Lisa Ann’s anti-prostitution rant sparks outcry from sex workers

Since announcing her retirement from porn last year, MILF porn icon Lisa Ann has been keeping busy with a number of projects, such as hosting her own fantasy football show on Sirius XM, starting her own porn star boot camp and getting into a very public (and very ugly) Twitter feud with fellow XXX star Nikki Benz. Last week, however, she unveiled her latest project: Pissing off sex worker Twitter.

It all started Jan. 24, when the blog Fansided ran a interview with Lisa Ann, where she attempted to “clear up a big misunderstanding about her profession”: Specifically, that all porn performers escort, or work as escorts.

“This topic is like a daily paper cut to my eye,” the 42-year-old porn star began, before launching into a rant about the difference between a “hooker, a prostitute, a lady friend, whatever the fuck you people want to call ‘em” and a porn star like herself.

In the video, Lisa Ann recounts what she views as some of the chief differences between doing porn and having other types of paid sex. While a porn star, she says, “creates a product for the masses to enjoy, [and] for companies to profit from,” being a prostitute is “a very self-centered, one-on-one, non-career-building thing to choose.”

She also had some choice words for escorts who work at legal brothels—who, she bizarrely claims, are somehow more prone to “staph infection”—and adult performers who escort on the side (which is fairly common in the adult industry.) Quoth Lisa Ann, of the latter group: “When you’re done from 21 to 25 hooking, girls, the same guy that was buying you, he’s buying another 20-year-old… You’ve let your body go. You’re old. Your fake hair looks tragic… you’re desperate.”

While Fansided apparently saw the video as an impassioned defense of the integrity of the adult industry, claiming Lisa Ann “shatter[s] stereotypes that porn stars are stupid and slutty,” not everyone on social media saw it that way. The sex worker community on Twitter was particularly enraged by Lisa Ann’s interview, and questioned how a woman who performs sex acts on camera could throw stones at other sex workers:

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

Even Dan Savage didn’t quite get the logic:

Lisa Ann’s remarks also prompted other sex workers on Twitter to allege that Lisa Ann is known to have “worked private” (the industry’s slang term for escorting) herself, rumors that surfaced during her feud with Benz back in December.

No response to Lisa Ann’s comments on sex work was as angry or powerful, however, as a blog post by @KateOnTheGo, a sex work advocate from Australia who does legal work in the adult industry.

“Lisa Ann, what you have done is: 1) participated in whorearchy, 2) offended fellow sex workers, 3) offended non-sex workers with your gender based comments, 4) marginalise [sic] the industry, and 5) pissed a whole lot of people off,” she wrote in the impassioned post, concluding with the following:

Lisa, you are not discovering the cure for cancer. You are sucking cock. You are no better or worse than any other woman who is transacting sex, whether it is on camera or in the privacy of a hotel room, brothel or home.

In a DM to the Daily Dot, @KateOnTheGo, who also tweets at @KVALegal, says she was inspired to write the post, which garnered nearly 10,000 views in less than 72 hours, after becoming filled with “blind rage” when she saw the video.

“I am a sex work advocate and I own a law firm that represents porn stars, and sex workers from all works of life,” she said. “I was inspired to write it because a) pure rage and b) I knew that I could say what all of the people I represent wanted to say but in a way that wouldn’t get me sued. :-)”

Part of the reason why so many people were offended by the video is because it perpetuates the myth that there is a “whorearchy,” or hierarchy of roles within sex work, says Mistress Matisse, a professional dominatrix, activist, and writer.

“The whorearchy is arranged according to the type of contact you have with clients, and also perceived income. The more contact, and the more intimate the contact, and the more clients you have that contact with, and the less money you charge, the closer you are to the bottom,” she explains. Porn stars and professional dommes are at the top of the whorearchy, while lower-paid escorts are toward the bottom.

Lisa Ann’s thoughts on porn stardom versus escorting, says Matisse, reflect how insidious the concept of whorearchy is in our culture—and how much pain it causes those on the lower rungs of the ladder. “Wherever you think you are on the ladder, the whorearchy is a bullshit thing for us to do to each other,” she says. “It’s just a reflection of the stigma that non-sexwork world puts on us, and factionalizing like this keep us from organizing more effectively.”

H/T Fansided | Photo via Alan Teo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)