Ben Johnson

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‘Empowering’? Video shows Duke pornstar and ‘feminist’ being choked, degraded, and abused

Ben Johnson
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DURHAM, NC, March 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – During a national media blitz, the Duke University student who makes pornographic films to pay her tuition has said her experience in the industry has left her feeling “empowered” and uplifted. But an anti-pornography activist has posted a shocking video graphically undermining her claims.

“My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling, and empowering,” Miriam Weeks, who revealed that she performs under the name Belle Knox, wrote on the feminist website xoJane.com last month. “For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy.”

“It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home,” said the 18-year-old freshman, who recently graduated from a Catholic prep school.

Shooting a pornographic scene is “freeing, it is empowering, it is wonderful, it is how the world should be.”

But former pornstar Shelley Lubben of the Pink Cross Foundation has now posted a graphic video showing a male pornographic actor repeatedly choking, slapping, shaking, and verbally abusing Weeks.

Lubben, whose Pink Cross Foundation encourages pornstars to leave the business, uploaded the film, blurring out all nudity, to the social media website Vimeo.com.

“How does it make you feel personally to, like, watch degrading sex or see women being degraded and treated like s—t or just objectified?” a male interviewer asks Weeks.

“Hot as hell,” Weeks replied.

A muscular actor then grabs her around the throat as she fights to loosen his grip around her larynx. After learning she describes herself as a feminist, the man slaps her numerous times, telling her she is worthless.

As a trail of moisture trickles from her eyes down her haggard face, he says, “Feminism 101 right here,” before continuing his assault.

Weeks initially defended her participation in the scene. “Everything I did was consensual,” she said, describing herself as “a bisexual woman with many sexual quirks.”

She later told The Huffington Post, "I completely stand by every performer's right to perform in a rough sex scene.”

“We live in America,” she said. “Freedom of speech!"

But she said she now “regretted” being in the scene. Although she said she was merely “role-playing” and “was comfortable” during the brutal scene, she learned that “some” of the other women on the website may not have been acting during the filming of their abuse and degradation.

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Weeks/Knox, who makes $1,200-$2,000 per scene, has become an internet phenomenon since going public with her college career. She has appeared on The View, Piers Morgan Live, and chatted with The Huffington Post to defend her moonlighting choices. Weeks, who is majoring in Women's Studies, says she hopes one day to become a lawyer promoting “civil rights” and “women's rights.”

The news reportedly crushed her parents at home in Washington state, who did not know how she was paying for college. Family members, who are reportedly devout Catholics, say they were devastated upon learning the news, something Weeks disputes.

The family sent her to Gonzaga Preparatory School, a Jesuit-run institution that allowed a performance of The Vagina Monologues while she was on campus, as an honor student.

Her father, 54-year-old Dr. Kevin Weeks, works at Spokane's Mann Grandstaff VA Medical Center. Her mother, 48-year-old Harcharan, had lost her job.

Weeks had her heart set on Duke, but was offered only $13,000 in financial aid. “That wasn't enough,” she said. “That's $47,000 still unaccounted for.”

Although her agent said Weeks began her pornographic career after her family stopped financially supporting her, she later told the New York Daily News, “My family never cut me off.” But with three children in college and a hefty mortgage, they asked her to pay part of her own way.

Weeks, who said she has been watching porn since she was 12, has described porn as the most effective way to graduate from her chosen school debt-free.

“With my skillset,” she said, she didn't feel she had other “viable options.”

“There's really no way for women to win in this patriarchal society,” she said.

While still defending her porn career, which has heated up since her public relations campaign, a recent interview with New York's FOX411 seems to indicate that she regrets her choice.

“If I could give advice for any person who was choosing college,” she said, “I would honestly advise them to go to a cheaper school.”

Former pornstars say actresses regularly lie about enjoying their work to maximize profit, burying the hurt until the cameras stop rolling. “I lied to the cameras,” said Jan Villarubia, a former pornstar who performed under the name Elizabeth Rollings. “I lied to the fans, 'I love what I do. I love what I do.' Because that's how you make money.”

Parts of an earlier online essay by Weeks indicate the young woman had already come into contact with the grimier side of the porn industry. “No one is willing to consider the lives of the people behind the camera,” she wrote. “No one wants to hear about the abuses and exploitation that take place, no one wants to hear about the violence committed every day against sex workers, no one wants to consider that we have hopes and dreams and ambitions.”

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