Sex workers’ rights activist and social work student Monica Jones was due to defend herself in court today after cops set her up on charges of “manifesting prostitution” when they targeted her for attending a SWOP-Phoenix protest against oppressive Arizona State University social work school diversion program Project ROSE. However, the trial was postponed until April 11th due to a constitutional challenge brought by the ACLU. Dozens of Monica’s supporters packed the courtroom, and Monica stated, “We will be back with twice as many people.” Read more about the story in Melissa Gira Grant’s RH Reality Check piece or this Truth Out piece,or watch this MSNBC interview with Monica. Of course, you could always look back on Tits and Sass’ own interview with Monica, and our interview with SWOP-Phoenix member Jaclyn Moskal-Dairman about Project ROSE. We stand with Monica Jones!
The media collectively wrung its hands all week over Belle Knox, the Duke University Porn Star. Responses ranged from columnists tut-tutting over the “troubled young woman” to outright whorephobia. Then of course there were the oh-so-sensitive pieces about her family’s response to her outting, e.g., “Welcome home, daddy, I’m a porn star!”
Stoya tells the New York Times that there’s a lot people can learn about privacy from porn performers: “Maybe it would be easier to navigate the dissolving boundaries between public and private spaces if we all had a variety of names with which to signal the aspects of ourselves currently on display.”
Then the New York Times lost any brownie points it earned with us via Stoya’s op-ed by running a long piece on a Justice Department study on the sex industry that used to word “pimp” repeatedly, compared sex work to cancer, and claimed that $150 an hour is “the common going rate for prostitution.”
Indian sex worker activists asked candidates for all forty-two seats in the upcoming elections to agree to their demands for sex work to be listed in the labor department’s list of professions, for offending sections of the Anti-Trafficking Act to be abolished, and for the government to recognize an autonomous board of sex workers. Otherwise, sixty-five thousand registered Indian sex workers will not be voting for them.
Ten officers with guns and bulletproof vests raided San Diego strip club Cheetahs in quite a show of force for a routine permits check. They took photographs of all the dancers, even going so far as to take a photo of each of their tattoos, leaving the club workers feeling violated.
Scottish sex workers’ rights group SCOT-PEP is calling for the closure of the Invisible Men exhibit at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. The exhibit consists of a series of featureless white masks, with selected quotes (the ones that happen to be violent and misogynistic, of course) from clients on review board sites superimposed on them. Sex workers representing SCOT-PEP wrote in a statement that, “The exhibition depicts sex workers as faceless, excludes the voices of sex workers and uses depictions of sex workers in intimate or even distressing situations without those women’s consent.”
The Republican candidate running for Minnesota Secretary of State dropped out of the race after it was revealed he went to a strip club after announcing his candidacy.
The South China Morning Post’s Mimi Lau notes that, despite corruption and atrocious working conditions, China’s sex industry contributes to as much as six percent of its GDP. Maybe the Chinese government should be thanking sex workers rather than cracking down on them.
Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss told New York, “My job is to get up, and get dressed in someone else’s clothes, and go and pretend that I’m someone else. Who does that? Nobody does that. Strippers and actors do that.”
A group of sex workers from the Tunisian city of Sousse protested in front of the National Constituent Assembly building on Tuesday, demanding that their officially-sanctioned brothel be reopened after over a year of inactivity.
Cops Behaving Typically, March Edition: “Ex Seattle DEA Agent Planned Stripper Meth Ring.”
New York State is targeting its strip clubs by going after their liquor licenses.
Police in the Canadian city of Hamilton are looking for a suspect who’s assaulted eight sex workers. There’s no quip we can make about something like this.
The Canadian Radio-Television And Telecommunications Commission warned three erotic channels that their porn just wasn’t Canadian enough.
Twenty-six Danish researchers signed a protest letter against the European Parliament’s recommendations to criminalize the purchase of sex work: “A vast majority of prostitutes do not work for traffickers or pimps. They work for themselves in order to help their impoverished families in Africa, Asia and Latin America. If finding customers becomes a problem as a result of sex work becoming criminalized, these prostitutes become dependent on procurers who can arrange contacts with customers.”
The porn industry is preparing for a stand-off with anti-pornography feminists in London this weekend, over the Stop Porn Culture conference, organized by usual suspects Gail Dines and Julie Bindel, which porn industry reps say is aimed at “censoring sexual expression in the UK.” Porn performers are planning a Don’t Censor Me rally in response.