Netflix’s new docuseries Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On has been captivating viewers. But, it has come with its share of controversy. The cam girls who are portrayed in the film are exploited without their consent. However, the producers of the documentary claim it wasn’t done on purpose. There seems to be a lack of communication between the producers and the adult performers who were featured in the documentary.
Members of the adult entertainment industry aren’t happy with the producers of Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On. They have been accusing them of exploiting sex workers for monetary gain, according to a Slate report. Multiple adult performers have claimed their images were used without their consent or after their consent was not given. That puts them at the risk of being outed to family members or having their personal information given away.
Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is a six-part series that talks about adult entertainment, technology, and sex work. Most of it focuses on the cam girls who reveal how they make money on the internet. The women featured in the film make money by selling adult videos, live webcam sessions, and other forms of content. Paige is one of the adult entertainers in the film who was featured in the fourth episode of Hot Girls Wanted.
The episode exposes Paige’s personal Facebook account, exposing her real name. Paige says the producers shouldn’t have included her real name in the series. She also claims that she changed her mind about being in the film after producers started asking her questions about her family. And Vocativ reports that the consent form Paige signed grants producers the “irrevocable right to film, tape, photograph and record” Paige and use her “actual or fictitious names, voice, likeness, and any biographical facts.”
Shortly after its premiere, sex workers have taken to Twitter to slam the series. One adult star claimed that the filmmakers promised her that she was not be featured in the series. Both male and female adult entertainers said that their footage was use without their permission.
Now the producers of Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On are fighting back against the claims that the documentary did not consent. In an exclusive interview with Variety, filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus defended their docuseries, claiming that they adhered to standards of documentary filmmaking and fair use.
“The narrative has kind of become hijacked, that we exposed sex workers and we put them in danger by telling the world that they were sex workers, when in fact we never did that,” Gradus said.
Bauer and Gradus have dismissed the controversy. They argue that the claims are false and inaccurate. Criticism against the docuseries started around April 22 when two female cam girls known as Effy Elizabeth and Autumn Kay remarked on Twitter that they were featured in one of the episodes without being informed or providing consent.
“It is real, we weren’t even told it was happening,” Elizabeth wrote.
Kay, meanwhile, provided a screenshot of a Twitter direct message conversation with the series’ official account. The message revealed that Kay would be placed in touch with the producers to “explain fair use.”
The footage of Elizabeth and Kay is shown in the series’ sixth episode, “Don’t Stop Filming,” which talks about a woman who allegedly broadcast the rape of her friend on Periscope. Elizabeth and Kay are featured when it’s explained how Periscope works and what kind of content is allowed on the Twitter-owned live-streaming app. The two ladies were featured for a full nine seconds, and they were not identified.
Bauer and Gradus argued that the Periscope footage obliged by the fair-use doctrine and the app’s term of service.
“They saw themselves, and then on Twitter, as themselves, using their own handles, tweeted out, ‘Oh my God, we’re on Netflix. Oh my God nobody told us. Oh my God, we’re sex workers and they’ve just shown us on Netflix,'” Gradus said. “So the great irony here is that they identified themselves as sex workers. And really that is a key piece of information that has been lost in this story.”
Despite the controversy, Hot Girls Wanted: Turn On has received positive reviews. Netflix picked up the series after releasing Bauer and Gradus’ feature documentary about the adult entertainment industry, Hot Girls Wanted, back in 2015. Both projects were produced by Bauer and Gradus, along with actress Rashida Jones.
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]