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Veronica Hart has been in the adult film industry for nearly four decades. She started as an actress and has since become a director, producer, and even a caterer for porn sets. Although porn was once a way to pay the rent, Hart kept with it because, she tells us, she sincerely likes the people with whom she works. Still, as a woman, mother, and wife, Hart feels some responsibility for the product she helps put out into the world. We asked Hart about what working in the porn industry is really like, how one can be an ethical porn maker (and watcher), and what, if anything, consumers can do to be more cautious about the way we support pornography.

Being a Woman in Porn
There are some women who have fantasies about being abducted, about being raped, about being forced to do something. There are a lot of women who don't want to take responsibility for their own sexuality. It's easier to say, "Oh, he made me come" rather than, "I chose to come." Now, in real life, really being forced to do stuff is in no way exciting. These questions have been going on as long as we've been depicting sexuality and depicting pornography. How do you do it? As a responsible female, I'm thinking of Candida Royale, right now, my pal who just passed away. She thought that there wasn't enough female input, as far as female voice, in the whole erotic world. So she made it a point.


Fantasies and Social Responsibility
As a filmmaker, I always try to make things that are socially responsible but also to try to address the fantasies that we, as women, have. In my movie, Taken, she is abducted in it and ends up falling in love with her abductor. If you take that scene out of context, it's horrible. If you watch the movie as a whole, you find out that her husband's completely neglecting her and that she just kind of snoozes off and this is her whole little fantasy about somebody who is so attentive to detail, so fixated on her, who's so focused on her. It becomes a whole different story. You have to look at it as a whole, you can't just take a piece out of it. It doesn't work that way.

Why Men Are the Target Audience
Men are targeted to body parts. They are — pardon me for being so crass, but — they are breast men. They are ass men. They are leg men. They are lip men. They're very focused on aspects of a person's body, which makes it fairly easy to make something for them. But women? Oh my god. Who knows what gets them off? Every one of us is different. Every one of us gets off on something different. I had a woman come up to me and she says, "Yeah I like pornography, but there was one scene... I was really getting into it and then they panned down and they showed those damn gold porno high heels." And it just took her out of the moment. It just turned her off the whole scene. It's a much harder audience to appeal to.

Finding Female-Friendly Porn
I don't know of a website or a place to point women to, but there are people out there who are very concerned with that. If you do anything with Adam and Eve, for their movies to pass, they have to go through two talking heads, and those talking heads are psychologists [or therapists]. It's not dependent on whether it's female-made or male-made. That really doesn't have anything to do with it. I'm sure there are a lot of women who make atrocious material, and there's a lot of men who make some very sensitive stuff.

If you go to a sex blog and the stuff that they're talking about just repels you, obviously, you're not going to want to see what they're advocating. Good Vibrations is the most female-friendly place that I can ever say. They have fabulous recommendations for thoughtful — thought-provoking, at times — but serious porn. They do an excellent job at revealing and giving you a good heads up.

The Treatment of Actors
We've tried to unionize and we've tried to come together, and it's like herding kittens. There's no quality control as to who treats people well and who doesn't. I guess you'd have to listen to performers' blogs or their Twitters or something and hear who they liked working with and who they didn't. I used to work for a director who was so nice. He was such a lovely, lovely person, and the product he turned out was just as hardcore and as crass as it could be. I stopped producing for him because what I stood for wasn't the product he was turning out. On the other hand, I've had a woman who I worked with for years, turned out a gorgeous, beautiful, lovely product, and I don't work for her anymore. I didn't like the way she treated the crew. All sorts of people make pornography. All sorts of people make regular movies. Great people make it, wonderful, caring people and just assholes do too. We represent everybody.

The Problems with Paying for Porn
Actors get paid what they get paid, and then the people decide how they want to [make money from it]. They can make free stuff because they've got sponsors or they've got ads being paid for. Or it lures you into a site where it can get you to join or something like that. It's not a trickle-down theory, that if you pay for it, the actors will be treated better or get more money. Actors don't get any money except the money they get paid on that day. There's no residuals, there's no royalties. Very few people have ever been able to negotiate that. Most average porn workers get paid for the day they were there, and that's all they get. But they can get a name, they can get a following.