Porn Biz Warns Performers About Netflix's Hot Girls Wanted

Ronna Gradus, left, Rashida Jones and Jill Bauer, producers of Hot Girls Wanted: Turned OnEXPAND
Ronna Gradus, left, Rashida Jones and Jill Bauer, producers of Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On
Netflix

This year's Netflix series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is a look at young women who enter the adult video industry. The spinoff of a 2015 documentary, Hot Girls Wanted is produced by Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. It's billed by the streaming service as an "unflinchingly honest series [that] tells personal stories about people whose lives are affected by the explosion of the internet where social media, pornography and virtual relationships are all just a click away."

But the porn industry's trade group, the Free Speech Coalition, recently warned performers to stay away from any upcoming shoots affiliated with the title because, it argues, producers aren't being honest with their subjects.

"We have received nearly a dozen reports of adult performers who say they were manipulated, coerced or lied to during the production of Netflix’s Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On," Siouxsie Q. James, director of policy and industry relations for FSC, said in a statement. "Despite repeated attempts to engage with the producers and Netflix about the performer experiences, we’ve only received terse legal justifications for the unethical and exploitative practices reported by performers. We cannot in good conscience recommend that any adult performer or director work with this program, or any program associated with Netflix."

She says Netflix and the producers have not responded directly to the coalition's allegations. Netflix, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus did not respond to our email requests for comment. But producers denied the allegations in recent interviews with Variety. "Nobody was coerced," Bauer said. Gradus told the publication that women who identified themselves as sex workers on social media were concerned that Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On featured 9 seconds of their footage — without identifying them.

"The industry is very defensive about people coming in and shining a light on the industry and doing stories about it," she said.

Still, at least one performer, Gia Paige, said on Twitter (NSFW) that producers "promised to cut my part" because she was shown being "uncomfortable" after they tried to get her to "talk about my family."

Free Speech Coalition officials provided no evidence of breach of contract, however. "We don't provide legal advice, but we can connect folks with legal representation, so that's what we've done," says FSC's James.

She said dozens of women have come forward to express allegations that they felt lied to, or "outed without their permission." It's not clear if Netflix has ordered another cycle of the program, but if that was the case, producers would be looking for people to feature in the show soon, she said.

It's not clear what program title they'd be working under, either. It wouldn't necessarily have to be Hot Girls Wanted, James said. "People who did sign model releases didn't feel adequately informed about what the project is," she says. "That's why we put out this broad industry alert."

"We caution strongly against working with these folks," she said. "This is coming to a head."

Attorney Jeffrey Douglas, chair of FSC's board, said it's not clear if the performers involved might have a case against the series — it's not his area of law. But "as an organization, we've taken a position that the producers have engaged in inappropriate behavior."

He said it's quite possible that performers have signed away rights to have their images used in almost any way. "These things are often just shoved in your face on the fly," he says. "You could be giving away your second-born child for all you know."

Of course, that doesn't make it morally right. Douglas tells performers to "make sure what's written on the contract is what's consistent with what you're told."


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