james deen, rape allegations, rape, porn industry, hollywood, polanski

The Porn Industry Handles Rape Better Than Hollywood

Hollywood could learn a thing or two from the adult film industry when it comes to handling sexual violence.

Porn industry giants are severing ties with James Deen in response to allegations of rape made by his ex-girlfriend and several other women. Kink.com, a major bondage porn studio, has dropped him, and Evil Angel wants nothing to do with him.

Deen has also resigned from his position of chairperson of the board of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC). The APAC released a statement on Twitter that reads, in part, “APAC recognizes the seriousness of the statements and that they indicate a major conflict between a board member and other members of the organization.”

Say what you will about the people who make pornography, but you have to give them credit for taking steps to protect their workers from sexual violence. These measures are common sense (and rational self-interest), but by shunning James Deen, the adult entertainment industry has shown that it takes rape a hell of a lot more seriously than the mainstream entertainment industry does.

Bill Cosby got away with raping women for decades. Many women accused him, went to the police and took him to court, but his career didn’t suffer for it until a man spoke out against him.

Roman Polanski, who anally raped a 13-year-old girl after giving her drugs and alcohol, still has a robust career in directing. Hollywood’s biggest stars are perfectly happy to act in his movies and defend his reputation. In 2009, more than 100 giants of the film industry signed a petition demanding that the USA let Polanski off the hook for that itty-bitty-teeny-weeny pedophilia thing.

Then there’s Woody Allen, whose adopted daughter Dylan Farrow accused of molesting her. Hollywood hasn’t shunned him at all.

Cosby was a brilliant comedian, and Polanski and Allen are brilliant filmmakers, though, so one can kind of understand why Hollywood might be tempted to overlook their crimes in the service of art. It’s not a valid reason to let someone off the hook for sexual abuse, but at least it’s not beyond the realm of human comprehension.

But that excuse, as weak as it is, certainly doesn’t apply in the case of Victor Salva. Victor Salva, director of Jeepers Creepers, raped the 12-year-old star of his film Clownhouse in 1987 and even filmed the abuse. Salva went to jail for his crime, but after he got out in 1992, Hollywood was still happy to work with him again. He went on to write and direct Powder, a movie about a magical boy who makes people feel very special when he touches them. No, really. That’s what it’s about.

He also directed Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2, horror movies about a monster that feeds upon the tender flesh of handsome young boys.

One could argue that Salva has served his time and paid his debt to society. That’s a fair point. But one could also argue that it might not be a great idea to give Salva a job as a Hollywood director, considering he used his power in the industry to rape a young boy. It’s like giving a recovering alcoholic a job as a bartender. It’s just asking for trouble. Salva can go work at an Amazon warehouse instead.

Or, if Salva absolutely must work in film, he could just have a job as a writer — a job that would keep him far, far away from underage boys. It’s not as if Salva’s directorial talents are irreplaceably brilliant. Let somebody else direct Jeepers Creepers 3 (which is currently in production) — preferably someone who has not raped anyone. Here’s a crazy idea: Give the job to a director of color, or a woman. It would be really great if Hollywood gave women and people of color as many opportunities to direct as it gives rapists.

Salva, Allen and Polanski still have jobs, but James Deen is finished, at least for now. If he wants to work in entertainment again, he’ll have to go back to Hollywood.

(featured image via Wikimedia Commons)