It is with great sadness that I woke up this morning to hear about the death of August Ames, a porn star who had come to worldwide prominence as a real star in the industry. The 23 year old took her own life just days after becoming the centre of a storm regarding alleged homophobic comments about a fellow actor who had appeared in gay porn.
She tweeted on December 3: “Whichever (lady) performer is replacing me tomorrow for @EroticaXNew , you’re shooting with a guy who has shot gay porn, just to let cha know.
“Do agents really not care about who they’re representing? I do my homework for my body.”
Needless to say, that caused a backlash on social media which her getting a load of abuse. She was subsequently unapologetic, saying it was standard practice for female porn stars not to appear with men who have done gay porn, and that it was her choice who she had in her body. Below are those two Tweets.
Her final message came on December 5th, a simple Fuck y’all. Little did people know that hours later she would be dead.
Numerous figures in the porn industry were deeply shocked by the news of Ames’ death, with fellow porn star Abella Danger tweeting: “She was the most kind-hearted person ever.”
Producer/director Jules Jordan added: “Rest In Peace to August Ames, one of the best, nicest people I ever knew in the business.”
Yesterday, fellow porn star Annika Albrite, a friend of Ames, went as far to imply the recent backlash may have contributed to her death.
“Omg,I can’t believe she’s dead,” Albrite tweeted. “You people should have known better than to berate her over her personal thoughts! Shame on all you for beating it into the ground.
“Online harassment is a real thing & it claimed another life. Someone who I liked & would have even called a friend!”
Ames, real name is Mercedes Grabowski, starred in over 270 adult films since making her acting debut in 2013.
A Culture of Bullying and Hate
Obviously I am not going to get involved in who porn stars let into their body. I don’t work in that industry so have no idea what standard practice is. A woman can choose to have sex with whoever she wants, and it would be a sick industry if someone felt forced to have sex with someone because the backlash if they didn’t would be huge.
What I will say is that online bullying has become huge over recent years, with a sub culture of people on Twitter waiting around for someone to make an infraction which they can then jump on to end their career. This rarely has anything to do with them being offended, it is a self righteous attempt to play the social justice warrior and get lauded as a virtuous human, with the invaluable currency or likes and retweets. Little to no regard is ever given to whether the person is guilty or intended to cause offence. It is just a case of sending abuse whilst simultaneously sticking their virtual hands up going ‘look at me’, often using a gif so their abuse stands out more than most so they get the recognition.
Social media platforms have all but put an end to proper debate. It is now just a place where people go to hurl abuse at those they disagree with. I follow a number of political journalists as I am an unapologetic nerd. People go on their feeds just to give unsolicited abuse. No thought is ever given to the feelings of any of these people, it is just bullying.
Still, we never know how fragile someone is. We just see a public persona and that is it. However, depression is a killer and some people don’t need much of a push to send them over the edge. When someone is at the target of a worldwide hate campaign, you don’t need to be a shrinking violet to be seriously affected.
I hope this acts as a good moment and we look at the way we deal with people on social media. Twitter now has 280 characters, so ask about people’s views, discuss, give them a chance to explain their point. Don’t just spout hate as the results can be tragic.
Finally I would like to send our love to the family of August Ames. It is they who now have to suffer the heartache.