The twisted world of Porn WikiLeaks

A site exposes adult performers' real names and home addresses. Industry insiders talk about its dangers

Published March 31, 2011 11:01PM (EDT)

The adult industry may be filled with parodies of mainstream movies and pop culture events -- but the website Porn WikiLeaks certainly isn't one of them. Late yesterday, Gawker reported it had found proof that the site, which is bent on making public very private information about porn actors, had gained access to the industry's massive HIV testing database. It has already published the real names of more than 15,000 performers, as well as countless home addresses, and there is chatter on the site's message boards suggesting that STD test results may be published in the near future.

The news got me wondering about who is behind the X-rated WikiLeaks-style project, what the point of it is and how performers feel about being outed to anyone who decides to Google their name -- so I went to industry insiders for the scoop. A number of the performers I spoke with believe the website (which currently appears to be overrun by traffic) is either run by or somehow connected to Donny Long, a former porn director and actor who is infamous for posting epithet-laden screeds on his blog about the HIV threat homosexuals pose to the industry. In an e-mail to me, he denied being a part of Porn WikiLeaks "other than having an account there." He added that he has "support from the [site's] owners because I was one of the only people to speak out about the gays ruining the porn industry for years."

His commentary on "the gays" is generally too obscene to quote here -- but the gist is that he sees male performers who perform on both the gay and straight side of the industry as a major health risk. This is an argument that has been made by others -- and it's true that the subject of the last HIV outbreak in the business performed in gay and straight films -- but judging from his blog posts, Long seems more passionate about homophobic slurs than meaningfully engaging in the worthy debate about condom and testing policies in the business. Porn WikiLeaks entries use similar slurs against male actors alleged to have worked on both sides of the industry.

Christian is one of those performers. "They posted my real name, the real names of my parents and pictures of them, their home address and telephone number, the name and picture and phone number of my brother, a picture of the cemetery where my grandfather recently passed away, not to mention saying that I have HIV," he tells me. He believes Long is behind the site and is "extremely envious of our success." Christian adds, "He failed out of the industry and is very, very bitter about it." Kimberly Kane, a porn performer, declined to name names but she said, "Most of us in the porn industry know who is behind Porn WikiLeaks" and suspects "he is doing it out of hatred for a business that shunned him for being even too repugnant for porn."

Porn WikiLeaks hardly targets just males; of course, the vast majority of the entries on the site are for actresses and reveal everything from their real names to their home address. Each entry starts out with the basic template of "X born X is a pornographic whore, and Hooker." Every anti-female epithet you can think of is employed, and then some. Sometimes the mocking turns violent: One actress' birth date is followed by a prediction of her death "when her husband beats her to death." There is also encouragement on some of the site's message boards to contact the women's friends and family to let them know that she's "a whore who" -- well, you get the idea. I'll spare you the nastiness.

It isn't just that these performers are being outed; they're potentially being put in serious danger. Kane says it's inevitable that "bad apples will come out of the woodwork." Performer Lorelei Lee (who last year motioned to have her real name withheld from a federal obscenity trial out of concerns for her safety) told me by email, "The combination of volatile public reactions to sex work and an audience perception of performers as more accessible and/or less 'real' than other women makes us a target for hateful rhetoric, harassment, and too frequently for real violence," Lee says. She calls it "an ugly and inhumane act." Debates about the ethics and morality of the sex industry are rarely simple, but I suspect that is at least one argument most people can stand behind.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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