Porn King: The Rise And Fall Of Ron Jeremy Review – A Terrifying Story Of Sex Industry Rape Allegations | Television

for all the second wave feminism I read in college, nothing brought to me the systemic disadvantage to women and the embedded power structures of patriarchy like my first sight of Ron Jeremy.

This must have been the late 80’s, the beginning of the porn star’s heyday, and he already looked repulsive. That was kind of the point of him, I understood that. He was there so that every man, no matter how unattractive, could get his erection a little closer to the dream and fuck all the desirable women who came into his orbit. He was there to assure them all that no standard was too low.

The two-part Channel 4 documentary Porn King: The Rise and Fall of Ron Jeremy gives voice to some of the women who have been the subject of his attention, on and off set, including some of those who – according to their vivid testimony – he raped. Jeremy is in prison pending, if found medically competent by experts, on 34 charges. These include 12 rapes, including a 15-year-old girl in 2004, forced oral sex, foreign object penetration and sodomy, the latest of which is believed to have occurred in 2020. Jeremy denies the charges.

The documentary follows the disturbing, depressing pattern made known to us by the likes of Surviving R Kelly, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, countless shows about Jeffrey Epstein, and most of Netflix’s true-crime output. A predatory man uses his charm/wealth/power/combination thereof to abuse the women around him, either ignored or enabled by those employed by him, or otherwise taking advantage of his position. He remains unchallenged for decades as the women seek the safety to speak out, and then have to fight to be heard and taken seriously. Of course, the problems faced by women in such situations are multiplied immeasurably when they are women in the porn industry. The idea that once someone agrees to sex, she’s basically agreed to it forever and with everyone else dies especially hard when the woman has sex for a living. It does not hold up under the slightest control, but even the slightest control of endemic prejudice is always scarce.

Former adult movie star Ginger Lynn says Jeremy raped her in 1983 after she and her then-boyfriend refused to let him participate in a sex scene they filmed earlier that day. The next day, on her 21st birthday, he was used at the last minute as a replacement for another sex scene with her, although he had always been on her “no” list. “I didn’t want to fuck Ron – he was old, hairy and smelly,” she recalls. “And he thought he was funny.”

Bristol-born and raised Lianne Young moved to the US in her early twenties to work in the porn industry. “I knew I would never do a scene with Ron Jeremy,” she says. “The man is grotesque.” She describes talking to people at an industry party when he came up behind her, pushed her across a table and thrust his penis inside her. It all lasted about four or five seconds. Since then, she says, he lives rent-free in her head. The silence of the spectators is deafening.

There are also reports of other attacks. The podcaster Siouxsie Q describes a particularly violent event she escaped with bloodied underwear after he suggested they go somewhere quieter for an interview she requested.

His defenders, including the disturbing vulpine “porn pastor” Craig Gross, provide mitigating evidence. There are “blurred lines” in an industry where touching and being touched by the fans you meet is expected. There are the years of admiration that cloud Jeremy’s judgment. Or they just insist that the “goofball” they know is simply incapable of unwanted behavior.

Several of them ask why Lynn has worked with Jeremy on more than one occasion after the alleged rape. She “did something stupid” when she “tried to shut down,” she says — an impulse anyone who’s desperately tried to normalize something terrible will recognize.

The documentary gives each side honest time and weight, leaving it to the viewer to decide which one they find most compelling. The women who are part of the case against him fluctuate between anger and fatigue. Anger of a different kind bubbles up beneath most interviews with the others—occasionally, as with the pastor when he snarls “Let me finish the damn thing” to the interviewer, breaking the surface.

Depressing and disturbing, yes. But also terrifying. And on we go.

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