The red carpet at the 2018 Adult Video News Awards.
Image: Getty

Four porn performers have filed a formal complaint against top industry agent Derek Hay alleging sexual abuse, fraud, and financial mismanagement. The complaint, filed with California’s Labor Commissioner and provided to Jezebel by the petitioners’ lawyer, also alleges that Hay, owner of LA Direct Models, is connected to an “illegal escort business” involved in sex trafficking.

The petitioners—identified as Jane Does in the filing, due in part to fears of damaging their careers—claim that Hay promises potential adult performers “fame and fortune,” only to lock performers into “exclusive multi-year agency agreements.” Those contracts, the complaint alleges, fraudulently allow for “unconscionable fees”—including for late-notice shoot cancellations—“which he then coerces performers to either pay in cash, or ‘work-off’ by performing sexual acts on him.”

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Hay did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The complaint follows a number of accusations of sexual abuse within the adult industry. Most recently, legendary porn star Ron Jeremy was sued for sexual assault. But the current filing points to the #MeToo reckoning in “mainstream Hollywood” and argues that, “while the adult entertainment industry appears to suffer a lesser degree of such reprehensible conduct, it is, unfortunately, not immune.”

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The Jane Does in this complaint allege that Hay “coerces some of his performers into ‘escorting’” through an “unlicensed and illegal escort business” that is “willfully involved in prostitution and sex trafficking.” The petitioners claim that Hay and LA Direct are affiliated with the escorting company, and that Hay has used the service to “book personal sexual encounters with one or more of his own clients.”

They claim that Hay and LA Direct have also sought to “punish” them by ignoring their “No Lists,” which are the standard industry practice by which performers indicate their sexual boundaries for adult shoots. The filing claims that Hay and LA Direct booked at least one of the Jane Does to work with actors or perform acts on their No Lists—and then were charged “kill fees” when they objected.

In addition to claims of sexual coercion, the Jane Does allege that they have been cheated financially. When it came to bookings, they claim LA Direct required porn producers to pay “agency fees” in addition to clients’ agreed upon performance fees, and then subsequently failed to pay clients their “contractually obligated share” of those extra fees. In other words, Hay and LA Direct allegedly pocketed an extra “agency fee,” instead of just retaining a standard commission from clients’ agreed-upon fees for performing.

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The Jane Does are seeking civil penalties, the reimbursement of “agency fees,” and the revoking of LA Direct’s agency license.