This article was originally published in the May 2020 issue of XBiz World and online here.
What a time we are living in – not just in America the beautiful, but also around the globe. We literally went to sleep in one world and woke up in another where an invisible enemy, the “coronavirus,” infected millions, killed tens of thousands and caused massive economic destruction. It was stunning and deeply saddening to me and millions around the world.
To combat some of the economic hardship caused by the response to the virus, the U.S. government passed a two trillion-dollar stimulus called the CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The Act was meant to fill in the gap for some of the catastrophic losses being suffered by businesses, small and large, and suddenly-unemployed individuals.
Part of the package provides for forgivable loans to be administered by the Small Business Administration. To apply for relief, though, the applicant must certify that they do not “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature.”
With production on hold, this leaves the adult biz in uncertain waters as to exactly how “prurient” would be defined for the purpose of the program. However, the industry is made up of people and companies that are strong and resilient. They are used to fighting discrimination and they are survivors. This type of shared experience makes for a community that cares for one another. Industry players are doing what they can to help fellow people in the biz, as well as assisting our front-line workers in getting desperately needed supplies. Let’s take a look at a few of the many fantastic examples.
The Free Speech Coalition, the North American trade association for the adult industry, activated an emergency fund to provide financial assistance to adult industry talent and workers during the production hold. By the first week of April, $80,000 had been raised, and checks had started going out to the first 100 verified applicants.
A major contributor to the fund was Pornhub, who put down an initial $10,000, and promised to match an additional $20,000 in donations. Further, the company donated $25,000 to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), who then announced they had begun dispersing aid to individual sex workers nationwide.
Brazzers was similarly a donor to the FSC fund, and launched a financial relief effort of its own. They also established a fund to support their third-party crew members with living expenses during the production hold.
To help models, performers and clip artists make ends meet, many cam and clip sites temporarily increased payouts, helping with equipment. IsMyGirl, IsMyGuy and Inked Angels offered 100% payouts on all sales through June 1 (less credit card processing fees). Clips4Sale vowed to provide 100% payouts on sales generated from certain traffic during April. FanCentro offered a 90% payout under a program to attract influencers. Pornhub and ModelHub bumped payouts in April to 85%. Sssh.com and Wasteland.com increased payouts to 70% for performers who have a SpiceCash account. Vixen Media group announced it would send $250,000 worth of items to various models to help them create content in their homes.
Flipping from the money side to the health side of things, Pineapple Support provided webinars on well-being and self-care, while continuing to provide counseling, via the web, to help models make it through the mental stress, and sometimes trauma, experienced because of the current hardships.
Continuing on the topic of health, Liz Klinger, from Lioness, maker of smart sex toys, co-founded Mask-Match.com, a website that matches people who have masks in their homes that they are willing to donate to hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities that need them. Klinger and her volunteer team had already placed over 63,000 masks, and were processing 165,000 more by early April. Speaking of masks, Pornhub had donated 50,000 surgical masks by then, of which 15,000 went to New York’s Local 2507, which represents emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and fire inspectors of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), 15,000 of which went to the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94 of New York City and 20,000 of which went to Mount Sinai South Nassau. In addition, the company donated money to European organizations for purchase of masks and other equipment.
The assistance with masks has been phenomenal, and will undoubtedly make an impact for our healthcare workers. Inside the industry, the aid for the models will surely help ease some strain. Support given to the models will also likely have a secondary effect of helping the public. Working cam performers can give people stuck at home a place to turn for a respite from the sadness, loss and isolation that has resulted from the economic shutdown. Models are in a unique position to be able to interact with people at a safe distance, and make them feel sexy, heard and perhaps, offer a semblance of normalcy.
I am inspired by how giving adult industry companies have been during this time of need, and I imagine even more stories of altruism will take place in the weeks to come. Until this crisis subsides and in the years to come, let us stay strong and united. Bravo to performers, studios and toy companies for their generosity! It is a pleasure to serve the industry and I am so very proud to be part of the community.