With love and solidarity with the Kink.Com cam models, I am reposting this open letter.
I was a cam model with Kink.Com back when they first started the cams back when they literally chained us to the bed. The models at KinkLive have to be on set 1 hour prior to their show time and they are expected to act as ambassadors of the Kink.Com brand when they are on camera. The models do NOT have control of the ban button and have to request that an abusive chat member be put on a time out or banned from the room. The discretion is left to the model handlers. The models will be expected to engage in high level BDSM activity during chat. This includes (but not limited to) electricity, corporal punishment, hot wax, intense clamps, bondage, and more.
Web camming does not have a guaranteed rate but the models are working from home, in charge of their own BAN button, likely to receive a better % show cut payout, and set their own hours. The Kink.Com Live cams now require that a model be UNCOMPENSATED for her early arrival, must remain for the entirety of the show, must act as an enthusiastic brand ambassador at all times while their live image is broadcasted freely on the website UNCOMPENSATED, and be prepared for a member base that expects a higher level of pain and intense activity than other web cam websites.
Support Kink.Com LIVE models. Tell Kink.Com what you think on their forums (free registration) or email them. Let Kink.Com know that good faith bargaining, professional workplaces, and fair rates are important for your pornography viewing. Here’s a note from Maxine Holloway:
This past month a severe pay cut was given to the women who work at KinkLive.com. They needed to save money and they did it by taking it from the models. Instead of staying quiet and taking what they were willing to give us for our work – we united, stood up for ourselves and are taking action to get what we deserve.
During this process I was let go from the KinkLive department.
If you care about worker’s rights, specifically sex worker’s rights, please repost this letter far and wide.
* * * * * * *
Kink Live Models
1800 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
May 16, 2012
Peter Acworth, Founder/CEO
Jessie Lee, VP Talent
John Sander, VP Marketing
Melinda Perales, VP Human Resources
Tim Lewis, VP Head of Production
Sheila Gunn, Kink Live
1800 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Dear Mr. Peter Acworth and kink.com executives,
This is a letter from the models who work regularly at the KinkLive.com website. SWOP (Sex Worker’s Outreach Project) is sending this letter on our behalf. There have been some very recent policy alterations within the KL department that are having dramatic negative effects on the models and the department as a whole.
These changes came very abruptly and seem to conflict with the Kink.com Values Statement, Business Practices and Treatment of Models Policy, which seems to be alive and thriving in other departments in the company. We have all been very proud to work for a BDSM company that so explicitly states the rights of models. These are a few lines from the Kink.com Values & Business Practices that we feel have been disregarded within the KL Department:
-We operate with honesty and integrity.
-We treat one another with professionalism and respect.
-We encourage candid, direct feedback.
-Models are given explicit rights.
-Directors are given explicit rules.
-Models are well paid and treated as professionals.
-Kink.com has an unusually low turnover of employees.
-Kink.com has a reputation in the adult entertainment industry for respectful and fair treatment of models.
As KinkLive models, we work to uphold these values and trust that our company does as well. The recent changes have shaken that trust.
The changes occurring in the KinkLive department include withdrawing our flat rate and instilling a commission-only earning system, which makes our pay-out percentage rate much lower than other competitive cam sites. This is particularly alarming because we are expected to do so much more with our bodies than models on other sites: bondage, electricity, implements, fucking machines, pain endurance, humiliation, domination, etc. Plus we act as live advertising and website “tour guides” when people are browsing the Kink.com site to possibly purchase a membership or shoot.
Under the new payment system many models will no longer be able to earn a living wage working for KinkLive. We love our job and do not want to be forced into leaving the company to seek gainful employment elsewhere. Although many of us shoot content for various Kink sites, as well as other porn companies, KinkLive provides steady, consistent work that keeps many of us afloat. We would regret losing the opportunity to have an interesting and challenging job that forms the backbone of our income. We also do not wish to jeopardize our ability to shoot content for other Kink sites; it is KinkLive that we are taking issue with, not Kink.com as a whole.
Furthermore, we are frustrated by the lack of transparency surrounding the change in policy. There was not an official announcement from KinkLive to its models about the new rates until May 7th, well after certain models had already had their wages altered by the new system. Some models were only informed through other models with no information coming from staff at all. Various models were given contradictory information regarding the new payments, making it difficult for us to determine exactly what our wages are.
The email sent to us on May 7th states, “The new pay structure is effective for most models on June 1, 2012”. Not only were we informed of the change less than a month before the date it becomes effective, we also are not being told which models are included in “most models”, or what is happening to those of us not included in this oblique majority. We understand that KL is going through “growing-pains” but the way this was handled came off as very unprofessional and disrespectful.
Since this department has been “operating at a loss for two years” (from the email just sent from KL on 5/7/12) it seems that some advance warning would have been a great way to demonstrate the fact that “Kink.com has a reputation in the adult entertainment industry for respectful and fair treatment of models.” Now we are left with dozens of women who have had their monthly income severely or completely cut without any notice. Honesty and integrity about this issue could have prepared us to make financial changes in advance of the new policies. Prior communication would also have fostered cooperation with us to assist in promotion, increase in revenue for the KinkLive department and prepared us for this change in policy.
Another new development at KL is the restructuring of the rules for public chat to allow more explicit acts in the free chatroom. These new guidelines originally were not laid out for the models, or even mentioned by the staff to the group as a whole with any clarity. Word of this spread by mouth and even by Kink.com members. Whether or not this is a positive change, we as models need to be told clearly what alterations are being made to our shows.
In closing: We, the undersigned models of KinkLive.com, are not satisfied with the new payment system and the ways in which the company has brought it to our attention. We ask to move forward on one of the following options:
1. KinkLive will reinstate the former payment system of a minimum payment per cam show for all models.
2. KinkLive and the models of the site will negotiate a commission-based percentage payment system that will make working for KinkLive viable for all models while making KinkLive a profitable department.
Regardless of the outcome of this situation, we wish to be kept informed of decisions pertaining to our jobs and to be treated with professionalism and respect.
Thank you, Mr. Acworth, for taking the time to hear our grievances.
We designate a SWOP representative and contact person for this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Kink Live Models
*Specific names have been left off of this letter for fear of losing current and future employment with kink.com