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Porn stars are mad at Samuel L. Jackson for jokingly endorsing piracy

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First, Jewish groups boycotted Mel Gibson’s films after the star made anti-Semitic comments during his DUI arrest. Then LGBT groups called for a boycott of the 2013 film Ender’s Game due to author Orson Scott Card's anti-gay views. Now the latest marginalized group to call for a Hollywood boycott is adult performers, who are enraged at actor Samuel L. Jackson for endorsing the free porn site RedTube, arguing that Jackson’s comment promoted online piracy.

Jackson was at a press conference to promote the new Captain America movie when a reporter asked him to name one of the greatest pop culture achievements of the last 50 years. Jackson responded by name-dropping the free porn-streaming website RedTube, to the delight of costars Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans.

Although Jackson’s endorsement of RedTube was in jest, it failed to land with adult performers Catalina Cruz and Tanya Tate, who are calling for a boycott of Jackson’s films if he fails to apologize for his comments. Cruz told TMZ that considering Hollywood’s staunch opposition to mainstream film piracy, it was hypocritical for Jackson to joke about a site that features pirated adult content, while Tate said that sites like RedTube deterred her fans from paying for her own content.

"I would gladly send a catalog of adult movies I have directed to Mr. Jackson if he would be so kind as to recant the comment,” said Tate, adding, "I have a stack of porn for him to help him see the error of his ways."

While it might sound ludicrous for porn stars to be up in arms about a quip Jackson made in passing at a press conference, the porn industry has been embroiled in a fight against piracy for the past decade, in large part thanks to the proliferation of free online porn via streaming tube sites like Pornhub and RedTube. Thanks to these sites, consumers are less likely to pay for prerecorded content produced by performers like Tate and Cruz, which has significantly impacted their ability to make a living.

“The amount of traffic these tube sites get is astronomical,” says sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, who studies the adult industry. “What they end up doing is sucking up all the traffic from the content producers. ... Porn is a product for consumption like any other, and you should have to pay for it. But [thanks to the tube sites], people no longer see it that way.”

Some performers are vocal in their opposition to the tube sites, such as the adult performer Siri, who told the Daily Dot earlier this year that the tube site format has “cheapened porn.” Performers who publicly endorse sites like Pornhub often face a great deal of criticism from their peers in the industry, such as Duke porn star Belle Knox, who was roundly chastised on Twitter after accepting an internship at Pornhub last March.

Yet many performers are hesitant to speak out about the impact tube sites has had on the adult industry, in part because many of the sites, including Pornhub, are owned and operated by Mindgeek, a worldwide corporation that also owns production companies that employ adult performers, such as Brazzers. A recent Nightline segment on porn and piracy demonstrated the stronghold Mindgeek has over the industry, with many performers refusing to comment on Mindgeek or the tube sites on camera.

“The mob-style tactics of this corporation are mind-boggling,” says Tibbals in response to the Nightline piece. “It’s like the Mafia running a dry-cleaning operation and then taking 10 percent of everything they make.”

Does all this mean Jackson should publicly apologize for his comment, or that the adult industry should orchestrate a boycott of his films? Nah, probably not: Whatever you might think of piracy and tube sites, the reality is that they're a permanent force to be reckoned with in the industry, and it's doubtful Jackson was aware of the impact sites like RedTube have had on the porn world when he made the joke in the first place. But given the larger context of the adult industry’s fight against piracy, it's understandable why some performers would find Jackson’s Redtube quip less than amusing.

H/T TMZ | Photo by marvelousRoland/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)