Re: The Justin Berry Story: Webcam Porn
I had a long email exchange with a friend about the Justin Berry piece in the New York Times on Monday. Like Josh, we were uncomfortable about the story told in the piece and some aspects of the piece itself. Here’s our chat…
I am sitting here reading the NYTimes article on the kid who ran a porn-cam biz from home starting when he was 13. He made tons of money, and did it on his own. Why am I not understanding why this is anyone’s fault but his own? Or maybe half his fault? It is creepy, but he could have turned off his computer at any time. Help me on this. V.
the problem here is the long-distance grooming behavior that lead this kid to engage in this behavior. adults plying him with praise and gifts, in hopes of gradually seducing him - granted, at a distance - into performing for them sexually. he wasn’t old enough or mature enough to consent to be a porn star. he was bribed, really, into performing sexually for strangers.
and eventually it lead to real-time, real-life abuse. that’s where the grooming lead - and he was abused, it seems, not just by strangers, but by his own father.
it’s sad, and he’s party responsible. but he was 13 when it started, and therefore not capable of making decisions like, “Do I want to be a porn star when I grow up?” the operative words being “when i grow up.” he was a child. through the Internet, men entered his bedroom and talked him into making porn. that’s illegal - communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, etc. i wouldn’t want guys talking to DJ about sex, or asking him to remove his shirt or boxers, in front of a webcam at age 13.
adults exploited him. that’s the issue. yes, he exploited himself too. but they were adults and he was a child.
and he’s going to be fucked up for the rest of his life, sexually at least, because of this “business” of his. he is, in a sense, ruined. he could have grown up to be a well-adjusted porn actor, if that’s what he wanted to do, or someone’s very nice-looking boyfriend.but now he’s going to be a mess.
So when I finished reading the article I got to the gross stuff, but let's say that he never met anyone in person and just had his web cam—still explotive? Not saying it is healthy or good or that I would want DJ doing it, but he seems like an adult at that point. He still seems like he had all the power,if it is just the web cam. The in-person shit is gross, though, I agree. V.
well, it's illegal to watch child porn even if a child is making it. the law sez, and i agree with it, that a minor isn't mature enough to consent to all sorts of stuff - including appearing in porn.
i mean, did you notice the times in the piece when kids who were doing this were threatened with blackmail if they stopped? they didn't anticpate that - cuz they're kids, not mature enough, naĂŻve, not savvy. but the adults manipulating them into doing it in the first place were able to use the screen grabs they'd already taken to essentially force them to keep doing it. consent goes out the window.
and, again, a minor can't legally consent to this. and an adult can't legally watch or consume or encourage it. and for good reasons.
after finishing the article I woiuld make the argument that the Times is exploiting him as well. yikes, what a sappy ending. V.
YES! that's exactly what i thought.
the piece has a sappy, exploitative, self-satisfied quality. and the story didn't need to be illustrated with all those pics, either. what privacy will this kid have now? he's once again basking in the attentions of adults, adults who he believes care about him. but it they did, they would have told him to keep his name and face out of the paper. there's a salaciousness to the layout and the storytelling in the piece, and he will regret consenting to it one day.
the writer and the TIMES are making a buck off of him and his image just as the creepy men on their computers. the writer is much more sanctimonious about it however. I must admit that I read it because it was provacative. V.
that's the prob with writing about this stuff. you almost can't avoid salaciouness. dan