How Netflix’s ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ series exploits sex workers in the name of exposing…how sex workers are exploited?
We spoke to the sex workers who were non-consensually included in the docu-series
by Kate Lonczak
Hot Girls Wanted, a new Netflix series released on April 21 addresses how technology has normalized the exploitation of sex workers … by exploiting sex workers. The series is a sequel to the 2015 documentary of the same name which followed five female amateur porn stars in Florida.
Despite seemingly feminist intentions, and with Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones joining the production team on the docu-series, the women-dominated team of producers used numerous online clips of sex performers throughout the series without informing the porn stars.
Uh y'all better get royalties if that is real
— meowz ✨?? (@MollyMeowz) April 22, 2017
“I had to find out about it when a fellow model told me,” cam performer Effy Elizabeth told babe. “No heads-up or anything.”
Sex workers Effy Elizabeth and Autumn Kayy‘s Periscope stream on MyFreeCams.com was included in the Netflix series without their consent. Despite the documentary aiming to expose a lack of women empowerment in the pornography industry, Elizabeth felt belittled by the series itself as it portrayed her and Kayy as “just teenagers playing online.”
“[Netflix] couldn’t care to blur random footage they found or try contacting the people’s footage that they used,” Elizabeth said. “Just seems very careless and lazy.”
Fellow sex worker Gia Paige volunteered to be included in the show but backed out after producers started asking her about family matters. According to her Twitter account, the producers agreed to cut Paige’s part in the series after they made her feel uncomfortable.
Despite her wishes to be expelled from the series completely, show-runners still opted to use Paige’s footage.
BECAUSE I DO. THANKS FOR KEEPING YOUR WORD. SNAKES.
— Baeelzebub (@GiaPaige) April 23, 2017
“I later found out a model in the show voluntarily was also betrayed by producers,” Elizabeth said. “It’s supposedly meant to be a show to explain how we’re exploited but they don’t mind exploiting us for personal gain.”
Kayy contacted Hot Girls Wanted via Twitter direct message in search of an explanation. In response, the show claimed fair use. Fair use allows documentaries to use copyrighted content without permission from the copyright holder for purposes including education, historical background, criticism, research, etc.
Despite the possible fair use of the cam performers’ videos, many are criticizing Netflix’s decision as unethical.
“They essentially outed [Effy] as a sex worker which is extremely dangerous for us,” Kayy said. “It’s completely wrong to take a sex workers’ streams and use them without asking their permission first.”
Kayy replied with her email address to the Hot Girls Wanted account like they requested, but she has not heard from them since. While waiting for further explanation of the supposed fair use, the cam performers are dealing with repercussions of being exposed on a global level. Prior to the series, their audiences were niche and contained to tens of thousands of followers on social media.
Now, the real names of the sex workers, who go by aliases on the internet, were released and footage of their performances have been streamed to a global audience of millions.
“Effy had to call and alert her family so they could alert more distant relatives just in case anyone stumbled across it,” Kayy said.
Kayy is open with her family about her sex work, but she is certain that the documentary will still cause unnecessary strain.
There's no potential in a series that violates performer's safety and portrays what we do in such a manipulated manner.
— Violet and Kayden (@VioletandKayden) April 26, 2017
“I just do not want my sex work being thrown into my family’s face. They didn’t sign up for that,” Kayy said. “They know to avoid certain social platforms due to my work but Netflix? Everyone watches Netflix.”
Not only were families tested and morals questioned, but the exploitation of the sex workers in the docu-series is exactly what the producers are “educating” viewers about.
Congratulations, Jones and Co. — you played yourself.
“I still have to watch the whole series,” Elizabeth said. “I’ve been a little reluctant but should know what I’m dealing with.”
Hot Girls Wanted: yet another example of media which purports to "expose" the exploitation of sex workers by gleefully participating in it
— soph ? (@pogform) April 25, 2017
Kayy and Elizabeth have been trying to figure out how to handle the situation appropriately.
its like yes i'm sure in the eyes of the law that they have the rights to "fair use" but in a morality point they are completely out of line
— Aspen? (@AspenFoxxx) April 22, 2017
Consent is sexy, Netflix.
The Tab reached out to the producers of “Hot Girls Wanted.” The story will be updated as we hear back.