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February 02, 2018

Stormy Daniels Is ‘Hero America Needs,’ Lawyer Says

Above, Stormy Daniels on the red carpet at the 2018 AVN Awards Show; photo by Jeff Koga/@KogaFoto CYBERSPACE—After a Saturday Night Live sketch satirizing the alleged affair between Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels took a jab at the AVN Hall of Famer, calling her the “hero you deserve right now,” a lawyer who has represented porn performers and acts as an advocate for sex workers’ rights responded in a article on the site BuzzFeed Thursday. In the piece, Melissa Broudo of the Sharmus Outlaw Advocacy and Rights Institute (SOAR) said that Daniels may now be not the hero America deserves, but instead the hero the country needs. Why? Because according to Broudo’s argument in her article, porn performers and other sex workers are “uniquely qualified to lead the rollicking global conversation about sexism, sexuality, privilege, and power that is being fueled by daily reports of sexual assault by powerful men. These are people who know more about the negotiation of sexual boundaries than anyone else on the planet.” Daniels, of course, has been at the center of an ongoing scandal since January 12 when the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s lawyer paid her $130,000 just a month before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about a sexual affair she allegedly had with Trump 10 years earlier. But while Trump, despite facing regular questioning from the White House press corps, has yet to be confronted publicly about the allegation, Daniels has been questioned repeatedly and even subjected to threats over her alleged part in the affair. “Whenever there’s any sort of ‘sex scandal’ in America, it’s all too often the woman who is blamed and shamed,” wrote Daily Beast columnist Marlow Stern in a Friday article titled “The Shaming of Stormy Daniels.” “Headlines from outlets like the Associated Press and The Washington Post have labeled her nothing more than a ‘porn star,’ refusing to mention her by name. Meanwhile, it’s Daniels who’s been forced to publicly address the rumored affair as the powerful man who, in Weinstein-esque fashion, stands accused of luring her to a hotel room with false promises of a career-changing gig on The Apprentice, has the luxury of staying silent,” Stern wrote. But instead, according to Broudo in her BuzzFeed essay, Daniels and other porn performers deserve to be heard and even celebrated for their ability to set “boundaries” on sexual behavior even as they work in the sex industry. “Their working lives are spent grappling with how to safely satiate sexual desires in a puritanical society that tells us sex is mostly bad and shameful. Their labor demands the constant creation and affirmation of sexual limits in a professional setting—something most people clearly struggle with,” she wrote. “It says a lot about our society that people on the front lines of negotiating sexual boundaries are criminalized, stigmatized, and shamed, with their work seen as dirty, delinquent, and inherently wrong,” Broudo concluded, referring to the lopsided treatment of Daniels and Trump in the public and media response to the scandal.

 
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