This weekend, the GayVN Awards, the gay subset of one of the most widely-known award ceremonies in the adult film industry, announced a “Best Ethnic Scene” category among its mostly white roster of award nominees in pretty much every other category. After porn performer and GayVN Awards nominee Hugh Hunter and others criticized the segregation of performers of color into their own category, the GayVN issued a statement explaining their initial reasoning and announcing their decision to combine the nominees for “Best Ethnic Scene” and “Best Duo Scene” into their own category with all nominees in those categories competing for a single award.
In their statement, the GayVN Awards wrote:
The team at AVN offers a heartfelt, unequivocal apology to anyone who felt that the category of Best Ethnic Scene was an attempt to slight performers of color. It truly pains us to have offended any member of our community….
… to involve as many companies and performers as possible by including more categories and therefore more winners, the decision was made to add categories that recognize content aimed at certain consumer groups—hence, for example, Best Fetish Scene and Best Bear Scene. Though some nominees are produced by “mainstream” gay adult companies, these categories provide a platform for smaller producers to receive more attention.
In the same spirit, the Best Ethnic Scene category was added to recognize producers who work largely with performers of particular ethnic backgrounds. These producers cater to their own group of consumers and are a key component of the gay adult industry, and we hoped to ensure they were well represented in the 2018 nominations. The addition of this category was never intended to restrict performers of any non-European ethnic background from competing fully in ANY other category, whether in the judged categories or the Fan Award categories.
The ‘Best Duo Scene’ category now has 29 competitors in it whereas all the other categories have about 15 nominees each. In essence, this means that a performer of color now has to compete against twice as many people as competitors in other categories like Best Fetish Scene or Best Bear Scene
The @gayvn awards announce nominations including a BEST ETHNIC SCENE category for black, Latin, and Asian models. Meanwhile none are nominated as best actor or supporting actor.
My response, “…I am respectfully declining my nominations in all categories…”
Full letter here. pic.twitter.com/CQPxZFRuZ6
— Hugh Hunter (@theHughHunter) November 25, 2017
Porn performer and GayVN Awards nominee Hugh Hunter was one of the first people to comment on the issue with these nominations. Hunter called out the inclusion of a ‘Best Ethnic Scene’ category for further marginalizing minority groups.
Hunter notes that none of the black, Asian and Hispanic performers grouped together in this category received a nomination for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.
He also responded to his three nominations, stating, “I am respectfully declining my nominations in all categories.”
Featured image courtesy the 2010 Blatino Erotica Awards