Stephen Walker

[Trigger: This documentary contains a rape by the rapist pornography maker Max Hardcore]

Tangential to my posts on the Background, I would say that pornography is the ultimate foreground. Any genuine human interaction is absent. The unhappiness is palpable. And men, who have all the power in the world, choose to live this absent, hollow life.

I have been wondering how Steven Walker should have reacted when the rape took place. Perhaps should have grabbed Felicity and ran out of the house with her, but I believe that, like her, he was shocked  at what was taking place before his eyes. An hour later he did actually grab her and run out of the house in order  to prevent her from suffering any more abuse.

STEPHEN WALKER DOCUMENTARY

My fears for all Felicities
By Stephen Walker Last updated at 00:00am on 29.03.01

I was uneasy the moment I set eyes on Max Hardcore. A small man, perhaps 5ft 6in, he was wearing his trademark yellow cowboy hat. I’d already been told about the hat. I knew he wore it in most of the thousand-plus porn films in which he’d starred. And I knew something about those films. What I didn’t know was that the next few hours I’d spend with this man would present the biggest ethical challenge in my career as a documentary film-maker. It would also leave me with one of the most unforgettably unpleasant experiences I have ever had.

This is how it happened. I’d been asked to make a documentary about an English girl who was going to Los Angeles to be a porn star. Felicity, the girl in my film, had been invited by an agent called Richard to spend three weeks meeting producers and performing in films. Which is why I first met her at Los Angeles airport on a sultry November evening.

The thing about pornography is that everybody’s reaction is instantly suspect. What people say in public and what they think in private are often very different things. A lot of the documentaries on porn I’d seen looked like thinly disguised attempts to pull in big ratings while paying lip-service to the idea that the business was morally repugnant. Would mine be any different? After all, if I’m being honest, I was genuinely curious to know what it felt like to be on a porn set. Would I be excited? Shocked? Bored? And I wasn’t the only one. Most of my colleagues, not all of them male, were fascinated. Some were frankly envious, though they didn’t say so in public.

My first experience of a porn set was, to say the least, unsettling. Richard had brought Felicity to watch a gang-bang movie. Ten men were having sex with one girl in a wrestling ring. The overwhelming impression was the stench: of bodies, of sweat, of various other excretions. It was a revolting spectacle, about as erotic as a butcher’s shop. It was also, for obvious reasons, almost impossible to film. The best I could come up with was to concentrate on the litter of spent tissues on the floor. That, and the expression on Felicity’s face, as she saw, for the first time, just what it was she’d got herself into.

But this was only the beginning. After a week, I’d seen just about everything. I felt sick. What do you do when a producer shows you snapshots of his wife and kids before filming a simulated rape scene? How do you cope when a director tells you he is running for mayor in his home town and then boasts that his movies make Belsen look like a picnic? The fact is, you don’t. Trapped between your responsibilities as a professional film-maker and your sensibilities as a human being, you only hope that somewhere in your film there’s a truth that needs to be told.

Despite her growing disillusionment with the business, Felicity’s agent kept pushing her to do ever more extreme movies. More extreme meant more money, and Richard was out to make as much as possible. That’s how we came to find ourselves one afternoon at Max Hardcore’s house, high in the Hollywood hills.

The place was immediately disturbing. Perhaps it was the faint smell of antiseptic in the air, like a hospital. Or the three German Shepherds chained to the floor. Or maybe it was the wardrobe full of children’s clothes. I felt extremely anxious. So did Felicity. The only person who seemed to take this in his stride was Richard. But then he’d seen it all before.

When Max Hardcore finally arrived, he took Felicity into his office for what she, and I, thought would simply be an interview. But it wasn’t. Within seconds of their meeting, he pushed her over his desk, unzipped his flies, and began having sex with her. Felicity was obviously very scared. And yet I kept my camera running.

I still ask myself why. In retrospect, it’s easy to find convenient justifications for acting as I did. After all, I was making a documentary about porn. I was recording its sordid reality. And reality has a strange way of becoming unreal, as if already pre-recorded, when looked at through a viewfinder. Since Felicity hadn’t asked for help, should I have put the camera down and stopped things? I don’t know. What I do know is I’m still not sure, months later, if I got it right.

Afterwards, came the actual shoot. As Felicity went on set, I positioned myself nearby – close enough to hear, but not see, what might happen. As Max Hardcore’s camera began to roll, I switched mine off and waited.

Twenty minutes later, Felicity ran off the set in hysterics. Apparently, Hardcore had forced himself into her mouth so that she felt she was suffocating. She refused to go on with the shoot. He then tried every possible means to persuade her. (At one point, he demanded she personally pay for his crew.) At first, she resisted. Then she began to break down. Finally, she agreed to continue.

At that point, I knew I had to step in. Whatever consent may have existed earlier I felt no longer existed. As Felicity went into the bathroom to get ready, I went downstairs to Max.

I was very frightened. The house was remote, and it was very late. Those dogs, distressed by the commotion, were barking furiously. And Hardcore was extremely angry. But then so was I. Not only with him, but most of all with myself. I hadn’t stepped in earlier. Now I was determined to act. So I simply told Max he was not going to treat Felicity like that. I said all his efforts to manipulate her were there on film. Before he had a chance to act, we grabbed her and left the house. She sobbed all the way home in the car. She said she was terrified he was going to kill her.

Hours later, I got back to my hotel. I went to my room and double-locked the doors. I was sure Hardcore would come after me. After all, I had the video tapes and I wouldn’t be hard to find. I got into bed and rang my wife in London.

Somewhere in the middle of that call, I broke down. Perhaps, in part, it was the culmination of two weeks of living in a sort of claustrophobic hell, with no immediate escape. But mostly, it was the gnawing feeling that, in the presence of what I can only describe as a kind of evil, maybe I dithered too long. I suppose my only comfort is that, in the end, I was there to act at all. Who knows what would have happened if Felicity had been alone?

Which, of course, is exactly the case with the thousand other girls who’ve already performed with Max Hardcore. Or the thousand others who will. That’s something to remember, the next time one of my friends or colleagues asks me, in private, whether I had fun out there.

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30 thoughts on “Stephen Walker

  1. Holy shit. “This is about romance.”, said one porn director on this documentary. That is the lie that is spread like manure over the garbage heap that is porno. This documentary massively rebuts that lie.

    Another porn producer asked Felicity if she would do Verbal Degradation, if she’d act like she liked it. Pornography advocates claim that this stuff is about eroticism, the holy domain of Free Speech, but the clear acknowledgment on the “contract” Felicity signed that checked off the acts she would allow included “Verbal degradation” didn’t it? How much clearer could that be, that the name calling is intended by the producers to serve as degradation.

    The director who did not want his face filmed should find himself on dickipedia, with his kids school listed so other families know whose father their kids sit next to. “I have another life” he says. Out him. Out them all. He admitted what he did for a living is shameful. Publicly humiliate all of them.

    The scene with the male actors lying on the wrestling mat trying to get hard was hilarious, that should also be used to humiliate the industry. How very ridiculous a lineup of jerking, supine musclemen reduced to a paycheck for a hard-on and keeping it. There’s something really really hilarious about that image, just as it was on this documentary.

    I also like the “Don’t Date Pornhead” pledge which could be used as part of a public health education awareness project for women/girls. Any collaborators or ideas on that?

    All girls and women ought to practise when asked:
    Q: Can I cum on your face?
    A: Cum on your own face first, see if you like it.
    Q: Can I do anal?
    A: You first, here’s the dildo.

  2. I will watch the doco later, when I feel up to it.

    This shows the coercion involved, that many of these YW really do not know what they are getting into. Typically on the set, they are outnumbered (how is that any different to a gang rape scenario?). The victim feels she must comply or she shall be ‘hurt worse’.

    Frequently the pornographers change the rules as they go along, upping the ante. The novice YW really have no idea the extent of the acts they are ticking when they sign the contract.

    The description of that scene when Felicity goes into MH’s office is rape. It’s not ‘sex’.

    The pornographers are sadists and rapists. The sex-pozzies are supporters of that who would have you believe that everything is freely consented to (and point to signed ‘contracts’ as some sort of proof, it’s not).

    These porn contracts only need to be made simply, the parties need only sign to “when performer says NO to ANYTHING, that NO should be respected and action stopped”. Anything less than that is rape an coercion.

  3. I haven’t watched the documentary yet because I have a friend who has been skeptical of my anti-porn stance and I want to see if she’ll be willing to watch it with me (and I doubt that I’ll be able to watch it more than once).

    I have been wondering how Steven Walker should have reacted when the rape took place. Perhaps should have grabbed her and ran out of the house with her, but I believe that, like Felicity, he was shocked by what was taking place before his eyes.

    I have experienced this level of shock. Sometimes I actually get kind of down on myself about it, because I wish I had faster reflexes/impulses. I imagine myself in Felicity’s position and I can totally see myself just giving in out of shock. But I don’t think it’s just shock, I also think it’s related to conditioning by the patriarchy, to be out of touch with my internal experience and feelings. I’m getting better about that, mainly due to consciously processing through these scenarios. Patriarchy would want us not to think about these things, so we won’t be taken off-guard. Once we think them through, and plan for them, we have an alternative response besides shock.

    Probably one more of many important reasons to get this information out there. Even though I haven’t watched the doc yet, I already feel like it’s probably going to be something important for any YW who is interested in “sex work” to watch.

    • The ‘shock’ is just disbelief at the situation, because everyone has been trained to think they will recognise a monster/deviant/pevert/rapist/murderer when they see one.
      The problem is, they all look like ‘average Joes’. Hence lots of people come out after some dude is arrested for something or other, and say “oh, but he seemed like such a nice guy”.

      Even the cops seem to believe this shit as well. Joan Smith, in her book Misogynies, outlines how the Yorkshire Police thought they would “know him when they saw him” (the Yorkshire Ripper), yet they had already interviewed him a number of times.

      • It is, but it is a bit more complicated than just ‘playing dead’. Females are socialised not to defend themselves at all, and to have reduced or no boundaries (allowing for more opportunity for an attack to occur).

        What often happens is that, during a surprise attack, there is the shock/disbelief, but what rapidly follows is “oh fuck, I dunno how to defend myself or fight my way out of this” or “I am grossly outgunned in fight power/muscle/weaponry and will lose anyway, if I don’t fight, perhaps I will be hurt less and it might be over quicker”. It could even be both realisations.

        Freezing up is a very common reaction for FABs finding themselves under attack, quite simply, they just don’t know what to do. Initial struggles and resistance will be easily overcome, and that reinforces the assessment that they can do little to fight their way out of the situation.

        This ineffective fight-back is also why females who are raped are considered to have ‘eventually consented’ (in male minds) because there is little physical evidence of damage to the attacker. Most males will have a go at defending themselves, although males that were not socialised in the schoolground-fighting environment will likely freeze up like FABs, not knowing what to do.

        All girl children should be instructed in martial arts, not ballet classes. A pirouette is hardly useful when it comes to defending ones self against harm…

  4. DidN’T know that about the YOrkshire ripper. Doesn’T surprise men. Men as a group are as thick as shit.

    I was surprised how much Felicity was her own person in the first half of the documentary. SHe did have boundaries, physical and emotional.At first, when Richard told her she “had to work” she retorted that he had no right to sat anything to her unless *he* himself was willing to have a dick stuffed up his arse, at which point he lost his temper.

    THe work of Max Hardcore and the agent, Richard, was to break those boundaries down.

    THis thought is sickening, isn’t it: that any one of us would submit to sadistic horrors if our boundaries were violated enough times. You do lose the mind/body connection. I have had a (milder) experience of this when I was dating a man who was into porn.

    The fact she had no man in her private life probably contributed to her having pretty strong boundaries. SHe said she never has sex with men when she’s not working, and made a joke that her vibrator doesn’t leave dirty clothes lying around for her to wash. SHe also had a good relationship with her mother.

    I doubt the English accent is what the pornmakers want. A feminist on another site mentioned that they probably get women from overseas so they’re disoriented in an unfamiliar background, and have no way of escaping.

    Stephen Walker touched on the way her route to porn was connected to her father issues ( and what an idiot her father was!) She herself admitted that that degrading herself was a sort of payback to him.

    • I am part-way through watching it. The part where Felicity was clearly setting boundaries with the agent (Richard) in the car, telling him it was not ok to slap her on the butt and fondle her, and that theirs was a BUSINESS ARRANGEMENT.

      This argument in the car was just prior to her allowing the documentary makers to go beyond their initial 3-day agreement, and I agree with the film maker, that she probably did it to have some protection. Yet hundreds, if not thousands of YW going through the same will not have that same protection – and it is likely they will be broken, and their soul destroyed from the experiences there.

      I think you are spot on about the import thing CBL, having any kind of foreigner is taking them off their home turf, and taking them away from any support network like family and friends. Not unlike the situation trafficked victims find themselves in, cut off from everyone with no support (although most trafficked victims find themselves actual prisoners locked up somewhere).
      http://fabliberationist.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/katyas-story/

  5. Finished watching it.

    I should revise my earlier comment, calling the Richard dude ‘an agent’ because he is a pimp, pure and simple. He plays a big part in breaking the YW, like pimps do. When he took her to Hardcore, he knew exactly what he was doing, it was part of the breaking process. He knew (not only what Hardcore was like) but exactly what Hardcore would do. I see a big parallel here between how girls are broken via incest/paedophilia (and their gravitation to prostitution), and the Hardcore ‘method’.

    The Hardcore ‘philosophy’ is a rapist philosophy; the ‘pushing girls beyond their limits’ is a rapist justification.

    Hardcore himself is a sadistic rapist, a shrewd manipulator, and a groomer. Had the cameras not been there, then the ‘persuasion’ part could have easily included ‘physical coercion’ and or threats of it. They were being well behaved for the documentary crew. The pimp Richard is of the same type, although he subcontracts some of the ‘breaking’ out to others like Hardcore, but I imagine he is not adverse to “slapping the ‘girls’ around” to make them comply.

    Interesting that those who had worked with Hardcore before described the viewers of his porn as being on the edge (although not just of paedophila, but primarily as sadists). The bdsmers are the primary promoters of porn, so it is not surprising that the majority of porn goes down this path.

    Felicity’s father issues are misdirected, because he would not care if she became famous in this way. The fact that this motivation was revealed, shows the punishment/hatred (including self punishment/hatred) necessary for accepting the world of pornstitution. Frequently this is instigated via childhood sexual abuse, even though CSA was not the catalyst in this case.

    All YW thinking of going into porn should be made to watch this documentary, although probably the version with a lot of the cut scenes that would have been too graphic for general television. Particularly stuff cut from the final bdsm shoot, the reality of that should be enough to shock most of them into seeing the reality of ‘the industry’.

    • It was not as bad as I imagined it would be, not as much porn content as you would expect. There were several moments of feeling very uncomfortable, but some of those were purely empathy and heartbreak for Felicity.

      It’s a documentary about coercion more than anything, so always sad to watch.

      And they blur-out Hardcore’s tinkywinky, so there are blessings. It was not a huge blurry patch either!

      • That’s just it though, the heartbreak.

        Because it’s done now and she’ll never be the same.

      • In the end though, she was smart enough to realise it was a no-win game, and very much their terms, not hers.

        Her intelligence really does show through.
        And, she gets out of porn.
        Intelligence. She finally got the message before she was truly broken.

        The documentary shows more of a temporary breaking, but she recovered, at least enough to know to get out.

  6. Felicity was amazing, wasn’T she. So intelligent and insightful. I really appreciate Stephen Walker’s ability to portray Felicity’s intelligence as the main theme of the documentary; and for showing the men in all their stupidity (showing Richard puffing on his cigar, for example, believing he’s a Big Man). It could easily have been edited so differently.

    And yes there aren’t that many disturbing images; it’s a very subtle documentary.

    But so powerful at the same time. I feel really disturbed at the idea that Max Hardcore’s house was OCD clean and smelling faintly of disinfectant. It reminds you of the horrific patriarchal medical establishment doesn’t it (and in fact one of his fetishes is to use gynelogical instruments on women during porn)

    • Speaking of editing and what was left out, I noticed this disparity because I had read Walker’s commentary above before watching the doco.

      Before he had a chance to act, we grabbed her and left the [Hardcore’s] house. She sobbed all the way home in the car. She said she was terrified he was going to kill her.

      In the doco, it was narrated that ‘with x minutes, Felicity had left the house’.

      Frankly, the truth behind that should have been told in the doco.

  7. I do appreciate Walker featuring Felicity’s point-of-view. I think this is a very educational piece, which disputes the fantasy of users. No, women do not like being in porn. No, the industry is not some glamorous star-making empowerment of women. Yes, degradation is intentional. Yes, porn entails abuse in its making.

    Porn is defended with Free Speech claims. The beauty is that Free Speech of Felicity as articulated by Hardcore is also just as powerful.

    I am on board with the current approach to porn and prostitution is Ending Demand. This video provides a powerful resource to move the Public Health Education approach forward.

    The director that is ashamed of his profession is a perfect example of the basic vulnerability of this porn system. It’s NOT about Free Speech. Or else he’d allow his face. It is about greed and the degradation of women. He is one of the most powerful witnesses to that truth.

  8. WOW, good point survivor. If it was about freedom of speech then why was that man so ASHAMED of himself. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech, which we all know anyway.
    BUt to take something a beautiful idea, like the right of human beings to express a political thought freely and without repercussions, and then to change it into the justification of the abuse of a vulnerable group of people, is a perversion of language of the highest order.

    • A lot of the crew who work on regular Hollywood films, also work in porn, it is a fairly open secret locally.

      That creepy anono-dude, probably had another life as a local mayor, or justice-of-the-peace or something, and damn right, if he is doing bdsm porn, then his local community should be aware of it.

      We have a few judges here in the UK who do some very suspect sentencing with regard to child and teengirl rapes (basically giving them such light sentences). I strongly suspect they have paedo leanings. So dudes pretending they can compartmentalise their pervyness is bullshit.

      I think anono-dude was also the one trying to frame humiliation and pain as “romance”. I might add, the INFLICTING of, not the receiving… fucking creep.

  9. We have the Dickipedia website, anonymous users could add a “Media/Porn Industry/Director” site build out. His name is now known, and rad fems could do the counter-intel to gather a photo, neighborhood, etc.

    Would using Dickipedia (it exists now) as a wiki putlic outting site for this dood be good? Then links could be distributed to his local community…..

    I believe that when law enforcement does not do its job, such as enforcing existing porn laws to make all performers wear condoms, make sure no coercion is involved, make sure that production sites include no abuse….then the only power is public ostracism and humiliation of those responsible.

    Yes? Big yes?

    It would be easy to build out Dickipedia. I have no L.A. contacts, but it’d be wonderful if the persons in idustry with information on the director asshole and others involved would be encouraged to post on that site. Right now it’s by name. I think it’d be useful to build out industry specific dick listings.

    I’d love to have gangster banksters outted as well. Lists of names are so boring, but segmented by industry, region, and with their personal information added by the multitudes of “remoras” (tiny fish that groom sharks, the elites requires many layers of remoras to serve them)…then their power of anonymity could be turned against them.

    Yes? Big yes?

    I love Anonymous. I love Wikileaks, except for any sex criminals, and there is now Openleaks operated by his defectors. Maybe Openleaks would be a better place to post pornography makers data… any thoughts?

    • You are drifting a bit off topic here ST.

      I don’t think his name was known (I cannot recall it).

      You cannot use the existing wikipedia for these things as there is a strong anti-feminist presence at wikipedia.

      You would not be saying that you love Anon if you knew the devastation they caused within the radfem and anti-porn community.

      It is not appropriate to discuss counter-tactics in open forums.

      • Survivor,
        I don’t know enough about Anonymous or wikileaks to comment, but the drive to just *do* something is very strong isn’t it.

        I do worry about the safety of radical feminists. Stephen Walker was not being paranoid when he feared that Max Hardcore would come after him, knowing that he had all the footage of them raping and abusing a young vulnerable woman.

        We have to do something though.

  10. I wanted to add knowledge that was not seen in the documentary.

    At Hardcore’s house, a secluded location in the Hollywood Hills, Felicity was the only female there.

    There was Hardcore, his crew of at least two males (camera & audio dudes), and in addition, the documentary crew of probably three (camera, audio, producer SW). That makes at least six males in the house (no idea if there were additional domestic staff or not).

    Being a lone female in a situation like that, is very unnerving, very frightening. There is the unspoken threat of violence for non-compliance when in a situation like that.

    Even if the second crew had not been there, a YW would have been outnumbered by three males to one female, still daunting in that situation of being naked, semi-naked, or sexual acts being involved.

    The other thing I want to point out is Hardcore’s manipulation. I do not believe him when he insists the cameraman came ‘all the way from Malibu’. FFS, Hollywood is full of porn crew, there is no need to ship them in from far away places. Also, it alludes to the set-up nature of that night, the collusion between Hardcore and the Pimp. It was supposed to be “just a meeting”, so what the hell were the ‘crew from Malibu’ doing there? What a bunch of lying manipulators.

    • Yes, that part was pure lies.
      The fact that the crew was there helped her a lot. she was able to talk through her thoughts a lot, sort of like a talking journal. It helped centre her, Other women wouldn’t have had that centering force to stabilize them. she was strong right up to the end, when she told him “I’d rather be a loser than abused”!

      • “helped centre her” yes indeed, and you are so right in thinking that other YW (or Felicity) would not have been able to ‘centre’ if the second crew had not been there. MH would have kept on badgering her until she caved, this is how coercion works.

        I have known the MH type before, and they try to override our instincts, the instinct that something is wrong here, or the instinct that ‘I’ do not want to do that. This is the technique of breaking down a person’s boundaries, and what’s more, it’s MH’s mission statement for crying out loud. He is not hiding that, and I do not know why anyone (other than RFs) cannot see that.

        These two aspects are where the documentary is very good, in exposing the coercion and boundary-breakdown (manipulation) that is rife. Most probably happen a bit more subtly than that, but it is still there. The sex-mozzers insist that all, or almost all, of those YW in porn do everything on film by *choice*, which is bullshit. YW are easily coerced (particularly by all the OLDER men within that industry) – another reason why YW are favoured by porn. It is probably a reversal by the sex-mozzers to say it is all/mainly choice, when the reality is probably that it is mainly coercion involved.

        Interesting that SW picked up on the threat vibe from MH. MH must have been oozing the threat vibe. And as I speculated above, had the talking persuasion not worked, MH would have upped the ante to physical threats. I think SW was shocked at the level of coercion going on at Casa Hardcore, but the reality is, many YW have (or will) face similar situations in their lifetimes. SW just had the opportunity to witness it as an observer is all.

  11. Double oops.

    I cited “Dickipedia” a separate site, not Wikipedia.

    Now I do remember the Anon BS, my bad.

    Yes, best not to have tactical discussion, I am seriously clamming up on. I guess I was just collecting thoughts on someone keeping public records available, not suggesting any potential use or threat at all.

    I am very glad this documentary is out there to use for education regards the true level of abuse and violence against the pornstitutes. This work is a powerful antidote to the fantasy of porn as romance and about consenting sex.

    Mea culpa, live and learn.

    • Well, dikipedia is the common nickname we have for wikipedia, because it is dominated by dicks who bias all posts regarded to feminists, women, sexuality, and use it as a platform for the MRA agenda.

      I had not realised there was a legit dikipedia in use:
      dickipedia.org/dick.php?title=Main_Page
      However, its purpose is not to solely out sleezebag and dangerous dudes, and it has women on there as well.
      So thumbs down for the actual dikipedia site.

    • Ha! I had not realised that the scum that is MH was where he belonged. He is due to get out in July. Bummer.

      Do you think he would enjoy it if some of his cell mates did the same treatment back on him as he does to the YW in his films? I would call that poetic.

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