Guests at porn awards accuse Hard Rock Hotel security of transphobic bathroom incident

A porn awards show is the last place you’d expect to find security guards kicking people out for wearing the wrong clothes. After all the Adult Video News (AVN) Awardswhich took place at Hard Rock Hotel last week in Las Vegas and are known as the Oscars of porntend to draw some pretty revealing and outrageous costumes.

But on Tuesday, adult film actress Lorelei Lee told the Daily Dot that she and two friends were kicked out of theAVNs by Hard Rock securityafter guards followed all three people into a bathroom and started harassing Lee’s gender non-conforming friend (who asked to remain unnamed).

“I was about to go in a stall when I saw a security guard walk in and stand on tiptoes to look over the door of the stall my friend was in,” Lee told the Daily Dot via email Tuesday. “I was shocked, and walked over to try to block the guard from violating my friend’s privacy. I asked the guard, who was cis male, what he was doing. The guard said something like ‘They don’t belong in here,’ referring to my friend.”

At that point, Lee said, another porn performer named Maitresse Madeline came to her defense and also tried to block the security guards from peeping. More guards entered the restroom, claiming that other women were feeling unsafe with the gender non-conforming person using the bathroomwhich Lee said was not the case.

“The only person whose safety was threatened was our friend,” said Lee. “At that point they came out of the stall and we all walked out. The security guards followed us out saying we had to leave the awards show. Honestly, we were so upset, we could not have stayed at that point.”

Lee stated that she thought the security guards were following Hard Rock Hotel protocol, not that of the AVN Awards, where “many of us who the world looks down on are actually celebrated.” But she also added that at past AVN ceremonies, she has heard transgender and gender non-conforming attendees complain that they didn’t feel comfortable using the bathrooms because of security guards posted either at the entrances or inside.

The Daily Dot reached out to Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos for comment, and learned that Hard Rock’s Vegas location is operated by a franchisee calledBref HR. A request for comment to the hotel’s marketing director did not receive an immediate response.

Trans porn star Mia Isabellabacked up Lee’s account, saying the bathroom was full of trans women at the time of the incident but none were approached by the security guards.

“Funny thing about it all is that I was in the bathroom with at least seven of the industry’s top recognizable trans performers and nobody batted an eyelash at us,” Isabella told the Daily Dot via email Tuesday.

Isabella said she came out of another stall and saw Lee “wide-eyed in tears” with a male security guard standing before her: “She said they were trying to get to her trans friend, asking them to reveal their genitalia as she stood guard not allowing them access.”

For Isabella, who said she chastised the guard and left the bathroom “before realizing the magnitude of what was going on,” the incident was an example of a human rights violation that many trans people endure on a daily basis.

“A trans person… is clearly already dealing with a level of discomfort on their own by trying to, simply and discreetly, do something as innocent as use the restroom like everyone else,” said Isabella. “Think about it, do you ever have to second guess yourself with such a mundane task?”

Both Lee, Madeline, and Isabella all tweeted about the incident. In response, many other members of the porn community joined the online conversation.

The incident occurred around the time that emerging star Venus Lux was being awarded “Transsexual performer of the year.” The Daily Dot profiled Venus Lux at the 2015 Adult Entertainment Expo, porn’s largest fan event, where she said she was rejected from booths run by porn production companies despite being nominated for two AVNs.

In years past, trans porn stars weren’t allowed to walk the red carpet or present awards onstage at AVN. In 2012, a group of trans porn performers held a meeting with AVN to air grievancesand the awards show committee responded by adjusting its guidelines. In a press release after the meeting, the AVN committee declared its commitment to making the awards show more trans-inclusive.

AVN has long recognized the transsexual niche as an important and lucrative market segment and if there was more to be done to support the community, we wanted to hear directly from the performers how we could recognize their efforts on a bigger stage. To that end, AVN agreed to present Transsexual Performer of the Year on stage at future awards shows. St. Jordan, Daly and Williams were correct to point out that this award is the most prestigious given by AVN to transsexual performers, and it wasnt receiving the same visibility as its male and female equivalents. As for the awards nominations and voting, AVN also agreed to cast its net wider and seek out prominent reviewers and observers of transsexual fare to participate in the process for a more comprehensive review of its performers and movies. Also, AVN will take steps to make sure that transsexual performers are included as presenters in future awards shows, and that more attention is paid to red carpet interviews with TS performers.

But while this has resulted in more awards and visibility, it doesn’t seem to have trickled down to the venues where the awards ceremonies are heldor to the beefy security guards following people into bathrooms.

“It’s appalling to me that my friends can be harassed and have their privacy violated,” said Lee, “Just because someone decided their appearance doesn’t match the world’s gender expectations for them.”

Update 1:50pm CT, Jan. 27: The Daily Dot received the following statement from Hard Rock International:

“Regarding the alleged incident that occurred last week at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas during the AVN Awards, inquiries should be directed to the property directly.

By way of background, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is owned and operated by a unaffiliated third party, BREF HR, LLC, an affiliate of Brookfield Financial, pursuant to a trademark license agreement with Hard Rock International.

Employees of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas are not employees of Hard Rock International. Hard Rock International does not manage or have any direct involvement in the efforts of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, or its employees.”

Photo via Mario Antonio Pena Zapatera/Flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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Why It’s Dangerous For Some Men To Go To Strip Clubs

A dancer once explained to me the reason strip clubs exist, and the answer works on three levels.

One, they exist to give women (and men) an option to make money at a time when alternate routes for similar income are low. Two, they exist to offer a means of fun and entertainment for those intrigued by what society considers taboo. And three, they exist to offer men a reprieve from real life.

If you go to the strip club (or are thinking about doing so) and belong in that third group, it’s time you reconsider.

Strip clubs truly do a great job of letting men escape from reality. But if you are going because something is lacking in your life, I would suggest you turn back around.

My first visit to a strip club was with a friend and served to continue the long-standing and odd tradition of inviting low-nature sexual behavior as a means of celebration. Every visit after that, however, was about me, as I began going by myself, and going rather frequently.

These visits were about me trying to capture happiness through temporary fulfillment. It was about filling the voids I had in my life. It was about escaping the reality of my struggles in what I perceived to be an increasingly hyper-sexualized society. Someone with that mindset has a lot to lose at a strip club, and it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy.

I don’t blame myself for wanting to continually enter that fantasy. I understand why strip clubs appealed to me and men like me. Most guys enjoy going to a strip club on a very basic level. As a club manager once told me during a discussion on why men go to strip clubs, “Men like seeing boobies.”

The fantasy is in the visual and knowing you can get it without the effort, but for me, the fantasy was in the stimulation those visuals gave off. It wasn’t enough to merely see beautiful women; I wanted to experience and “feel” their presence.

The calm social atmosphere that strip clubs offered allowed me to escape from my issues outside those walls. Real world dealings with women, dating and relationships were angst-ridden. They required me to be charming, socially attractive and daring.

Strip clubs didn’t ask me to be any of those things. As long as I had money and could hold a conversation, I could be approached by a lovely, half-nude woman and enjoy her company. For one night, the pressure could be taken off me. At a time when I wasn’t dating and dealing with approach anxiety, that relaxed environment was a godsend.

It’s amazing how quickly things escalate when you find yourself drawn to something as a temporary fix to a real-life struggle. Going to the strip club for the first time with a friend heightened to developing faux connections to relieve the emptiness from the lack of a real relationship. I wasn’t going to the strip club to be entertained; I was going in hopes of having my issues cured.

These places served as a hospital for my loneliness, and each physician had a new means of treating me.

So what caused me to stop going? The “treatment” I received late one night left me feeling disgusted in myself and the man I had become. I have always taken pride in knowing that my higher nature can keep my lower nature at bay. That night, I knocked the angel off my shoulder and allowed the devil to take the steering wheel.

I’ll put this bluntly, without going into details: I accepted a sexual favor from one of the women in a backroom.

I know of men whowould be excited bythat possibility. I have had men ask me what they can do to get something like that to happen. I unfortunately know the answer. I also know the shame I felt that night.

I was no longer looking for temporary relief. I had spiraled to allowing the strip club to fully replace my reality. I stopped caring about what I wanted in my real life. I preferred to take the easy road. I drove home that night in tears. I saw myself at my lowest and most animalistic form. I didn’t just consciously degrade a woman; to a loose extent, I degraded myself.

That’s why I stopped going to the strip club in search of things that were missing in my life. I saw I had to come back to reality and work on letting my higher nature take control again. Strip clubs were never going to satisfy the things I truly wanted out of life. They were only going to bury me further into the depths of my own pity.

There were two realizations that helped me stop going to strip clubs for my own purposes and using them to escape my problems. First, I had to pose the following question to myself: What does it say about me that I prefer to spend my nights at the strip club, alone, associating with men exhibiting their worst nature? I firmly believe there is a lower nature (be it diminished or overpowering) in every person, but that doesn’t have to define or represent who we are.

There is a real discussion to be had on whether or not strip clubs are degrading to the dancers, but here’s what I do know: I was using these women to make myself feel better, all the while demeaning and losing respect for myself as a man. I didn’t want to be “that guy” any longer.

Second, bending the realities of intimacy and companionship was screwing with my head and causing me to lose touch with how relations actually operate in real life. Strip clubs made the art of socializing with women very easy, but nothing about those interactions were genuine or sincere. I stopped grasping how real conversations and real connections with real women work, causing dependency on an environment that stripped away (no pun intended) those concerns. It was a crutch that only created a deeper trench of emptiness. In order to fill that void, I had to come back to reality and rid myself of a world that only served to warp it.

Guys like me shouldn’t go to strip clubs. A place meant to serve as mindless entertainment (for both men and women) really makes its living on men like me hoping it will cover up areas in my life that are lacking. Those areas lie in the middle of the conflict between our lower and higher natures. We have long-term goals of the heart in the realm of relationships, but the impulse of settling for something guaranteed yet faux is always tugging at us.

The fight for those missing areas is difficult, but shouldn’t be dropped in exchange for devaluing ourselves and others. Strip clubs are not an inherently bad place. But they can be toxic for men wanting something beyond what’s offered on the surface. A couple of hours of bliss is tempting. But stay within reality. The fight is ultimately worth it.

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The Sneaky Allure of the 'Bachelor' Instagram Influencer – Racked


The Sneaky Allure of the 'Bachelor' Instagram Influencer
Reality TV stars can earn anywhere from $1,500 to $7,000 for posting a single sponsored photo, depending on their followings. Paul Desisto, a talent manager who manages the post-show careers of Bachelor stars for a living, cites figures as high as $10

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The top 10 biggest disappointments for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

The top 10 biggest disappointments for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017
Blogging The Boys (blog)
With Super Bowl aspirations, the Cowboys failed to even make the playoffs this year. Who slipped the most from preseason expectations? By VAfan@vafanbtb Dec 27, 2017, 7:00pm CST. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images. With one

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Dove’s latest campaign is unintentionally funny and highlights a serious issue.

For years now, the marketing team over at Dove has been working to make their brand’s name synonymous with body positivity.

2015’s “Choose Beautiful” campaign. GIF from Dove/YouTube.

The company’s latest campaign, released in the U.K., tries to address body image issues with … a more diverse range of bottle shapes? Seriously. Um.

Image from Dove UK/YouTube.

Body positivity and body diversity are serious issues, but the premise behind this campaign is majorly silly, and people wasted no time making jokes at the brand’s expense.

Yes, bodies do come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s a good thing! Yes, social beauty standards are harmful! But no, adding an additional six bottle shapes to your lineup doesn’t really have anything to do with how people actually feel about their bodies. In fact, the whole thing sounds like a bit from a “30 Rock” episode.

Author Mara Wilson compared headlines championing the body wash to something more suited for the satirical feminist site Reductress.

Journalist Rachel Handler poked fun at the bottles’ wild disregard for anatomical correctness. (No, this is not a request to make anatomically correct human-plastic bottle hybrids. Please don’t.)

And Cosmopolitan’s Carina Hsieh provided everyone with enough nightmare fuel to last into the foreseeable future.

There’s a real question to be asked about what role brands should (or can) play in building social awareness.

On one hand, brands have a giant platform and can help promote positive messages (see Budweiser’s pro-immigration Super Bowl ad or Heineken’s recent ad about bridging political divides); on the other, sometimes it just comes off as a craven money grab (see Pepsi). That’s the tricky thing about businesses wading into the social-political world: At their core, they’re still businesses, and their primary goal will always be to try to make money or sell a product.

Many people have written about the limits of “woke capitalism,” and it’s definitely a topic on which reasonable people can and do disagree.

There are a lot of great resources on the internet about body positivity and fat acceptance (which you can check out here, here, and here).

Maybe the Dove ad wouldn’t have been so bad if it had just made a little more sense.

Nylon magazine’s Angela Lashbrook sums the whole thing up pretty well.

There is one thing Dove (and other companies) can do to promote body positivity, and it’s super easy.

At other times, Dove has been praised for featuring real women who aren’t models in their ads. But really, wouldn’t it be great if every brand did that every day?

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Hulk Hogan: I ‘embellished’ about the number of women I had sex with

Hulk Hogan returned to a Pinellas Country, Fla., courtroom on Tuesday to be cross-examined by lawyers for the media website, Gawker.

Clad in a black blazer, black undershirt and black bandanna, Hogan strolled into the courtroom alongside his lawyer and took the stand shortly after his arrival. He had sunglasses perched on his forehead and a large chain bearing a cross around his neck.

A reporter asked Hogan as he walked in to the courthouse if he was ready for the day ahead of him and he confidently replied, Yes sir. Its going to be a great day.

The trial aims to determine if Gawker have the right to post a one minute and forty one second clip of a sex tape Hogan insists he didnt know was being filmed. Approximately nine seconds of the clip Gawker shared online included actual sexual content.

Hogan took the stand for the second day in a row and the initial questioning by Gawkers legal team spent several hours focused on the celebritys response in the media when reports of the sex tape first surfaced, particularly when he called into TMZ Live and discussed the tape with TMZ hosts.

He admitted that when he stated he didnt know who the brown-haired woman in his sex tape was he embellished a little bit about the number of women.

After Gawker posted a clip of the tape, Hogan said there were many people who assumed he was involved in its creation and it being shared with the media.

It wasnt about Hulk Hogan making a sex tape. Thats not what happened. Its never been about that

He insisted he in no way made the tape to make money.

We had calls from Vivid Entertainment and they said theres an open checkbook, well pay you anything you want,” he recalled, but he said he had no interest in profiting off the tape. 

He said of the clip Gawker shared on their website, It lives forever. It will be there forever on the Internet.

Hogan testified his experiences have changed him. 

I just havent felt like myself this is still tearing me up, he said. I havent been able to get back up to who I was before [the tape] Im not the same person I was since all this craziness happened.

The wrestler insisted his attitude about the sex tape in interviews was a result of him being in character, as Hulk Hogan. Hogans real name is Terry Bollea but a focus of the trial so far has been the differences between the character Hulk Hogan, which he developed for the ring, and who he is in private.

I was totally Hulk Hogan [for the TMZ interview] because I wasnt at home in my private house, he said.

A lawyer also grilled Hulk about why he answered Howard Sterns sex-tape related questions during an interview following the reports of the tape.

Hogan said his replies to Sterns questions with character-driven, once again reiterating the differences between his wrestling character and his traits as a private person.  

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Suzanne Jackson's dog Bella dead while other boxer Marley still missing – Dublin Live

Dublin Live

Suzanne Jackson's dog Bella dead while other boxer Marley still missing
Dublin Live
The post has been liked almost 4,000 times on Instagram where fashion guru Suzanne has a following of 229,000 people. It comes as Suzanne married Dylan O'Connor in Skerries in August before holding the lavish reception in The Powerscourt Hotel Wicklow

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Will Guest Blogging Still Work in 2018? – HuffPost

Will Guest Blogging Still Work in 2018?
Every year marketers begin to ask if guest blogging has really died and gone to SEO heaven. We ask if it's now overkill to spend the time and energy to get our content on external sites. Since we repeat this process annually, it may come as a surprise

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Egnyte reaches GAAP profitability ahead of potential fundraise, IPO ramp

If you rewind to late 2013 or early 2014, the market for enterprise startups, and perhaps especially for storage-centered startups, was quite different. Box raised $100 million in December of 2013and $150 million the following July. Dropbox was on a similar tear, raising a$350 million Series C round in January of 2014 and snagging a $500 million debtfacility that April.

There was money dripping from the ceiling. And in the middle of all that, Egnyte raised a$29.5 million Series Din December of 2013. The company has not raised since.

In the words of itsamiable CEO, Vineet Jain, Egnyte does not need to raise money today, but it is considering it. In an interview, Jain detailed how that is the case and then dished on the current health of his company.

Strap on your nerd helmets, friends. Were going 8-k spelunking.

Profitable cash flows

Early in our interview, Jain detailed a number of new performance metrics that he partially repeated in an article this morning.

First, Egnytes cash flow was breakeven in the second half of 2016. Presumably, that is how Egnyte is so far from its last raise and still has money to spend. (Old joke: What do you call non-dilutive fundraising? Revenue.)

But things are actually a bit better than that. Jain indicated that his company eked out a profit in the fourth quarter of 2016, inclusive of all costs (GAAP). The firm repeated the feat in the first quarter of 2017. Also, notably, the amount of free cash the firm generated in the first quarter of this year was in the seven figures.

A company that doesnt lose money isnt precisely revolutionary. In fact, every business eventually has to make money or die. In the current technology cycle, however, its uncommon for quickly growing companies to even generate cash, let alone GAAP profits.

So how quickly is Egnyte growing?

Growth and other costs

As you might expect, there is a tradeoff at play regarding Egnytes profitability: The firm isnt growing as quickly as some other enterprise-facing startups that have recently gone public.

According to Jain, Egnyte grew 38 percent in 2016 (the companys fiscal year matches the calendar year, praise Hetfield). The company also grew 30 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the year-ago period. Those results are slower than the revenue tallies posted by Mulesoft and Alteryx, which put up greater than 70 percent and just under 60 percent revenue growth figures, respectively, in their S-1s.

Yext recently went public with a trailing growth rate nearly equal to Egnytes 2016 aggregate result. It is also not profitable. That means theres wiggle room to be had.

Rule of 40

Happily for Egnyte and other firms that are not growing above 50 percent, there is a rule of thumb that balances the tradeoff between growth and profits. Its called the Rule of 40.

In short, add your profit margin and growth rate, and if they sum to 40 or more, you are doing well. Losing 10 percent but growing at 60 percent? Congrats, thats 50. Losing 30 percent but up 70 percent year-over-year? Not bad, 40! Growing at 25 percent and breakeven? Demerits. You are merely a 25 in a world of 40.

Jain shared that his company continues to flirt with the Rule of 40. That puts its comparatively slower growth under a slightly more flattering light.

I bring all this to underscorewhat good is for startups that are a bit more mature and past the days of hyper growth. It isnt hard to grow faster quickly when you are small, but after you reach eight figures of revenue, what is good performance? Rule of 40.

External infusions

Summing quickly, Egnyte raised small at the end of 2013 compared to competing companies, and it has since kept growing while reaching profitability sans external help.

The company, according to Jain, might be willing to hit reverse on both, take on external capital, and, I presume, run deficits for a number of quarters to drive growth.

At the start of our time together, I mentioned that Egnyte now works in content governance. I did so as that service, what the company calls Egnyte Protect, is a new product for the firm. Protect, as Business Insider reported last year, is the first time that the company is selling a product that doesnt explicitly dovetail with the main Egnyte vision of providing storage that bridges a companys existing servers with the cloud. If it bolsters the companys growth rate remains an open question.

Jain indicated a summer time frame for any potential raise. At the same time, given how long the company has stretched its prior infusion, Im not exactly betting on the firm selling more of itself on the private markets.

Following for Egnytewith or without another private capital raiseis a shot at an IPO. Jain noted $100 million in GAAP revenue as the key threshold for that particular capstone. Lets see if the firm can get across the finish line still profitable.

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