Image: Getty

Adult performer Nikki Benz filed a lawsuit Monday against the porn production company Brazzers, its parent company MindGeek, and fellow actors Tony T. and Ramon Nomar for sexual battery. The suit, provided to Jezebel by Benz’s lawyer, alleges that she was non-consensually “struck on the face, head and breasts hard enough to cause her to bleed” during a shoot two years ago. Benz says she was then pressured into saying that it was consensual in order to receive her paycheck.

Benz first made the allegations via Twitter in late December of 2016, following the shoot in question. She tweeted, “The director himself put his hands on me and was choking me. Never in a million years did I think Brazzers would allow it.” She added, “I guess rape scenes are in now huh?” Benz also tweeted at the time that she had been stomped on. Her tweets followed several allegations of on-set abuses made against porn star James Deen in 2015. Just last month, porn performers Leigh Raven and Riley Nixen took to YouTube with allegations of abuse during a shoot.

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In Benz’s case, the scene in question was directed by Tony T. and shot for Brazzers, a thriving production company owned by the industry behemoth MindGeek. Benz alleges that she was only told beforehand “that the shoot would be hardcore and what she would be wearing” and “knew nothing else about the shoot.” The suit says she only consented to be touched by co-star Ramon Nomar, but that Tony T. participated in the on-screen action, slapping her while saying, “Open your eyes bitch” and “Open your fucking eyes.” Benz alleges that she called “cut” several times to point out that she had only agreed to perform with Nomar.

The suit adds, “[Tony T.] would film with one hand and choke Benz with the other hand. Nomar stomped on Benz’s head. Between Tony T. and Nomar, Benz was hit, slapped choked and thrown on the ground and against the wall.” It further alleges that this made Benz bleed and that “water was poured on the walls and floor to cover up her blood.” It also alleges that “while Benz was gagged with her underwear,” water was “poured down her throat, causing Benz to choke.”

Benz alleges that during her on-screen exit interview after the scene, a standard practice during which performers confirm that everything was consensual, she was asked whether she would do the same shoot again and said that she would not. “Tony T immediately yelled, ‘Stop!’ He then turned off the camera,” according to the suit. “Off camera, Tony T yelled, ‘Fuck Nikki, you can’t say that!’” Benz alleges that Tony T. then made her re-record her exist interview with a “yes” response and told her that “if she did not do so, Benz would not receive her check,” according to the suit.

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In addition to alleging sexual battery against MindGeek, Brazzers, Tony T., and Nomar, the suit alleges “gender violence,” a “hostile work environment,” and “sexual harassment,” citing state civil codes. Benz is seeking an award of attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.

MindGeek, Brazzers, Tony T., and Nomar did not respond to a request for comment by press time. However, Tony T. has previously denied Benz’s accusations and filed a defamation lawsuit against her, as well as MindGeek and Brazzers, which cut ties with the director following Benz’s allegations. Benz told Jezebel in an email, “I hope me coming forward and standing up for myself will change how female performers are treated in my industry by producers, directors, and certain male talent,” she said. “We are not objects. Our rights are human rights.”