and Padma Lakshmi are going out. [Page Six] Keep reading »

The Soapbox: “Game of Thrones,” Thanks for Employing Porn Stars

The Soapbox: "Game of Thrones," Thanks for Employing Porn Stars

I’m just going to say it upfront: I’m a massive fan of “Game of Thrones.”

I know it’s problematic, controversial around its portrayals of women, and arguably more violent on screen than required (see last night’s rape scene for an example). And I know there’s been plenty of excellent critiques arguing that “Game of Thrones” is feminist, or isn’t feminist, or asking if it matters whether it’s feminist or not. I’ve appreciated the commentary on racism and “GoT,” as well as in fantasy in general. Through this I have learned a great deal on how to be a fan of problematic media while still maintaining a critique; there are certain ways where the book and the show differ that make the show more sexist, and in other ways less sexist, than the original material. I’m glad, actually, because if I never engaged in anything I found critique-worthy I think I’d self-destruct! Keep reading »

The Soapbox: How PayPal & WePay Discriminate Against The Adult Industry

pay pal sex work

I was packing my bags, looking forward to a week trip to the Feminist Porn Awards and the Feminist Porn Conference, having finally earned enough through my Patreon patron-funded writing to travel and have a bit of a cushion when I got back. Payments would be processed at the beginning of the month, and I welcomed the assurance of my first paycheck that would pay my rent. I was finding it refreshing to be making a living (albeit barely) through getting paid to write on my experiences in the sex industry, giving me some hope that I could transition out and still survive financially. Finally I was getting paid for my writing… not in “exposure,” but in rent money!

That’s when I got an email from Patreon, saying that the payment processor PayPal had threatened to shut down all integration with their site because it contained “adult content.” The email stated:

“[A]s you can imagine, this would be detrimental to creators — hundreds of thousands of dollars were to be ‘frozen’ unless we flagged all adult content pages, made them private, and removed Paypal functionality from their individual pages… I’m so sorry that we had to do this without warning you first, but it was SUCH an emergency! We simply had to take action to avoid a situation where creators would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of legitimate pledges.”

Patreon emailed all of our patrons to warn them and suggested we also email them to ensure payments went through as usual at the beginning of April. While Patreon was open to artists creating work that was adult in nature, their hands were tied. And not in a kinky way. Keep reading »

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