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April 27, 2017

'Hot Girls Wanted': Turned Off—The Industry Responds

THE NET—Well it didn't take long for the porn populace to register a loud and angry answer to the question we posed a week ago about new Netflix docu-series Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On—that is, whether it would draw the same fire from industryites as its controversial predecessor. Anyone watching the red light sub-sector of the social media-sphere over the last several days almost certainly has witnessed the full-fledged firestorm surrounding the series that has grown at a fever pace since its Friday debut from a number of its subjects, as well as a slew of their peers. Like any mass outcry such as this, some of the grievances ring more valid than others, but they all have one note in common: as New Republic writer Josephine Livingstone astutely capsulized it in a Wednesday column, "the documentary displays a lack of interest in its subjects' consent." To wit, 2017 AVN Best New Starlet nominee Gia Paige charges that HGW's producers both kept her in the doc after promising they would excise her from it and threw in a screenshot without her permission of her personal Facebook page (which she's since deleted) containing her real first name; cam girl and sometimes g/g performer Salena Storm says they lured her into participating and have used her image in promotional materials under a false pretense of what the thrust of the final product would be; veteran male performer Tyler Knight contends he was told an out-and-out lie that producer/director Rashida Jones was not involved with this follow-up to the much-scorned original HGW, and that he would not have taken part had he known she was; a contingent of other talent assert that images or clips of them taken from Twitter, Periscope or elsewhere were used without any notification whatsoever. Adding all of this up, it would indeed appear that in their ostensible attempt to capture the non-exploitative (and predominant) flipside of adult from what their first go-round depicted, HGW's makers themselves ironically exploited the very people they chose as their models of such, so as to satisfy their own ends.  Also ironic is that had they not treated their subjects in the deceptive and manipulative manner so many of them claim, the HGW team might very well be enjoying a much warmer reception to Turned On from the industry than what's currently being flung their way. But more on that later. Riley Reynolds, Hussie Models owner and the centerpiece of both the first HGW and the "Money Shot" episode of this one, told AVN he feels completely betrayed by the documentarians. "I originally did [Turned On] because I thought it was going to help give me traffic for my site [HussieAuditions.com]," Reynolds said, "because the first one, as much as I'm not proud of it—I'm not—it's statistics ... it was crazy, I was doing 1,000 hits a day and it jumped to 300,000. So I was like, it's a no-brainer, I should do this now 'cause I'm going to put my site in it. So they wanted Gia in it, so I asked her, she said no, and then I asked her again, I kept asking, and I was like, 'Oh, it's not going to be bad,' and then we did some stuff on it and then she decided it was a bad idea and she wanted to be taken out completely." He continued, "I could tell it was really, really, really bothering Gia, and I might come off as a piece of shit to a lot of people but I'm really not, and I literally begged them trying to help her out, because I was like, 'I don't want this girl to hate me the rest of her life just because I asked her if she would do this and now she's changed her mind.' So I literally begged these people to take her out, and they said they'll do the best they can, and I wouldn't be mad, and I said, 'Look, I'm telling you, if you don't do this, our friendship is over. You guys consider me your friend, our friendship will literally be completely done.' I said, 'If you guys go behind your word, I will never talk to you guys again, I will never associate with you guys again, nothing. And they go, 'Oh, no, no, Riley, that's not going to happen, we would never do that to you.' And they're like, 'We care about our friendship with you,' and they go and fucking put her Facebook on there?" Reynolds detailed how he bartered with the producers to get his father into the project—much against the elder's will—in exchange for scrubbing any footage of Paige. "They were 100 percent aware that she did not want to be in it," he said. "My dad did not want to be in it. He refused to be in it, actually, and same thing, I said, 'Can you please do this for me?' And they didn't even really respect my dad's privacy boundaries. They did not really hide him."   For those who haven't yet seen the show, before Reynolds' father appears, a prefatory text frame notes, "Riley's father requested his identity remain hidden while filming." Nevertheless, his profile is decidedly visible throughout his screen time. Paige herself corroborates Reynolds' account of events. She told AVN she was apprehensive about shooting the doc from the get-go, because "they kept pushing me to talk about personal things like my family and home life, and when I met with Jill [Bauer, one of the three main producer/directors] prior to taping, she promised me we would only focus on mine and Riley's relationship. I told Jill point blank I didn't want to be a part of it and didn't like them. That I was only doing it because Riley begged me to, he even knew how uncomfortable I was with the whole thing. It used to embarrass me when we would be out and people would come up to us like, 'Aren't you that guy from Netflix?' He knew how important it was for me to remain my porn persona and not Tiffany [her real name], yet somehow they managed to work all of that in there without my consent. "They made an agreement with Riley that he would take them back home and they would film his friends and family to make up for my part being cut," she went on. "His dad did not want to be a part of it, but when Riley explained the situation his dad agreed ... but he didn't want his face shown. They showed his face anyway." As for the way they're actually portrayed in the doc, she and Reynolds both interestingly concede that it's rather favorably. "Overall, I didn't think it was that bad," Reynolds said. "Compared to last time, I definitely thought it was not bad whatsoever." Though she's vowed not to watch it herself, Paige disclosed, "My best friend watched it and she said I come off very sweet, so I guess that's positive." But regardless, Reynolds maintained, "The privacy issues is a horrible fucking thing. And for that, I'll never forgive them." He added that at one point during shooting, he offered an apology to the industry for the negative impression the first HGW left on viewers ... and that wound up on the cutting room floor as well. "I thought I owed that to the industry, for the way I made it look," he lamented. "But did they leave that in? Nope! They literally could have made this where everybody liked it. There was a couple of things they should have tweaked and they didn't. The porn industry itself could have actually been like, 'Yeah, this was a good one.' But they didn't." Reynolds still intends to squeeze whatever juice he can out of his HGW exposure, despite the bitter taste he now has in his mouth about it. "My first [Hussie Auditions] DVD comes out in May, and on the box cover it says 'Kylie Quinn's first interracial as seen on Netflix,'" he explained, referencing the porn shoot that's depicted in the "Money Shot" episode. "Obviously, you have to promote it, but do I want to? I don't fucking want to do that at all. I just have to because it's legitimately the smart thing to do." Asked if he's had any communication with the HGW producers since the series debuted, Reynolds dictated the following group text message he sent to Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus Sunday: "Please do not contact me ever again. I said I would give you my parents in return for taking Tiffany out, which I held my end of the deal. That was never honored, on top of you had to put her Facebook on there? What excuse do you have for violating her that much? You were both 100,000 percent aware she didn't want to be in it, so you added her personal Facebook? Seriously, fuck off and never speak to me again. I trusted you guys and you broke that. Do not call me, I will be blocking both of your numbers and I will hang up on you if you call from a different number. I warned you that our friendship was on the line and then you actually made me think you would be honest and didn't want to lose that. I wouldn't have given you my parents if I knew you wouldn't hold your end of the deal. I should have listened to everyone about you guys being snakes and to watch out. Plus I specifically asked for the front of my house not to be shown like last time, and that was thrown out the window too. ... Hope you guys got rich and happy off ruining some lives you cared nothing about. Anything to get your story. Well, you got your stories." AVN has reached out for comment to Bauer, Gradus, Herzog Company's Peter LoGreco and Sandra Alvarez, who directed the "Owning It" episode in which Salena Storm appears. None have responded.

 
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