An adult-video producer is suing porn star Nikki Benz for alleged defamation after she accused him of assaulting her on set during a shoot last month.
Via Twitter last month, Benz said a producer-director she called Tony T. choked her and stomped on her head, even after she yelled "cut." He "put his hands on me and was choking me," she stated. Her story created national headlines, and the studio behind the shoot, Brazzers, severed ties with the producer.
The allegations echoed across the porn world as adult-film celebrities, including Jenna Jameson, rallied to Benz's side. Performer Shawna Leneé Show said, via Twitter, that she had "complained" about the same producer's "behavior two years ago." Brazzers said in a statement that the scene in question "stands in direct contrast with our mandate to ensure that performers’ consent, boundaries and limits are respected."
The suit — which in addition to Benz also names Brazzers and its parent company, online adult-video juggernaut MindGeek, as defendants — was filed by Tony T., whose real name is Ibraham Ismail, this week in L.A. Superior Court. "They seemed to jump right on the bandwagon," plaintiff's attorney Richard Freeman says of MindGeek. "Without any checking or investigation, they seemed to be willing to put the blame on Tony and throw him under the bus in an effort to seem make themselves look better. They accepted, ratified and believed what Nikki Benz was saying."
Benz, one of the biggest names in adult video, made her accusations Dec. 20. The suit says the shoot in question took place on Dec. 17 somewhere in L.A. County. Freeman says he could find no record of Benz making a formal complaint to police.
A MindGeek spokeswoman says the company doesn't normally comment on active litigation. This week Benz, via Twitter, maintained that her allegations are factual. "Remember that truth will reveal itself," she wrote. "As a 13-year veteran in this wonderful industry I'm grateful to have an outstanding reputation."
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The suit also names as a plaintiff Ramon Nomar, a performer on the shoot. The suit says both Ismail and Nomar were accused by Benz of being "perpetrators of these acts against her." It also states that she told a photographer afterward that she was unhappy with the scene and that she was "looking forward to terminating her exclusive contractual relationship with MindGeek and Brazzers."
The suit maintains that "Nikki Benz had neither been assaulted nor raped, nor mistreated or abused in any nonconsensual way during the shooting of the video." (On Dec. 20, Benz tweeted, "I guess rape scenes are in now, huh?") It calls her allegations against Ismail and Nomar "untruthful, malicious and defamatory." MindGeek, it argues, "portrayed as true" Benz's allegations when it responded with a statement to the media on Dec. 20.
"These kinds of allegations run pretty deep," Freeman says. "The fear that Tony T. has is that his reputation in the industry has been besmirched and that it will be difficult for him to get a foothold again."
The suit claims libel, emotional distress and "interference with economic advantage." The dollar amount sought was not revealed.