In 2014, at the age of 21, Mia Khalifa joined the adult film industry for three months.

Within that short time, however, she was quickly ranked #1 on Pornhub, amassing millions of views. Despite her success, she only received $12,000 in compensation.

Six years later, she is still subjected to shame and judgment for being an adult film actor, simply for creating a products millions have consumed. This is a ridiculous stigma, one that affects those in front of the camera.

All the while, the people who often manipulatively bring these actors into the industry lose nothing, instead gaining hundreds of billions in revenue.

Six years later, she is still subjected to shame and judgment for being an adult film actor.

Since leaving the industry, Khalifa spoken up about the coercion and manipulation she faced to join the industry and the ways she was abused and exploited as an adult film actor.

In an interview with BBC, Khalifa disclosed the minimal amount of control and agency she had during the filming process. “Other than saying yes or no to one outfit or the other, I had very little say on what was filmed. The theme of it, the content, and where it’s filmed is not really up to you,” she explained.

Mia Khalifa recorded eleven adult films in a coerced collaboration with BangBros over the span of three months.

Ever since then, she has received backlash and hatred from various communities and ‘ISIS sympathizers’. Her account was hacked and propaganda was posted in her stead. She was disowned by her family and in many ways, her brief career as a adult film actor continues to shape her image today.

Over the years, Khalifa has made several attempts to have her videos removed but all she has received is mockery from the industry and the internet.

Recently, however, she went viral on TikTok and many people began to make videos to express solidarity with her. The music group ilovefriday, who formerly released a diss track against her, also came forward to apologize.

During the summer, the hashtag #JusticeforMiaKhalifa circulated, along with a petition to have Khalifa’s videos removed from Pornhub. 

Khalifa’s story has raised awareness about corruption in the adult film industry and has been a learning lesson for many. Exodus Cry posted a video that outlines corruption in the adult film industry.

Companies like Bangbros, Pornhub, and XVideos have perpetuated rape and sexual abuse by providing a website that allows users to upload videos of sexual violence against women and children without their consent. These websites were initially designed for acting, but a lot of the videos featured on the websites involve actual rape and sexual violence.

Companies like Bangbros, Pornhub, and XVideos have perpetuated violence through their content.

Journalist Helen Buyinski argued that Mia owes much of her fame to her time in the adult film industry.

Therefore, she should “own up to her mistakes” and not demand her videos to be removed. Buyinski, along with many others, argue that Khalifa consented to have herself filmed during a sex act but this argument is rather problematic because consent often becomes blurry in any form of sex work.

In response to Buyinski, Mohana Basu says, “If sex workers or porn stars have the right to withdraw consent in the middle of a sexual act, then the same principle of consent should extend to their videos.”

This can be supported by Khalifa’s account of her time in the adult film industry: “the concept of consent is [rather] meaningless in the power dynamic between the men controlling the porn industry.” 

Khalifa made a decision at just 21 years old without understanding the full implications of her actions.

Years later, despite withdrawing consent, her videos are still available online for people to view and download.

It is a form of sexual violation in many ways. 

Many of us have made impulsive decisions without understanding the full implications but not all of us have had to pay a price so high.

Mia Khalifa still faces backlash today.

She was disowned by her family and forced to move out because her address was posted on the internet. She is still labeled a pornstar, despite pursuing her passions within sports and app development industries.

Consent often becomes blurry in any form of sex work.

All the while, she’s done so while admitting that she feels responsible for the decisions she made at 21.

Decisions, mind you, made under intimidating and manipulative circumstances.

Should she not be given some leeway?

Granted, it is unlikely that Mia Khalifa’s videos will be entirely removed from the internet.

Nevertheless, her story has initiated an important conversation about corruption in the adult film industry and the implications for women that have been a part of the industry.

The companies need to be held accountable so that they can rectify their mistakes. At the very least, users can exercise their right to consumption, by switching to alternatives that are ethical and friendly to sex workers. 

Some alternative websites include: 

Based on Mia Khalifa’s account alone, we know that companies continue to propagate videos acquired through contracts acquired using force and manipulation.

The companies need to be held accountable so that they can rectify their mistakes.

It is also impossible to entirely wipe off the videos from the internet because they have already been downloaded and duplicated.

Nonetheless, it is important that these companies are held accountable.

Without that, we continue to fail future young adult actors — and remain complicit in the silencing and intimidation of former stars like Mia Khalifa

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Ayesha Mirza

By Ayesha Mirza

Editorial Fellow

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