Yesterday, Peter Acworth, the founder and CEO of Kink.com, released a response to my story ("Gag Order") about the complexities of model treatment inside his ethical porn business. But the response wasn't initially sent to me; rather, it went to other Bay Area news outlets.
When I eventually obtained a copy of it, I was extremely surprised by its contents. Rather than directly addressing the concerns raised in my story, the response read like a somewhat prevaricating thank-you note. Thanks for not publishing those damaging e-mails about our company. P.S. You're a shoddy journalist.
The response also floated the suggestion that I'd knowingly relied on forged e-mails to write the story. That's absolutely false. Were emails involved in my initial reporting process? Yes. Did any of their contents end up in print? Nope.
Confused? I was, too. Here's the deal: I've been researching, writing, and discussing ethical porn for the last nine months. Over that period of time, I've heard wildly conflicting stories about what it's like to work for Kink. I could tell right away that some were false or biased, and so I didn't write about them. Others seemed legitimate in their original telling, and were verified by screenshots, videos, photos, and bank statements. Some sources opened their e-mail accounts to me. Particularly disturbing e-mails, apparently from Acworth, were revealed. More »