Max Hardcore and (un)ethical porn.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE.

Depending on your perspective, Max Hardcore is either a champion of free speech or one of the most reviled men in the porn industry (second only, perhaps, to Khan Tusion, the director of the infamous Meat Holes and Rough Sex series, etc. - to read about him click here - it's brutal, so heads-up). Max Hardcore did a 4-year stint in prison for breaking American obscenity laws. He is also very successful; in other words, his content sells.

Max Hardcore's films feature adult women dressed as, and acting like, young girls, gynecological toys, and extremely rough sex. He regularly spits and urinates on his performers, and chokes them with his genitals until they vomit. [These acts aren't necessarily indicative of unethical pornography in and of themselves - what matters more is labour rights, respect for and empowerment of performers, and consent.]

Max Hardcore claims that all his performers provide freely given consent and that pushing their boundaries is a requisite part of the contract. Some women like performing for him, but many do not, and some have even tried to press criminal charges of sexual assault against him. Performing for him was once considered a rite of passage - i.e., if you could work for him, you could work for anyone.

Despite his claims that he treats his performers with respect and that they freely consent to work with him, anecdotal evidence suggests that his tactics can be emotionally abusive, manipulative, and that he uses soft coercion to get performers to do things they would not normally do. For many of the women who worked for him, if they refused certain acts, or stopped their scenes, they knew that their careers were in jeopardy.

Still, we as outside observers must take care not to infantilize performers, and to balance our concerns with respect for autonomy. In other words, people need to be free to make their own decisions for the better or worse, regardless of the outcome as judged by us.

This is a scene about Max Hardcore from the documentary Hardcore. You can see the rest of the documentary here, although the video quality is very poor (NSFW!).

If the previous info and clip about Max Hardcore haven't already left a bad taste in your mouth, this is post-scene debriefing with one of his performers likely will. Presumably, he secretly taped it as insurance against claims of misconduct and exploitation. The woman he's talking with later accused him of sexual assault, among other things. This clip includes extremely NSFW language, is uber-creepy, and may be a trigger for those who have experienced sexual violence. It perfectly exemplifies the dark side of the industry.

This video clip is an interview with from the AVN expo, post-release from jail:

And here is a longer interview with him from 2011: