We’re Calling You In Ashley

How @SXNoir got Ashley Judd to start listening to consensual sex workers

By Erin McKeon @ErinBeingHerself


The Wing, a members-only work and community space for women, hosted a conversation with actress and activist Ashley Judd last week. Ashley Judd has gotten backlash recently for her comments on Twitter and Instagram calling prostitution “paid rape” and other SWERF (sex-work-exclusionary-radical-feminist) ideations like “cash is proof of coercion”. Judd works with the organization Demand Abolition whose goal is to eradicate the commercial sex trade.

Support of eradicating the sex-trade tends to focus on ending human trafficking but ignores the nuanced voices of women working in the consensual sex industry. With the passing of FOSTA-SESTA, (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) websites like Backpage, Craigslist, and Tumblr have started to crack down on adult content. Many consensual sex workers use these sites for advertising, and for vetting new clients. To completely ban, or to “shadow-ban” - where your page no longer comes up in searches, is to deny consensual sex workers a chance to choose clients online, pushing more women into the street where there are less safety precautions available. It further marginalizes an already high-risk group of women, mostly women of color.


Frustrated by Ashley Judd’s tendency to block women on social media who @ her about her support of Demand Abolition, Brooke Kelty and founder of @SXNOIR organized a protest of Judd’s event at The Wing. @SXNOIR got the mic during the Q&A and told Ashley Judd, “I’m not here to call you out, I’m here to call you in” and invited Ashley and The Wing a chance to facilitate conversations between high-profile feminists like Ashley Judd and consensual sex workers. Outside a group of consensual sex workers gathered with signs with “Don’t Be A SWERF” and printed out tweets from sex workers that Ashley Judd blocked.  We also continued the conversation in digital spaces with the #MoreThanOurOrifices #CashIsNotCoercion. Our goal is to hold organizations accountable that claim to be “All Inclusive” that they also include Sex Workers. @SXNOIR is ALL about a Sex-Positive lifestyle and that absolutely means the active inclusion of Sex Workers. Organizations like The Wing have to understand that to be inclusive it is not enough to just be open, rather you have to be actively working on making sure that Sex Workers are apart of relevant conversations as well as comfortable in the space. The next says the founder of @SXNOIR El-Hi attended an event at The Wing and was harassed by a member in regards to the protest. Claiming that she disrespected the “sacred” space of The Wing. In reality, this just brings to light the true work of inclusion that is needed in privileged member only spaces like The Wing.

Although the conversation was cut short due to the constraints of the event, Ashley Judd and The Wing have both expressed that they want to continue working with @SXNOIR to create a more inclusive dialogue about sex work and sex positivity as a whole. Watch this space for coming soon.

Watch the conversation and protest here: