Does the porn industry in France have its #MeToo moment?

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Four French porn actors have been charged with rape in what is called the #MeToo moment of the French porn industry. Feminist organizations are calling for “an end to impunity” in the sector.

During a one-year police investigation, 53 women came forward to recount their experiences of abuse on pornographic platforms in France. They described a culture of sexual violence in the industry, including being drugged and coerced into humiliating and degrading acts. Thirty women filed a formal complaint with the police.

Today, for the first time in France, four male porn actors – one of whom is mainly a cameraman – are charged with rape. Three of the men who were indicted on October 29 are currently in detention awaiting trial, while the other man remains under judicial supervision.

“These are women who were not believed, by the police but also by their colleagues,” explained Marjolaine Vignola, a Parisian lawyer representing two of the victims, in an interview with AXADLETM. “Especially because some of them they had contracts – contracts whose legality was questionable, and sometimes even totally void. But in the world of pornography, as soon as someone has a contract, people aren’t going to dig deeper or check if it is. valid or not.

This is the latest development in an investigation into the French amateur porn site “French Bukkake” which began in March 2020. Four people were charged last October with aggravated pimping and human trafficking, including the director , actor and porn producer who created the French Bukkake. and which bears the pseudonym of ‘Pascal OP’. Pascal OP is known in the porn industry for his violent gonzo style pornography. He and another porn producer with the pseudonym ‘Mat Hadix’ are now in jail.

“If you are in your room or in a porn movie, the law is the same”French daily Le Parisien reported how even the men who were indicted found it difficult to review pornographic videos in the courtroom. An actor was asked to re-watch a scene in which he violently forced an actress to suck him off, and a judge asked him how he would describe the scene. He replied, “In this case, I am guilty, I have no excuse. From what you told me, it’s rape, because the girl’s consent is not… ”before bursting into tears.

“It is a good thing that the actors are also charged,” said Vignola. “If you have a crying woman in front of you and you continue to have anal sex with her, whether you are in your bedroom or staring in a porn movie, the law is the same. Consent must be constantly reiterated during a sexual act.

“A vast network of pimping”Mouvement du Nid is an organization that fights against prostitution and supports women who are or have been sex workers. In a statement, the organization said the investigation had “exposed the organization of the criminal pornography industry: a vast network of pimping and trafficking in human beings, subjecting women to prostitution, rape and to acts of torture ”.

A spokesperson for the organization, Sandrine Goldschmidt, told AXADLETM: “This is a very important case because it shows that impunity [in the industry] can be contested, it is not a given.

A parallel investigation was opened on the French porn site ‘Jacquie et Michel’ in July 2020. This investigation was launched after the three feminist organizations Dare feminism, Les Effronté-es and Mouvement du Nid reported a video from the French media Konbini to the police, in which two women revealed the abuse they suffered while filming porn videos for ‘Jacquie et Michel’.

In response to the accusations, in November 2020, ‘Jacquie et Michel’ and French porn giant Marc Dorcel announced that they would draft an ethics charter for the porn industry in France. The guidelines were released in April 2021 after months of consultations with people working in the industry.

But the charter has been called “bogus” by feminist organizations. French journalist Robin D’Angelo, who spent a year undercover investigating the amateur porn industry, told France Inter that “these charters are just a marketing ploy, opportunistic if not downright cynical.”

For lawyer Marjolaine Vignola, the mere publication of a charter “is not a response to accusations of procuring, gang rape and trafficking in human beings. A charter cannot change an entire system. It is an attempt to try to redeem yourself.

The French porn industry is not the only one under surveillance. In the United States, porn actor Ron Jeremy was charged with 30 counts of rape or sexual assault against 21 women in August and is currently in jail awaiting trial.

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