Porn stars try, but will never win the war against Airbnb

Porn stars try, but will never win the war against Airbnb

SexMay 22, 2018 By Lindsey Kline

Sara Jay has been a porn star for over 20 years. She’s featured in hundreds of adult movies, and has one of the most recognizable faces in the industry. Unfortunately, being a celebrity in the porn world can often make you a pariah to the rest of the world.

This week, Airbnb joined the long list of American corporations to discriminate against sex workers when it terminated Sara Jay’s account for her role in the adult industry.

“This happens all the time, and there’s not a lot of ways to fight back on this,” says Michael Fattorosi, an adult entertainment attorney based out of Los Angeles.

“Being a sex worker is a choice, not a protected class like race, religion or disability. When you agree to a private company’s terms of service, they usually say they can terminate your account for any reason,” Fattorosi tells Rooster. “Airbnb can argue it’s not discriminatory because they fear you’ll use the house for shooting porn, for sex work reasons, or something else that violates their terms of service.”

Airbnb’s concern that porn stars could use their rentals as adult film studios isn’t unheard-of. A number of adult performers have used their Airbnbs to shoot dirty movies. Some porn producers get permission, but many don’t bother, leaving their hosts horrified when they stumble upon Cum Fiesta 5 and realize their bedroom was center stage.

Jay denies ever shooting porn in any Airbnbs in her name. She insists her account had no complaints against it. Still, Airbnb locked her out, and initially said they didn’t need to give a reason for doing so. A month later, the company provided an explanation, saying they found Jay had “advertised sexual services.”

Companies refuse to do business with porn stars all the time. “Banks frequently close the accounts of adult entertainers,” Fattorosi says. Chase, for example, made headlines when it denied banking services and/or terminated the accounts of hundreds of current and former porn stars.

“Legally, there’s not much in the way of defense. The law sees it as a choice: you choose to be an escort, a cam girl, a stripper, a porn performer,” Fattorosi says.

He points out, the same is true in the workplace — if you get fired from your office job when your boss finds you on Brazzers, you can’t call that discrimination.

“If you failed to put all of your employment on your resume, they’ll say you falsified your employment application,” he says. “If you lied on your application, your firing isn’t discriminatory.”

Defining sex work as a choice allows private corporations to be prejudiced against those in the XXX-rated line of work. Ironically, that narrative is flipped on its head when the government wants to wage its own war on sex work.

FOSTA/SESTA, the “anti-sex trafficking” law that threatens the lives of countless sex workers, was passed under the assumption that no one could possibly choose to sell themselves for sex — they all must be victims of coercion or trafficking.

Airbnb has never been an exemplar of sexual progressiveness. Besides having a “zero tolerance policy” on filming porn in its rentals, the company has also removed hosts for listing their sex dungeons. These prude company policies inspired the creation of Kinkbnb, the Airbnb equivalent for arranging kinky sexcapades.

Until an adult entrepreneur can create Pornbnb, the home-sharing service that celebrates the filming of a good gang bang, porn stars might want to steer clear of Airbnb, and bring their business to the company that most deserves it — La Quinta Inn.