[CW: Sexual assault, adult entertainment.]
Deep breath. I feel weird doing this. But here I go, doing it anyway:
Ron Jeremy Is Facing 28 Counts of Sexual Misconduct
Ron Jeremy—one of the most prominent figures in adult entertainment—is currently in jail awaiting trial on 28 charges of sexual misconduct leveled by 17 women. I wrote about it at YNOT, and the article links to most of the prominent news outlets’ coverage of the story. So you can read up on the details there.
Suffice it to say that it’s becoming clear that “The Hedgehog” is a serial perpetrator of sexual crimes. And that he is in jail for very, very good reasons. And that he needs to stay there. His bail is set at $6.6 million, and so far nobody is even trying to pony up the cash to get him out.
It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and I’m… What’s the word? Proud? Pleased? Kind of uncomfortable but also glad?… To be partly responsible for this happening.
Okay, back in 2010, I went to my first adult entertainment industry convention as a journalist. There, I met Ron Jeremy. He assaulted me in public, twice, in full view of friends and industry colleagues. Both incidents were, all things considered, pretty mild in nature, especially when compared with the awful allegations I’ve heard from multiple other women since then. But, as I was already suffering PTSD from a previous sexual assault, it hit me pretty hard. Especially since he tried, later that night, to lure me to his hotel room, where god knows what might have happened.
In the above video, I read from the chapter in my book, Watching P*rn, where I detail what happened. I’ve primed the video to start right at that point (about 43 minutes in), but there’s a lot of discussion leading up to it of how his behavior fit—or rather didn’t fit—with other adult performers I met that weekend. And, afterward, there’s a long conversation with viewers about #MeToo and more.
After that weekend, it took me years to put my experience with Ron into perspective. I finally confronted what had happened to me when I was writing my book. And, in 2017, when an editor from Rolling Stone contacted me about my story, I put on my brave face and agreed to an interview. She spoke with me and eleven other women in and around the p*rn industry, all of whom were willing to come forward with their stories of Ron’s sexual misconduct. Their experiences ranged from very mild (mine) to outright horrific tales of outright rape. The story (which you can read here) broke in late 2017.
It made such a splash that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began to investigate Ron Jeremy. He’s the second high-profile man in entertainment to be brought to task like this as a direct result of the #MeToo movement—him and Harvey Weinstem.
Ron Jeremy was first jailed in June on 8 counts from four different women, and the news drew out dozens of other women who had experienced trauma at his hands. He’s now being held for trial on 28 counts of sexual misconduct. And, even if he isn’t found guilty on all of them and sentenced to the maximum of 250 years to life—it doesn’t look like he’s going to be a free man again anytime soon.
Why I’m Telling You
So here’s where the weirdness comes in. It feels very, very strange for me to be crowing about something that hurt me so much. My experience with Ron reopened trauma that I had been trying to handle for years, and re-traumatized me. I don’t want to talk about it lightly. It’s not okay. None of this is okay.
But at the same time, I want to take this moment to say that coming forward like I did, although it was difficult and scary and re-re-traumatizing… It did, in the end, make a difference. My story was one of a growing chorus that, now, is bringing a serial rapist to justice.
I must acknowledge the multiple types of privilege that I bring to the table in this situation. I’m white, cisgender, middle class, and not a sex worker. I exist so far on the fringes of the industry in which Ron is an icon that I hardly even crossed his radar beyond that one time we crossed paths. My coming forward with my story put me at relatively low risk for blowback.
Still, my hands are shaking and my armpits are sweating right now. Writing, talking, thinking about this… It’s very uncomfortable. PTSD FTW! But it feels important to take this moment and crow about my small victory. It’s important. Because it gives me some hope that, even amidst the absolute raging Dumpster fire that is America in 2020, speaking out against sexual violence can do some good. And, hey, Ron Jeremy is finally in jail.
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