FilmDrunk

The Adult Film Minute: Chase Hates Porn Stars. But So Does PayPal, Amazon…


Once per month, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.

Oh May, you’re supposed to be all springy and fun! Except that this month in discrimination: CHASE bank, PayPal, and now Amazon…

Vince has already done an excellent job of discussing CHASE bank and the blatant discrimination targeting members of the adult industry under the auspices of mitigating risk (here), but the question remains – why should we care? Why should we care if porn stars can’t make deposits or pay their assistants? Can’t they just go to one of those check cashing places, and call it a day? (Assuming check-cashing places weren’t also getting shut down…)

Here’s the thing… At least in California and New Hampshire, porn production is perfectly legal. Thus, CHASE is discriminating against a group that is technically doing nothing wrong, from those who are doing the actual sexing to those who are working in behind-the-scenes occupations. Because this extends much further than just porn stars: it’s producers, people who work on sets, and people whose businesses involve sex that is strictly virtual. I get that legality is extremely arbitrary, but it’s troubling to think about discrimination in this context. So, not to be all gloom and doom about it, but we should all care about this issue.

And it’s not just banks! In light of all this CHASE attention, people have come forth with allegations of comparable discrimination levied by PayPal and Amazon.

PayPal has long since been cancelling accounts for what they determine to be sexually oriented transactions, and adult performer Tasha Reign recently wrote an op-ed in Al Jazeera about her experience with PayPal’s refusal to sell “certain sexually oriented materials or services.” And the Daily Dot recently reported that online retail giant Amazon has been deleting adult performers’ and other sex workers’ wishlists, this time due to “bartering.”

Ok, fine – both PayPal and Amazon are totally allowed to set their own limits and sell/payment process whatever they want, but this is a really slippery slope greased heavily with subjective moral assessment. Ask yourself this: what’s the difference really between a porn DVD and some panties and the latest Lars Von Trier flick and a tube of KY jelly? I’m pretty sure PayPal would allow payment processing for the latter two, no questions asked. And Amazon wishlists – since when is fans treating their favorite star to an item they want or need “bartering”? When a writer or scholar has an Amazon wishlist, is that also considered bartering? No, because bartering in this scenario is all about moralistic judgment.

×