Tackling Misconceptions Pt II: Erika Lust and Hello Rooster

On September 3rd at 6pm EST, we hosted an Instagram Live conversation with Hello Rooster on our page @honeyplaybox. Here's the link to learn more about their work in activism and the ethical porn industry. 

Recently, we wrote an article regarding Erika Lust and a new film of hers. Lust has been recognized worldwide for her (seemingly) feminist and ethical erotic videos, which is exactly what we aim to promote at Honey Play Box.

Shortly after publishing the article however, it was brought to our attention that Lust has credible sexual assault allegations against her. These allegations come from a former performer named Hello Rooster, whose pronouns are they/them. 

At the time of writing the article, I was unaware of this situation. Having learned of the sexual assault allegations, the article has now been removed, as we do not want to promote her work any longer. We are also working on ways in which our team can support survivors effectively and will more thoroughly research the individuals that we highlight on our blog.

As a brand, and as individuals, we fully support Rooster as well as the #MeToo movement, and we want Honey Play Box to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for all.

Having said that, and after reading and researching, we’ve compiled a timeline of the accusations that are being made against Lust. This is an attempt for us to understand and to educate those who may not know about the situation.

  • Rooster, then 26 years old, was invited to do a scene for Lust in April 2017. This scene was guest directed by Olympe de G, and was a part of the film entitled, Don’t Call Me a Dick
  • Rooster accepted the invitation on the grounds that they could talk with their co-stars and crew about sexual boundaries, consent, and triggers beforehand. 
  • On the day of the shoot, Rooster alleges that they were not given any time to have this discussion, and that this request was dismissed and treated as insignificant. 
  • Olympe de G however, alleges that Rooster was given time for this discussion weeks in advance, and was given a storyboard of the expected shots ahead of time. She too claims that there was “plenty of time on the day of the shoot” for a discussion, and that Rooster did not request any time or engage in any conversation.
  • Rooster shared later that they did the scene feeling dissociated, which prompted them to bring their concerns to the director and Erika Lust Films. The director, one year later, publicly denies all claims being made against her.
  • In spring of 2018, Erika Lust, with the help of Rooster and others, created a document entitled, Guest Director’s Guide to Working with Performers in hopes of avoiding situations like this in the future.
  • Later that year, Rooster’s allegations were said to have changed from boundary violations to unethical work practice and an abuse of power on the set of Don’t Call Me a Dick. Two months later, more allegations were made by Rooster, saying that they were sexually assaulted on-set.
  • In 2019, Lust pledges to no longer work with Olympe, and a dialogue is attempted with Rooster after an apology is issued. Rooster’s lawyer reaches out to Lust in order to have an out-of-court settlement, which includes an apology and a large economic settlement. Lust declines.
  • Later that year, Rooster publishes a blog on their website which says that they were raped by Olympe while shooting a video entitled, Architecture Porn, filmed two years prior to Don’t Call Me a Dick. Rooster too alleges that Olympe had initiated practicing the scenes together before filming which, at the time, Rooster thought to be standard practice in the industry (it is not).
  • Rooster then publishes a note on their blog stating their sexual boundaries and further explaining what happened on-set. 
  • Erika responds by removing the video, Architecture Porn, yet states that the performer's sexual boundaries are “always different for different film sets, especially depending on who the performer is performing with.” Erika also reveals that Rooster and Olympe were allegedly in a relationship at the time of filming Architecture Porn, and the boundaries that Rooster set for Don’t Call Me a Dick were not given for the film, Architecture Porn.
  • As of today, there is yet to be a legal resolution between Rooster and Lust.

Rooster commented on their experience and allegations by saying:

“Despite practicing, training and rehearsing for the scene—already a violation of protocol—and despite clarifying my sexual boundaries on the day of the shoot, my scene partner violated my consent and the boundaries, sexually assaulting me in the process of shooting ‘ethical porn.’ Now, I can still access and view my boundary violations and rape, as can any other viewers of the film, by searching for Erika Lust Films online. This is an aspect of sexual assault on set that is particular to porn production: performers can re-experience their assaults time and again, on any screen. My sexual assault is being advertised and sold for profit as ‘ethical porn.’”

Despite the lack of legal resolution, we will always support survivors. We aim to continue to educate ourselves and we appreciate your feedback and honest opinion on topics that affect and matter to you, be it positive or negative.