I Got Duped by Ron Jeremy’s Wokeness Campaign

Media, don’t let yourself get suckered by a celebrity’s Twitter activism

Well. This is an uncomfortable thing to write. But that is the best evidence I have that it’s also the correct thing to write. Back in 2017, I published a short piece on this website with the headline “By the Way, Ron Jeremy Is Woke Now.” It has aged rather poorly, you might say.

The genesis of the post was that Jeremy, a well-known porn actor, had begun tweeting in support of Black Lives Matter and NFL players who knelt for the National Anthem, even calling out bigots in his mentions. As of this moment, however, he’s been charged with three counts of forcible rape and another count of sexual assault — all the alleged crimes taking place in West Hollywood, the little sliver of L.A. where I live — between 2014 and 2019.

My fawning over his apparent “wokeness” came right in the middle of this period. Not two months later, my dear friend E.J. Dickson at Rolling Stone dropped a bombshell report on many sexual misconduct claims lodged against him by women in the porn industry. As actual journalism, it blew apart my lazy idea of Ron as an unexpected voice for social justice. I believed these disturbing stories, but I still didn’t think to amend my recent riff on how he had turned out to be kind of cool.

That was a second mistake — the first being my utter credulousness as a writer, combined with the blogger’s enthusiasm to throw the reader a curveball like hey, check it out, that greaseball porn guy is an ally. I should have stopped for two seconds to reflect on how tweets aren’t a measure of real-world behavior, and it should not have escaped my notice that just a few weeks later, as the #MeToo movement took shape, Jeremy was silent on the issue.

Most of all, it was stupid to act as though I could assess a celebrity I’ve never met as “one of the good ones.” I was resoundingly wrong. It’s also worth saying now: Fuck Ron Jeremy, and power to the women who came forward, as well as any who could not. I’m sorry I said anything nice about him, and I’m sorry I didn’t retract it as soon as the public had a clearer idea of who he actually is.

When you write for the internet every day, you’re gonna eat shit sometimes. I accept it, along with the blame. I hope this will sharpen me as a critic, but most of all, I hope for justice.