Ron Jeremy: After Rape Charges, More Women Allege Assault - Rolling Stone
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How Ron Jeremy Allegedly Used His Porn-Star Image to Sexually Prey on Women

From movie shoots to industry conventions to sex-positive campus events, women who encountered the adult-film star have come forward alleging he used his schlubby image as a cover for harassment and assault

Ron Jeremy attends the "Jersey Shore Massacre" New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on August 19, 2014 in New York City.

Jeremy was charged with multiple counts of forcible rape. According to dozens of women who came forward to 'Rolling Stone,' his sexually aggressive behavior was pervasive.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Charity Carson-Hawke never thought she’d be best friends with a porn star. She’d grown up a preacher’s daughter, and largely led what she describes as a “biblical life.” Then she married one of the brothers of John Wayne Bobbitt, the tabloid fixture and ex-husband of Lorena Bobbitt, and appeared on a radio show in 1996 with Dennis Hof, the now-deceased owner of Nevada’s Moonlite Bunny Ranch, who told her there was someone who wanted to meet her. It was Ron Jeremy. They grew close, staying friends for nearly 25 years.

“I kind of put his porno life to the side and tried not to judge him by what he did,” says Carson-Hawke, who lives in Florida and works in property management. “We’d have great conversations, and it worked out well. So many years went by, and he’d never crossed the line. Until that night.”

The night Carson-Hawke is referring to is May 4th, 2020, when she says she came to Los Angeles to visit Jeremy. (Photos she shared with Rolling Stone from that evening appeared to corroborate this.) His apartment was messy, he’d said, so he booked a room at the Highland Gardens Hotel. The second she saw him, she says, something seemed off. “I don’t know if it was his age, or his mind’s messed up, but he was not normal that night. He was kind of in a zone, kind of full of sadness. He just looked lost,” she says. According to Carson-Hawke, they were in his hotel room with a few other people, when Jeremy said he wanted to show her something. She followed him into what she thought was another room in the suite, which turned out to be a bathroom. 

That’s when she says he slammed the door behind him, pinned her against the wall, and tried to grope her. “He was trying to put my hand on his penis,” she alleges. “I’m just like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I’m screaming at him and fighting.” For a while, they struggled against the wall, she says, until she squeezed out from his arms and walked out the door. (A friend of Carson-Hawke’s confirmed she told him a version of this story, in which she said Jeremy “violated her,” shortly after the alleged assault.)

For a few hours, Carson-Hawke says she stayed at the hotel, going down to the pool with Jeremy and her friend, who had accompanied her to the party and didn’t want to leave. “I didn’t know what to do. I mean, when you’re in that situation and I was in such a zone of shock, I just froze,” she says. The next day, she says Jeremy called her nine times, leaving voicemail messages begging to speak with her. She refused to speak with him, deciding to go directly to the L.A. district attorney on June 4th. (The district attorney’s office declined to comment for this story; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed there is an open investigation pertaining to a report number Carson-Hawke supplied to Rolling Stone, and that no charges have been filed at this time.) 

“I sat on it for a minute, ’cause like I said, we were friends for so long. I didn’t know what was wrong with him, but he wasn’t under any kind of influence. He was sober in that action,” she says. “So I felt, OK, if he’s going to do this sober, then I need to say something about it, because this is not right to me.”

According to nearly a dozen women I interviewed in 2017, as well as more than a dozen additional women who came forward following the publication of Rolling Stone’s initial investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations, this has been the legendary porn performer’s modus operandi for years. An adult-industry legend whose name is synonymous with smut, Jeremy is alleged to have committed serial sexual abuse for decades, with many women claiming that he uses his comically ribald porn persona as both a justification for and a shield against allegations of impropriety. (Jeremy issued a lengthy statement denying the allegations in the 2017 article. “If anyone was ever made to feel uncomfortable by ANY of our interactions, I’m deeply sorry,” he wrote. “That was never my intention and it breaks my heart in half.” His lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.) 

While many of his alleged victims were women in the adult industry, for years Jeremy’s status as a successful crossover performer — someone who has equal cachet in both the adult and mainstream worlds — has afforded him access to so-called civilian women, or women outside the industry. At best, the women said, they were caught off guard by his behavior; at worst, they were traumatized by it. Almost all said they were initially disarmed by his affable, exaggeratedly sleazy persona. 

“For a lot of us, we don’t think of Ron as a porn star,” says Collette McLafferty, a wardrobe designer who alleges that Jeremy grabbed her breast without her consent when she worked with him on a B-movie, non-adult film set. “We think of him as a reality star. The guy who befriended Tammy Faye [Bakker] on The Surreal Life.” (Another actor on the set confirmed her story.)

Charity Carson-Hawke

Ron Jeremy and Charity Carson-Hawke

Courtesy of Charity Carson-Hawke

Last month, these kinds of allegations caught up with him when the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that it was charging him with eight counts of forcible rape and sexual assault, from incidents dating back to 2014. His bail was set at $6.6 million. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 25 new allegations were leveled against Jeremy after the initial charges were filed, prosecutors say. In a tweet, Jeremy said, “I am innocent of all charges. I can’t wait to prove my innocence in court! Thank you to everyone for all the support.” He pleaded not guilty to all charges in court. 

Many of the women accusing Jeremy of assault were thrilled by the charges. “I’m so happy right now. You have no idea. I can’t stop crying,” Carson-Hawke told me the day he was charged. Others, however, found them more bittersweet, wondering why it took so long for the DA’s office to finally charge Jeremy despite a two-year investigation and a history of allegations spanning decades. “I feel like I don’t want to care [about the charges],” says Alexandra Fine, CEO of the sexual-health startup Dame Products, who alleges that Jeremy sexually assaulted her when she was a college student in 2009. “I feel selfish that I didn’t go to the police and that he continued to hurt women.”

Fine met Jeremy in 2009, when she organized an event for a sexual health and awareness week at Washington University at St. Louis, inviting Jeremy to campus as a guest. Fine and another student were tasked with picking up Jeremy from the airport and escorting him to an interview at the campus radio station. First, though, they stopped by his hotel so he could check in. Almost immediately, she says, Jeremy asked her and her friend if he could sign their breasts; they both agreed. None of this struck Fine as particularly odd: He was, after all, a pornographer, and this was, after all, Sex Week. “The whole thing was pretty absurd and hilarious,” she says. “He seemed like a parody of himself, and the whole situation had a gross, funny irony to it that felt harmless at first.” 

That changed, however, when Fine’s friend left the room, and Jeremy asked Fine if she wanted to see his penis. Although she declined, he showed it to her anyway. “He said he wanted to show me his ‘trick’ for keeping his dick hard during shoots,” she recalls. “So he showed me his dick again … I’d get a little freaked out, like ‘Come on, dude,’ and he would respond with ‘Oh, I’m only playing.’” 

Then, she says, he told her he had another “trick” he wanted to show her, but he had to stand behind her. Fine was uncomfortable but acquiesced; she says Jeremy then digitally penetrated her without her consent. 

At the time, Fine says, she was confused by the encounter. “I remember trying to rationalize what was happening, and why he might have felt like it was normal or appropriate,” she says. Although she told a handful of people about what had happened in Ron Jeremy’s hotel room, she says her feelings of shame largely kept her silent. (Rolling Stone spoke with her friend from school, who confirmed the details Fine shared.) There was also the fact that she wasn’t sure whether what had happened in the hotel room was her fault to begin with. “His career, and the character he cultivated, made it hard for me to understand whether this was an assault or not,” she says. 

Michele Wilderman, a makeup artist who met Jeremy on the set of the sex comedy How to Get Girls in 2016, tells a similar story. When she first met Jeremy, she posed for a photo with him topless — an act that she said was intended as a joke. 

Thirty minutes later, however, she was doing his makeup in a bathroom in the house where they were shooting when he closed the door behind her and asked if she wanted to see his “schmekel.” 

“I was like, ‘Um … no,’ in that very weird, hesitant, awkward-situation kind of way,” Wilderman says. “Obviously, I didn’t ask to see it, but I still don’t want to be like, ‘Ew, no.’ I’m supposed to work with this guy all day.” 

From there, she alleges, Jeremy forcibly kissed her, turned her around, stuck his hands up her shorts, and attempted to digitally penetrate her, despite her repeated refusals and attempts to get to the door. She says it wasn’t until a production assistant knocked on the door to ask if they were ready to shoot the scene that Jeremy stopped.

“You would think if someone was touching you in a way you didn’t want to be touched, they would understand that’s something you didn’t want,” Wilderman says. “Either he didn’t care, or he didn’t understand that’s what I was doing, trying to get away.” While Jeremy shot his scene outdoors, she spent the rest of the day inside the house, where the owner gave her a change of clothes and let her take a shower. “I just felt disgusting,” she says.

Ron Jeremy signs ''The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz'' at the 12th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 28, 2007.

Jeremy signs ‘The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz’ at the 12th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, in 2007.

Brian Cahn/ZUMA Wire

Wilderman says she immediately reported Jeremy’s behavior to her production office. Her supervisor asked if she wanted to press charges or have him dismissed from set. Not wanting to disrupt the shooting schedule for the day, she said no. “I just felt like it wouldn’t have made a difference,” she says. 

Stormy Jane, a stylist for the film, confirmed that Wilderman told her about the encounter directly after it happened, and says that she too had had her breast grabbed by Jeremy without her consent on set. “The way I saw it, they [the producers] did the bare minimum,” she says. “They just did what they were technically supposed to do.” 

When reached for comment, Nancy Glass, the CEO of production company Glass Entertainment Group, confirmed that the production office was indeed aware of Wilderman’s allegations against Jeremy, and that they subsequently cut him from the film. “When it happened I was very upset,” she says. “So we asked the people involved, ‘What would you like to do? Would you like to go to the police?’ We followed their direction.” She says she did not find out about the allegations until after Jeremy had finished shooting, “or we probably would’ve kicked him off set.” 

For Wilderman, the new charges come as a relief. “I always go through these things in my head. Why did you go to the bathroom? Why did you think it’d be funny to take the picture? It’s so easy to blame yourself,” she says. “I feel like this is some closure.”

 

Another woman who encountered Jeremy, however, did go to the police: Kristin Brodie, a Seattle-based model who won a competition at the radio station KISW in 2017. She alleges that Jeremy digitally penetrated her without her consent while she posed for a photo with him during one of her promotional appearances for the station. According to Brodie, Jeremy approached her and a few other KISW representatives for a photo. After he signed their breasts, an act they consented to, Brodie pulled up Snapchat on her phone and posed for a selfie with him, whereupon Jeremy allegedly grabbed her rear end and attempted to digitally penetrate her without her consent. While she says others were present, including a handler, no one intervened.

Brodie filed a police report against Jeremy in Pierce County, Washington, the next day, which was later referred to the Tacoma City Attorney’s Office. Brodie says that when she met with the office, she reviewed footage from the event, and because only her and Jeremy’s shoulders and above were visible in the video, the office concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to continue with the criminal case.

Both offices declined to file charges, and a civil case was resolved out of court, with Brodie saying she couldn’t comment on the outcome beyond that. But her failure to see Jeremy held accountable for his actions continued to haunt her. “It shattered my sense of justice, I suppose,” she says. “I realize now I was quite naive [in] that I subscribed to the narrative of ‘see something, say something, and justice will be served.’”

To this day, she is furious that it took more than two years after coming forward publicly with her own allegation for Jeremy to end up behind bars. “Any and all rapes and sexual assaults he committed after mine, those are on the Tacoma DA’s hands,” she says. (“After reviewing the allegations against Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, the Tacoma City Attorney’s Office determined not to file charges,” a representative for the office tells Rolling Stone.) 

Part of the reason why Jeremy managed to escape notice for his alleged criminal behavior for so long was due to the fact that he was something of a Hollywood fixture, frequenting the same eateries and bars and becoming so omnipresent that people grew accustomed to his behavior. One of these spots was the Rainbow Bar & Grill, a famous restaurant and bar on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles notorious for being the locale where John Belushi had his last meal and where Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister could be found almost every night until his 2015 death. 

According to Los Angeles locals who spoke to Rolling Stone, Jeremy was a regular at the Rainbow. Emily J. Sullivan, who was a waitress there from 2011 to 2012, says he would often hold court there, going up to people’s tables when they recognized him and then eating their food. It was there, she says, where he had a captive audience for his lechery. “He would grope patrons and waitresses. He’d do this weird thing where he’d come up behind us and try to kiss our neck and our ears and grab our butts and call it the Ron Jeremy Tickle,” she tells Rolling Stone. 

A friend of Sullivan’s and former frequent Rainbow patron confirmed her account. The friend, who asked not to be named, said the laid-back, somewhat seedy reputation of the Rainbow created a “vibe” that made such transgressions seem normalized, if not acceptable. “It’s like a different place, a different time. It felt like you either go along or move along,” she says. “If you were to say something against the Rainbow or complain, you’d be like a narc, I guess.” 

Ron Jeremy held a discussion and book signing for his book "The Hardest (working) Man In Showbiz" at Borders Books and Music in Chicago, Illinois on January 24, 2008.

Jeremy held a discussion and book signing for his book, ‘The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz,’ at Borders, in Chicago in 2008.

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Carson-Hawke says the atmosphere at the Rainbow was conducive to Jeremy’s behavior, though she contends that more often than not, she saw fans approaching him rather than the other way around. “He would just roam the Rainbow Bar and Grill looking for attention from women” she says.

Sullivan says that to her knowledge, none of the serving staff ever complained about such treatment. But three of the incidents related to the charges against him reportedly took place at the Rainbow, according to the industry publication xBiz: two sexual assaults in 2017, as well as forcible rape of a 30-year-old woman in July 2019. (The Rainbow did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.)

 

Jeremy’s alleged cavalier attitude toward women’s personal boundaries extended to his industry colleagues as well. Siouxsie Q, a California-based adult entertainer and porn performer (and occasional contributor to this magazine), alleges that Jeremy forcibly digitally penetrated her in a stairwell at the XBiz Awards in 2014, despite her protests. “I tried to put my dress down. I closed my legs. I said, ‘No, thank you,’” she says. “But no is not something Ron hears.” 

A relative newcomer to the industry at that point, Siouxsie was excited to attend the awards. “I wore this white Ralph Lauren dress and cute shoes,” she told Rolling Stone. “I’d branded myself as the ‘Whore Next Door’ and I had this wholesome energy.” She spotted Jeremy on the red carpet and recognized him immediately. “His name and his brand have crossed over in the mainstream. It’s part of the mainstream vernacular,” she says. “There are probably jokes on The Simpsons about him.” (It seems there are not, though Jeremy did make an appearance as himself on the third season of Family Guy.)

According to Siouxsie and a friend, who was also at the event, the two approached Jeremy to ask if Siouxsie could interview him for her podcast. He agreed, and suggested he and Siouxsie go into a stairwell so they could have some privacy. While there, Siouxsie alleges, Jeremy began to get aggressive, putting his hand up her dress and inserting a finger into her vagina. It wasn’t until she started bleeding on her white dress — a byproduct, she says, of his lengthy fingernails — that he finally stopped. (Siouxsie’s friend confirmed details of her account, as well as seeing blood on her white dress.) 

Like many of Jeremy’s other alleged victims, Siouxsie was new enough to the adult industry that she was not well-versed in industry codes of conduct. At that point, she didn’t know whether Jeremy’s behavior was the exception or the rule in the adult industry. She did know, however, was that it was not a good idea to report it. 

“I didn’t think [about] going up to any law-enforcement official and saying ‘Excuse me, sir, I’m a porn performer at a porn show, and Ron Jeremy just touched my vagina and made it bleed,’” she says sarcastically. “I’ve seen how law enforcement deals with these issues. It’s not pretty.”

Porn performer Mona Wales, also a relative newcomer to the industry at the time that she alleges she was assaulted by Jeremy, felt similarly. She was with her friend Daisy Ducati, also a performer, when she spotted Jeremy at an XBiz party in 2015. She and Ducati allege that they approached him for a photo when he attempted to digitally penetrate Wales’ vagina. 

His actions, Wales remembers, were “totally perfunctory. It was like he was lobotomized. It was like talking to a zombie.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, and as evidenced by a photograph she posted on Twitter, Wales says that she had to use physical force to prevent him from digitally penetrating her. (Ducati confirmed Wales’ account, and they both say Ducati took the photo.)

Ron Jeremy appears for his arraignment on rape and sexual assault charges at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Friday, June 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. Jeremy pleaded not guilty to charges of raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth.

In June, Jeremy pleaded not guilty to charges of raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth.

David McNew/Pool Photo/AP

Despite these numerous public allegations against Jeremy, for years, very little appeared to have changed for him or his brand. Prior to his arrest, he continued to maintain an active social media presence, tweeting photos of himself preparing for a role in a Tiger King porn parody and promoting his Cameo account. The mainstream media also lavished him with attention, despite the history of public sexual-assault allegations against him. 

In 2017, Vice’s music website Noisey even interviewed Jeremy about his “go-to fuck jam,” saying New Age music “gets him hot.” (In a statement to Rolling Stone, a Vice spokesperson said: “The Noisey Australia team was unaware of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Ron Jeremy at the time of publishing”; the article now contains a brief note at the bottom of the story.) As recently as this May, Jeremy attracted tabloid coverage for campaigning to save a tree outside his childhood home in Bayside, Queens, a feel-good story that managed to go semi-viral despite a Daily Beast story pointing out he was under criminal investigation at the time. 

For his accusers, many of whom are current or former sex workers, this apathy is not surprising. “It was just normalized in the industry. It’s instilled into porn performers this is the way it is, enjoy it or keep your mouth shut, or you’re not going to get work,” says Vicky Vixen, a former adult performer, who alleges that Jeremy attempted to digitally penetrate her at the XRCO Awards in 2011. Vixen believes that the fact that many of his victims were adult performers is “maybe the reason why it took so long” for charges to be filed. “It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, well, you’re a porn star, you should expect it,’” she says. 

Of course, not all of Jeremy’s victims were sex workers; many of them were women outside the industry who had approached him with prior knowledge of his lecherous persona and, when that persona turned out to be accurate, blamed themselves for what happened. “He genuinely believes that since he’s had sex with the most women on video, he has a certain amount of real estate purchased on all of our bodies when we come within six feet of him. This is something he seems to truly believe,” says Brodie, who attended Jeremy’s bail hearing in June. “But I did not give up my civil liberties just because I ventured into the same vicinity as [him].”

Many of Jeremy’s alleged victims continue to grapple with having been violated by a man who has arguably built his brand on his ignorance of or gleeful flouting of the very concept of sexual consent. “I can see now that … his sleazy persona was a sort of weird double bluff,” Fine says. “As though someone playing up their lewdness for laughs couldn’t be capable of actual inappropriate behavior. But it’s become clear that an ironic predator is still a predator.”

In This Article: #MeToo, porn, ron jeremy, sexual assault

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