Belle Knox (born 1995/1996, based on age of 18 as of March 6, 2014) is the stage name of an American pornographic actress and Duke University student. She has also gone by Lauren, and Aurora. She is known for being outed by a fellow student for performing in online pornography, and the ensuing events that include her confronting the situation directly, and in the media.
Knox started doing pornography in 2013 to help pay for her $60,000 per year tuition costs. After the discovery, she has publicly defended her decision to do the work, defended her choices about discussing the situation, and how it has impacted her life. She believes her experiences are indicative of the rising costs of higher education in the United States.
Knox chose the name "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast and the character of Belle from Secret Diary of a Call Girl and the name "Knox" from Amanda Knox, the former roommate, and a chief suspect in the murder of Meredith Kercher cases. She decided to enter into the online pornography industry because she enjoyed sex and pornography, and compared it to her previous work as a waitress for a boss who treated her poorly, with a schedule that interfered with her studies, and she earned less than $400 a month after taxes. Doing the porn work allowed her to control the scheduling, and she could make about $1200 per scene. Knox had tried to apply for government loans but was told that she was ineligible, and did not want to apply for regular student loans as she did not want to "strap her family with debt." She began working in online pornography in November 2013, flying out to Los Angeles while on school breaks to perform in the films.
Outing and harassmentEdit
Knox faced harassment after a male Duke student, who watched online porn, recognized her, and outed her to fraternity brothers of Phi Delta Theta during a rush event. He stated it was Knox who revealed her work to him; upon which point she asked him to keep it private, which he agreed to do. That evening, however, he shared her secret, and the news quickly spread through the Greek system.
After returning to campus from winter break, Knox discovered that her personal Facebook account had received more than 230 friend requests. She did not initially think anything of the requests until fellow students in a "rapid influx" started following her porn persona's Twitter account, at which point she realized that her porn career had been discovered. Shortly thereafter posts began to emerge on the anonymous college discussion board CollegiateACB under the thread title “Freshman Pornstar.” Knox received threats of violence and death, as well as harassing messages via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, with some individuals endorsing people raping, and beating her. Other posters also stated that they would like Duke University to expel Knox. Knox's identity, contact information, and location, were posted as well.
Knox gave an interview to the campus newspaper, The Chronicle, in which she used the pseudonym "Lauren A.," and referred to her stage name as "Aurora" to avoid identifying herself. She expressed frustration over her treatment stating, "I feel like girls at Duke have to hide their sexuality. We’re caught in this virgin-whore dichotomy." She posted similar sentiments in blog posts on XoJane. Knox reported that she received additional harassment after posting her initial blog post through XoJane, which prompted her to write a second post where she revealed her stage name. She detailed some of the threats and messages of harassment, violence, and rape against her, but the reports, according to Knox, were largely "belittled or ignored by the police." Media outlets noted the trolling as slut-shaming, and characterized it as relentless, with the comments said she "'deserves to get raped,' blasted her appearance and demanded that she use her real – rather than her stage – name in porn." Knox also has discussed what she, and others in the industry see, as a double standard sex workers face from those who seek their services, according to critic, and former sex worker, Eric Barry, "It's impossible to separate those trying to violate sex workers' right to privacy, from those who believe sex workers somehow deserve to be devalued." Elizabeth Stoker, in The Week, noted the "reprehensible and personal" comments of threats and harassing through social media are "odious and inexcusable," and characterized them as unjustifiable, as well as being "disproportionately aimed at women in the public sphere." In an interview in early March 2014, with Playboy magazine regarding her experiences, she noted, in regard to just disclosing her stage name, that "I'm scared, because I've already been getting stalked and threatened." In her interview on TMZ Live she detailed a few of the threats, and together with TMZ staff talked of the hypocrisy of the consumers of porn being some of those who outed, and threaten her.
The Poynter Institute newspaper commented on the reception for Knox's story, stating that it "[presented] a lesson in crowd behavior," and noted, "While her critics were loud and destructive, advocating that people call her dad to let him know his daughter is a porn star, no one suggested a phone campaign to inform the mother of the frat boy who outed her that her son is watching porn." A journalist for TIME magazine expressed skepticism over Knox's comments stating that she viewed her pornography career as empowering. The journalist continued that while shaming her was wrong, Knox "doesn’t know how to process her newfound fame," and that her decision, "will likely haunt [her] for the rest of her college and professional career." Elizabeth Stoker, in The Week criticized Knox's statements, noting the sex industry did not have a trade union, and male sexual desire would ultimately dictate, and oppress, what women would do on camera.
The male student who outed Knox, was offered $10,000 to perform in an X-rated film by Mike Kulich, who had also previously offered Amanda Knox money to appear in a pornography film. Kulich told the Huffington Post, "There's a saying in porn: 'People j*** off with the left hand and point their finger with the right. I want people to know that porn stars have families and they're just trying to make a living. If you're enjoying their work, why ruin their lives?"
A representative for Duke University has issued a statement saying that while they would not comment on specific cases, the college's community standard did not have any restrictions concerning off-campus employment. Of Knox's allegations that campus police did not take the threats against her seriously enough, the representative remarked, "We are committed to protecting the privacy, safety and security of our students. Whenever we identify a student in need of support, we reach out to them and offer the many resources that we have available on campus to assist them." Knox has been asked to speak in Duke classes about being a sex worker.
Knox has made numerous appearances, and interviews with national media regarding her experiences. In March 2014, Knox appeared on Piers Morgan Live on CNN to discuss her choice to enter the adult industry. She has also done interviews with Playboy magazine, and TMZ Live. These were followed by appearances on the talk show The View on March 17, and on HuffPost Live on March 18.
Knox is pursuing a major in women’s studies and sociology and has expressed interest in becoming a women’s rights, and civil rights lawyer. Knox is a College Republican and considers herself a sex-positive feminist and libertarian. She is also bisexual.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
- ↑ Duke porn star reveals face and film name on Playboy, xojane websites. News Observer. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Heck, Laura. "Duke student reveals porn identity, responds to backlash", March 5, 2014. Retrieved on March 5, 2014.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Kingkade, Tyler. "Duke Porn Star Reveals Her Identity", March 4, 2014. Retrieved on March 5, 2014.
- ↑ Why death threats won’t keep the ‘Duke porn star’ from doing what she needs to do to pay tuition
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Meet Belle Knox, the Duke Porn Star (As You Might Have Heard). Playboy (March 4, 2014). Retrieved on March 6, 2014.
- ↑ Li, David. Duke porn star has 9 videos under her belt. New York Post. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Morgan, Piers. How I selected my porn name. CNN. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Dillon, Nancy. Duke porn star Belle Knox says she wants to help sex workers after bankrolling law degree with sex. NYDN. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ Rajghatta, Chidanand. US girl stars in porn flicks to meet college fees. Times of India. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ MacIntosh, Jeane. Student who outed Belle Knox has $1K-a-month porn habit. New York Post. Retrieved on 17 March 2014.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Goldstein, Sasha. Porn big offers frat boy who outed Duke porn star 10G to appear in his own flick. NYDN. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 Fernelius, Katie. Portrait of a porn star. Duke Chronicle. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Moye, David. "X-Rated Offer For Duke Student Who Outed Porn Star Classmate Belle Knox", March 7, 2014. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Knox, Belle. I'M THE DUKE UNIVERSITY FRESHMAN PORN STAR AND FOR THE FIRST TIME I'M TELLING THE STORY IN MY WORDS. XOJane. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Knox, Belle. "I'm Finally Revealing My Name and Face As the Duke Porn Star", March 4, 2014. Retrieved on March 5, 2014.
- ↑ Duin, Steve. Belle Knox, the Duke 'porn star,' puts a face on her story. Oregon Live. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Why Belle Knox's Anonymity Was So Important, As Told by an Out Sex Worker
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Stoker, Elizabeth. Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women. The Week. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ Stone, Zak. Meet Belle Knox, the Duke Porn Star (As You Might Have Heard). Playboy.com. Retrieved on March 12, 2014.
- ↑ 'Basketball Wives' Star to New Parents -- Kill Your Cats, "And, Duke University's porn star student Belle Knox joins us to discuss the utter hypocrisy behind the death threats she's been receiving since being discovered." TMZ Live, (10:20-15:46 min. At 11:40 mark, "I've had people threatened to kill me, I've had students threaten to throw trash on me, I've had students threaten to "kick me in the face," so it's really really vicious.")
- ↑ McBride, Kelly. Outed Duke student presents lesson in crowd behavior. Poynter Institute. Retrieved on March 7, 2014.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Dockterman, Eliana. The Duke Porn Star Isn’t as Empowered as She Claims. TIME. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Willingham, AJ. Duke reacts to student's 'outing' as porn star. HLN. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ Herbert, Geoff. Duke University student reveals she's a porn star, stirs drama in college newspaper. Post-Standard. Retrieved on March 8, 2014.
- ↑ Staff. Duke student: My porn career is 'freeing'. CNN.com. Retrieved on March 12, 2014.
- ↑ Staff. Duke student porn star reveals she has watched adult films since the age of 12 and feels 'empowered' but admits school life is 'hostile' since X-rated career was outed. Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved on 17 March 2014.
- ↑ staff. The 'Duke Porn Star' LIVE. Huffington Post. Retrieved on 17 March 2014.