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Gay Porn Awards Remove Racist Category After Performer Refuses Nomination

"The gay porn industry has always been a place of veiled racism and bigotry."

Over the weekend, porn actor Hugh Hunter declined several GayVN awards nominations, citing systemic racism in the adult-film industry and the addition of a segregated “Best Ethnic Scene” category for performers of color.

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“Why were these scenes not just included in the best scene category?” Hunter asked in a statement tweeted out Saturday. “Why would a gay porn company choose to separate minority groups into their own race at an event that is supposed to celebrate the gay industry in its entirety? Why would this category be created in 2017 when the political climate is so thick with racial divide in this country?”

Launched in 1998, the GayVN Awards are an offshoot of the hetero-focused AVN awards, established by the adult-industry magazine Adult Video News. Racial issues have plagued porn since the beginning—from limited opportunities for minority performers to stereotypical and degrading storylines when they are cast. At the 2018 GayVNs, for example, only three of the 15 men nominated in the Performer of the Year category are non-white.)

Hunter called on fans to boycott the GayVNs and members of the adult entertainment world “to stand up against the systemic racism and bigotry in this industry.”

“I want to be remembered for stepping forward and starting a movement to eventually end racism and bigotry in this beleaguered industry,” he continued. “For so many we are the educators of sexuality. Let’s be the best educators we can be.”

In response to the controversy, AVN has merged the Best Ethnic Scene with Best Duo, meaning any performer nominated for both is still in the running.

In a statement, AVN said its goal was to give recognition to smaller studios that cater to specific tastes, similar to its “Best Bear Scene” and “Best Fetish Scene” categories.

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“This category was never intended to restrict performers of any non-European ethnic background from competing fully in ANY other category,” it added, “whether in the judged categories or the Fan Award categories.”

The organization offered a “heartfelt, unequivocal apology to anyone who felt that the category of Best Ethnic Scene was an attempt to slight performers of color” and invited members of the gay adult community to offer “a comprehensive critique.”

The GayVN Awards will be held January 21, 2018, in Las Vegas.

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