Exposure is an essential element of all artistic endeavors, but it isn’t an exact science. This may be because of the subtle layers of the artistic experience that exposure encompasses. From the first flickers of light, whether it’s the flash of a camera or the pen or pencil to page, what once was a void or dark now has life. It’s at this point this creation must be monitored closely. Done correctly the phenomenon mimics the photosynthetic properties of plants, growing due to an increase in exposure. Over, under or bad exposure, however, will result in it withering – ultimately leading to its demise.
With the release of the documentary Money Shot: The PornHub Story, Netflix looks to air the dirty linens exposing the atrocities committed by the pornographic website, as well as a few of the people who profited from participating on the platform. Viewers, however, may realize that as with any horror film the true evil isn’t always immediately obvious.
Though the subject matter may seem scandalous – even sinister, this isn’t the subscription services first foray into matters of fornication. In fact another title from the streaming giant collaborates well with the information that Money Shot has to offer.
The 2017 Hot Girls Wanted, the Sundance nominated documentary from Rashinda Jones, is also available on Netflix. The original film and accompanying Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On series share many similarities with this other recent addition to Netflix. During the course of the series, individuals whose association with the porn industry ranges from decades to days give their insight and an unfiltered look into the inner workings of the modern adult content industry. Much like Money Shot these performers and producers speak about their product – the pride and problems it produces – in a way that may make you reconsider your stance on porn in general and as a profession.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the energy and euphoria that goes with sex and the industry lifestyle, all sexual situations require complete control of your sensibilities. From those producing (or just profiting) to those who search it out, like pirates on a quest for more booty, to stash away in a vault. So it’s hard not to notice when some(bodies) begin to pile up with all evidence pointing to the adult industry. While some stars are making a killing, someone is quietly killing the very lives they – and many others – have chosen to live.
Pornography has managed to parody and penetrate every other genre (or categorization) of film and entertainment; good old rule 34. However, you’re more likely to encounter the naughty sights and sounds of lovers going hump in the night while sharing the screen with something that goes bump in the night – which has a rule as well. Unlike the false premise that all pornography directly benefits and supports sex trafficking/explotation, even Cherie DeVille would agree that the silver screen shows that society equates sex (and sex workers) with sin – deserving a horrible, painful death.
Maybe they deserve it, like Hal they made some very poor decisions. The adult industry is indeed an odyssey; ready to blast off on your rocket ship. Traveling past Venus and around Uranus to your destination, the platform PlutoTV and a found footage horror film by the name of Lucky Bastard. The 2014 indie horror production is a microcosm of the porn industry in the same way porn is to sex. There isn’t enough film for all the footage necessary to capture every human’s experience with the porn industry. But the fictional characters in the film are representative of one party in the PornHub situation. And much like Money Shot and Hot Girls Wanted, in Lucky Bastard the porn shot isn’t strictly sexual – it’s a matter of survival.
Instead of ignoring what most individuals imagine when they think about a porn, Lucky Bastard incorporates that image into the opening scene. Ashley Saint arrives to a modeling shoot only to discover new talent being degraded, giving the impression she is out of her comfort zone. Rather than leave Ashley attempts to intervene only to find herself on the receiving end of the same rough, degrading sexual encounter.
You just can’t make this stuff up – or can you? Well, maybe not you but individuals like Mike, the fictional producer/director not to mention owner/operator of websites like Lucky Bastard can come up with this and other types of explicit content for their customers. Customers who continue to clamor to see Ashley and others stars of the adult industry ACTING in erotic encounters for their sole entertainment.
Actually, what Ashley stumbles upon and the aftermath are a scenario; a sex scene to be sold – demand meets supply. And it is this basic business model which leads to Mike making a proposal to Ashley, a much riskier scene but just imagine the payout. Now given her profession you may suspect, or more specifically expect, that Ashley would jump on any opportunity to make money by shooting a scene with a fan named Dave. But Ashley, much like the entertainers featured in both Netflix series, is a professional. She understands the risk of exposure better than anyone else on set. There are dangers with being seen.
Porn advocate Mike Stabile’s statements are in agreement with Ashley about the performers having more to lose. Prior to the internet people typically knew to keep a low profile when it came to adult content. The fear of, and actual raids and arrests by law enforcement on establishments producing or catering to adult (i.e. pornographic) material has been documented since the early 80s. The stigma and subsequent government stance through the years would create a vacuum where there were opportunities for manipulation within mainstream porn.
Lighting and position are two powerful tricks creators can use to assist with exposure in print and motion media. And after examining Lucky Bastard’s connection to PornHub and Hot Girls Wanted you may never look at porn the same again. You do have to pay attention to cameras, however, something not often done in (any) found footage films.
Like the actual porn films it is parodying, the scene that Mike is shooting in Lucky Bastard consists of a bare bones production staff. This makes it easy to isolate each of the principals and identify the parallels between these actors and their counterparts in Money Shot and Hot Girls Wanted.
First there is Ashley. The female performer is who they came to see after all. Similar to Siri Dahl’s scene in Moneyshot, the energy on the set shifts signifying what should be a transition in power. And yet, on porn sets, the Ashley(s) are the lowest on the pole. Speaking of the pole, her peers’ opinion of her is only slightly higher than her many protagonists. From the conversations that take place between the female talent in Hot Girls Wanted, making porn an opportunity outside the club is very appealing. So whose opinion really matters here?
For a product that is so visible, so many of the prominent positions,the directors and studios, can attempt to save face when any incidents occur in the industry. While some of you reading may be able to identify various real life performers in a lineup, would anyone who has never been to an adult expo be able to spot a porn director in a crowd? The executives of PornHub were the same – faceless – until they were bought before the world to answer for the crime of allowing sexual trafficking and exploitation to appear on their site.
While Lucky Bastard and some porn scenes depict fictitious scenarios, Money Shot and Hot Girls aren’t hiding the fact that real people make porn. Performers have always used stage names, the use predates the internet and isn’t exclusive to the adult industry. However today’s models do so to make a name for themselves. Rather than hiding under a bushel they are about business and branding. Unless you’re of the opinion that no one can create a career that began in the porn industry.
Speaking of which, something that has been mentioned throughout this article has conveniently remained covered up, exactly what is porn? The textbook definition refers to television and print media where the emphasis relies heavily on the sensous aspects of a nonsexual subject. The intention is to stimulate compulsive interest in their audience. Going deeper, that whole nonsexual thing means the act doesn’t involve sex or sexual reproduction. So now either what PornHub and other sites feature isn’t porn, because there is a lot of sex, or we all might need to go back to sex ed.
Though according to her interview in Money Shot, PornHub was practically sex ed for employee Noelle Perdue. She should try Netflix. Next time you’re looking for something to watch see what happens when you search “sex” or “porn”, then search “sex ed”. Seems everyone is talking about it. So let’s talk about it.
Based upon these definitions it’s not hard to understand why some people may have a misunderstanding about the image of the modern day porn industry.
Just look at the adult film industry’s influence on society, porn is even getting into politics. In the media, where there was once an occasional sexually suggestive clothing ad, the same setups from porns are used to sell items on supermarket shelves. There is even a phenomenon known as food porn. As well as ASMR, where an everyday sound – like eating chips – takes a dip into the erotic zone. Don’t know if they are on Pornhub but another popular video site hosts quite a collection.
Since Mike(LB) represents both pre-internet studios and MindGeek, then the battle porn actor Wolf Hudson mentions should be considered friendly fire. If studios had a problem with the arrival of MindGeek/PornHub that was one of their designs. Creating a business model – an opportunity – is one thing, owning it forever is unacceptable. Barriers to entry will eventually be broken and then the floodgates will run wild and free. This isn’t only true for porn either, as the sports, music and “mainstream” media have welcomed the user generated content. Look at the stars of apps like YouTube and Spotify or TikTok (tick, tock) and imagine if only the “chosen” were allowed entry and access.
Meanwhile, the internet only heightened the extent to which exposure could jeopardize a talent’s livelihood. The fear of piracy – theft of copyrighted content – has been present since the first jpegs and mpegs showed up on websites. With a loss of paying customers, studios slowed down their content creation, slashing their budgets.
This is where PornHub was a savior for these “sinners“. Not only did the company have a handle on the technological side of the internet – keywords and SEO, even appearance – they were cool with sharing. And being the biggest around made their offer even more appealing, since people think size matters. PornHub starts to sound like a giver.
Unfortunately, Ashley had one choice – show up, do her job and return for her paycheck.
While Ashley and other past porn stars had to wait for Mike(s) to go grab their check, PornHub and other sites gave creators control and often immediate access to their earnings. Lucky Bastard would be a different film if Ashley didn’t have to show up for a check, only to have another carrot dangled in her face. Still, tragically there would have just been another Ashley; hot girls wanted.
Because Ashley wasn’t in control, it was Mike. Or is it Dave?
There is no mistaking that Mike and Dave are essential the same individual. Which is why the two get along well initially. More than likely Mike was once just like Dave. He is an eager, but embarrassed, sexually aroused male seeking an outlet. This corresponds with comments made during episodes of Hot Girls Wanted suggesting the types of males who have become accustomed to the pornographic world we live in.
Especially when you discover that while PornHub was the largest internet repository of porn; Avenue Q was correct. The stuff is everywhere, talk about exposure. This is intriguing and ironic since it reflects how all the efforts made to shield the world from pornography have actually had the opposite effect. This may be due to the fact that waters of mainstream society are flowing differently these days.
Plenty of non porn tube sites have some pretty racy stuff that might need to be run past the moderators again. Even dating apps and posts on seemingly normal sharing sites such as Instagram have a hint of sexual suggestiveness. Speaking with Moneyshot’s producers, performers state that depending on who you are, you can even get away with raising the stakes. Looking at both documentaries, the double standard – who can post what, where – is not only frustrating but limiting.
Porn is about power – queue the speech about responsibility. During the many arguments with his film crew, Mike doesn’t hide the fact that he feels his experience and education make him superior. Some people will only look at porn one way, so anyone who engages in it is evil. But even if you watch Lucky Bastard eyeing Dave as the “main ” villain, after viewing Moneyshot you may think differently about Mike’s role.
First, as producer Erika Lust mentions during her interview, some studios, and directors continue to make a career out of abusing the talent they shot scenes with. On and off camera. The starlet’s safety is of little to no concern to the studio. If she can’t finish the scene, that is what Casey – Mike’s S/O(?) and protegee(???) – is there for, right? No, Ashley’s initial complaints about Dave should have made Mike take action. Instead he was so ready to call out ACTION, so focused on his bottom line, while Ashley’s ass was on the line. Another face in the crowd, but then again the same was once true of Ashely and other future performers according to Hot Girls Wanted. Even now a Bailey Rayne could be recruiting the next star. Despite being adult talent herself, even she knows the reality, society would say why put such efforts in protecting what can easily be replaced.
Especially considering that despite being the name of the new Netflix documentary, based upon what Jax Slayher says in the Hot Girls episode by the same name, ‘moneyshots’ aren’t always easy to come by in the adult film industry. For adult performers/content creators this includes the physical and the fiscal. You can also ask 15 year veteran Tyler Knight about the toll. He isn’t ignorant to the fact that it is nice (or not) to be niche. It isn’t just “hot girls wanted” now is it? There is a lot of -ism flying around on porn sets and it is not all from the sex. PornHub and ModelHub were a way for all performers to make their movies without major studios.
PornHub was a smarter option for many performers. And for Dave(s), their first exposure to the world of pornography.
While Dave may eventually become Mike, he also represents the love/hate relationship society has with pornography. It keeps you warm and leaves you feeling cold and empty all at the same time. Dave can tell you about the positives like how porn allows him access to so many beautiful people who won’t reject him. What’s wrong with being confident? Unlike celebrities in other mainstream media, porn stars and their fans have shared a much deeper connection – a closeness, at least in the eyes of the fans.
But he also is everyone who does battle with the porn industry for showing something that is private; that is personal.
If We’re Talking Bodies
Unlike Lucky Bastard, both Netflix documentaries depict some of the real horrors the “porn” industry can cause. Because this wasn’t just Mike making fun at Dave’s performance with no intention of deleting the footage. No one wants their worst moment to live online for eternity, the source of endless looks, even laughs or whispers. Be it porn or a punch to the face.
In Hot Girls Wanted the audience gets a peek at how porn performers struggle as a result of being so visible. How they are viewed in the eyes of those looking (and lurking) outside the industry. Surviving means not only avoiding loss of life, there is a price being a part of porn. Loss of income (from porn or norm), social life (who wants to be a part of your life), even self. Which is what was occurring with PornHub’s policies allowing anyone to post and provide content that violates “basic” standards, not just the internet’s – if you wouldn’t want to see it online, why would you want to see it anywhere?
Another horror franchise’s third film indicates what the organizations like NCOSE and NCMEC were actually out to accomplish in their media and legal war with Pornhub. The climax of Halloween III: Season of the Witch sees the hero attempting to disable the Silver Shamrock commercial signal, in an effort to eliminate evil for invading households – specifically children. Anyone who is familiar with the film knows it ends with a famous fade to black; is that the only solution. Shut it all down.
Which as Money Shot reports is exactly what occurred, well almost. For the second time, MindGeek cut corners in the world of adult content creation and control. In an effort to cut costs and cover fines, PornHub’s ModelHub section was a casualty; Moneshot reports it is no longer operating. However, more needed to be done – war requires retaliation. Until these events, section 230 allowed websites to function as service providers. Not responsible for the actions or behaviors of users. In a time when the world was already united against one common foe, the international community saw the necessity to set a new precedent; most notably FOSTA/SESTA. The flapping of the wings was felt not just on PornHub and porn, any site with even the faintest smell of sex could be shut down.
The entire encounter is reminiscent of the 1994 film Threesome, not a por-nevermind, rule 34 strikes again. However, for those who haven’t seen the Hollywood version, the plot follows three young adults entangled in a love triangle. Although Pornhub may want to call this production Foursome – and there is no love lost here. The National Centers went after MindGEEK, who responded by basically canceling Performers with the removal of creator content areas. The National Centers opened up the argument which led to the passage of FOSTA/SESTA and the entire Sex Industry (which includes providers not necessarily doing the naughty, depending on your definition of sex) took the hit. You may notice this group while watching Lucky Bastard’s Suzanne, whose only crime was opening a listing for a porn shoot. What, you really thought pornstars live in those houses you see in the scenes? How, you don’t view them as celebrities or pay for the content? Anyway, Suzanne is just like Moneyshot’s anonymous moderator. Career and life are jeopardized for letting the wrong one in.
You know what, let’s just have an orgy. Why not, there is one more guest at this party. While fornictors will always have their foes, this particular fight was different. Considering the fact the legal battle launched against PornHub (and MindGEEK) was an effort to aid others being attacked online. Someone else started it. Here’s Mike, again.
Body of Evidence
In a horror movie, anyone can be the killer. And now anyone can make porn. Or even post them on non porngraphic sites and apps. The final episode of Hot Girls Wanted is the reveal and you won’t believe who did it. Why would this person do this? They are nothing like the other people interviewed in previous episodes of Hot Girls Wanted. This must be another case of getting caught up in a fantasy, only to realize too late the reality of what she was doing?
What’s more shocking is in a reverse Scooby-Doo, there is more effort made to put the mask back on once the culprit has been identified. Now, thanks to how the criminal justice system looks at some offenders in a few years POOF, it was never there.
As for the victim(s), the suffering is never ending like Samara’s in The Ring. And the footage continually resurfaces despite requesting its removal. Which puts a ring around the real problem. Everyone is looking at the porn, without noticing the hub. And this is just one of many that exist on the internet. Their users, unwilling to let the circle be broken; popular content will repopulate. Teachers, want a really interesting experiment for your kids on the power of the internet. Go to an age appropriate site, then locate the hottest video or picture, one that is trending. Try tossing some water on that fire and get it removed. Sit back and watch the show, that gremlin’s multiply. What now, you just saw how little an effect exposure has on these little menaces.
In an effort to complete a full rotation, let’s return to exposure. Again looking at the term psychologically. Exposure introduces expectations, resulting not only in the views that porn elicits (sites and sideways) but also what they expect to view from anything that appears pornographic.
Though it’s about porn, at the core of Lucky Bastard is a horror story. If anyone survives the events that take place in Lucky Bastard, does this mean someone can survive the horrors of the adult industry.
Natassia Dreams wouldn’t be alive without porn.
Will working with a studio again kill Asa Akira?
Could Gwen Adora keep killing it if she switches strictly to studio work?
Most audiences expect someone to survive a horror film. And most often this tends to be a character referred to as the Final Girl. One of the originals even escaped another mean Mike.
Typically the person who survives a horror movie makes the least mistakes and the most of the situation. Their exposure becomes experience to pass on.
Suze Randall could also be considered a final girl after dealing with worse men than Michael. During her interview with Hot Girls Wanted producers, audiences learn about this woman’s career as the first female photographer from Playboy. Back in the days of Heff, the Meese Report. And since Playboy is now owned by MindGEEK, Randall’s positive exposure led to her daughter’s career; a female director of mainstream adult entertainment.
This is allows Holly to do what PornHub appeared to offer performers. However it only used them for exposure, allowing models the chance for content exposure only to sit back as shade was thrown on them from every position. Being able to defend yourself against what is online, with protections in place that prove no one owns your material is a victory for performers in and of itself. Owning your masters makes you a slave to no one. Remember this type of creator control issue was once so massive it led to a writers room strike in mainstream media – just imagine we could all be Heroes by now. There is still hope, since a recently won struggle is already richly awarding those performers. Seems some of you are getting paid for your porn – you hit the money shot?