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Deník N

„I was bleeding and ended up in hospital.“ Women accuse producers of Xvideos of violent porn shooting

Illustration: Barbora Demovičová
Illustration: Barbora Demovičová

Xvideos, the most-visited pornographic website in the world, faces difficulties due to its content, which is being investigated by the police and card-payment companies. That is why we have looked into the business of the people behind the website, which is located near Prague’s Wenceslas Square. We started gathering testimonies of women who complained about the practices of another company of the same owners, Legal Porno, which focuses on filming extreme pornography. A number of women said they had left the studio injured.

We have found the complaints about the treatment by the production of Legal Porno on social networks but also on closed forums run by the owners of Xvideos. Other women who were contacted by Deník N and who were promised anonymity have confirmed these accounts. The women said they had suffered injuries during the filming of extreme practices. Many of them said they had had no idea what they would be filming.

The production of Legal Porno is operated by GTFLIX TV, which – as the Xvideos server – is located in Prague’s Krakovská Street, close to Wenceslas Square. Both companies are part of the pornographic empire owned by the French siblings Stephane Michael Pacaud and Malorie Deborah Pacaud.

Legal Porno specialises in the most hardcore pornography, for which clients pay well. However, sometimes such shooting represents an extraordinary strain on the bodies and psyche of the actresses. Some of them described to Deník N that they had left the set torn, bleeding and unable to control their bowel movements.

In most testimonies, the same motives are repeated over and over again. Before, and sometimes during, the shooting the women did not know what the producers planned to do with them. The women usually had to engage in very dangerous and complicated practices, for example several men having anal sex with a single woman at the same time.

In addition to publicly available statements, Deník N has obtained testimonies of three women who, independently of each other, shared their experiences with filming for Legal Porno. We do not disclose any details that might identify or endanger them.

Lidocaine against pain

The first witness the reporters spoke to still works in the pornographic industry. She did not leave it although her experience with Legal Porno was one of her first in the industry and, as she says, it has marked her forever. She speaks only very carefully about her experiences: “We had agreed that there would be one guy, but in the end there were three blacks,” says the actress. She says she took the work as she needed money quickly and knew that Legal Porno paid more than other productions.

The woman explained that although she was not raped, she did not feel comfortable because she saw from the beginning that the original agreement had not been kept. However, she needed the money. She describes a similarly difficult situation as other actresses – they feel pressured at the moment, it is often their first experience, they are already on the set where several people are waiting for them, and they cannot refuse once the crew is ready.

The filming process was also unexpected for the woman. Among other things, the actress claims that, without prior agreement, she was given local analgesics to relieve pain. „The worst was the ignorance; I was not prepared for it at all. I didn’t know that lidocaine could hurt me when they started putting it in my anus. They didn’t rape me, but I know very well how they behave, everyone knows how they behave,“ says the actress, adding that they pushed her to complete the scene.

“So they put lidocaine in my anus, it burned terribly, they wanted me to complete the shoot, I kept bleeding so they gave me more and more lidocaine as they wanted to finish it, but it still didn’t work, it hurt terribly,” she describes. She says not only the production but also herself wanted to complete the scene. The actress knew that if she were unable to do it, she would get no money. And that is what happened – because of great pain and strong bleeding she stopped the shooting and left empty-handed.

“They really wanted to complete the scene with me, but in the end they stopped when I said no,” the actress adds. “I did not complete the scene. Nobody paid me anything,” she said.

Lidocaine is used as a local anaesthetic, most often in dentistry. It may affect the heart rate. Its use in Legal Porno has been confirmed also by one of its directors, who uses the nickname Giorgio Grandi and who wrote about it in an official forum. He reacted to a blog post in which an actress described the practices used during shooting. “I use a gel that contains between 1% and 2.5% lidocaine,” wrote the director.

To the witness who talked to Deník N it never occurred to complain about this treatment. Also other actresses said that the entire industry knows that this production uses rough practices against women. According to the actresses, it is a public secret at which nobody should be surprised.

Another witness told the reporters about a similar experience. After the shooting, she even ended up in hospital. “I had to have an operation but I don’t want to come back to it. I will not tell you more about it,” another actress said.

A very trustworthy source from the pornographic industry described to Deník N that Legal Porno often uses girls that have no experience with shooting and do not know what their bodies can stand. “They get paid much more than at other productions. When you have a new girl or you have her exclusively, you earn more. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, many new faces have appeared there,” said the source.

Legal Porno shoots not only in Krakovská Street in Prague, but also in other studios in the Czech Republic. Every day it launches around seven new videos. “There is not a month, or maybe a week, without a girl having a bad experience. Some agencies do not recommend Legal Porno and do not send girls there. After working for Legal Porno, the girls can’t work, can’t control their bowel movements and need to take a break from filming,” the source added.

The insider did not wish to disclose their name as the owners of Xvideos control a large part of the production in the Czech Republic. If the insider were blacklisted, it would ruin their business. However, Deník N knows their identity.

Public testimonies

Information about the practices at Legal Porno has appeared on social networks. Several famous people from the industry who have hundreds of thousands of followers have shared their bad experiences. For example, the actress using the stage name Veronica Avluv, who has 268 thousand followers, confided on Twitter in 2019 that she had been injured during a shooting.

“I’ve been nursing a serious prolapse injury from one shoot for Legal Porno. It was supposed to be one of 4. I’ve been dealing with blood and shit since the scene. Can’t believe they can sell my pain online but they can,” she wrote.

The porn actress Samantha Rone, who has 144 thousand followers, published her experience in 2016. “I wish I was mad about the money. I’m more mad that people can behave and treat other people like that,” the actress wrote.

Similar complaints can be found on the official forum of Legal Porno. “At the beginning, everything was O.K. The boys were kind and thoughtful. However, the more scenes I had shot, the more ruthless they became as people just want it rougher, rougher and rougher! In the end I bled so much I had to cancel shootings for other productions because I just could not shoot,” a porn actress wrote on the Legal Porno forum last year. Her account is official, it was authorised by the producers.

“In the morning before the last scene, I woke up in fear. I knew that it would be terrible and stupid and that it would be no good. It was just too much. But it was clear to me that no one cared,” she confided to anonymous fans of the Legal Porno production.

None of the girls informed the police about their experiences; at least none of them said so to Deník N. Most of the women said they doubted whether the police would do anything. It is therefore unclear whether the police has ever looked into the possible violence in front of cameras.

“The law prohibits us from providing information on specific persons and other entities,” Eva Kropáčová, spokesperson of the Prague Police, said.

The owners of Legal Porno at first refused to talk Deník N journalists and to answer any of their questions. Then one of the owners, Mr Pacaud, called a reporter. Mr Pacaud said he wanted to clear up certain things and promised to send a reply by email. Then came a reply from GTFLIX TV, but the authors of the reply forbade Deník N to publish the reply and accused its reporters of bias.

“The accusations are completely made up. For nearly nine years we have been victims of a massive disinformation campaign carried out by Pierre Woodman. It includes forging documents and paying models to make false accusations,” the owners of Legal Porno wrote in their reply. “Tomorrow we will consider filing an information with the Czech Police against you and your newspaper,” the company has threatened.

Ten girls speak on camera

The owners of Legal Porno did not mention the name of the world-famous producer Pierre Woodman by coincidence – they have had disputes for years. Woodman, who is active mainly in Hungary and the Czech Republic, has also pointed out to unfair practices of his competitors.

According to porn-industry insiders, Woodman does not have such a heated dispute with anyone other than the Pacaud siblings. Woodman, who was contacted by Deník N, handed over to the newspaper testimonies of ten actresses he says he has collected in recent years. All the women in the videos talk about their experiences with Legal Porno productions similarly as the actresses with whom Deník N spoke.

Deník N will not publish the videos, to protect the privacy of the women. However, the newspaper contacted some of them to verify whether their testimonies were manipulated. The women with whom the reporters spoke confirmed their original statements.

How did Woodman’s videos come about? The producer has said he shoots everything on camera, including interviews with job seekers. He does it to prevent any disputes or accusations. To Deník N he has provided the testimonies of ten girls who, when he asked them about their experiences in the industry, themselves started talking about Legal Porno.

One of the girls said that, in order to make the scenes, she drank a cocktail of painkillers. Another woman said that during the shooting she was bleeding from her anus but they did not stop the shooting anyway. They gave her a gel thanks to which she could continue and did not feel pain. She said she did not know at the time that it was a painkiller.

“They gave me anaesthetics, but it did not help at all. No one raised their voice at me, but when I was crying and said I couldn’t do it, someone came and gave me a shot of vodka to relax,” described one of the women.

According to lawyers contacted by Deník N, in this case – if it happened in this way – a thin line between shooting and rape may have been crossed.

“This creates a situation that cannot end otherwise than in a rape. During such shooting, the woman should not drink – it is clear how it will end. Rape consists also in someone misusing a woman’s helplessness, which can be caused also by drunkenness,” lawyer Tomáš Sokol assessed the situation.

Lawyer Lucie Hrdá sees it similarly. “In my opinion this is rape. When you misuse someone’s helplessness, you commit rape. In particular when you cause the helplessness, which is much more dangerous for the society,” Hrdá said. “Rape includes also expressing resistance during an act,” she added.

According to Sokol, local anaesthetics or alcohol may be used during pornographic shooting if the actress has consented to it and was in a state in which she was able to make such a decision. This means, for example, that she was not drunk.

One of the girls described how, during one of the practices, the actor used force to achieve what he wanted. When shooting anal sex, actresses have to prepare to avoid the intercourse being painful. “At times he held my ass and tried to force a [dildo] in it, so that it would be over fast. But I was already crying and said I did not want to do it, so I ended it,” described the witness.

Another woman alleged that people from Legal Porno forced the shooting of a scene. “They forced me to shoot double anal intercourse. I refused another scene,” said the woman. She said the producers tried to trick her by saying that they would only try a scene and would not film it. The scene was to include anal sex. “I said to them that even simple anal intercourse was painful for me. They told me it wouldn’t be on any video. So we tried it and I said it hurt terribly. I pushed them away and said it hurt. Then I watched previews on Legal Porno and the video was there,” the witness described her frustration.

Penalty for failing to complete a shoot

Other women on the videos say that people from Legal Porno pressured them to continue shooting. The producers allegedly threatened the actresses with penalties in the order of tens of thousand of Czech crowns. “I stopped working for them. A woman did not agree with the fact that I wanted to terminate the contract on the spot. The contract stipulated that when I stop [the shooting] early, I must pay a penalty of 70 thousand Czech crowns. Some girls before me left but did not have to pay anything,” a witness said.

The lawyer Sokol stresses that such practice would be unacceptable and the penalties would be unenforceable. “This is similar to someone agreeing in a contract to pour petrol over themselves and set themselves on fire, and paying a penalty if they did not do it. I believe that, in relation to pornography, such clause is null and void,” Sokol explains.

In some aspects, the situation at Legal Porno may be similar to the case of the porn production Czech Casting. In that case, the girls testified that the producers pressured them and threatened them with penalties if they failed to complete their work. The police then charged nine people with human trafficking, sexual coercion and rape. As in the case of Legal Porno, the girls said that before the shooting they did not know what awaited them.

War of two producers

It is important to bear in mind that Woodman is not unbiased in relation to the situation at Legal Porno. His legal dispute with the Pacauds has a personal dimension. Woodman claims that on the forum of Legal Porno they published pictures of his wife and of his daughter (that picture was allegedly taken when the daughter was a minor) and invited people to visit his daughter. Woodman says this is the reason why he has led a court dispute in France.

On the other hand, the Pacaud siblings, namely their company GTFLIX TV, say in their reply that Woodman has been carrying out a disinformation campaign against them and has been paying models to raise false accusations against them.

“Woodman must have taken an interest in your biased articles and we see that the way in which you are trying to obtain information may easily lead to false testimonies,” GTFLIX TV added.

However, not only Woodman is pointing his finger at Legal Porno. Also other people from the industry have described to Deník N that Legal Porno wants girls to engage in practices their bodies cannot cope with. In addition, the sources say, the actresses are often very young. According to sources who are familiar with the pornographic industry in the Czech Republic – we do not quote Woodman as an anonymous source in this article – there are cases when girls who have just turned 18 appear at a pornographic shooting where they are asked to be penetrated by several men and to engage in dangerous practices that may cause injuries.

“Sometimes they end up in hospital and often they are so traumatised that they quit the industry,” an insider told us under the promise of anonymity. A number of people from the pornographic industry have openly admitted that they are afraid to talk about the issues around Legal Porno. The reason is that the Pacauds control a large share of the pornographic market in the Czech Republic and in the world.

According to financial statements, the Pacauds’ revenues are in the hundreds of millions of Czech crowns. A proof of their wealth is a recent transaction in which they overpaid Pornhub and Larry Flynt, the owner of the Hustler brand, in an auction for the Penthouse magazine. The owners of Xvideos paid for it an equivalent of 250 million Czech crowns.

The most-visited pornographic website of Xvideos faces difficulties

The siblings Stephane Michael Pacaud and Malorie Deborah Pacaud own, through WGCZ, also the porn site Xvideos. According to the analytical website SimilarWeb,  Xvideos is the most-visited pornographic website in the world. Of all the websites, it is the seventh most visited. Legal Porno is not as big, but it ranks among 500 most-visited pornographic websites in the world with nearly 20 million visits, the largest number of them being from the United States.

Dům v ulici Krakovská blízko Václavského náměstí. V činžáku sídlí Xvideos i Legal Porno, které tam má studia. Foto: Deník N

The reporters of Deník N have described how the system of Xvideos enables to upload any content with just an anonymous email address. That is how, without any supervision, it is possible to upload there illegal pornography depicting victims of violence, revenge porn, or minors. To report an illegal video is actually more difficult than to upload it. The matter is now being investigated by the police and by the Visa and Mastercard card-payment companies.

The situation is analogical to that of the Pornhub website, to which financial-services companies blocked payments after the New York Times wrote a month ago that Pornhub contained child pornography or videos depicting rape.

Following the investigation by US journalists, Pornhub deleted millions of videos, which represents tens of percent of its content. Pornhub will also have to testify before a Canadian federal committee in Montreal.

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