‘It’s because there’s no consent — that’s what the problem is’

Last week, a scandal errupted after a male Twitch streamer known as Atrioc (Brandon Ewing) was caught watching AI-generated deepfake porn of two female Twitch streamers. The two streamers were understandably upset, with one of the women, Pokimane, tweeting, “Stop sexualising people without their consent. That’s it, that’s the tweet.”

The controversy lead people to the site selling the deepfakes, and AI-generated porn of other female Twitch streamers was also discovered. One woman, Sweet Anita, tweeted: “I literally choose to pass up millions by not going into sex work and some random cheeto encrusted porn addict solicits my body without my consent instead… Don’t know whether to cry, break stuff or laugh at this point.”

QTCinderella — another streamer who discovered deepfake porn of her was being sold on the site — appeared most distraught, streaming a reaction video where she says, through tears:

“Fuck the internet, fuck the constant exploitation and objectification of women — it’s exhausting… Fuck Atrioc for showing it to thousands of people. Fuck the people DMing me pictures of myself from that website. Fuck you all.

… This is what it looks like to feel violated. This is what it feels like to be taken advantage of, this is what it looks like to see yourself naked against your will being spread all over the internet.

… If you are not able to look at women who are not selling themselves, or benefitting off of being seen sexually — they’re not benefitting, they’re not selling it, they’re not platforming it themselves — if you are able to look at that, you are the problem. You see women as an object. You should not be ok doing that.”

Atrioc posted a tearful apology, explaining that this is not a “pattern of behaviour” and that “it was just one video.” It was at 2AM, he explained. His wife was out of town, and he was on Pornhub — “a regular-ass, normal website” — when he clicked on an ad that “was on every fucking video” for a “deepfake thing.” Atrioc was deeply upset with himself, as a man who “wants women on Twitch to feel safer,” insisting his behaviour was “disgusting,” adding, “I don’t support this stuff… I regret it, I would never do it again as long as I live.”

It’s clear why deepfake porn is disturbing — imagine discovering images of yourself engaged in degrading, humiliating, graphic acts, being viewed by thousands online, and you didn’t even do those things. You have no control over these images, you can’t take them down, and not only that, but some creep is making money off of this. It would be incredibly disorienting. Certainly it would feel like a violation. I get it. Probably most women get it.

Yet, the responses have been strange.

There are complaints about “objectification,” but tied only to lack of consent, and the fact that the women are not being compensated or “benefitting” from the porn.

In a podcast conversation including QTCinderella, Hasan Piker, one of Twitch’s most-watched streamers, Will Neff, and Mike Majlak, they discuss what happened, and hear QTCinderella explain how badly it impacted her, psychologically. The men engage in a 20 minute long discussion of porn and prostitution, which they view as innocuous, while condemning “objectification” and nonconsensual deepfakes as terrible.

Piker tells a story about having visited a megabrothel in Germany called Artemis, complaining that the internet has never let him forget that it was raided in 2016 on account of rampant exploitation and trafficking. He claims it was in fact raided on account of tax evasion, but this charge is connected to the exploitative structure of the brothel. Artemis designated the women working in the brothel as “self-employed,” though they were in fact “regular employees with set work hours, price rates and instructions to perform specific sexual acts.” Many lived in the brothel. Anywhere where there is prostitution there is trafficking and exploitation, and this is applicable to all of these German megabrothels. Indeed, a flat-rate brothel chain called “Pussy Club,” which saw 1,700 men lined up to get in on its opening day in 2009, was shut down a year later for human trafficking. Michael Beretin, manager of the famous Paradise brothel chain, was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of human trafficking, forced prostitution, and fraud.

Despite leftists claiming legalization will “keep women safe,” the truth is that this only creates more prostitution, which means more trafficking, more abuse, and more exploitation. Someone has to fill the brothels after all, and there simply are not enough women who volunteer. The women in the famous legal brothels of Germany are full of Roma women, trafficked from across Europe to fill demand. The Roma are among the poorest, most marginalized, most discriminated against, and most vulnerable women in all of Europe. They are, according to reports, “treated like animals.” In 2019, The Guardian reported that “the huge growth of the sex industry post-legalization has fuelled a rising demand for women.” Augsburg’s chief police inspector, Helmut Sporer, estimated that more than 90% of the women working in Germany’s sex trade come from south-east Europe and Africa, and that half are under 21. Any man who goes to one of these brothels is participating in exploitation and supporting the trafficking of women.

Piker, who has, according to Neff, “fucked a lot of porn stars,” continues to insist his fanaticism for the sex trade equates to “defending sex workers,” chalking criticisms up to the fact “America is very puritanical and patriarchal.”

When asked if he had ever paid for sex, Piker said, “I’ve gone to a brothel, Artemis, in Berlin, and had sex with the workers there. I don’t hide it. I don’t give a shit. Why would I?”

Sex work is work, after all. No shame, no stigma.

Thanks to the progressive push to normalize and “destigmatize” prostitution and pornography (rebranded “sex work”), men not only need feel no shame about paying women for sex, they can feel proud. They are helping these women. They are fighting the patriarchy!

In truth, the left has simply decided that payment equates to consent. They don’t ask questions about what got that woman there to that brothel or onto that porn set, who the money is going to, how she feels about the things men do to her in exchange for payment, and how that might impact her down the road. A clean conscience is what they desire, not ethics. Reality is replaced by cult-like mantras like, “sex work is work” and critical thought-ending statements about “consent.” Modern leftist clownworld ideology has gifted men who use porn or buy sex with the ability to see themselves as feminist heros, uplifting and empowering women every time they cum.

The entire conversation among Piker, Neff, and Majlak conveniently lacks any deeper thought about their platitudes. “Consent” allowed for a self-congratulatory circle-jerk, with a few first year gender studies jabs at “patriachies” and “puritans” thrown in, in exchange for reflection and genuine analysis.

Neff seemed baffled at his realization that once he met porn stars in real life, and engaged with them as regular human beings, he could no longer “jerk off” to them.

The obvious conclusion to anyone willing and able to make such connections is that pornography is about objectification, regardless of “consent” — the entire point is to treat and view the women in porn not as full human beings who have complicated and unsexy things like families, feelings, interests, and desires of their own, but as living sex dolls. Were these women actual full human beings to the men watching (women who would, in reality, may be very unlikeable, annoying, troubled, or insane, or who actually have sexual preferences outside being choked with a dick), it would break the fantasy.

Objectification has nothing to do with consent, it has to do with how the viewer sees (and consequently treats) the object. And, to be clear, this is not about “finding women attractive.” Of course men find women attractive. Which is great. But there’s a reason you don’t want to see your girlfriend or your sister getting gangbanged in “Step-dad and uncle fuck teen babysitter.” The women you know and love are human to you, and, alas, you care about their feelings and wellbeing, and want them to be treated with respect.

Majlak, who dated Lana Rhoades, Pornhub’s most-searched-for porn star (even after having left the industry after just eight months, saying porn should be banned), complained to his co-hosts that “PTA mom-esque” types online were picking on him for promoting porn stars in his content.

Piker helpfully defends Majlak, telling him, “Anti-sex work sentiment has always existed, it’s just you’re humanizing adult workers.” as if anyone has a problem with “humanizing” these women aside from men who jack off to them in porn. The problem isn’t that Majlak is “humanizing” women in porn, it’s that he’s promoting an industry that abuses and exploits women, and selling an idea of the porn industry as a fun and cool place for women. (Notably, to an audience largely made up of teenagers.)

He of all people should know better.

Rhoades went into porn at 19, having no idea what she was getting into, thinking she was following in the footsteps of the “glamorous and beautiful” Playmates she watched on The Girls Next Door. She didn’t know she was going to have to engage in sex acts at all, never mind with a string of strange men, pushed into scenes that would leave her traumatized (but that the white knights of Twitch would surely call “consensual”).

Rhoades explains, as numerous others have, that the entire industry and career of a porn star is based on pressure and coercion. In a 2021 interview, she tells Playboy:

“You could get into the industry and say, I would never do a gang bang and I would never do this. You know that getting into it. But [agents] say things to you over time to sort of—what would the word be?—groom you into doing more… They’ll say things like, ‘Oh, all the good sluts do this. That’s how people are going to love you. If you do this, you have to do this and that.’ You don’t want to let anyone down, so you end up doing it over time.”

Rhoades came from a traumatic background, and was further traumatized in porn, used, abused, and spat out, left with money, sure, but also panic attacks, anxiety, and zero sexual desire. After leaving the industry, she famously told the truth women in the industry are meant to hide, saying, “I don’t think it’s good for anybody. They should make it illegal.” She described feeling like she was performing “circus acts” and that the industry was “infested with drugs and alcohol abuse.”

Consent is a joke for the young women being coerced and bullied into doing evermore extreme stuff, moving out of their comfort zones before they even have a chance to process what’s happening, pressured to continue with scenes that are painful, violent, and/or traumatic, under threat of not getting paid, losing future jobs, and causing everyone on set to lose a day’s work if she can’t or won’t complete the scene. “Consent” truly flies out the window afterwards, as those videos and images remain online for eternity, regardless of whether she wants them there or not.

Rhoades called pornography “a life sentence,” saying, “I can’t hide from it and everywhere I go there’s someone who’s seen my films.”

While the woke men and women of Twitch offer condemnations and tearful apologies over AI deepfake porn, the real bodies of women whose lives have been destroyed by the sex industry are ignored on account of an analysis that ends with “consent.”

It has been interesting (and frustrating) watching the emotional and dramatic reactions to this scandal, as my view is that, while AI deepfake porn is indeed morally repungnant and signals a disturbing new frontier in porn culture, “regular porn” is worse. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of women and girls who are being abused, exploited, and traumatized, for profit, across the world, for the temporary pleasure of men who don’t give one single shit what happens to those women and girls after they cum.

There is nothing redeeming about this industry. It doesn’t matter who “chooses” or “consents” to what, because this isn’t just about either the individual watching or even the individual being watched. This is about a multi-billion industry that exists because women and girls are pushed past their limits, manipulated, taken advantage of, exploited, abused, and forced. It impacts all girls and women everywhere, as well as men, and their relationships with the women and girls around them.

QtCinderella herself seems to know this, having complained about “hot tub streams” that began appearing on Twitch back in 2021, explaining that when women on the platform are sharing sexualized, porny videos of themselves, it puts pressure on other female streamers to do the same:

“I’m sick of being harassed and being told to get naked in a hot tub because it’s late at night [and] when I’m just chatting, I’m surrounded by other girls in hot tubs so it’s expected of me to be in a hot tub. It’s exhausting. I just want to wear a hoodie and watch a YouTube video.”

This isn’t about just you, or even about just her. Porn is such a massive industry, and so massively normalized, consumed by countless people around the world, so deeply incorporated with everything we see and do — online, in ads, in pop culture, all over Instagram and Twitter — it’s wholly unavoidable. Kids today start looking at porn as early as 11, shaping their sexualities before they even know what sexuality is. Men expect their female partners to participate in the fantasies and acts they’ve seen played out on screen. Young women perform for men based on what they think those men want — based on what they’ve seen in porn, ignoring their own desires, pleasure, and emotional/psychological wellbeing. Men like Piker and his fellow pontificators like to claim only those who grew up in “puritanical and patriarchal” households objectify women, while they promote an industry that exists to profit from the objectification of women, growing their followings and profits in doing so.

Piker summarizes the entire analysis offered by the woke, telling QT Cinderella, “It’s because there’s no consent —  you didn’t consent, it’s completely outside of your control, and that’s what the problem is, right?” But that’s not the whole problem. The problem is porn, and that men have been groomed by porn to believe any woman is up for grabs — we can and should all be pornifiable, hence the deepfakes. And none of this will be addressed so long “consent” is allowed to end the conversation.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.