August Ames, real name Mercedes Grabowski, was a 23-year-old Canadian porn star who sadly took her own life on Tuesday 5th December 2017. The Mirror claims that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to hanging.
Having refused to take part in a shoot which would have required her to have sex with a male talent who had starred in gay porn, August then took to twitter to warn the girl who would replace her about the issue.
Apparently male stars who appear in gay porn do not follow the same HIV testing protocols as straight performers. If they wear condoms during the scenes they are not required to be tested. This is known within the industry and performers have chosen to avoid these encounters for years. This has become even more important since California has reduced, knowingly, infecting someone with HIV from a felony down to a misdemeanour.
The reaction to her tweet was the inevitable backlash from the progressives and the gay community. She was labelled as “homophobic”, told she was “openly being a cunt on Twitter” and suffered numerous insults, some even from other adult performers. She did try to defend herself, explaining that this was common practice among many within the industry, but this did nothing to halt the torrent of abuse.
In the end the abuse she got, along with her alleged depression, got to the point where she decided to take her own life. Her final tweet was as follows.
I have always wondered where the left would stand regarding the autonomy of a woman’s body if her choice didn’t fit their narrative. Resulting from August Ames choice to use safe practices in her industry, she was demonised and hounded to the point where she decided to pay the ultimate price.
Where do we go from here? Is it not possible to allow others to have full autonomy over their bodies? August Ames chose not to sleep with someone because of the increased risk of contracting HIV, but I don’t think this is what people were mainly harassing her for. It’s that she gave her reasons, and she said it out loud, on a social media platform that has nearly 600,000 followers.
She was guilty of wrong think. Guilty of saying something out loud which was deemed unpopular, so rage was unleashed upon her. Not for one second would I say that her suicide was their goal. Though these actions appear to have contributed to this. They do have a right to criticise ideas they don’t agree with and this must be protected, but the constant barrage of abuse was unnecessary. Could, and should, August have just turned twitter off? I think the answer is yes, especially if she was suffering from depression.
Let’s make this clear, a young woman chose to take her own life and that is a tragedy. A tragedy that should have been avoided. Social media can be a source of so much positivity, but it can be used in a very toxic manner, and I find this sad story to be a very good example of this.
What can we learn from this? I would hope, and plead, that we would allow others the respect to make their own choices regarding how they protect their own bodies. About who they sleep with and about who they deem a risk. When we demonise, or remove the autonomy of an individual we reduce their value as a person. At the very least let's make this very say tragedy a warning to those who would deny a person their own choice.
My final thoughts are;
RIP August Ames, I hope you are in a better place now, where you are no longer judged by those cannot tolerate a different opinion.