It was with great sadness that I heard about the death of August Ames yesterday. She hanged herself on December 5th, four days ago, but the story wasn't made public at first. Now it's been reported on dozens of web sites. Most of the articles call her a "porn star", which is all that most people need to know to judge who she is. Porn stars enjoy a low esteem in the general public, especially female porn stars. Since the advent of high speed Internet it's become common to watch pornography, but people still look down on the actors and actresses who provide the entertainment they enjoy. What people forget is that there's a lot more to the porn stars, or adult entertainers, as they prefer to call themselves. They might be married, own pets, be well educated or active in their communities. They might be sensitive and afraid. Every one of them is a unique human being. They're just people who have chosen a certain career, supposedly one of the most difficult careers.
I wanted to write a tribute to August yesterday. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I read all of the online articles I could find. I read the final tweets on her Twitter account. I wanted to write a summary, adding my own thoughts. I couldn't do it. It hurt too much.
So today I took the logical step of watching one of her films to remember her in the privacy of my own home. I own three films she stars in on DVD: "Cosmic Calendar Girls", "High Heel Homicide" and "Model for Murder". Most of August Ames' films were hardcore pornography, but she also made a small number of softcore pornography films, which are more to my taste. As far as I remembered, out of the three films "Cosmic Calendar Girls" is the film in which she plays the biggest part, so that's the film I chose. I may watch the other two soon.
The publishing company wants to try something new. Ilya has dressed up as an Earth girl to make the calendar look more exotic.
August Ames is stunning, even as a blonde. I would buy her calendar. The Galaxians hire Earth's top photographer to take pictures of her in the natural surroundings of Earth. Unfortunately, there are problems that prevent the photoshoot taking place. Ilya falls into the temptations of Earth. She drinks too much alcohol, which makes it impossible to maintain her Earth girl appearance. She starts to revert to her Galaxian look.
Now let's talk about the circumstances that led up to August's death.
It all began with a battle on Twitter. When I looked at August's account yesterday morning there were a large number of tweets. When I checked again today most were gone. Maybe Twitter removed them. Maybe the tweeters themselves felt ashamed of what they'd written and removed their own tweets. I hope the latter is the case. It's possible that there were even more messages that had already been removed before I checked yesterday. I don't know.
On December 3rd August Ames posted that she had refused to perform a sex scene with a man on the grounds that he regularly performed gay pornography. Her anger wasn't directed at the man, the porn star Bruce Beckham. She was angry with her agent for signing her up for this film, because she had clearly stated that she didn't want to perform with gay men or crossover men. ("Crossover" is the insider term for straight men who perform homosexual acts in films).
The first attack came from Bruce Beckham himself, who called her homophobic and uneducated. August defended herself by saying that she wasn't homophobic, because she's bisexual and feels strongly attracted to women. She added that many female porn stars refuse to perform sex scenes with men who are gay or crossover. For August the refusal to have sex with Bruce had nothing to do with homophobia, she was merely exercising her right to decide who she wanted to have sex with. Allegations were raised that the health checks in the gay porn industry aren't as stringent as in the mainstream porn industry, but this has been denied by others. I'm no expert on the subject, so I shan't comment further. What I can say is that for two days people were arguing about the subject. The claims of homophobia continued, while August's friends jumped in to defend her. Then she killed herself.
It's a clear case of cyberbullying. There's no doubt about it. Obviously, a stronger person wouldn't have reacted that way. August was a sensitive person, and the insults hurt her. She had already admitted to suffering from depression on occasions. But that's the way it is with any type of bullying, whether it's on the Internet or in the school playground. It's always the weak people who are the targets of the bullies. It's no fun attacking strong people. When I first entered grammar school there were bullies who picked on me. It didn't last long. They gave up when they realised that I didn't care.
However weak August may have been before her suicide, it was the bullies who pushed her over the edge. They're responsible for her death. They killed her.
This evening I've noticed that the discussions are still continuing. Bruce Beckham himself initially claimed to be guiltless in her suicide, but in his later tweets he expressed remorse. Unfortunately his friends are undoing his feelings of guilt by telling him it's not his fault. There's nothing wrong with feeling guilt. Guilt is therapeutic. If you tell yourself you did wrong you're less likely to make the same mistake in the future.
There's a small irony in the film "Cosmic Calendar Girls". At the end of the film August Ames begs the photographer to have sex with her, but he refuses, because he knows what she really looks like. She seeks solace by having a threesome with two other women. Homophobic? No way! She has sex with women after being refused by a straight man.
I'll end this review by posting a small photoset of August Ames, fully clothed. This should help those who didn't know her before now to appreciate her. Out of respect, I'm only posting photos in which she's fully clothed. If you want to see more explicit photos or videos of her there's a website called Google which will point you in the right direction.
The copyright holder for these photos is the Canadian film studio Twisty's. I hope they will allow me to use these images to honour August Ames in her death.
August 23, 1994 – December 5, 2017