Details have been coming out about the suicide of adult film star August Ames since the news broke earlier in the week. The initial reports blamed cyberbullying for Ames death and cited criticism she received over a decision to not perform a scene with a gay male star. Ames defended herself on social media but continued to face scrutiny and claims that she was “homophobic” for her decision. How much this officially played into her suicide by hanging is unconfirmed, but many in the adult industry and her immediate family were quick to lash out at cyberbullying online. This includes a note from her brother on Facebook that has since been deleted according to the Mirror:
“Bullying is not a joke. It took my sister’s life and I can’t get her back. This pain I feel cause people couldn’t keep their opinions to themselves is unbearable, although I have nothing but hate for each and everyone of you people who drove her to this i still do not wish this pain on you. This has forever changed me and who I am as a person”
Others shared similar feelings online and also shed light on Ames own fight with depression in the weeks before taking her own life. Fellow adult film star Keisha Grey shared a text she had received from Ames a month before her death with the late star admitting she was depressed:
Also, as reported by The Independent, Ames opened up about her past abuse and struggles with mental health on the Holly Randall Unfiltered podcast:
“It was just awful. It’s still recent where I have to keep myself occupied or else I start thinking about all that s*** and then I fall into a depression.
“I try to do therapy. I hate that word. I hate therapy…
“I would get in contact with some people and then I would feel badly because they’d be like ‘what’s your profession and I’d be like ‘oh, I’m in the adult industry’ and then I’d feel like they’re like ‘oh, that’s the whole reason that you are the way you are’ and then I’d get turned off.”
One voice that has experience covering cyberbullying and “public shaming” is author Jon Ronson. He not only recently dove into the adult entertainment world in The Butterfly Effect but also wrote about the stakes of the mob mentality online in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. Ames situation brought it back into the spotlight for Ronson, prompting the author to write about it on Twitter:
Ronson also adds that even he faced some bullying online for his own book about public shaming, adding a fine reply in the process about why it happened. But in the end, he adds that Ames situation is not unique and likely won’t bring an end to cyberbullying anytime soon.