My employment with a UK-based, mainstream fashion brand was recently terminated on account of my adult work and business conflicting with the interests of the company.
When I accepted the job of Multimedia Designer and Developer with Missguided it did not occur to me that my experience in the online adult industry might work against me.
I lasted five days in what seemed a perfectly suited role for my skills, experience and enthusiasm before the company terminated my contract under the probationary terms of employment. The only explanation they gave shortly before marching me out of the building was ‘for reasons we can’t elaborate on at this time.’
Of course, I was certain of the reasoning behind it and I was aware that they took a view that, in my opinion, was narrow-minded and shallow of the adult work I have produced but instead of allowing me the courtesy of responding to their concerns they chose to cut ties.
An ‘official‘ reason eventually came through the recruiting agency that had placed me in the role; I was told that Missguided felt my adult business ‘conflicted’ with the interests and values of their brand.
I have still yet to receive any official, written confirmation of my contact’s termination.
Additional frustration was caused due to the fact that I had been upfront and honest from the very start with Pervlens Media proudly placed on my CV (which both interviewers had with them during my interview), we discussed areas of work I had been engaged in in the past and they had over three weeks to do their due diligence before my start date.
It was especially surprising to me as Missguided paints itself as an edgy, modern, progressive and fresh brand and I thought if anyone would be able to look past the adult content, even embrace it as something that makes my experience that little more unique, they would.
I have held jobs previously in roles with companies like Urban Vision, a partnership with Salford City Council, that had me, on a regular basis, coming into contact and dealing with council officers, Councillors, elected officials and members of the public.
It is probably a well-known fact, perhaps even to be expected, that a past in adult films will close off mainstream opportunities and employment .
Renee Richards, a well-known UK adult ex-performer, has experienced such discrimination too, and lost at least two jobs due to her past life, commenting;
“I worked in the adult (porn) industry for four and a half years, and performed in over 200 films. In that time I did not feel degraded nor did I find working in the industry demeaning. However, since leaving the industry I have been treated in a demeaning and degrading way by people who are not in the adult industry, who have either found out of their own volition that I used to work in the adult industry, or by me telling them.”
I wanted to share my experience as this kind of discrimination is often allowed under current employment law and is rarely spoken about and contrary to what people may think affects those behind the camera too such as back office and support staff of adult companies just as much as it can affect the performers and ‘stars’ of adult entertainment.
Legal advice that I sought shortly after the termination confirmed that the law is not only extremely employer-sided in the first two years of employment, especially so during the probationary period, but employers are not even legally obliged to elaborate or give written confirmation of the reasons for dismissal.
It has left me pondering – when did the UK become a place where we allow judgements on an individual with work history in a perfectly legal industry who was upfront and honest about it influence the ability or skill to do a job?
[Note: Missguided have been contacted for comment. At the time of publication, no reply has been received.]