Hot for hate

Dear gay adult studios: Stop showing men with racist tattoos

Basil from ChaosMen, confederate flag tattoo

The Texas-based gay adult studio ChaosMen recently featured Basil, a solo performer who has a confederate flag tattoo on his right arm (link NSFW). Since confederate flags are hate symbols flown by states that fought for the right to own black people as slaves, perhaps gay adult studios can just just choose performers who don’t have them on their body? How about that?

It almost makes you wonder whether ChaosMen chose Basil with the hope that his tattoo might generate some rage clicks, but it’s far more likely that the studio simply saw a muscular man willing to get nekkid on camera for a few bucks and said, “Let’s do it.”

While Basil might be a man of color (his race is unclear), the inclusion of the hate symbol in gay adult videos remains problematic because of the industry’s segregated nature. An informal 2015 study of five mainstream studios found that the rosters of, Sean Cody, BelAmi Online, Randy Blue and Helix Studios had performers of color at rates of only 0.8 to 10 percent (compared to the estimated 12.1 percent of black men in the general U.S. population).

Black performers are typically used in scenes far less often than white ones, and many showcase black men as submissive arrestees or hung thugs. Black performers are also siloed into low-production niche sites catering specifically to black men.

Some people say that black performers are excluded “because that’s what fans want,” but that’s a poor excuse that does nothing to address the underlying problem. Film viewers can’t desire those they don’t see, and it’s entirely likely that they respond to white actors because that’s always who is pushed in front of them.

Related: Gay adult studio Noir Male responds to allegations of “not catering” to the black community

In June, a scene from mainstream gay adult studio Sean Cody featured Zane, a muscular, furry, bisexual guy with a tattoo of confederate flag inside the state of Texas on his right shoulder. The studio initially photoshopped it out of his photos, blurred it out of his two video scenes. Two weeks later, they pulled the scene entirely.

While some people claim that the confederate flag is merely a symbol of southern “heritage, not hate,” it was re-popularized in the U.S. by white southerners who opposed racial integration.