August Ames 1994 - 2017
This week; the adult entertainment industry was met with the sad news that Adult Entertainment star, August Ames was found dead in California, at the age of just 23, of apparent suicide.
August, who has appeared in approximately 290 movies and won 2 AVN Awards, had battled depression throughout her life, struggling with child abuse, drug abuse as will as other mental health disorders; appears to have taken her life after being bullied by online trolls who labelled her as being "homophobic", after refusing to perform with a male performer who had previously performed in gay sex movies.
Citing a lax in standards for HIV testing in the gay porn industry; August defended her right to exercise sexual autonomy amid hateful trolls on twitter, who were relentless in their cyber-bully; hounding a 23 year old woman until she felt she had no choice but to take her own life.
To Me; August's story highlights the need for better respect and understanding of the rights of those working in the Adult Industry. Quite rightly; August chose to put her health first. And why shouldn't she? It is her body at the end of the day, and she has to right to say who does and doesn't go inside it. It has nothing to do with being prejudiced or "homophobic". It's about a young woman protecting her well-being. This is something every single human being on the planet has the right to do. So why should that right be ignored because it's regarding somebody who works in the Adult Industry?
It is so sad that there are people in this world who are seemingly unwilling or unable to look beyond the entertainment persona, and see the person behind it. Adult Entertainers are not robots who will put their own health at risk because you want to get your rocks off. Behind every Adult Entertainer is a living, breathing human being with emotions and a beating heart. THEY are on control of their own body. And they are allowed a say in what happens to it. Bullying an Adult Entertainer because she has the right to say "no", is NEVER appropriate; no matter how you try to justify it.
With sex workers fighting to keep their industry safe and free from exploitation; it is a sad state of affairs when it is the very audience being entertained, who turn on them when things don't go the way they want it to. Since when did consenting adults become pieces of meat to be abused and bullied because they are being "paid"?
At the end of the day; these are people who are doing a job. Wouldn't you want to be treated fairly in your job? Wouldn't you want your rights to be recognised? Wouldn't you feel bad if you were expected to ignore your health because entertaining others is more important?
Supporting sex-workers and those in the Adult Entertainment Industry is a lot more than simply paying to view their content. It's about respecting them as human beings. Respecting their boundaries and understanding that they have the right to refuse if a particular activity would put their health a risk.
If anything can be learned from the tragic death of August Ames, it is that there needs to be a better understanding of the personal rights of sex-workers. We also need to address the issue of cyber-bulling. Tech firms have been instructed to tackle the issue of online trolls. Yet we are still seeing cases of people being driven to taking drastic measures like suicide and self-harm, as a result of online bullying.
Social media is both a blessing and curse; but while we can be responsible for ourselves; social media companies need to be responsible for how it's users conduct themselves when interacting with others. NOBODY deserves to be bullied online. Until these tech companies address this issue; I fear we will see even more tragic cases like this. When did a human life become "collateral damage" in the economic success of social media?