Kink.com has built a reputation for being an ethical porn site who puts the models first and is great to work for. Many a battle against pornography, particularly BDSM pornography, has been fought and won because of their model policies, which set a high standard for how porn can be filmed. I personally struggled with that idea of "ethics" due to some of their policies about who they hire, the whole "virginity" debacle, and their depictions of submissive men or trans women, but I just hoped they'd turn it around.
Well, this month, one of their models, Maxine Holloway, was fired from KinkLive, their cam website, because she was organizing. She was organizing because Kink decided to change their payout policy for camgirls- from one of the best in the industry to one of the worst, with less than a month's notice. As someone deeply involved in sex worker rights, this disappointed me, and I imagine it will disappoint you too. Kink.com is a big part of our sex community- it's time we held them accountable as one.
Details are below: I recommend you vote with your eyes and seek porn elsewhere until they start treating their models like they do their employees.
"This past month a severe pay cut was given to the women who work at KinkLive.com. They needed to save money and they did it by taking it from the models. Instead of staying quiet and taking what they were willing to give us for our work - we united, stood up for ourselves and are taking action to get what we deserve.
During this process I was let go from the KinkLive department.
If you care about worker’s rights, specifically sex worker’s rights, please repost this letter far and wide.
* * * * * * *
Kink Live Models
1800 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
May 16, 2012
Peter Acworth, Founder/CEO
Jessie Lee, VP Talent
John Sander, VP Marketing
Melinda Perales, VP Human Resources
Tim Lewis, VP Head of Production
Sheila Gunn, Kink Live
1800 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Dear Mr. Peter Acworth and kink.com executives,
This is a letter from the models who work regularly at the KinkLive.com website. SWOP (Sex Worker’s Outreach Project) is sending this letter on our behalf. There have been some very recent policy alterations within the KL department that are having dramatic negative effects on the models and the department as a whole.
These changes came very abruptly and seem to conflict with the Kink.com Values Statement, Business Practices and Treatment of Models Policy, which seems to be alive and thriving in other departments in the company. We have all been very proud to work for a BDSM company that so explicitly states the rights of models. These are a few lines from the Kink.com Values & Business Practices that we feel have been disregarded within the KL Department:
-We operate with honesty and integrity.
-We treat one another with professionalism and respect.
-We encourage candid, direct feedback.
-Models are given explicit rights.
-Directors are given explicit rules.
-Models are well paid and treated as professionals.
-Kink.com has an unusually low turnover of employees.
-Kink.com has a reputation in the adult entertainment industry for respectful and fair treatment of models.
As KinkLive models, we work to uphold these values and trust that our company does as well. The recent changes have shaken that trust.
The changes occurring in the KinkLive department include withdrawing our flat rate and instilling a commission-only earning system, which makes our pay-out percentage rate much lower than other competitive cam sites. This is particularly alarming because we are expected to do so much more with our bodies than models on other sites: bondage, electricity, implements, fucking machines, pain endurance, humiliation, domination, etc. Plus we act as live advertising and website “tour guides” when people are browsing the Kink.com site to possibly purchase a membership or shoot.
Under the new payment system many models will no longer be able to earn a living wage working for KinkLive. We love our job and do not want to be forced into leaving the company to seek gainful employment elsewhere. Although many of us shoot content for various Kink sites, as well as other porn companies, KinkLive provides steady, consistent work that keeps many of us afloat. We would regret losing the opportunity to have an interesting and challenging job that forms the backbone of our income. We also do not wish to jeopardize our ability to shoot content for other Kink sites; it is KinkLive that we are taking issue with, not Kink.com as a whole.
Furthermore, we are frustrated by the lack of transparency surrounding the change in policy. There was not an official announcement from KinkLive to its models about the new rates until May 7th, well after certain models had already had their wages altered by the new system. Some models were only informed through other models with no information coming from staff at all. Various models were given contradictory information regarding the new payments, making it difficult for us to determine exactly what our wages are.
The email sent to us on May 7th states, “The new pay structure is effective for most models on June 1, 2012”. Not only were we informed of the change less than a month before the date it becomes effective, we also are not being told which models are included in “most models”, or what is happening to those of us not included in this oblique majority. We understand that KL is going through “growing-pains” but the way this was handled came off as very unprofessional and disrespectful.
Since this department has been “operating at a loss for two years” (from the email just sent from KL on 5/7/12) it seems that some advance warning would have been a great way to demonstrate the fact that “Kink.com has a reputation in the adult entertainment industry for respectful and fair treatment of models.” Now we are left with dozens of women who have had their monthly income severely or completely cut without any notice. Honesty and integrity about this issue could have prepared us to make financial changes in advance of the new policies. Prior communication would also have fostered cooperation with us to assist in promotion, increase in revenue for the KinkLive department and prepared us for this change in policy.
Another new development at KL is the restructuring of the rules for public chat to allow more explicit acts in the free chatroom. These new guidelines originally were not laid out for the models, or even mentioned by the staff to the group as a whole with any clarity. Word of this spread by mouth and even by Kink.com members. Whether or not this is a positive change, we as models need to be told clearly what alterations are being made to our shows.
In closing: We, the undersigned models of KinkLive.com, are not satisfied with the new payment system and the ways in which the company has brought it to our attention. We ask to move forward on one of the following options:
1. KinkLive will reinstate the former payment system of a minimum payment per cam show for all models.
2. KinkLive and the models of the site will negotiate a commission-based percentage payment system that will make working for KinkLive viable for all models while making KinkLive a profitable department.
Regardless of the outcome of this situation, we wish to be kept informed of decisions pertaining to our jobs and to be treated with professionalism and respect.
Thank you, Mr. Acworth, for taking the time to hear our grievances.
We designate a SWOP representative and contact person for this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Kink Live Models
*Specific names have been left off of this letter for fear of losing current and future employment with kink.com"
As was witnessed, the fear of losing employment was accurate. Firing people for asserting their rights, especially sex workers, especially from a self-titled "ethical, community-focused" porn company, ESPECIALLY in San Francisco, is not something we should take lightly. We supported the Lusty dancers- now it's time to support the cam models who will be displaced due to this new policy.
Watch more porn, people- just make sure it's ethical!