Porn Star Commits Suicide After Mob Hounds Her For Refusing Partner Who Had Gay Sex

Porn Star Commits Suicide After Mob Hounds Her For Refusing Partner Who Had Gay Sex

You really have to marvel at how fast we’ve progressed from 'Bake the cake, bigot' to 'Take off your dress, bigot.'
Mark Hemingway
By

Porn star August Ames committed suicide Tuesday. Ames, whose real name was Mercedes Grabowski, was apparently well-known and well-liked in the, ahem, “industry.” She was young, only 23, and married, insofar as marriage means something when you have sex with other people for a living.

Now, the porn world is regularly subject to high-profile suicides, and I’m not going to pretend it’s a normal occupation pursued by people making enlightened choices. In fact, the circumstances that lead women into porn are as sad as they are predictable: “The adult film star also said her mother was bipolar and that she was molested by her grandfather — a claim which she said her father never believed. Ames told Randall that she was put in a group home at age 12 after alleging to her dad that her grandfather had molested her.”

However, her death is stirring up quite a controversy, because in the days leading up to it, Ames was being bullied heavily online, including several specific suggestions that she kill herself. Ames had tweeted that she had backed out of a sex scene because it wasn’t disclosed that the man she was supposed to have sex with had done gay porn. Apparently, the reticence of women to work with “crossovers” is fairly common and long accepted in porn.

This is because reservations about crossovers aren’t typically perceived as homophobia—Ames claimed she was also attracted to women—it’s simply one of managing risk, as it’s pretty undeniable that gay men are more likely to contract HIV and STDs.

Nonetheless, gay and bisexual performers resent this stigma as unfair, as every performer is subject to the same regular sexually transmitted disease tests before they are cleared to do porn. Despite her protests to the contrary, Ames was called homophobic nonstop online for a few days before she eventually hanged herself.

Where Does ‘Public Accommodation’ Stop?

For a while now, the joke has been that political correctness is moving so swiftly that not only will you have to approve of gay sex, it will become mandatory. I don’t mean this as an unfortunately literal bit of gallows humor, but Ames’ death does raise eyebrows because it speaks to a frightening dystopia where any traditional deference to female vulnerability becomes subservient to liberal pieties about sexuality.

The day Ames killed herself, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about a case involving a Colorado cake baker who doesn’t want to make cakes for gay weddings. The baker, quite understandably and credibly, insists there’s a rather large expressive and artistic component to his vocation, so he shouldn’t be forced to endorse any particular message or religious ceremony he disagrees with. The counterargument is that it’s just a cake, and as long as you’re open for business, you have to serve anyone without discrimination.

Well, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how Ames’s detractors weren’t extending the exact same logic of “public accommodation” to her. After all, she’s open for business, if you want to call it that. Wouldn’t it be discrimination to exclude working with an entire class of people?

Take Off Your Dress, Bigot

Except that last I checked, there’s a word for when a woman is threatened and bullied into sex with someone she feels uncomfortable with, for any reason whatsoever: “Rape.” Again, it’s worth noting that Ames and other performers believably insist that their aversion is simply about health risks, not discrimination. It doesn’t inspire confidence that gay activists have been arguing for some time that HIV infections should be a private matter. California even recently passed a law reducing the criminal charges related to knowingly exposing someone to deadly virus.

Well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a mob that would tell Ames to kill herself if she won’t have sex with someone who has sex with other men would also happily pass a law requiring porn stars to be subject to penalties for discriminating in who they sleep with. Certainly, trans activists are already pushing the idea that you’re transphobic if you won’t sleep with transsexuals. You really have to marvel at how fast we’ve progressed from “Bake the cake, bigot” to “Take off your dress, bigot.”

In the end, it’s hard to know what to say, because we’ve heard it all before and we’ll hear it again. Ames was an innocent young girl who was molested by her grandfather. Becoming a porn star gave her the illusion of gaining control over the most traumatic aspect of her childhood. When she made the mistake of trying to publicly assert control over who she had sex with as a Sex Positive Adult Film Star, hordes of angry people she’d never met bullied her and told her to kill herself. So she did.

The entire porn industry is built on the fact that Ames’ story is repeated thousands of times over. Maybe the story doesn’t always end in suicide. Maybe it ends in addiction, or maybe it ends in physical abuse, but it always ends in tragedy. No matter how many times the curtain is peeled back, our desire for selfish and destructive gratification outstrips our willingness to care.

Mark Hemingway is the Book Editor at The Federalist, and a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @heminator

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