Japanese Porn Actress Able to Get Out of Contract Requiring Her to Film Sex Scenes

In what's being hailed as the first legal case of its kind, a Tokyo District Court has reportedly ruled in favor of a porn actress who refused contractual duties to film sex scenes.

According to The Japan Times, the anonymous actress was facing ¥24 million (about $200,000) in alleged damages for a contract breach, but Judge Katsuya Hara ruled that shooting a porn film "must not be conducted against [actors'] will.”

As a result, the woman was able to legally terminate her contract.

The issue of forcing a porn actress to perform sex under a contract raises obviously delicate issues. It's also not a topic that's restricted to the adult industry in Japan. In fact, a California appeals court could be primed to address a similar controversy in the United States.

In December 2012, Anne Greene sued Time Warner and production company True Crime claiming that she was bullied into performing nude scenes, sexually harassed and placed in a dangerous work environment for the Cinemax series Femme Fatales. That prompted counterclaims against Greene, alleging $85,000 in damages for the disruption caused by her objection to doing lovemaking scenes and fitting her with "pasties."

In response, Greene brought a motion to strike the counterclaims as retaliatory, but a judge ruled last October that True Crime "has provided ample evidence that it will prevail," referencing the videos and scripts the actress got when agreeing to perform under contract.

Before a trial happens, Greene has been allowed to get a second opinion from a state appeals court. She recently delivered her first written brief with True Crime scheduled to respond soon.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo District Court's ruling to allow the porn actress to cancel her contract may come with some fallout. For example, if allowed to rescind contracts, do porn actresses also regain the right to enjoin distribution of past performances? Does it undermine contracts in the entertainment industry with "nudity clauses"? Does the hard-to-control nature of digital distribution trump regained rights? In the Japanese case, the plaintiff (who was reportedly forced to perform as a minor) nods to this latter aspect. In a statement, she said, "Even though the trial is over, there are challenges mounting ahead. Once distributed all over the Internet, the films I appeared in are now hardly ‘deletable,’ no matter how desperately I want to forget about them."

There will likely be future cases to come. Just in Japan, a representative of the People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence reports 93 cases since 2012 of porn actresses and actors desperate to quit the industry.

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