YouTuber and political activist Lauren Southern has sparked outrage yet again after a late January announcement of a “mini-documentary” production involving adult online creators, triggering angry responses from various individuals in the industry.
“I’m looking for sex workers who would be willing to do an interview about their work and lifestyle for a mini-documentary”, tweeted Southern, adding that “if you’re concerned about how you may be portrayed, we intend to steel man all arguments & stories involved in the film. I genuinely want to understand your world”. She later clarified that the invitation is open to both current and former workers. The tweet immediately sparked controversy and condemnations: “Absolutely not”, responded Evelyn Claire; “Don’t trust this person. Don’t work with her. Mute her & move on”, added Sydney Leathers.
I’ve gotten a massive backlash on here from radicals & thought I wouldn’t get anyone reaching out.— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) January 25, 2021
My email inbox is packed. Particularly with SW’s who found out about this from the outrage and are happy to talk.
I always find it funny when groups think they’re a monolith. https://t.co/OWkp9VRQBe
Fans tried to intervene as well, attempting to warn any actress from participating. “Please check this person’s history before you contact her. She is extremely dangerous”, was the recurring reply posted by numerous fans who kept bringing up Southern’s past, with a smaller group showing support for the project and encouraging varying opinions.
Southern was not deterred from her plan - responding by saying that she has “gotten a massive backlash from radicals & thought I wouldn’t get anyone reaching out. My email inbox is packed. Particularly with SW’s who found out about this from the outrage and are happy to talk. I always find it funny when groups think they’re a monolith”. She has also reached out to psychologists and sociologists to discuss relationship and sex for the film. As the angry comments continued, Southern made clear she’s not backing down, teasing the critiques by tweeting: “Start filming my next documentary this month and there’s nothing you angry f–ks can do about it”.
Start filming my next documentary this month and there’s nothing you angry fucks can do about it— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) January 28, 2021
Xoxo Gnight pic.twitter.com/DOyRdgFwZ5
These types of documentaries are usually frowned upon in the industry, to a point where most would have to show public objections to similar ideas out of peer pressure. Such stories, not unlike the recent New York Times story involving PornHub, often trigger long-term consequences for workers in the industry.
As of last week, Southern’s project is still ongoing - and at least two sex workers agreed to participate. Southern said she has interviewed a worker who told her that “The only difference between my job and hookup culture is I get paid for it and don’t cry when I get ghosted”. Southern said she had misconceptions prior to interviewing the girls, and the result “blew her mind” and generated “some very interesting content for the doc”.