Friday, 8 August 2008

Does anyone know more about this?

Since I posted about Melissa Farley earlier today, I had a look at her blog and discovered this. It's from January, but, well... see for yourselves:

A post about a woman who'd been brutally assaulted as part of a production at kink.com in San Francisco appeared on Luke Ford's blog www.lukeisback.com on January 10, 2008. There were 18 responses, including my own. After 5 days, the thread was removed from his site. I have reason to believe that this account is substantially true. What is really going on at kink.com? What can we do about it?
Melissa Farley

January 10, 2008, 4:59 PM
Kink.com Runs Another Girl From The Business
(from lukeisback.com)
Director Ricky D. writes:

I usually don’t post this kind of stuff, but I really don’t like to see talent get taken advantage of.

A close friend of mine worked for Kink for her third time recently, and had the most traumatizing experience of her life. (No, she didn’t do the Training of O everyone is always talking about) Her injuries after the shoot include numerous lumps in both breasts (from being slapped, whipped with a bamboo cane), bruises and rope burns from head to toe, bleeding from both her vagina and butt, and soreness everywhere from being constantly shocked when she made it known she didn’t want to do it. On top of that, it was shot in a room with running water flowing through the room that was so cold that during the shoot you can see the talent’s breath. On top of that, she can’t sleep because of the pain and flashbacks from the scene in her dreams. She officially quit the business right after the shoot. I’m sure she’s not the only one they’ve driven to leave. It seems as though once they get you in that building, they torment you as much as they can get away with until the talent won’t work for them, or at all, anymore.

People in this industry know the hush money they pay talent to shut the fuck up. I know quite a few girls that they’ve taken advantage of and felt the need to give them extra money after the fact. I’ve talked to producers, directors, and talent - the only people saying positive stuff about them are the ones making money off them.

I know what people will say, this girl is looking for attention: if she was looking for attention she’d post here herself. And no she’s not a drug addict; she had some medical issues as a child that would kill her if she takes almost any recreational drug.

This is just a warning to any girls looking to work for them and people looking to push traffic to them. I just hope you’re okay with promoting sites like there’s with people like that.

Has anyone else heard about it? Not that Farley being the only one reporting it means that it is false, but I'd prefer to find out more information about exactly how this happened.

I've seen some things from kink.com before (admittedly, the only video I have seen was all femdom, and I don't know if there's any difference in dynamics based on gender. And I haven't seen this "Training of O" thing they mention so I don't know if it's more extreme).

It never seemed particularly brutal or violent to me -- just looked like consensual SM. I definitely never saw any blood from orifices or heavy bruising. I've also seen the post-scene interviews that one commenter there describes, which definitely struck me as candid and included the bottom mentioning things he didn't like (for example, a rope bondage harness being tied a bit uncomfortably).

I don't want to say this doesn't go on, or to pretend no one uses "it's SM!" as an excuse to harm people. But I do want to know more about this. If it disappeared from lukeisback, why did it?

If nothing else, if this is going on, we need to blacklist those fuckers.

[ETA: I'm now not just vaguely skeptical, but VERY skeptical that this happened as described, or even happened at all. See comments. Still, if anyone knows about this specific event, I'd really like to hear more. As I said, if it DID happen, it's totally unacceptable.]

[ETA3: Found the original thread where this was posted. (Just a forum link, but there are some NWS/porn images)]

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've watched more kink.com shoots on more of their sites than I care to admit publicly, my fiancee is friends with someone who's shot for them, and I'm familiar with some of their associations with the SF bdsm scene. I don't think I've seen a shoot where the model hasn't looked happy in the end, and they get a lot of repeat business from their models.

As for trainingofo.com, it looks like a 4-day bdsm vacation, with the shoots being a little more gritty aesthetically. I haven't actually watched any of the shoots, but perusing their previews, most of the people there are very, very experienced.

That said, a lot of the people who model for their other sites are inexperienced "I've been tied up by my boyfriend/girlfriend and given a mild spanking" types. Furthermore, they've grown a LOT, and it's possible that some of the people working there are not as professional and caring as others. So I think the most likely scenario is that someone didn't know their limit, didn't use their safeword, feels cheapened and regretful about the scene, or some combination of the above. I mean, certainly I've done things I later regret, felt taken advantage of and subsequently told the story to my friends in such a way that I sounded unambiguously like the victim. This doesn't mean this person doesn't deserve our sympathy or that her pain is invalid, but that we can't properly blame the other side for what happened.

On the other hand, it could be that the staff erred by putting a girl in a scene she wasn't ready for. And it could certainly be a little of both. But both the facts and my love of Occam's Razor make me doubt that the organization as a whole is some kind of Orwellian conspiracy that's managed to dupe a most of people in the SF BDSM scene and somehow silence the rest.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, as I look at Farley's site, I see there's a picture which claims to expose Kink.com as a "Women and Gay Men's Abu Ghraib." Honestly, my first response to the picture from Kink.com, despite the fact that it had clearly been doctored to look grainy and unseemly, as well as censored in a way which demonstrates deep issues with sexuality and the human body, was "Wow, I wish I were her!"

Trinity said...

Anon: Given that Farley is the *only* one who I could find posting about this other than SparkleMatrix, who seemed to just be re-posting Farley's post anyway, I'm skeptical too.

I don't like the idea of doubting anyone's claim to be assaulted, though, and I do realize that I have something of an interest in kink.com not being tarnished in my own eyes. That's part of why I asked people what they think.

From what I've seen (and heard over at my LJ from one former model), this sounds fishy to others, too. If I could find out more about who this lukeisback and Ricky D are, and why lukeisback supposedly deleted the post, that might be more of a clue.

As far as "everyone knows about the hush money", I don't closely know lots of models for the site, but I HAVE definitely heard activist friends and sex worker friends call people out (GGW, SuicideGirls, etc.) when they know someone is pulling some shit.

And I have *never* seen even rumors of this. Everything I've heard, and the little I've seen, has suggested that they are actually one of the best places to work for.

And Farley has had a grudge against sadomasochists since the '80s -- witness, among other things, that "Kink.com and Abu Ghraib" post you mention.

So... either the hush money is damn good and people I think are honorable have a price, or no one knew about this, or it didn't happen, or it didn't happen as Farley relates it.

"But both the facts and my love of Occam's Razor make me doubt that the organization as a whole is some kind of Orwellian conspiracy that's managed to dupe a most of people in the SF BDSM scene and somehow silence the rest."

Yeaaaaaah. I agree.

I just do wonder, though, did an asshole top slip through the cracks by posing as a consensual hard-ass? That wouldn't be the first time that's ever happened (though it'd be the first I ever specifically heard of it happening on a porn set.) And if it did happen or is happening, if they're covering for Master Asshair because he's their friend or the only one who can tie those suspensions like that, then that's bad.

I just don't know that we know from one post from *Farley* about something she found talking about somebody's friend that this did happen as described. Much less that it's frequent, or tolerated.

Ellie said...

I also don't like the idea of doubting someone's claim of assault. In fact I'm a rape crisis volunteer advocate and universally *believe* people. However, we don't really have a claim of assault from a survivor. We have a claim made about a friend and reposted over several websites. No identifying details - and I'm not even talking about identifying the woman, there could be website, date, etc. We see it appear on several anti-pornography sites that are run by people that *do not understand* and *cannot accept* BDSM. I have promoted Kink.com in the past so I went to this site to read the information there with an open mind. If this were true, there is no way I would promote them. But I have no reason to believe this is more than a concocted story designed to slander the organization.

These activists see nothing wrong with lying to get their way. To them, it is a completely black and white issue so they think that concocting stories is an acceptable way to make their arguments. Zealots will always behave in this way.

Either way, I think our community is correct to practice due diligence and take accusations like this *very* seriously. In this case, I can't imagine what can even be done with the accusation beyond a knee-jerk reaction. If I believed this was true I would want to see the survivor receive help and counseling and see the perpetrator brought to justice. Those details are conveniently missing so that the only response available is to wring our hands and deny our very sexual identities as deviant, aberrant, and depraved. I see the rhetorical setup here and it doesn't make me confident about this Melissa Farley person.

Calico said...

I've really been missing out on the hush money, huh?

I have shot for Kink.com as a model probably ten times in the last three years (and I've written about it on my blog, where it's tagged kink dot com.) Even when a shoot was too much for me, it was always a good experience (well, as much as failure can be). The one time I hurt another model on a wrestling shoot, I have never seen people so concerned -- they called an ambulance pronto, escorted her to the hospital, paid her ER bills, and made sure I knew she was OK.

What is this about the model keeping quiet because she's not an attention seeker? If she's sincere about keeping this from happening to another model, she ought to speak up. It's not as if she intends to work for Kink again, right?

I'm going to invoke Occam's Razor on this one: it just seems too unlikely that we're all stupid and all the models (except me, goddamnit!) are paid off.

If I'm wrong, I really really want to know.

Trinity said...

"I also don't like the idea of doubting someone's claim of assault. In fact I'm a rape crisis volunteer advocate and universally *believe* people. However, we don't really have a claim of assault from a survivor. We have a claim made about a friend and reposted over several websites. No identifying details - and I'm not even talking about identifying the woman, there could be website, date, etc."

Excellent points.

"Either way, I think our community is correct to practice due diligence and take accusations like this *very* seriously. In this case, I can't imagine what can even be done with the accusation beyond a knee-jerk reaction."

Yeah. If it *was* indicative of common business practices at K.c or even indicative that, like I suggested, they happen to pardon one asshole top because he's buddies with the CEO or something, THEN we could react. With a boycott, a protest, spreading the word, etc.

But... there's so very little real information here. Just some guy (who later TOOK IT DOWN) swearing his friend told him something happened, when she herself supposedly didn't want anyone to know. Why'd he take matters into his own hands, then? Well, if it's true, maybe he thinks it's important. But if that's so, why then take it down?

Trinity said...

"Even when a shoot was too much for me, it was always a good experience (well, as much as failure can be). The one time I hurt another model on a wrestling shoot, I have never seen people so concerned -- they called an ambulance pronto, escorted her to the hospital, paid her ER bills, and made sure I knew she was OK."

*nods* Yeah, that's how I'd always heard they acted... and part of why I've always thought in the back of my mind that someday before I die I'd like to top for mip -- which is part of why I was so upset seeing this. Like "hey, I kind of want to DO that... oh fuck, don't tell me they're assholes. Dammit."

"I'm going to invoke Occam's Razor on this one: it just seems too unlikely that we're all stupid and all the models (except me, goddamnit!) are paid off."

Yeah, that's what my gut says too. But my inner feminist pipes up with "If any accusation of assault is made, it MUST be assumed to be true."

But y'know, this doesn't sound true to me. It's not a he-said she-said deal. It's Farley, who already thinks the scene is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, reposting something some guy took down from his blog, about some friend he isn't naming who supposedly doesn't want the story getting out.

Fishy if anything ever is...

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that 'some' people working in the industry are very unethical and not really inclined to think about any sort of employers or corporate responsibility. This fits with my experience of the industry and mainstream industry as well where a lot of corporate responsibility is simply an elaborate pr exercise.

If you are in this industry you have a duty of care. I know about would still be involved, but my mum got scared and said you're moving to your auntie and uncle in bel air.

Cherry Torn said...

I've worked for kink.com 7 times now for several different sites. I'm pretty familiar with most of the webmasters and staff due to being local and the old happy hour parties they had every Friday night. I absolutely love working with them, have never been mistreated in any way shape or form, and would absolutely say they have been the most pleasant BDSM company I've ever worked for.

I saw the thread you're talking about and the responses were a mix of people that were skeptical and those ridiculing kink. From where I'm standing I can't speak for what happened, because I don't actually know. I don't want to seem like a victim blamer, but I would be utterly shocked if it happened they way the guy said. Every time I've worked there the crew has always been VERY concerned about my well being.

The thing that makes me suspicious is the injuries listed. Ropeburn will always happen, I'm always asked at the beginning of a shoot whether marks are okay, I always have pretty sore muscles afterward (I'm very unfit :D), and the biggest red flag of all is that they supposedly continued after she made it clear she didn't want to go on while she was bleeding from her rectum and vagina.

Wow. That accusation is huge and I just can't believe it. Like you said TTOO is more difficult than the other sites and I've watched one of their shoots where a model made an extremely vague statement about not wanting to continue and the shoot stopped right there and did not continue. I know of one person whose body reacted strangely to something she herself had no problem with and they stopped the shoot to take her to the hospital.

Maybe something did happen, the first poster said it better than I can. Accidents do happen and people can go too far. We'll never really know unfortunately, but without more information than a post by a random guy with a "friend" I'm going to have to go on my own experiences with the company. I trust them.

Trinity said...

"If you are in this industry you have a duty of care. I know about would still be involved, but my mum got scared and said you're moving to your auntie and uncle in bel air."

Waiiiit, what? Are you saying you worked for them specifically, or just that you worked in the porn industry? And if you're old enough to be in porn, why do your parents get to move you? *quite confused now*

Trinity said...

Cherry Torn,

Thank you, also. That's definitely what I wanted to believe even when I first saw this -- but never having worked with them I wanted to get some opinions. And I've not seen a single person who did work for them say anything but "That would never happen." So I'm inclined now to agree with you. The accusation IS very vague, it's reproduced ONLY in places that are anti-BDSM anyway, NO ONE has heard anything more about it, etc.

That said if anyone *does* know anything more about this specific case, I'd definitely like to know.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this nonsense for a while. I don't work for kink, but I do live in San Francisco and have a lot of friends that do.

It came out on a forum this was posted on that Ricky D is the boyfriend of a model who's worked for kink several times. The injuries he's talking about are clearly greatly exaggerated. "Lumps on the breasts"? Does he mean a welt? Slightly raised, angry flesh that will disappear after a couple of hours (at MOST), then become bruises and then stick around for a while? I've done some pretty intense breast bondage in my time, a lot harder than anyone does at kink, and I've never in my life left a "lump on the breast".

There's a great many people around who aren't into BDSM and hate it. View it as despicable. There's more people around who don't see it as awful, but when confronted with some they care for coming home with bruises will freak the fuck out. I know, once or twice I've been the person who put those bruises there and then had to deal with the repurcussions of someone freaking the fuck out about them. Luckily the "victims" in question were strong enough in their convictions to tell the aggressive kinkophobe to chill the fuck out.

This sort of activity requires a certain level of responsibility from the submissive. What does happen unfortunately is girls do these shoots thinking they'll be easier than they are - and then sit and tough it out rather than stopping the scene when it gets too hard for them. Despite amplewarnings, despite a load of people standing around repeatedly asking them if they're okay, for some reason they feel like they aren't doing a good job if they don't push themselves to the limit. Kink.com really try and not let this happen, but it does regardless.

So how easy is it, when you come home from a shoot, aching and bruised, to then deal with your boyfriend flipping the fuck out at you?

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL THEM TO STOP?! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!"

I reckon some people, in that position, with their unreasonable boyfriend screaming that in their face, might just say "I did, I did, they wouldn't stop!" just to deflect the blame. But why trust the word of this Ricky D character anyway? I mean it's fairly obvious from the whole titlump crap that he's not telling the complete truth.

The "victim" in question had done several shoots with kink before. She could have easily stopped the scene AT ANY TIME. I've watched how kink operates, they stop the scene every 2 minutes practically, and are constantly checking on the models. Constantly. It's actually pretty annoying to be honest. They're OVERLY cautious - and with good reason, they make a lot of money doing edgy stuff (though it should be noted not particularly edgey in BDSM terms) and just one lawsuit could cripple them.

This Ricky D character has posted this crap all over the place. The model themselves isn't making the accusations, he is. She's nowhere to be seen, and you can go on kink and watch her scenes on there and nothing looks nearly as morbid as he's making out. Funny, huh?

Sometimes you need more than a pinch of salt.

Trinity said...

Thanks for actually providing info on this specific post and accusation, Anonymous.

Have you ever spoken to that specific woman? Does SHE have anything to say about this being posted by Ricky D?

Is Ricky D someone who isn't into SM/doesn't generally like it? I don't know anything about him, so I don't know how to judge your supposition that he might have flipped out at worse marks than he expected. (I don't mean by saying this to suggest it isn't plausible. I've had friends who were OK with my SM in general suddenly flip when I mentioned I'd consensually made someone cry... so yeah, it happens.)

Trinity said...

Also this:

"This sort of activity requires a certain level of responsibility from the submissive. What does happen unfortunately is girls do these shoots thinking they'll be easier than they are - and then sit and tough it out rather than stopping the scene when it gets too hard for them."

is part of why I no longer bottom. I have a tendency to get this way, feel that if something's not all right I'm a wuss if I don't endure it, whether it's fun or not.

And for someone who's performing for a camera, and also getting money out of the whole deal, I'd imagine that if they're prone to that, disaster that's not really the fault of the top (if s/he doesn't understand things are going pear-shaped and just stop ANYWAY, which would be my advice, personally) might well occur at least once.

Dean said...

Oh, and kink also have a no blood rule. Any blood appears the shoot stops. Every single time. Take a look at the shooting rules. They're pretty diligent about it too - period blood even isn't allowed. If someone let a shoot continue with bleeding orafices they'd probably lose their job in a hurry, kink have proved time and time again that they have no problem not only stopping a shoot, but firing people who aren't sufficiently safety conscious.

Trinity said...

Thanks, Dean.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the thread I originally saw this on: http://forum.adultdvdtalk.com/forum/topic.dlt/topic_id=114570/forum_id=10/cat_id=1/114570.htm

I don't have time right now to fish through myself for the models name, sorry - but it's in there somewhere. Or at least it was.

Trinity said...

Oh, and from the shooting rules:

"Simulated beating that involves a closed fist or a foot with footwear (a shoe or boot) is prohibited."

So even if I did a shoot with them, they'd probably have to cut it eleventy-two times because I forgot and closed my hand. Ha.

(Not that I don't get why not selling videos of punching makes sense, mind you...)

Anonymous said...

I've actually come across mention of this before, on the 'Pro-Porn Activism' blog.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8385392963347857134&postID=2355031263308936092

A comment by 'iamcuriousblue' on this post is this:

"Well, I don't think the porn industry has any big ugly secrets, but individual incidents, that might point to larger problems – that's where I am critical of the industry. I do think abuses happen within the industry – when I hear somebody like Anne Howe (who may not be an A-list porn star, but is definitely an established performer, and very much not part of the Shelly Lubin crowd) say that they've done performances where they were hurting and literally forced to continue, I take that seriously. Or Kayden Faye ending up in the hospital and leaving porn entirely (with the exception of for her own paysite) after a bad shoot with Kink.com. (And, yep, I'm aware of Kink.com's otherwise good track record – I'd still like to know what the fuck happened in Kayden Faye's case.)"

This is definitely referencing the same incident.

SnowdropExplodes said...

"If you are in this industry you have a duty of care. I know about would still be involved, but my mum got scared and said you're moving to your auntie and uncle in bel air."

Waiiiit, what? Are you saying you worked for them specifically, or just that you worked in the porn industry? And if you're old enough to be in porn, why do your parents get to move you? *quite confused now*


It's a quote from the opening credits of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air", so I'm guessing that it's a tongue-in-cheek reference. I'm guessing that the reference puts the writer in the 20-30 age group, since that's roughly the age that the people who watched it would ne nowadays?

(The original lyrics ran "...When a couple of guys who were up to no good/ started making trouble in the neighbourhood/ I got in one little fight and my mom got scared/ She said, 'You're moving with your auntie and your uncle in Bel Air'"

I guess the quote was meant to say that people get a bit overprotective of kinky folks, especially if they appear in kinky porn!

Trinity said...

Yeah, I didn't know those were the same case, Anon.

IACB, if you read here: the hospital? When? For what exactly?

Helen said...

Hey, slightly OT, but if the training of O has anything to do with the Story of O I can send you the book... it freaked me out some, particularly the last third (spoiler: her owner gives her to another owner, to my mind kinda defeating the point).

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