A Dirty Debut

By Emily Yoffe, Slate


Dear Prudence,
Recently I took my 19-year-old niece for our first trip to New York City. One night a man approached us on the street, and when we said we were from Los Angeles he said he wanted to move there to get into the porn industry. I thought it was strange but shrugged it off. I figured he approached us for the most obvious reason: My niece is 6 foot 2 inches and beautiful. She seemed paranoid about it, and later she confessed that she had made a porn film that was available on a popular porn site. When she left the hotel room to smoke, I checked the site and my heart sank when I saw her having sex with a porn actor. She told me a former friend was using social media to bully her about this. She has long been written off as a tattooed, weed-smoking, wild child. But entering the porn scene is taking things to another level. I don't want to be the only person who knows her secret. It’s a heavy burden and I’m angry that she put it on me. But if I tell her mother or the rest of the family, it’s just going to lead to strife.

—She’s Not Ready for Her Close-Up

Dear Not,
You are the one adult to whom this wild child feels she can unburden herself about the debut (and let’s hope finale) of her new career. So instead of being angry about the burden she’s put on you, step up and help your niece. She has made a terrible decision that she now sees exposes her to the fantasies of creeps and the venom of former friends. She is young and gorgeous, but unless she extricates herself from this ugly industry, in a few years she’ll be another used-up female who’s got a lot of degrading and indelible images of herself floating around. I spoke to Chris Hoofnagle of the UC-Berkeley School of Law to see if your niece, especially since she is still a teenager, has any legal remedy for getting the video off the porn site. He said that since she doesn’t own the copyright, and if she was not a minor when she filmed it, she has virtually no recourse. As for the nasty friend, assuming the social medium used to spread the news is Facebook, your niece should report this to them—they have an anti-bullying policy—with the hope of getting the offending comments taken down. She should also block the former friend and up her privacy settings to the max. Let’s hope your niece used a pseudonym for her theatrical adventure...