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The Tanner Mayes Interview

Some people should not get into the adult industry without the careful guidance of someone that cares about them. Tanner Mayes is one of those people.

I wrote this long heartfelt piece on what constitutes an unhealthy relationship and what opportunities it presents. Here is just a bit of it:  

“In a relationship where there are unhealthy acts – whether two people are involved, three, four, ten – the relationship, itself, demonstrates the possibility of growth or stagnation. And it is hard, for me, to side with only one party because it takes everyone involved to perpetuate the unhealthy properties of the relationship. A man hits a woman. He loses control and if she stays, she is giving him the power to lose control again. That’s not to say she deserves to be abused, but she thinks she does or she would not stay. Very little  sympathy is ever given to the abuser, though they have their own demons and are just as deserving of compassion as the woman who lets herself be punished. I’m using an extreme example here because there are many layers and levels that constitute unhealthy behavior, but it’s roots come from the same type of place. It is like a broken record – the cracked surface of what would facilitate well-orchestrated notes with a purpose they cannot realize because one does not know or care to know that all that is needed is the gentle lifting of the needle so that these otherwise perfect notes can stop repeating one section of  neurotic and never-ending sounds that only serve to irritate, grate and invest everyone involved with incredible tension.”

But this dives in too deep for me. It is a deep issue, but this interview is just simply about a girl with a broken heart because she trusted the wrong people. That’s it.

In a quick summary, according to Tanner, she had over a year’s worth of history and tension built up over her relationship with the main guys at JM Productions. She was a fluffer on their Tuesday webcam show, eventually known as Tanner Tuesdays. She starred in many of their movies and was featured on several box covers, but she also endured more than she wanted to in order to keep this working relationship going. According to Tanner, even after being on set all day some of these men would take her to a hotel room and have sex with her, including a married Jim Powers (a fact that, while it bothered Tanner to say it, may not even matter to a woman married to someone like Jim, a well-known pornographer). She  also said that she was required to have sex just to receive her check. She admitted to being a total pushover and in the end, made it okay in her mind, doing these “favors”, because they gave her so much work, even though her main confidante – her mother – told her repeatedly that letting them get away with such things would eventually erode her sanity. She even did signings for the company, for free, and, again, according to Tanner, was not paid at all for other jobs.

I am, in the interview, obviously… on her side. I was a model, so I am biased about the fair treatment of actors and supremely disgusted at the powers that be for not treating these young women with the same respect that mainstream actors get in regards to rights and attention, etc… That is not to say I think the government should barge in and take over anything. The government is already way over the line with their hands in marriage and religion, among other things. I see no absolute way to save women like Tanner from being taken advantage of unnecessarily in the industry by working entities, but I do believe that if we actually cared about our women in this country – even the Midwestern females that don’t reign from big cities, with deep family ties and histories built on the solid foundation of education that find themselves wandering into sex jobs in order to find themselves - as a nation of people we would probably reach a higher sense of self, as a whole, and inch our way that much closer to being a race actually qualified to use the title “advanced civilization”. An evolved and “whole” person accepts every side they have, from the base to the enlightened, and so an evolved and “whole” people accepts every sect they have, from the base to the enlightened. But that is another story for another time…

I only have Tanner’s side of the story, but when someone like Kylie Ireland can recount the same kind of story – a consummate professional who is several years sober – there is probably more truth to the story than not.

Tanner showed up to work, started drinking, then ran into a few problems. When she canceled the shoot – walking off set, to end her part in it – the behind-the-scenes caught her angry, drunk and disheveled. She was deeply humiliated by the whole experience because she thought those guys, after all they’d been through, were her friends. She thought that she was an indispensable need in their work routine. She thought they would turn the cameras off and allow her to walk away, even if it meant not working for them ever again.

They posted the video right away and Tanner suffered from lack of sleep and a “stress seizure” that sent her to the hospital. Look, I get it… We models get into the adult industry expecting to be exploited with the guarantee that we will be paid well and look beautiful on camera – not to be exploited with the guarantee that we might not get paid at all and look crazy on camera. Of course, I side with her. I’m a woman and a mother. She shouldn’t have had alcohol, though. I cannot stress enough the importance, ladies, of being in control when you are about to be filmed forever doing something that, is at least assumed, something you want to be doing. Do not let anyone harass you, do not allow yourself to be bullied, do not drink and do drugs pleeeease! It’s not worth the headache you could face for not having your head in the right place.

I’m sure the guys at JM Productions hire… probably mostly females who are fine with the treatment they get. I’m not actually “sure”, but I do know there are many women who are not like Tanner Mayes, women that have a pretty good grasp of what they are doing and who they are when they get into the adult industry – how to do business, how to talk to people about the job, etc… Bobbi Starr is one of those people. I just happened to interview a very self-possessed woman of the industry and then immediately found myself interviewing a female on the completely other end of the spectrum. Tanner is not as sure of herself. She’s not nearly as discerning and discriminating as Bobbi Starr, but she does have a basic understanding of how a person should be treated, and though it’s a very simple expectation that is not realistic in this town unless you demand it, at least she has that. And she’s right. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly.

JM Productions is a niche company that specializes in crazy content and it doesn’t take much internet research to figure that out. They’ve incorporated a reality television-style angle on their product by placing alcohol on the set and planting trouble-makers who inevitable drive another girl into psychotic-looking behavior so they can feature her “meltdown” in their behind-the-scenes footage. If you want to read Kylie Ireland’s entertaining and fabulous story about working for Jim Powers, you can find it on her MySpace page entitled, The Violation of Kylie Ireland – my memoir of the shoot. It was published on May 1, 2009. I suggest reading it because Kylie is a good writer and she is very even-tempered about the whole thing, even though she has a “meltdown”, herself. Tanner’s story is posted on her MySpace blog, as well.

What I want to accomplish by posting this interview:

  • To show that Tanner was not “crazy” during my interview with her. She was very sweet and upset about the whole thing, but she didn’t even get emotional until well into the interview, and only teared up after expressing her stress in being “a woman dealing with men like this…”
  • To highlight the person I’m talking to – a young woman without real direction that someone in the world loves and cares about.
  • To emphasize the importance of saying “no” when you don’t want to do something, to restate to Tanner and to emphasize to other young women the importance of being skeptical sometimes and standing on your own two feet. To learn that confrontation is a fact of life and must, at times, be faced head-on and not smoothed over through compromising surrenders – through your mind and body – just to avoid such things, just to “get along”. That we have to be the first people to instigate our proper treatment by others. Sometimes the best we can do is help ourselves and hope the example we set has the right effect on those around us.

What I don’t want to accomplish by posting this:

  • To stereotype the industry by talking about one company. There are many companies that have a great reputation for fair practice.
  • To alienate JM Productions as a “bad” company. It’s possible that Tanner never let on she had a problem with anything that was happening until her drunken breakdown moment. In fact, she definitely insinuates that she never said things she should have said and that that’s why she “blew up”.
  • To harm anyone. This is an interview. Views are expressed, but I think this young woman just needed to vent and show her fans that she is not crazy. She cares what people think about her as a person and as a sex performer, and the main idea here is to reveal her sensitivities and humanity in a compassionate light. Damn… I think this is called “investigative reporting”!

Oh, and the audio sucks again. Ha! For Bobbi Starr’s interview I did not set up the microphone properly, and for this interview, Doug set up two microphones properly, Tanner texted to say she was running late because she had to get her test at AIM Healthcare, so I turned the microphones off to preserve the battery… and never turned them back on. Ha!! But, I borrowed a friend’s apartment, and since the windows were closed and the room was small (with decent acoustics), my only two channels of audio sucks a decaying cow turd, but it is audible! F*cking, mother f*cking, c*ck sucking, bullsh*t,grrrrrrr

- Julie Meadows