Cumming Together

SNH Podcast S3 - Episode 3 Transcript

Melrose:

Welcome back to the SeenAndNotHeard Podcast, the podcast that is your weekly dirty little secret, which is fine by me - As long as you keep it. I'm Melrose Michaels your host. And this is season three, episode three. The adult industry is a special plane of existence where creators and performers themselves typically get the short end of the stick. Consider the fact that we are usually in a higher tier tax bracket, receive no health benefits, have no access to disability or social security, and in no way, have secure futures for ourselves financially. Yet, the porn industry is worth over $97 billion dollars, which is more money than the major league baseball teams, the NFL teams, and all of the NBA teams are in combined. Yet us, the performers and creators putting in the time and effort to create content that feeds this marketplace have little to no representation in legislation, our workplace or anywhere else.

Melrose:

How can that be? If everyone in major league sports in the US was getting this kind of treatment, there would be strikes, protests, and the games would stop getting played. Yet here we are working our asses off with no long-term security whatsoever. Why are we okay with that? I have found in the adult industry that it is a bit difficult to get creators to unite on topics like these. Some performers have seen so much success that they are able to participate in financial funds, afford private health care and save for retirement. But what about the other 90% of us, the performers who still have to pay $200 or so every week to get tested before creating content out of pocket? What about when a small creator? Say a webcam model, for example, gets terribly sick and can't get on cam to pay her bills or support her family.

Melrose:

Well, I can actually tell you what happens because I've been her. When I was webcamming back in 2015, I got in a really bad car accident where the car flipped over and I had to climb out from the sun roof with a shattered collarbone. I had to wait two weeks before I could even get into surgery. And I wasn't truly back to normal for about three months after that. In the three and a half months that I had been unable to work to my full potential. I would have likely brought in anywhere from 15,000 to $30,000. But instead I was passed out from Percocet and barely able to stay awake long enough to eat. I couldn't even afford to attend the physical therapy at a $60 copay per visit, but I know what you're thinking. Well, if you were making that much money, you should have had something put away.

Melrose:

Well, how much money did you have in savings at 24? The money that I did have saved was just enough to cover my bills for the first month and a half. And after that, I had to put everything on credit cards and borrow money from family and friends. It's a really scary thing when the rug gets pulled out from under you like that, because you never know just how or when it could happen. There's no support for us in situations like this, and that's terrifying.  Now in 2020, I am noticing and seeing some helpful things happening. The industry as a whole has shifted more toward creator centered content. And quarantine has further created that environment since studios had to had their doors closed, the creators themselves have had more power over their content, its distribution and the market than ever before. But what should we be doing with it?

 

Melrose:

I think we should have hard conversations. I think we should discuss how we want to be taken seriously as employees or as independent contractors. I think we need to figure out a way to centralize our needs and work together to achieve these goals. It's interesting because there are adult industry unions that I am starting to see step into the forefront and begin guiding these conversations. The adult performers, Artists Guild is one that comes to mind. Their website lists their mission statement as to earn employee rights, set performer responsibilities, negotiate fair practices, and help performers provide themselves with a better future. That's a really great step in the right direction, but I'm kind of afraid we need so much more than that. We need to be taken seriously by lawyers, accountants, and banking institutions. We need to be viewed as legitimate business owners, running legitimate corporations.

 

Melrose:

We need healthcare made accessible to us and STD testing made more affordable. We need a voice that represents us in Congress. We need laws passed that will help us and not hinder us the way SESTA and FOSTA has. We need someone to hear us, listen to us, guide us and represent us proudly. I just don't know who or what that person or organization looks like. We don't really have an example to compare it to because I don't think one's ever really existed. I'm not sure how we'll accomplish this. I personally would like to play a bigger role in my community and to be a part of getting us closer to these goals. But if I said, I knew how I would be lying. What I do know is if it's this easy for all of us to come together, it shouldn't be that hard for all of us to cum together. See what I did there. I'm MalRose Michaels, and this has been season three, episode three of the SeenAndNotHeard Podcasts.

Melrose:

This week I would like to thank APAG Union for being one of the first unions to take sex work in the performer industry and adult into consideration, and being some of the voices that I mentioned, taking these steps forward and trying to get us the rights, support, and sustainability that our work deserves. Want to be an individual supporter of the podcast? All you have to do is go to anchor.fm/MelRose and click support the podcast to donate whatever amount per month to help fund more episodes like today's.

Melrose:

Next week on the SeenAndNotHeard Podcast...I've had self-doubt creeping around me for as long as I can remember. I have always had the sense of “who do you think you are?” to be doing things like blogging or podcasting? Even with a webcam...I remember always wondering why anyone would long on to watch me. I'm not special. I never knew that what I was dealing with was a real named psychological phenomenon. I wasn't an imposter. I just had imposter syndrome.