(UPDATED June 12, 2020) Official Statement on Rooster’s Allegations

Update: June 12, 2020

I have decided to update my initial statement regarding the allegations against me by performer Rooster. There is a lot being said on social media at the moment, much of which is not true.

I did not engage with the comments online for a long time because I know that in the online world the alleged perpetrator will never win. I have been on the ‘calling out’ end of these debates and I know how it works. It has definitely been a shock to find myself on the other side of these battles, especially in relation to sexual assault and the #MeToo movement – something that has been an important cause in my life and my work.

We have been dealing with this matter now in private mediation for over two years, there have been meetings, calls, lawyers, agreements, and we have been close to resolving this issue on a number of occasions before it has fallen through once more.

I would like to categorically say that I am not currently suing the performer Rooster, and I never have been. I see this claim being spread on social media and I would like to put that rumour to rest. I know that I am a white, cis-gendered privileged woman with a successful company, and I would not put a Black, non-binary performer through the ordeal, both mentally and financially, of a lawsuit.

I know that Erika Lust Films is not a perfect company, not even close, but our intentions are genuine. We want to be judged by what we do, as well as the mistakes we make. Myself and my team aim to produce adult films in a way that is open and honest, and we try to be transparent about everything that we do. Making movies for people who do not feel seen by traditional mainstream porn will always come before profit, and I know that without our performers we wouldn’t exist. They are the backbone of everything that we do.

Cancel culture is an easy tool to use to end a conflict and culturally block someone from having a platform, but sexual assault cases are nuanced and deserve much more attention than an Instagram story or a Twitter thread, especially from people who have not been involved.

For now, I would like to give my side of the story and assure you that I am continuing to learn about how to handle these things differently. Below is a timeline of the events that have happened. I leave it to you to make your own judgement.

Timeline of events

April 2017, XConfessions guest director Olympe de G invites performer Rooster to perform in her movie Don’t Call Me A Dick.

One month ahead of the shoot Olympe sends Rooster the storyboard detailing all the sex acts that have been planned. Rooster shares their boundaries of no oral sex and no sex in doggy style. Rooster is invited to speak to co-performers Heidi Switch and Bishop Black to discuss their boundaries.

June 2017, Don’t Call Me A Dick is shot. Rooster has a masturbation scene & no doggy style or oral sex happens. Rooster leaves the set without expressing any concerns that they were unhappy about anything.

September 2017, Rooster contacts me about boundary violations and poor working practices on set of Don’t Call Me A Dick. Their main issue is not having enough time to prepare for their masturbation scene.

Olympe responds to this saying that Rooster spent all morning preparing. She had already rescheduled Rooster’s scene from first thing in the morning to later that day to give them more time, and also offered to replace them with another performer if they didn’t feel up to performing.

Private mediation between Olympe & Rooster with Erika Lust Films via phone, email and at my office in Barcelona. We decide to stop working with Olympe de G to ensure no more bad working practice claims.

Spring 2018 we create the Guest director’s guide to working with performers to try to avoid situations like this happening in the future. Rooster contributes to the document, along with our talent manager at the time Kali Sudhra.

July 2018, Rooster’s claim changes from boundary violations and bad working practices to unethical behaviour and abuse of power by Olympe de G on set of Don’t Call Me A Dick.

September 2018, Rooster’s claim changes to sexual assault on set of Don’t Call Me A Dick.

February 2019, after an apology, attempts at a dialogue and a pledge to no longer work with Olympe, Rooster’s lawyer approaches Erika Lust Films to have an out of court settlement in the form of an apology, a witness statement against Olympe and a very large economic settlement. I decline.

August 2019, I find a new claim on Rooster’s website. I have never been made aware of this before reading it on their blog. The claim is that Rooster was raped by Olympe de G on set of a film directed by myself; Architecture Porn. This is the first I have ever heard of this or any concerns relating to this film, which was shot two years previously.

In the same month, Rooster publishes a snippet of a letter on their website which states their sexual boundaries. The letter is used as evidence in support of their claim of being raped on set of Architecture Porn. However this letter actually refers to their sexual boundaries on Don’t Call Me A Dick, not Architecture Porn. Boundaries are always different for different film sets, especially depending on who the performer is performing with. As Rooster & Olympe were in a relationship during the filming of Architecture Porn, the boundaries that Rooster had set for Don’t Call Me A Dick were not given for Architecture Porn.

Despite knowing that these boundaries were not given for Architecture Porn, I remove the film from my websites as I see that Rooster is in visible distress & I want to try and diffuse the situation.

September 2019, online trolling starts from Rooster & confidants saying that “Rooster was raped by Erika Lust”. There is no mention of Olympe de G anymore, or any real detail given in the claims.

October 2019, Rooster contacts me to say they “really appreciate the steps you have taken by extending an olive branch by taking down ARCHITECTURE PORN from your platforms” and they are committed to the “process of deescalating this issue.” We are about to come to a mutual agreement to put the issue to bed but the agreement includes me publicly changing the narrative of what happened and stating untrue facts about Olympe de G, so unfortunately it falls through again.

October 2019 – June 2020, online trolling by Rooster and other accounts continue and they start to attack other people I have worked with. They also contact every company, brand, media that I work with and I lose a lot of work opportunities and partnerships.

Initial Statement: Barcelona. August 21, 2019

We have a zero tolerance policy toward any kind of sexual harassment, abuse or sexual violence at Erika Lust Films. We do not accept unethical behaviour on our sets, from anyone within the crew, cast or our staff. My mission for an alternative pornography always had the importance of the production process at its heart. I deeply believe that the production process, including pre-production, is key and what happens in front of the camera has everything to do with the people behind it, their world vision and their values. These are not marketing tactics, this is the essence of our company culture. My responsibility as a Director, alongside an on-set Talent Manager and the Chief of Production, is to help performers feel comfortable speaking up and to ensure their boundaries are respected. With a solid crew that knows the intricacies of sex work, I believe we have created a safe space where all performers can voice their opinions and feelings on set.

Whenever I have been made aware of a conflict or doubtful behaviour on my sets or any guest-directed set, the issue and the people involved have been addressed or have not been hired again. Erika Lust Films’ sets have strict standards of care and quality, and I am committed to continuous improval. We are also very transparent on how we work on set and anyone can watch behind the scenes footage from all of the XConfessions films on the website. That’s not to say that everything is explained and shown, but we do our best as a company to show the audience who we are and what we do.

I have always acknowledged that when working with sex, undesired situations can happen on set and my team and I constantly deal with delicate situations during our productions. We work to understand the conflict and resolve it. We sometimes work to obtain apologies from performers to performers, from directors to performers, from crew members to other members of the crew and to performers. It’s a constant and evolving process to make sure we work with the right people and try to create the safest environment possible. I wrote more about this on May 18th on my blog after missing inappropriate behaviour from a male performer to a female performer during a lap dance on set.

When I first heard about the performer Rooster’s discomfort with guest-director Olympe De G.’s behaviour in September 2017 I listened to them (Rooster is a Non-Binary performer whose pronouns are they/them). Back then Rooster’s only claim was boundary violations and poor working practices on the Don’t Call Me A Dick set. They felt that some of the pre-negotiated boundaries were not respected on set and a post-shoot meeting request to discuss this was repeatedly ignored by the director. We talked to Rooster and director Olympe via email and over the phone, and I then met with Rooster in person at my office to try to mediate between the performer and the guest director.

We apologised for Rooster’s unfortunate experience, talked to both parties, tried to understand them, and received feedback. Rooster’s main issue was that the director had not given them enough time to prepare for a masturbation scene on the Don’t Call Me A Dick set. The director, Olympe, responded to this, saying that Rooster had already spent all morning preparing. They had already rescheduled Rooster’s scene from first thing in the morning to later that day, as Rooster was not feeling 100% well in the morning.

It can be argued that this incident was not a good example of best directing practice in the production of a film set. Preparation time is a practice we try to ensure on all our sets and we feel sorry that Rooster felt they did not have enough. A film set is sometimes stressful and some feelings can be hurt unintentionally, from the way crew talk to each other to not giving a performer enough personal space to relax throughout the day.

I apologise for not addressing these boundary violations publicly, but we have been addressing them privately for a long time. We talked to the crew (12 people) working on the Don’t Call Me A Dick set and we obtained our reports. At the same time, we decided to stop working with director Olympe de G to avoid any future issues, as we told Rooster. We had acknowledged that some mistakes happened in the production process and in Spring 2018 we began working collectively on the Guest director’s guide to working with performers.

10 months later in July 2018, the nature of Rooster’s claim changed from boundary violations and bad working practices to unethical behaviour and abuse of power. In September 2018, despite our apology and attempts at a dialogue, Rooster claimed to have been sexually assaulted. This sexual assault accusation has been spread by them and social media users by deploying vague terms without any real evidence to back them up. There are no concrete facts, just broad allegations where all nuance has been removed, and claims whose nature has escalated and changed in time.

You won’t find any evidence of me working against Rooster to silence them because there simply isn’t any. Contrary to what has been said, I have not talked about Rooster, I have not sued them or threatened to do so, I have not actively victim-blamed them, and I have not blacklisted them – in fact they worked as a DOP on a film produced by my company after their initial claim of boundary violations. The only action I have taken towards them has been to block them on Twitter – a decision which was taken following a never ending stream of mentions with inaccurate claims about myself.

In February 2019 Rooster’s lawyer approached my company to have an out of court settlement in the form of an apology, a witness statement against Olympe and a large economic settlement. I did not accept. Recently my team made me aware of a new accusation that Rooster did not previously email me about. The accusation I am talking about is one of rape by Olympe de G, on the set of Architecture Porn, under the watch of myself and over 20 crew members. Regarding this new accusation of rape on my set Architecture Porn, this is a claim that has never been brought to my company’s attention before. My team found out when it was published on a blog.

It is difficult for me to take this allegation seriously after two years of different allegations and claims, at points it has been hard for me to keep up with what is being said about me. From my position as a director, Rooster and Olympe both had a good day on set, afterwards Rooster spoke to me privately and said how happy they were with how everything went and what a good time they had had. There was no mention of any boundary violations. That being said I take this allegation very seriously however I can’t look into it further until I receive the account of events from Rooster, Olympe and all the crew working on set that day.

Erika Lust

Barcelona, August 21, 2019

Update: August 28, 2019

It’s been several days since my official statement about Rooster’s allegations. I am now issuing an update to my original statement because a piece of important evidence has come to light that is key to truly understanding this story. In light of seeing a letter fragment that was posted on Rooster’s website (see below) I needed to understand if Rooster and Olympe had agreed privately on sexual boundaries that were not respected on my set.

Having seen the original letter from Olympe’s lawyer dated August 2018 I can now see how the extract has been manipulated in order to fit Rooster’s narrative and frame Olympe as a rapist on set of ‘Architecture Porn’

The letter in question is connected to the film ‘Don’t Call Me A Dick’, not ‘Architecture Porn’. On the ‘Don’t Call Me a Dick’ set Rooster was due to perform with Heidi Switch. Their sexual boundaries were clear. Rooster’s sexual boundaries of not having sex in doggy style and not receiving oral sex were 100% respected on ‘Don’t Call Me A Dick’, something clearly stated in the letter.

In order to protect performers, we don’t assume that sex acts and sexual boundaries set for previous films hold for future shoots. This is crucial as it is not uncommon for performers to alter their boundaries from film to film, especially performing with different people, as was the case with the two films in question. That is why I have protocols in place to ensure that these changes are accommodated.

In accordance with my standard protocol, during pre-production of ‘Architecture Porn’ both Olympe de G and Rooster were presented with a script and a detailed storyboard of the shoot. I asked if they were both ok with the story and sexual acts to be performed. Both confirmed. They were also given the opportunity to establish their sexual boundaries.

Following this, on the day of the shoot, a second conversation was held to make sure the sex acts, practices and boundaries previously stated by them were still prevailing. Each sex act and position performed was discussed and agreed on by the performers, in my presence and in the presence of the main film crew and the talent manager. This second conversation always takes place to ensure that the performers are still comfortable with the pre agreed boundaries and sex acts, with the explicit understanding that they are able to change their mind at any point during the film shoot.

The call out culture that my team and I have witnessed this week glosses over nuanced conversations about what a safe sex environment on a porn set is. It also distorts and undermines the concept of sexual violence, while unjustly slandering a movement which works towards much needed alternatives in the porn industry. Blind call outs by people not in possession of the facts does little for those seeking justice and the sex community, of all groups, should know this.

All of this being said, I also watched Rooster’s last video this weekend. I see they are suffering and I wish them no harm so I have decided to withdraw Architecture Porn from our sites.

As of tomorrow August 29th, ‘Architecture Porn’ will no longer be on our sites.

Barcelona, August 28th 2019

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