LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLERSKATES at your freeze peaches
Y'all young'uns know the Tale of Traci Lords? Sure, Crybaby, sure, neckbiter in Blade. Hey let's cue up that video real quick we could use a soundtrack. Traci would approve after all she cut an album with Juno Reactor as her backing band
So here's Traci back when she was Nora Kuzma, a 14-year-old getting raped in Ohio while visiting her estranged dad
Her alcoholic mom was dating a dude who molested her but he had a heart of gold; he hooked young Nora up with a friend of equally loose morals who hooked Nora up with a fake ID and took her to a bunch of auditions
At age 15, Kuzma became pregnant by her high school boyfriend. Afraid of her mother's reaction, she went to Hayes for help. He arranged for her to have an abortion without her mother's knowledge. Looking for a job to get some money, she was introduced to his friend and started working for her as a babysitter. The woman offered to improve Kuzma's job opportunities by helping her get a fake driver's license. She provided Kuzma with a new birth certificate on condition that if she were ever caught she would say that she had stolen the phony identification. Kuzma now had the alias Kristie Elizabeth Nussman and a new driver's license that stated she was 20 rather than 15 years old. In February 1984, she answered a newspaper advertisement for Jim South's World Modeling Talent Agency. Posing as her stepfather, Hayes drove her to the agency. After signing a contract, she began working as a nude model and appeared in magazines such as Velvet, Juggs, and Club. During August, when she was selected to model for Penthouse magazine's September 1984 15th-anniversary issue, Kuzma was asked to choose a stage name. According to a 1988 interview, she chose Traci—one of the popular names she had longed for growing up—and Lords, after the actor Jack Lord, since she was a fan of the television series Hawaii Five-O, in which he portrayed the character of Steve McGarrett.
Traci? Traci was big. I was in fourth fucking grade and I knew who Traci Lords was. Pinups, videos, she did all the dirty stuff. We were just starting to negotiate puberty and we wanted Traci lords.
THE GIRL WITH THE HAMMER IS SIXTEEN
After appearing at age 16 with John Leslie (an actor 23 years her senior) in the porno parody Talk Dirty to Me Part III (which won the AVN Award for the best movie), Lords was hailed as the "Princess of Porn". She became one of the highest-paid porn actresses of that time, earning more than $1,000 a day.
"I won't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day" - Linda Evangelista, four years later
Lords continued making more movies until late 1985 when she tried to quit the industry at age 17, but returned a few months later. Afterwards, she met Stuart Dell, who became her boyfriend, manager, and business partner. They formed the Traci Lords Company. Dell and Lords made a distribution deal with Sy Adler, an industry veteran who ran Vantage International, that they would produce three movies for the company.
"Tried to quit the industry" is such a laden phrase.
Two adults who knew Lords, but who requested anonymity, said they saw her picture in the adult magazine Velvet during July 1984 and telephoned the district attorney's office to inform authorities that she was underage, but that an investigator told them, "There isn't anything we can do about it."
Let's review. We've got a seventeen-year-old kid who has "tried to quit the industry" who is only there because her molester hooked her up with an ex-girlfriend who got her a fake ID so she could get an abortion without telling her mom. She's got high school classmates who tried to whistle-blow but nothing happened. What happened next is... some of the most fraught language I've ever seen on Wikipedia:
During late May 1986 (around three weeks after Lords' 18th birthday), authorities were informed that she had been underage when she appeared in the porn movies. She had lied (according to Lords, it was a "white lie") to law enforcement, photographers, producers, directors, co-workers, and the general public for two years.
Yep, blame the 16-year-old kid for breaking the rules for money and approval.
Government prosecutors declared that Lords was a victim of a manipulative industry, maintaining that she was drugged and made to do non-consensual acts. Industry insiders, including Ron Jeremy, Tom Byron, Peter North, and Ginger Lynn said they never saw her use drugs and that she was always fully aware of her actions.
Oh well if RON JEREMY says she wasn't coerced
Make no mistake: Traci Lords ANNIHILATED the porn industry. She was Penthouse Pet in the September 1984, the issue in which Bob Guccionne ran nude photos of then-Miss America Vanessa Williams against her consent
In July 1984 (two months before the end of her reign), Williams learned that nude photos of her, taken before her involvement with the pageant, would be published without her consent in a future issue of Penthouse. Williams believed that the private photographs had been destroyed; she stated that she never signed a release permitting publication or use of the photos in a public format. In contrast, Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, was also given the opportunity to publish these photos but turned it down stating: "The single victim in all of this was the young woman herself, whose right to make this decision was taken away from her. If she wanted to make this kind of statement, that would be her business, but the statement wasn't made by her."
The black-and-white photos dated back to the summer of 1982 (after her freshman year at Syracuse University) when she worked as an assistant and makeup artist for Mount Kisco, New York photographer Tom Chiapel. At the time, Williams stated that Chiapel said that "he had a concept of having two models pose nude for silhouettes, basically to make different shapes and forms. The light would be behind the models. I was reluctant, but since he assured me that I would be the only one to see them and I would not be identifiable in the photographs, I agreed.
Owning this magazine is a felony.
It cost the porn industry tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up. In my mind? Young Nora realized at some point that the clean start no one would give her was hers for the taking if she was willing to burn her abusers to the ground. So she did. And helped out fellow sex industry victim Vanessa Williams while she was at it. And her actions shook some shit up. Every disclaimer you used to see in porn? Traci Lords put it there. We may not call Section 2257 the "Traci Lords Act" but it's the fuckin' Traci Lords Act. Traci Lords legit flew a figurative airliner into the figurative World Trade Center of the porn industry, surveyed the rubble, said it was good and enrolled at Lee Strasbourg. The only reason she's not a goddamn DC Comics superhero is all the scummy old men who run Hollywood are still pissed.
One afternoon in 2012, I went to lunch in the Valley at a Hamburger Hamlet with adult veteran Bill Margold, who’d codirected Traci, and adult agent Jim South, who’d represented Traci. Traci, and what happened 25 years ago, was the topic of conversation between these two. Not for part of the lunch, for the whole lunch. The way they told the story was as a noir, with Traci as the ne plus ultra of femmes fatales: She’d scammed the adult industry with a fake ID; had made one movie after the age of 18, a movie she owned the rights to; and then she’d blown the whistle on herself to make more money and become more famous. And the anger of both these men was still, all these years later, hot to the touch.
But that was then, this is now. Then, there were forms, there were lawyers, there were scummy old men. Now? Now there's freedom and sweetness and light and "chilling effects...on the sex work industry" and "literally the "think of the children" argument finely weaponized against the open internet yet again."
Up until that New York Times article, you could find thousands of hits for Traci Lords on Pornhub.
This is like the FBI not screening for Osama bin Laden. This is a lackadaisical freedom from harm so deep that the most obvious, most immediate, most thunderously bad consequences aren't even screened at surface level. This is a company so completely unconcerned with liability that they aren't motivated in the slightest to do the barest due diligence. Could they? Sure - you couldn't find Paris Hilton on there. Why? Her lawyers are meaner. Pornhub was filtering Paris Hilton, whose videos carry civil consequences, and carrying Traci Lords, whose videos carry criminal consequences. And if you don't think that was a conscious, deliberate decision you're fucking high.
And if you're more worried about hypothetical threats to sex workers than actual threats against underaged girls, FUCK YOU.