A porn set in Greater Los Angeles
A porn set in Greater Los Angeles
Gustavo Turner

Porn Industry Alleges Cops Aren't Treating Ruse as Rape

The trade organization representing the porn industry recently filed a letter of complaint with the city of Orange Police Department over its handling of a claim that scam artists were recruiting would-be porn stars to engage in sex that was ultimately unpaid.

The letter, which was copied to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the FBI, argues that City of Orange law enforcement should have taken the report, filed by a single mother from Florida who came to Southern California to engage in an adult-video shoot, more seriously. The letter states that her experience June 21 amounted to rape because "California Penal Code section 261(a)(4)(D) defines it as rape when a perpetrator fraudulently represents 'that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.'"

Adult video's Free Speech Coalition, which issued an "industry alert" about the alleged scam last week, says that fraudsters are recruiting would-be porn stars with the promise of cash, which the victims never receive. The victim who's the focus of the letter traveled from the Sunshine State on a one-way ticket she purchased and booked a room for the shoot on her own dime, according to the organization.

When she complained about the ruse to Orange police, cops didn't consider it to be a serious criminal matter, the FSC states. "In this most recent incident, the woman reported the crime to the City of Orange Police Department," according to the group. "She was accompanied by attorney Jeffrey Douglas. The police refused to allow the victim to have the attorney present when she spoke with them, refused to provide a rape kit for the victim, and demanded that she allow them to duplicate the contents of her phone in order to proceed with the case. Denied access to her attorney, she declined."

We reached out to City of Orange police but were unable to get a response.

Attorney Elliott N. Kanter said earlier this week that California rape law includes sex-act coercion by force, violence or threat of violence. But he said that luring someone into unpaid adult video would not be covered by law. That situation "sounds like a breach of contract," he said.

The FSC stated that the scam has also been reported in Florida, New York and Arizona. Eric Paul Leue, FSC's executive director, said via email that cops should take the situation more seriously.

"We're standing up for the rights of workers in this industry," he said. "Just because a person wants to pose for a layout or appear in an adult film, doesn't mean they give up their right to justice or their ability to consent. Equality under the law means that no matter what you do, or who you are, you have a right to expect the police to pursue justice when you're defrauded or assaulted. By not pursuing this, the police are giving the green light to criminals to prey on vulnerable women with impunity."

Alleged scam artists in multiple cases represented themselves as video producers and photographers for adult-media juggernaut Penthouse, according to the FSC. Penthouse CEO Kelly Holland described via email what allegedly happened:

"Over the last several months we've had multiple calls from actresses with the same essential story: the agent that promises big fees and a centerfold in Penthouse," she said. "The most recent case last week was more disturbing and an escalation of the scam. A model spent her own money to fly out, pay for a hotel room, do a 'screen test' which required she have sex, only to be left in the room with no ticket home."

Holland continues: "We brought the young woman to police to report the crime, put her in touch with a counter-trafficking organization in her home state, and got her a ticket home. Fraud is fraud, no matter who it's perpetrated against. Sex by fraud is sexual assault. I am extremely respectful and protective of two things: Penthouse, my brand, and the women who work in this industry as models and actresses. Unfortunately we seem to be in the season where both are being exploited. Law enforcement has so far been unwilling to take this seriously. Our industry does, and have no doubt we will."

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >