Duke freshman reveals porn identity

 
A statue on the campus of Duke University. A freshman adult actress has become the talk of Duke University

The campus of prestigious Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has been consumed with talk of a freshman who recently revealed that she was paying part of her college tuition with money earned through pornography work.

The rumours started when she confided her part-time profession to a classmate who recognised her from one of her adult films. He subsequently spread the word to his friends. It wasn't long before much of the campus knew, and - once it hit the internet - the world.

The 18-year-old, under the pseudonym "Lauren", gave an interview last month to her college newspaper and wrote about herself for the blog xoJane.

She said she had decided to come forward in order to bring the salacious gossip and online harassment she was receiving - "slut-shaming", as it's often called - to light.

Start Quote

When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day's work”

End Quote Belle Knox Adult film star/Duke student

"If people are going to talk about you, you might as well control the conversation and use it to start a dialogue, which in this case is about the abuses we inflict on sex workers," she says.

She continues:

I find it interesting that porn (a billion-dollar industry) is consumed by millions of people - men and women (and all other equally wonderful genders) alike - yet no one is willing to consider the lives of the people behind the camera. No one wants to hear about the abuses and exploitation that take place, no one wants to hear about the violence committed every day against sex workers, no one wants to consider that we have hopes and dreams and ambitions.

She explains that she became an adult actress to help pay her college's $60,000 (£36,000) annual tuition.

"For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy," she writes. "When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day's work. It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home."

On the internet, however, there are no secrets - and the student's real identity has become readily available. It's the latest example of "doxxing", where a person has often-intimate details of their lives unearthed and spread by anonymous internet users.

Sometimes the information revealed is as simple as publicly available Facebook and Instagram photos. Other times, it can be much more.

The Washington Post's Caitlin Dewey explains:

Thanks to a series of soul-wilting anonymous postings on forums like CollegiateACB, AutoAdmit and Barstool Sports, you can find out a whole lot more than that without a whole lot of effort. You can see Lauren's porn name, photos from her films, and her casting page on the Web site of the model agency she works for. You can find the name of her hometown and high school; her father's profession and e-mail address; and a list of her hobbies and extracurriculars.

She says that condemning these online communities is fruitless, however.

In short, as long as people care about reading gossip, and advertisers care about reaching readers, anonymous gossip forums will thrive. That's just the internet we live in. Protesting otherwise is almost as naive and absurd as Lauren's repeated comments that she'd like to stay anonymous; there's only anonymity for gossipers, not their subjects.

On Tuesday, the Duke freshman went one step further, publicly confirming her acting name, Belle Knox, in another xoJane post as well as in an interview with Playboy.

She tells the adult magazine that the high cost of education left her little choice but to turn to pornography:

Start Quote

Perhaps Knox thought that the judgements against her would be less virulent from a generation that has grown up with unlimited access to porn”

End Quote Elaina Dockterman Time magazine

The fact that the only viable options to pay for college are to take out gigantic student loans, to not go to college at all or to join the sex industry really says something. We need to recognize that there's a gap between what middle-class and upper-middle-class families can pay and what they're asked to pay. We also need to stop looking at loans as a solution to fix our education system, because they're crippling our economy.

All this has Time magazine's Elaina Dockterman observing that even the Playboy interviewer seemed a bit puzzled by her response. "If Playboy is questioning your foray into the porn industry, you know you have a problem," she writes.

"Student loans are an absurd burden on anyone, but most students find jobs on campus - doing research for professors, working at local stores, writing," she writes. "Porn may feel more empowering to the self-identified libertarian Knox than waitressing, but I promise that her frat boy peers won't see it that way. And employers definitely won't see it that way."

Of course, Dockterman notes, we should keep in mind that Knox is still just a teenager and a bit naive.

"Perhaps Knox thought that the judgements against her would be less virulent from a generation that has grown up with unlimited access to porn," she writes.

"But though we're living in an era when everything from clothing ads to salad dressing commercials is verging on soft core porn, she's finding that there's still a stigma attached to actual sex on camera."

Unfortunately for her, Dockterman says, mistakes in the internet age tend to live forever.

"College years are full of bad decisions that we must justify to ourselves and our roommates later in our dorm rooms," she writes. "For most, you live, you learn, you move on. But this decision will likely haunt Knox for the rest of her college and professional career."

Ms Knox said she first came forward in print to "control the conversation". In the internet age, however, the "conversation" often controls you - and there's no way to turn it off.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 47.

    the frat boy who outed her found out because...... he was watching porn! What a hypocrite! Its still a subject you can't have a sensible conversation about and anyone who doesn't condemn it is immediately branded a pervert. Did she do something illegal? No? well then leave her alone.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 46.

    41. "In California the annual rate is as cheap as $5,500...Ivy League schools, are the best schools...so it shouldn't be surprising that the tuition is high"

    Can you hear yourself?

    1st, what gives you the idea that $5500 is "cheap" just because it's 1/10th the cost of "expensive"?

    2nd, if the most expensive educations are the "best", then what do you get for california's annual rate $5,500?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 45.

    I don't really care that this girl does porn, but lets call it what it is. Damage control. She's playing it like its her choice and all empowering but no. She did NOT want people to know but someone found out so she had to address it. Then she wanted to stay anonymous but obviously that is impossible too. So, her perfect scenario would have been make the money and no one was ever the wiser.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 44.

    I can't imagine why there would be any moral indignation over this issue. Women frequently have multiple sexual partners before settling down with one person. What difference does it make if they have been getting paid for it or not? I certainly wouldn't care. All that experience makes a woman even more attractive in my opinion. Fidelity only matters, if at all, inside a relationship.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 43.

    Antonius wrote:

    "You have no idea what you're talking about. I'm an American, and my parents earned enough to be considered "middle-class," but too much to receive any financial aid but loans"

    Who says you have to go to such an expensive school?! I paid for my own schooling in CA!

    "From Duke's website. Clever. Tuition, yes, but the TOTAL cost is still 60K..

    I was correcting the tuition price!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 42.

    There should be nothing wrong with people choosing to become sex workers, as long as it is a free choice. Slut shamming is ridiculous. Everyone wants to have more sex, but gets upset when other people are doing it.

    The issue of university costs is real. I went to a state university, and abroad for grad school because it was cheaper. And still owe $25,000 in loans, and I worked throughout.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 41.

    Darrell wrote:

    "College... in the USA, especially at private universities such as Duke is VERY EXPENSIVE"

    That'a not true. Tuitions rates at state schools are affordable all throughout the country. In California the annual rate is as cheap as $5,500.

    Duke, along with Ivy League schools, are the best schools you can go to so it shouldn't be surprising that the tuition is high.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 40.

    "The middle class also has no problem affording school in America."

    You have no idea what you're talking about. I'm an American, and my parents earned enough to be considered "middle-class," but too much to receive any financial aid but loans. CanBeav is bang on with what he said.

    "The tuition is also $45,600, not 60K."

    From Duke's website. Clever. Tuition, yes, but the TOTAL cost is still 60K.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 39.

    septimuswarren wrote:

    "by the time room and board and calculated... The American middle class can in no way afford this kind of tuition without tuition assistance or scholarship"

    I was simply correcting the incorrect "tuition" price.

    Such schools are affordable by families that have planned, and earned it. Nothing wrong with assistance either. Still can't afford it? State schools will do.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 38.

    The only thing shocking about this is that anyone still cares. College girl moonlighting as a porn star. YAWN.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 37.

    Roo wrote:

    "Question: "Why does it cost 60k US to attend university?" Perhaps, that's the more important concern.”

    Duke is one of the highest rated *private* research universities in America, and the world. It's essentially an unofficial Ivy League school. A degree from such a school is extremely valuable and the tuition is priced accordingly.

    The "tuition" is also $45.6K not "60K."

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 36.

    AllenT2, by the time room and board and calculated Duke sits very near 60K a year. The American middle class can in no way afford this kind of tuition without tuition assistance or scholarship. Trust me, I am an American in that class.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 35.

    CanBeav wrote:

    "The shocking part...is that she pays $60K per year in tuition....I guess what they say about being middle-class in America is true: Too poor to pay for school, too rich to get financial aid/scholarships."

    Duke is private and ranked very high. The tuition is also $45,600, not 60K.

    The middle class also has no problem affording school in America. Better to know than to "guess."

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 34.

    Somehow I don't think that a male student doing the same to pay for tuition would garner as much interest. Slut shaming indeed.

    High tuitions and the predatory college loan industry are causing bright kids to get creative in order to get their degrees.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    As far as I know, performing in a porn movie is not illegal. I don't see the problem here. She can't control what other people think or say about her. She's paying her bills. Again, I don't see a problem here.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    The shocking part to me about this story is that she pays $60,000 per year in tuition. That's mind boggling. I guess what they say about being middle-class in America is true: Too poor to pay for school, too rich to get financial aid/scholarships.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 30.

    I'm surprised there is any surprise about this whole issue. When movies such as Blue is the Warmest Color wins major awards, how can there be any outrage or concern over something like this?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 29.

    25. Would caution as the frat boys might ID and target 'Lauren' - frat boys can be an endangered-species regarding blatant stupidity and outright savagery: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2014/02/steve_duin_blog_indecency_and.html & http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/romney-accused-of-vicious-hair-cutting/

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 28.

    @Roo
    It costs $60,000 p.a. and up because of six- and seven-figure salaries paid to chancellors and other top end admin. Attracting top talent to faculty is only part of the story.

 

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