WOMEN

Former Porn Star Kayden Kross Writes Powerful Essay In Defense Of Stoya

"There are a lot of cons to bringing a rape incident to light. There are even more for a sex worker."

On Nov. 28, adult film star Stoya accused her former boyfriend and co-worker, fellow porn star James Deen, of raping her in a series of tweets. Since the allegations, Stoya has received support from fellow performers and followers, many using the hashtag #SolidarityWithStoyaTwo other adult film actresses have since come forward accusing Deen of sexual assault. 

Now Stoya's business partner and long-time friend Kayden Kross has spoken out in support of Stoya with an impassioned essay about why she's in her corner. 

Yesterday, Kross published an essay titled #IStandWithStoya on her website to express support in light of Stoya's rape allegations. "I’ve known for quite some time about the night that Stoya is referring to in her claim," Kross wrote. "...The fact is this news about James is news to the public, but not news to us."

Kross had initially tweeted her support the day Stoya accused Deen of sexually assaulting her. 

"I see a lot of people throwing in their two cents on the story, and a common sentiment is 'innocent until proven guilty,'" Kross continued in her essay. "Well, that’s the thing with rape. Rape happens in the shadows. It happens absent of witnesses, and it happens in much the same fashion as sex, making the differences subtle to the outside eye."

Kross wrote that Stoya, who's been a long-time outspoken feminist, had a difficult time coming forward with these allegations: 

Like many of the women who are only now coming forward, she never meant to say anything. When she discussed what happened with me, she weighed the pros and cons. There are a lot of cons to bringing a rape incident to light. There are even more for a sex worker. For a glaring example of how sex workers are treated within the court system, consider the case in 2007 under Philadelphia judge Teresa Carr Deni, who reduced the charges of a man and his friends -- who were proven to have gang-raped a prostitute at gunpoint -- simply to “Theft of Services.” All charges for sexual assault against the victim were dropped.

Kross said Stoya was also hesitant to come forward given the potential implications for how others perceive the porn industry. "She understood from the beginning that she was representing the underrepresented sex worker," Kross wrote. 

"Already our industry battles the constant din of claims that the women, simply by showing up to work, are victims," she wrote. "Already we battle the claims that porn is rape, that consent is questionable, that no woman given a fair choice would engage in it. Stoya knew that if she were to name one man who did, in fact, violate consent, then the entire industry would be assumed to be complicit. Factor in now the position she found herself in, wherein the man in question was the industry’s poster child."  

Stoya and Kross became business partners in 2014 when they founded the adult film website, TRENCHCOATx. Some of the films Stoya directed and starred in feature James Deen and are still viewable on their website. Kross explained why she and Stoya have kept these videos on the site.

We took this into consideration back when we were building the site. While we made the decision back then not to hire him going forward, we can't undo the fact that he is featured in some of the scenes that Stoya directed during their relationship. We also can't undo the fact that some of our licensors have shot James in their own projects. He is an able and popular performer. Stoya considered not releasing any of the content that she owned that featured James, but it was content that, if taken away from the whole, would have harmed the project that is her directorial debut. Graphic Depictions is a project that Stoya poured her savings, her creative energy, and some of her best work into. It is the cornerstone project of our site and the sort of content that we hope to continue to bring to TRENCHCOATx for years to come.

She added that the most recently uploaded videos of Deen on TRENCHCOATx are actually some of the worst-performing content on their site. "I won’t let him take [this project] from her," Kross wrote. "He cashed those checks and made his choices. This project will always belong to Stoya regardless of his actions."

Deen responded to Stoya's allegations Sunday night, calling them "both false and defamatory," adding, "I respect women and know and respect limits both professional and privately."

Whatever happens, Kross wrote she will always be in Stoya's corner: "I support Stoya. I will continue to support her as she navigates the attention that her story has generated." 

Stoya has yet to comment on the content of Kross' letter. 

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