November 29, 2017 | The Biz
Over the weekend, the GayVN Awards released its list of the nominees for the upcoming 2018 ceremony. However, the fact that it created a separate category for “Best Ethnic Scene” did not sit well with some.
Porn star Hugh Hunter
was so upset that he declined his three nominations. He accused the awards of marginalizing porn models of color by not only relegating them to their own category, but then not including any of them in any of the other major categories.
“The gay porn industry has always been a place of veiled racism and bigotry," he wrote
. "It now appears as if the GayVN Awards have chosen to make this racism and bigotry more blatant in their return to the awards arena. As I browsed through the GayVN award nomination categories and its endless list of nominees I noticed a category which immediately struck my sensibilities as wrong and, quite frankly, turned my stomach.”
Hunter said it was wrong to segregate “black, Latin, and Asian” actors to one category.
“Why? Why were these scenes not just included in the best scene category? 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? Why would they call it ethnic? Who uses the term ethnic?”
The powers that be at the GayVNs have responded by eliminating the “Best Ethnic Scene” category and merging all the nominees into the “Best Duo Scene” category. Yep, that means a whopping 29 scenes are up for a single award.
The GayVN Awards released the following statement:
The team at AVN offers a heartfelt, unequivocal apology to anyone who felt that the category of Best Ethnic Scene was an attempt to slight performers of color. It truly pains us to have offended any member of our community….
… to involve as many companies and performers as possible by including more categories and therefore more winners, the decision was made to add categories that recognize content aimed at certain consumer groups—hence, for example, Best Fetish Scene and Best Bear Scene. Though some nominees are produced by “mainstream” gay adult companies, these categories provide a platform for smaller producers to receive more attention.
In the same spirit, the Best Ethnic Scene category was added to recognize producers who work largely with performers of particular ethnic backgrounds. These producers cater to their own group of consumers and are a key component of the gay adult industry, and we hoped to ensure they were well represented in the 2018 nominations. The addition of this category was never intended to restrict performers of any non-European ethnic background from competing fully in ANY other category, whether in the judged categories or the Fan Award categories.
Kudos to Hunter for speaking out, and to the GayVNs for acknowledging their misstep.