For more than 3 years, gendarmerie and police services have been investigating the practices of several companies in the pornographic industry in France. Three investigating judges are carrying out sprawling investigations, and have already indicted around twenty people, for “aggravated pimping”, “money laundering”, “rape in meetings”, “aggravated trafficking in human beings” or “concealed work”. The file, which targets the “French Bukkake” site and the “Jacquie et Michel” site, is also closely followed by Le Monde and Le Parisien, who have published numerous testimonials. A Senate report, presented on September 28, 2022, relays some of this gigantic work to alert people to this industry. Please note that the following testimonials are likely to offend the sensibilities of some readers.
“Burn” girls for money
The various journalistic investigations and the Senate report highlight the financial windfall generated by Internet pornography via advertising and subscriptions. An industry that represents a third of global online traffic. The essential starting point for this lucrative business: finding young women to shoot videos. And some production companies would have developed real systems of predation, attacking young adults who are vulnerable and in a situation of great financial precariousness. “It is a question of exploiting them to the maximum, before they are, according to the term of one of the producers, “burned””, writes Le Monde, which has published several long formats on the subject. “Disguised rape under the pretext of videos. Actors and producers had all the freedoms”, attests to the newspaper a man who would have participated in filming of “French Bukkake”.
Acts without consent and humiliation
This is the common denominator of most of the testimonies collected by the courts and by journalists, on the Jacquie et Michel and French Bukkake cases: the cases of unwanted penetration, of violent and humiliating situations, imposed, are described by the victims presumed. The world relays the testimony of Jessica (her name has been changed), who would have been forced into scenes “in which sodomy and the number of partners are forced”. She says she was conditioned to be an active member of the Jacquie et Michel network, for promotional events in nightclubs. “When we went to these establishments, we were objects. I received 300 euros per evening and, each evening, the owner of the establishment had the right to his fellatio, it was included in the price, it was humiliating “, she says.
Tales of rape and assault by the dozens
The testimonies are legion in the investigation reports and in the investigative work of Le Monde. That of Jessica led justice to indict and remand a director. This one, called “Dorian”, who collaborated with the site “Jacquie and Michel”, would have led the young woman to carry out scenes of “submission” promising her that they were “only fake”. However, Jessica claims to have been tied to a tree, whipped, and very savagely abused. “There, eight men arrived, all hooded. Me, I was in pain and I was trying to push back my attackers and I thought I was going to live my last hour,” she reportedly told the police. And to add: “I even tried to kill myself by hanging, but the cable gave way. I felt dirty and submissive, I no longer wanted to live,” she told journalists from Le Monde.
Recruitment “by trickery” and psychological demolition
The testimonies collected would make it possible to identify operating methods, aimed at conditioning the victims to the sufferings they will endure. One of them tells Le Monde the story of a banal encounter with a lingerie photographer, Jack Wood, before he took her to pornographic shoots: “He threw me on the bed, undressed me by force and penetrated me (…) I was stuck, I was afraid of physical violence, I let myself be done”, indicates the young woman. Jack Wood would have actually worked for Jacquie and Michel. He is now on trial. “The first rape plays a very specific function, that of breaking the defences and resistance of women, it is a psychic explosion for the victims, therefore an acquired submission for pimps”, explains au Monde Me Lorraine Questiaux, lawyer for several plaintiffs.
Shame, amazement and drugs
The main indicted in the case is Pascal Ollitrault, 60, creator of the “French Bukkake” site. A site specializing in videos showing single women, facing many partners, sometimes 8, sometimes 15 or 50. Some actors are actually “subscribers” who paid 29 euros to access content. “Pascal OP” is presented as one of the figures of extreme excesses implanted without industry; He denied any act of rape and replied to the investigators, faced with the statements of around fifty victims, that they never left the filming. But one element is taken into consideration by the judges: fear and amazement. “There is this pressure from (…) all these men in a room, we are the only girl”, indicates a complainant to Le Monde. Young women have also indicated that they have regularly taken narcotics and alcohol to endure the violence, under the orders of the producers.
“More and more trashy and violent”
It is undoubtedly this state of affairs which conditions all the new pornographic practices. In its report on the subject , entitled “Porn: the hell of the décor”, presented on September 28, 2022, the Senate points to a notable evolution of pornography: “The appearance of increasingly “trashy” and violent content” , “the uploading of often pirated videos, without any control or consideration for the conditions under which this content is produced”. Beyond the testimonies of the victims, the parliamentarians point to a global phenomenon that goes beyond the cases observed by recent judicial inquiries. The senators denounce a “new economic and commercial model in which systemic violence against women have become the norm”.
“When the woman cries, she really cries”
The Senate report takes up elements raised by the investigators of the French Bukkake file, but also testimonies from victims. The document also provoked comments from associations familiar with the case and the recurring accusations against the industry. Claire Charlès, spokesperson for the association Les Effronté.es, insists in particular, with BFMTV, on the poorly perceived suffering of victims of “hardcore” filming: “On pornographic sites, you will find videos by category: the rape category, with unambiguous keywords: anal surprise, taken by surprise, unwanted facial … These are incitements to commit crimes. […] There are also categories of kidnapping or forcible confinement […] It’s not fake. When the woman cries, she really cries,” she said.
“Acts of torture and barbarism”
The Senate report also mentions “imposed sexual practices to which the victims had not consented, physical and sexual violence, a quasi process of ‘dehumanization'”. A young woman told the rapporteurs: “No one can suffer this kind of violence. I say it with a lot of hindsight, what I experienced was of the order of torture, I protected myself by putting myself in robot mode”. Scenes of mutilating sexual violence are notably described. “I am held and another person enters me. (…) This scene ends, I go to the toilet and I bleed, it was not in the scenario. A second scene begins, on the floor. I did not know what was going to happen. From the moment the guy takes off his pants, it’s no longer cinema, I’m afraid he’ll come and take me by surprise. The next morning, I undergo another scene”.
“From the start, they tried to dehumanize me”
A harrowing testimony was collected by the senators in the French Bukkake affair. A young woman recounted having had to “eat the same food given to the producer’s dogs, a chicken carcass as the only meal for several days”: “From the start, they tried to dehumanize me, to treat me like an object. Yet I did, I ate the dog’s food. I had no self-esteem anymore,” said the young woman. Another insists: “No one, apart from women who have experienced similar things, knows what is really going on on these shoots, in this environment. […] We are in pain, we are powerless, we are being insulted, the goal is for us to obey. We are in a form of total submission. And we tell ourselves that we have agreed to be there. Then there was a shooting with another man, another rape, forced sodomy, yet this person was aware of everything that I refused”.
“Specifications” on “abominable” practices
In the “Jacquie et Michel” file, which the police are investigating, the testimonies of victims converge on one element: if the producers and managers of the site would have developed a whole imagination around the “ordinary woman” consenting to “wild” libertinism, the stories reported show real constraints. “The videos must meet certain specifications (…), we are imposed these abominable practices, comparable to torture, mockery, insults”, indicates an alleged victim to World. “I wanted to cry, but I had to pretend that everything was fine.” As the Senate report points out, most porn sites feature violent content. On Jacquie and Michel, the “wild sex category” offers videos where “the pain is intensely proportional to the orgasm they reach at the end. The harder it is, the more they love it”.
Fortunes to remove the videos
Another compensation mechanism has emerged as highly developed in the porn industry: people exploiting actresses would demand huge sums of money to remove videos that young women no longer want to see online. “The amount is much higher than the low compensation they received on the set, completing the financial and psychological ruin”, indicate in particular the journalists of Le Monde. The Senate report even indicates that “the victims informed the rapporteurs of the delegation of their virtual impossibility of obtaining, thereafter, the withdrawal of the videos of the scenes shot”. The Senate adds that in exchange for such a withdrawal, “one of the victims was offered to ‘become his sex slave for life’ or to practice in brothels in Brussels for a lifetime annuity”.
Videos broadcast everywhere and blackmail
The operators of the videos know, moreover, the power of nuisance represented by a potential general distribution of the films shot by the actresses. Actresses have clearly mentioned threats of blackmail in the event of requests for the removal of said videos. To stop these requests, operators would have indicated that it was possible for them to send extracts – often degrading and violent – to relatives, colleagues, children’s teachers, parents or family members. A threat taken seriously, especially since the virality of this content is already creating very serious problems. A victim in particular mentioned a video which “was everywhere, on social networks, on Facebook, on Twitter, on sites accessible from France and abroad”: “It went around the world, until in New York and Montreal. I was harassed at the bottom of my house, I received threatening letters“.
Actresses “sold” to other productions
This is an element that is mentioned by the investigative journalists of Le Monde: some young exploited women would have been “sold to other productions, for a commission”. As the media indicates, if this fact is legally established, then these practices could be requalified as “pimping”, “a legal turning point feared by the pornography sector”. Le Monde notably publishes an exchange of SMS between Pascal OP (quoted above) and a collaborator: “Who are we selling it to? Answer: “Celian [another director] will take it on the bank com [commission]. (…). Big tit obliged”. Then comes this confirmation: “G sent big black to Celian we will ask him 100/150 €”. The alleged facts, despite numerous examples are vigorously contested by the defendants’ lawyers.
A “respectful” pornography, but little distributed
The Senate report is very alarming, it specifies that there are several genres of pornography. Sonny Perseil, doctor HDR in political science, questioned by the parliamentarians, estimates for example that one “can speak of plural pornography or pornographies. They are extremely diversified”. And to add: “There are productions without any violence, with only consenting adults who know very well what they are doing, who master the framework of their activity. They refuse or accept roles according to their own choice and negotiate certain benefits or reject them. The situations are multiple.” However, studies show that 90% of the pornography consumed is “hardcore” and violent. “There is ‘ethical’ porn, but it represents 0,001% of the market, it is not what consumers are looking for”, regrets Senator Laurence Rossignol with the world.
Children exposed very early
The Senate report points to the extreme excesses of certain productions, but also insists on a societal phenomenon: pornographic images and videos – even the most violent – have become very easily accessible by the youngest. “Two thirds of children under 15 and a third of those under 12 have already been exposed to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily. Nearly a third of boys under 15 visit a porn site at least once a month”, can we read in the document, which specifies that “certain contents are undoubtedly illicit and their diffusion is reprehensible.” Figures transmitted by the association Dare feminism! in the Senate indicates Pornhub, global online porn giant, lists 71,608 videos praising the incest and pedocrime, as well as 2,462 videos with the keyword “torture”.
Where are the legal proceedings?
What you must remember:
In France, two judicial inquiries are underway concerning pornographic productions:
- The one concerning Pascal OP and his French Bukkake site. In this case, 16 people are indicted – actors, directors – producers – and most are in pre-trial detention.
- The one concerning the Jacquie et Michel site, the largest French pornography site. In this case, the owner of the site, Michel Piron, is indicted for complicity in rape and trafficking in human beings in an organized gang.
Consult to find out more:
- The investigation of the World in 4 parts on the denounced practices, the consequences of the judicial investigations.
- The full report of the senators in charge of this dossier , entitled Porno, l’Enfer du décor.
The senators have formulated ways to regulate practices, avoid abuses and provide more support to victims, including:
- Make sexual violence committed in the context of pornography an offense of incitement to a criminal offence.
- Impose warning messages on sites, concerning violent content, specifying that these are non-simulated sexual acts, which may constitute criminal offences.
- Promote the emergence of complaints from victims by improving their reception conditions, by training the police to collect complaints from these specific victims.
- Impose fines on broadcasters, platforms such as social networks, for any dissemination of illegal content.
- Require platforms to satisfy free of charge requests for the removal of videos made by the people filmed.
- Impose on pornographic sites the display of a black screen as long as the age of the Internet user has not been verified.