I start with an objective then I back up to find out what I need to get there. I set out my conclusion then I collect "facts" and supposed supporting documentation which proves my point. This is not scientific; this is prejudiced. This is not objective; this is biased. This is not legitimate reasoning; this is hysteria. This is not Scott Pilgrim; this is Roxy.
Shelley Lubben (b 1968) is a former prostitute, former drug addict, and former alcoholic and former porn actress. According toWikipedia:
In an interview with Deseret News, Lubben stated that she was sexually abused at the age of nine, worked as a prostitute from age 18 to 26 to support herself, and battled alcohol and drug addictions. When she was 24, she also entered the adult film industry where, she claims, she contracted herpes.
During her pornographic career which lasted from 1993-1994 Lubben says she appeared in "about 30" hardcore movies.
Today, Shelley Lubben is a mother of three, born-again Christian, anti-pornography activist and part-time rapper. She founded the Pink Cross Foundation, a public charity offering assistance to adult industry workers and help to those addicted to pornography. In October 2010, she self-published an autobiography "Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn" detailing her past.
The Devil And Shelley Lubben
"The Devil And Shelley Lubben" is the new documentary exposé of radical anti-porn crusader Shelley Lubben of Pink Cross Foundation, narrated by Sam Phillips, and starring Nina Hartley, Julie Meadows, Kayden Kross, Sinnamon Love, Melissa Monet, Monica Foster, Guy DiSilva, Danny Wylde, Ernest Greene, Michael Whiteacre, Joanne Cachapero, Raven Touchstone, and Shelley Lubben as "The Rebel Prophet". The star of a handful of long-forgotten porn videos from the 1990s, Lubben is now an anti-porn evangelist and self-described "Rebel Prophet."
YouTube: The Devil And Shelley Lubben – Episode 1 – Feb 14/2011
Episode 1 deals with Shelley's childhood in suburban Southern California, her early life as an illegal prostitute, and her claims that her relatively short time sidelining in the porn business was the cause of her medical problems.
According to Wikipedia: Nina Hartley (born Marie Hartman; March 11, 1959) is an American pornographic actress, pornographic film director, sex educator, feminist, and author. The article goes on to explain that Ms. Hartley first entered the adult film industry in 1984 and still works in it which would give her a continuous career of 27 years. To date, she has apparently starred in over 400 first-run adult films. As well as adult films, she has a line of sex education films and a sex education book and has appeared on Oprah Winfrey.
YouTube: The Devil And Shelley Lubben – Episode 2 – Feb 14/2011
Episode 2 deals with Lubben's claims about, and characterizations of, the adult film industry. It is curious to note that Ms. Lubben only worked from 1993 to 1994. In this video, several other porn stars are interviewed: Melissa Monet, Lydia Lee, Nina Hartley, Danny Wilde and Monica Foster, none of whom corroborate anything Lubben says.
Shelly Lubben's Porno Stats
Ms. Lubben has presented on her own web site a page entitled "Porn Industry Statistics" with the objective, I guess, of educating the rest of us on what's going on in this industry.
Stat: There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily search engine requests.
Truth: There are over 24 billion, yes billion pages on the Internet. Without debating the accuracy of the number 420 million, I will calculate that to 1.75% of 24 billion. (see Pornography: How much is there on the Internet)
Truth: The number 420 million pornographic pages comes from some guy called Jerry Ropelato who runs a company which, among other things, sells commercial software to filter pornography on home computers; his critics feel his stats allow him to promote his products. Mr. Ropelato's information is widely quoted by many web sites promoting an anti-pornography stance and I have seen these "statistics" repackaged and published by other supposed reputable sources.
My analysis of the Internet leads me to believe the amount of pornography web pages to not be 420 million or 1.75% but to be less than 1% or under 250 million. (see Pornography: How much is there on the Internet) I investigated the supposed sources Jerry Ropelato quotes as being his sources for his statistics (see Pornography: Statistics Laundering) and found they didn't exist or were untraceable. He says things like ABC News but then doesn't give any specific article to consult. Furthermore, my blog posting quotes a story where Seth Lubove, the managing editor of Forbes Magazine tracked down Mr. Ropelato about some specific numbers and discovered they had been "made up".
Stat: Over 100 straight and gay performers died from AIDS.
Truth: According to UNAIDS.Org, there are 33 million on the planet currently living with HIV(2009). The same report estimates that in 2009, 1.8 million died from AIDS. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 18,000 people each year from AIDS.
Stat: 26 cases of HIV reported by Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), since 2004.
Truth: UNAIDS reports that world-wide, there were 2,200,000 adults newly infected with the disease in 2009. Ms. Lubben is reporting since 2004, so one could estimate from UNAIDS numbers that more than 15 million were infected since 2004.
Stat: 36 porn stars died that we know of from HIV, suicide, homicide and drugs between 2007 and 2010.
Truth: According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there were 34,598 suicides in the United States in 2007. The CDC reports that approximately 18,000 die each year from AIDS. In 2007, theCDC states there were 18,361 homicides.
As a comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published that in 2009, 33,808 people died in traffic accidents. The CDC also reports that every year 82 people die from being struck by lightning.
Stat: 50% of men and 20% of women in the church regularly view porn.
Truth: Actually, this may very well be true. Benjamin Edelman, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts (see my blog Pornography: Who buys the most? Conservatives!) studied the purchasing patterns of pornography across the U.S. and discovered "conservative" states demonstrated higher sales. In fact, the state with the highest level of purchases turned out to be Utah.
Stat: 2,396 cases of Chlamydia and 1,389 cases of Gonorrhea reported among performers since 2004.
Truth: The CDC reports in its key findings for 2008:
Chlamydia remains the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States. There were more than 1.2 million cases of chlamydia (1,210,523) reported to CDC in 2008, an increase from the 1.1 million cases reported in 2007. Women, especially young and minority women are hardest hit by chlamydia.
There were 336,742 reported cases of gonorrhea in 2008, a slight decline from 2007 (355,991 cases), making gonorrhea the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States. For the eighth consecutive year, gonorrhea rates among women and men were similar.
In 2008, there were 13,500 reported cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis—the most infectious stages of the disease—the highest number of cases since 1995 and an increase over 2007 (11,466 cases). The majority of reported syphilis cases in the United States continue to be among MSM (men who have sex with men).
Ms. Lubben is reporting on the number of cases since 2004, a span of 7 years. The CDC is reporting numbers for one year, 2008. What would the CDC numbers look like if expanded to cover 7 years? Ms. Lubben's numbers do not compare the number of infections with the total population of performers and do not compare said number s to the CDC findings.
Stat: 70% of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry occur in females according to County of Los Angeles Public Health.
Truth: The CDC reports in its key findings for 2008:
Adolescent girls and young women are especially hard hit by these two diseases [chlamydia and gonorrhea]… This likely reflects a combination of factors, including biological differences that place females at greater risk for STDs than males, as well as higher STD screening rates among young women.
Stat: Worldwide pornography revenue in 2006 was $97.06 billion. Of that, approximately $13 billion was in the United States.
Truth: From Forbes.Com back in 2001:
The idea that pornography is a $10 billion business is often credited to a study by Forrester Research. This figure gets repeated over and over. The only problem is that there is no such study. In 1998, Forrester did publish a report on the online "adult content" industry, which it pegged at $750 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. The $10 billion aggregate figure was unsourced and mentioned in passing.
According to Adult Video News (AVN), an industry trade magazine, Americans spent just over $4 billion to buy and rent adult videos last year. This figure is baseless and wildly inflated. From there, the numbers get even more obscure.
the sum total is about $2.9 billion.
The industry is tiny next to broadcast television ($32.3 billion in 1999 revenue, according to Veronis Suhler), cable television ($45.5 billion), the newspaper business ($27.5 billion), Hollywood ($31 billion), even to professional and educational publishing ($14.8 billion).
When one really examines the numbers, the porn industry–while a subject of fascination–is every bit as marginal as it seems at first glance.
My conclusion about Shelley Lubben's statistics
75% of the readers believe them while 50% don't. Lies, damn lies and statistics.
Millions of pages of porn? Ooo, sounds bad. But wait, that is less than 1% of the over 24 billion pages in existence. Use of this statistic out of context is a deliberate attempt to make the situation appear far greater than it is really is.
100 porn actors died from AIDS? It is currently estimated that 1.8 million people die world-wide each year from AIDS and the total number since 1981 when the disease was first discovered would be estimated at over 30 million and may be even higher. I just said 30 million. 100 porn actors? Use of this statistic out of context is a deliberate attempt to somehow connect the problem of AIDS to the porn industry. Obviously people working in a business which requires them to have sex are subject to higher risks than people who are not in the industry but AIDS is certainly not restricting itself to any one segment of society. This number is about as meaningful as saying 45 porn actors have died in car crashes.
"36 porn stars died that we know of from HIV, suicide, homicide and drugs between 2007 and 2010"? Hell, 82 people die each year by getting struck by lightning. For the three years Ms. Lubben mentions, 246 were zapped to death. By my calculation, my chances of living are 228% better by starring in a porn film than by playing a round of golf.
If I look down the lists of sources of Ms. Lubben's statistics I find a number of right wing, religious fundamentalist, conservative web sites. I find Jerry Ropelato's web site who is ofttimes quoted by the religious sites. I find questionable sources with no scientific analysis or empirical data. I find twisted information designed to scare the reader into thinking things are out of control.
In my blog Pornography: Statistics Laundering, I talk about how "supposed data" is passed from one source to another until we think that the statistic is true much like how money is laundered. The problem then becomes the issue of how to properly address an issue if misinformation prevents us from properly assessing the issue. This is especially true with people like Jerry Ropelato whose statistics are quoted ad infinitum but whose sources, when investigated, prove to be questionable or unverifiable.
On Shelley's web site, she tells her story and this is not a pretty one. This is the tale of somebody who is deeply troubled and who exacerbated her position in life by trying to make a living as a prostitute to support her addictions. Drugs, alcohol, this is a personality who was trying to escape from reality. It is interesting to note that she entered the porn industry in 1993 and left the following year. However, when she left the industry she went back to prostitution to earn a living.
She talks about contracting herpes, a non-curable sexually transmitted disease then writes, sometimes after getting married and cleaning up her act:
God also healed me of the non-curable disease herpes. I was part of a special military study for pregnant women with herpes in 1996 and when I was tested they said I couldn't be in the study because there was no herpes virus in my blood.
A member of my family contracted herpes. The condition is controllable to a certain extent; not curable, but controllable. How did Ms. Lubben know she had contracted herpes in the first place? She doesn't say.
Ms. Lubben writes:
In November, 1999, I gave birth to our daughter, Abigail, and though I drank alcohol part of the pregnancy, God spared her life. After she was born, God FINALLY answered my prayers and took my alcohol addiction away. I began sobriety on April 9, 2000.
As an alcoholic myself (see Alcoholism: I'll drink to that!), I congratulate Ms. Lubben. However I would be very quick to point out to her from my own personal experience that during an addiction, one's judgement and one's ability to correctly interpret events is very much impaired. I would wonder how accurate her recollection of this period of her life actually is? And about drinking during her pregnancy? She is lucky, damn lucky, her child doesn't suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.
I continue to be stunned by the misinformation being passed around as factual. People get up on a soapbox and start spouting off whatever suits their agenda. They lie; they misrepresent themselves; they distort the facts or just leave them out altogether. And those who subscribe to the same world view, parrot this misinformation. Never was Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" been better on display.
The sky is not falling. But what is happening is that extremists, right wing religious fundamentalists, have hijacked the agenda to establish their own vision of the world. Anybody who takes a drink is an alcoholic. Anybody who smokes a marijuana cigarette is a heroin addict. Anybody who places a bet has a gambling problem. And yes, anybody who has anything to do with pornography, whether making it or looking at it, is a vile, contemptible person. How curious that Utah, the most religious fundamentalist state in the U.S. has the highest rate of porn purchases.
Shelly Lubben, like many others in the anti-pornography movement, tells stories of individuals they know to support their claims. If I may quote Marty Klein, Ph.D. (who got this elsewhere): The plural of anecdote is not data. You can't put forward stories of certain individuals as representative of an entire population. We need a little more scientific study than that.
Shelly Lubben is a born-again Christian. It has been my experience on numerous occasions that converts are extremists. It is not enough to "see the light"; they want everybody else to see their light. Somehow getting somebody else to agree with them justifies the personal decision they have made.
I'm not particularly fond of horror movies. Somebody people enjoy the mayhem, the blood, the decapitations, the amputations, the annihilation and the pieces of flesh flying around. Me? Mmm, not so fond of it. What do I do? I don't watch. When I go to the cinema, I don't buy a ticket for a horror flick. When I watch TV, I change the channel. When I surf the Net, I don't watch those video clips. I have a choice, a personal preference and I choose not to watch. I'm not sure I understand why others seem to love horror but I'm not stopping them from watching; I'm not campaigning for horror films to be shut down and que sera sera.
In my blog Carnography: Vegetarians need not apply I point out the curiosity in our society of how we collectively seem to be unconcerned by the amount of violence we get to see on TV. But pornography? My gawd, it's the apocalypse.
Shelley Lubben has had a tough time of it. She's been a prostitute and a drug addict. I suspect she has deep emotional and psychological issues. Her entire stance seems to have been to make the porno industry her excuse for her problems. She's not a bad person; she didn't and doesn't have problems; no, the porn industry is at fault. She was born in 1968 which makes her 43 in 2011. According to the record, she spent 1 year in the porn industry when she was 24. I don't understand how that would explain why she supported herself as a prostitute starting at the age of 18 or why she got involved in drugs. Considering the questionable quality of her life and her life choices before her foray into porn, I'm not sure just how much the porn industry deserves to take the blame for her woes.
The documentary which has been made about Shelley Lubben offers no evidence to support her claims. In fact, the other porn actresses interviewed come across as your normal working women – yes, we're talking about sex but I don't see anybody getting up on a soapbox rallying against their chosen profession. I'm sure like any industry, sex or otherwise, there is the good and the bad but Ms. Lubben has provided the right wing moral majority were the perfect model of the fallen angel redeemed to justify their anti-sex agenda. Just imagine, the queen of daytime TV, Oprah, has had guests like Dr. Laura Berman extolling the virtues of pornography as a means to help women get in touch with sexuality.
Oprah 2009: Watching Porn: A Healthy Part of Your Sexual Life (video)
Dr. Laura Berman explains how watching pornography can be a healthy sexual outlet.
What's my interest in any of this? I don't know any of the people involved in this and I had never heard of the protagonist until yesterday. But I heard once again the message of a right wing, religious fundamentalist, born again Christian, anti-pornography, we're-all-going-to-hell-but-I-can-save-you zealots who is willing to say anything, absolutely anything including misinformation and skewed statistics to successfully establish their new world order.
Facts are not decided by how many people believe them. Truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted.
– sign at the Rally to Restore Sanity, October 30, 2010, Washington DC
Click HERE to read more from William Belle.
Wikipedia: Shelley Lubben
Shelley Lubben (born May 18, 1968) is a former pornographic actress who performed under the stage name of Roxy and who contracted genital herpes and HPV which led to early cervical cancer. After she left the sex industry, Lubben became a born-again Christian and anti-pornography activist. She is the Executive Director of the Pink Cross Foundation, which reaches out to women and men in porn and educates the public about the hazardous working conditions in the porn industry.
Wikipedia: Pink Cross Foundation
Pink Cross Foundation, is a public charity founded by ex-porn actress Shelley Lubben. Notable as one of only a few groups dedicated to reaching out to adult industry workers offering emotional, financial and transitional support. The Foundation has largely focused its efforts on reaching out to the adult film industry offering support to porn stars. Pink Cross Foundation also reaches out to those struggling with pornography addiction offering education and resources to recover.
official web site: Pink Cross Foundation
official web site: Shelley Lubben
This web site plays a rap album by Shelley Lubben.
San Francisco Chronicle – Jan 2/2011
Former Porn Star Shelley Lubben Launches New Rap Album
Los Angeles, CA. -Just months after launching her new book, Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn, former porn star Shelley Lubben is now set to launch her first EP, also called Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn.
Lubben, passionate rapper, classifies her music as a cross between Eminem and Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that her music is her message to expose the harms of the porn industry and help women and men recover from porn.
The first single, called Killer Fantasy, has a hard hitting beat with a message from a porn star speaking to porn fans about the truth behind the adult industry. Shelley raps, "Your Killer Fantasy, but my reality is, that while you clicking me the industry is killing me". You can preview Killer Fantasy on Lubben's web-site www.shelleylubben.com and the EP will be available on January 3, 2011.
Wikipedia: Julie Meadows
Julie Meadows (born Lydia Lee on February 3, 1974) is a former American pornographic actress who became a writer, web designer and documentarian after retiring from performing.
On February 14, 2011, Meadows (as Lydia Lee) and producing/directing partner Michael Whiteacre released the first two episodes of their documentary, "The Devil And Shelley Lubben", a biographical exposé of anti-pornography crusader Shelley Lubben starring Meadows, Kayden Kross, Nina Hartley, Monica Foster, Melissa Monet and Danny Wylde.
Julie Meadows: Lydia Lee's Blog
The Devil and Shelley Lubben, Episode 1 & 2
official movie site: The Devil and Shelley Lubben
my blog: Pornography: An investigation