August Ames (Mercedes Grabowski) 23 August 1994 – 5 December 2017
August Ames was a a superstar of the pornographic film world who starred in nearly 300 films before being found dead by hanging in December 2017 at the tender age of 23. It is the circumstances that led to her death that have driven the intense coverage and outrage.
Ames was born in Nova Scotia but raised in Colorado Springs, in a military family. Her three year career as a pornographic actress had led to awards and a massive following. In the days before her tragic suicide she became embroiled in a twitter controversy that has been blamed for her decision to take her life. She had decided to not perform in a video that would have involved working with a bisexual male performer. This launched a tirade of accusations of homophobia which rapidly escalated to calls for her to take her own life.
She refuted claims of homophobia, claiming it was her choice as to who she worked with, those who defended her were subject to violent threats and one direct aggressive tweet has been cited as particularly damaging: "The world is awaiting your apology or for you to swallow a cyanide pill".
That the tirades of abuse had a detrimental affect on her is unquestionable, whether it was the definitive cause of her decision to commit suicide is something we will never truly understand. What has caused the interest is the surreal political angle of the event.
A furious battle has sprung up over the unfurling events. Unapologetic homosexual and trans gender campaigners doubling down on their insistence that she was homophobic, whilst her friends and family have expressed outrage and sorrow at the lack of empathy. Furthermore, the question gnawing away at the core of this horror show is one of the hypocrisy of the situation.
Everyone has the right to decide who to have sex with, insisting that August Ames was morally obliged to sleep with a "cross over" performer shows an alarming attitude toward her rights and agency. This mood has been growing for some time. To refuse the advances of a trans woman is transphobic according to Zinnia Jones, a trans gender youtuber who had also weighed in on the August Ames abuse, even after her death.
It seems the increasing demand for rights and recognition is rapidly becoming a drive toward oppression and brutality. The real danger to the rights of individuals to make their own decisions about their intimate engagements is this braying hysteria. These people are allowed to express their opinions, it serves no benefit to silence them, but with the harsh sunlight of public discourse set upon them there is no justification for their position.
August Ames should serve as an icon of feminist campaigners, a martyr to the cause of independence, freedom and equality. There is a simple word for being forced to have sex against your will and it was understood that this was the intolerable and unforgivable crime. Apparently the right to say "no" is withheld at the altar of gender politics, the lack of self awareness is terrifying.
May you find peace in death that you craved so much in life August. It would be nice to think that this tragic case would serve as a warning to society to examine this increasingly dangerous and absurd direction of travel. Sadly, it seems it will take further insanity to generate the will to address the intolerance of the tolerant.