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January 06, 2016

Kink Revamps Its Rules Over James Deen, Others' Allegations

SAN FRANCISCO—Kink.com has been one of the more proactive studios when it comes to laying down the law about performers' rights—not too surprising, since the company's main stock-in-trade is BDSM, a genre where the use and respect of "safe words" and similar protections are given even more respect that in regular explicit content. But in light of the allegations made by several adult actresses against actor/director/producer James Deen, as well as claims by at least one actress who worked at Kink, that Kink's own rules regarding performer conduct had been violated, the company recently took steps to update its official "Model Bill of Rights" and "Model Expected Behavior Guidelines" documents, especially regarding the meaning of "consent" while working at Kink. "Consent is inviolable, on-set or off. On-set consent is not off-set consent. We do not tolerate any unwanted sexual conduct toward other models, employees, visitors, or contractors in the Armory. Remember, only yes means yes," the first revamped "Behavior Guideline" reads, adding as No. 2, "Homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism will not be tolerated." [Emphasis in original] The document goes on to note that many areas are covered by security cameras, that security guards monitor them for "suspicious activity," and that while gender-neutral showers are available for performers' use, there are also two private showers they may avail themselves of if they wish. It also advises visitors to Kink's headquarters, the former San Francisco Armory, not to "wander or explore the building without a Kink.com employee present ... for your safety." Regarding the updated "Model Rights and Responsibilities" document, copies of which are posted in several places around the building, the very first section is now devoted to the concept of "SAFEWORD" and sets forth the following rules: 1) "I can stop any scene at any time by using the house safeword 'RED'; 2) "I will be given (and should demand) a recognizable safeword in the event that I am gagged or otherwise unable to say 'RED'. This can be a verbal 'Uh-Uh' or a non-verbal signal such as a hand signal"; and 3) "Upon use of my safeword, the scene will stop. I am entitled to ask for the scene to completely end or for the shoot to completely end. Only if I explicitly consent, can the scene continue at a slower pace." Performers are also given the name and phone number of a person in Kink's "talent department" who can deal with any concerns, complaints or violations—all of which the performer may request be kept confidential. "The James Deen allegations launched a period of really intense debate within the Armory about how this happened, and how it could have been prevented," Kink Public Relations Manager Michael Stabile told Vocativ.com's Tracy Clark-Flory about what led to the changes. "Because we come out of a BDSM tradition built on clear consent, and because we’ve always tried to lead the industry in regards to ethical sets and model rights, the stories really shook us." The full "Model Bill of Rights" and "Model Expected Behavior Guidelines" documents can be found here.

 
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