Shaken by a legal scandal, the French industry is trying to change its practices

Shaken by an exceptional legal case, where the actors and producers of the “French Bukkake” site are prosecuted, the French pornographic industry is trying to change its practices, in an environment where consent is sometimes an abstract notion. At the end of October, eight people from the site « French Bukkake », which offers extremely violent videos featuring young women often making their debuts in the industry, were indicted for « rape », « pimping » or « trafficking. ‘Human being « .

“Awful” but “banal” practices

This would be the first time in France that porn actors have been prosecuted for « rape », indicated a source familiar with the matter this fall.
The world released in mid-December a file devoted to the practices of cutting down carried out to convince precarious or fragile young women to shoot videos. The directors forced them at the last moment to have multiple partners and unwanted violent practices.

« Awful », these methods are nevertheless « commonplace in amateur porn or in the gray zone », explains sociologist Alexandre Duclos, who took part in a survey financed by the production company Dorcel. « Producers don’t care about the conditions in which freelance directors shoot films that they then broadcast, » he adds.

Professional and amateur

It’s an angry subject in the porn industry: the distinction between « professional » and « amateur ». Both Dorcel and “Jacquie et Michel”, the incarnation of “amateur porn”, use suppliers, in addition to their teams, to produce their content. When the “French Bukkake” affair becomes public in 2020, these two production houses undertake to publish “ethical” and “deontological” charters. « Jacquie et Michel », currently under investigation for « rape » and « procuring », delivers his from November 2020.

Dorcel published its charter in April 2021, after funding a four-month survey of 31 people – actors, directors, technicians, producers, etc. – from the sector. The goal ? Produce a « milestone » that encourages the profession to adopt « ethical practices », says Grégory Dorcel, head of Dorcel. The charter promotes the signing, before filming, of a contract specifying salary, practices and partners, the control of sexually transmitted diseases, access to condoms and hygiene products as well as the presence on the set of a « Trusted third party » – a person outside the production who accompanies the actresses.

Porn star turned director and producer, Liza Del Sierra led this investigation. She « hopes that the public will henceforth make the difference between the amateur environment which acts » by trickery « and the professional environment, a world of work like any other », according to her. A distinction that does not hold for journalist Robin d’Angelo, author in 2018 of a dive into the porn industry (Judy, Sofia, Lola and me, Goutte d’Or edition). “The same teams work alternately for amateur sites and professional sites like Dorcel”. For sociologist Florian Vörös, specialist in “porn studies” (university studies on porn), the current legal case shows that “people presented by a marketing discourse as ‘amateurs’ are in reality professionals”.

Ethical porn?

Directors of « ethical porn » such as the producer Carmina or Olympe de G., director in 2020 of a film showing the sexuality of a sexagenarian played by Brigitte Lahaie, see in this charter a « better ». « But why did Dorcel wait until 2021 and these cases to draw up an ethics charter? “Asks Carmina, who nevertheless welcomes the investigation led by Liza Del Sierra. “Ethical porn”, a minority in the industry, is based on “respect for all the people who work on the film, upstream and up to its release,” she explains.

« Everything is discussed before each scene », develops Anoushka, producer and director. Olympe de G. ensures « to be extremely careful that everyone knows their limits and is able to express them ». « Now porn is experiencing the same changes as sport or Hollywood: the actors will know that they are not obliged to let it go », adds Carmina for her part.

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