The vigil took place over Zoom , as many have during this past year, and began with a live performance: a woman named Melanie Hsu sang as she played gentle piano music. They were also adding much-needed nuance to the popular takeaways about why Long committed these horrific shootings-it was not merely related to a new surge in hate crimes amid the pandemic, but rather firmly situated in the long legacy of anti-Asian violence. Advocates have said this comment reveals the ways in which Long and many others fetishize Asian women and unquestioningly believe that those who work in massage parlors must be sex workers. Organizers at Red Canary Song have said that it is harmful to ignore the obvious anti-sex work discrimination at play, and how it interacted with racism and sexism on Tuesday night. Everyone described what they were wearing and what they looked like for accessibility before speaking, and ASL interpretation accompanied the entire vigil; simultaneous interpretation was also available for Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean speakers. Often the policing is the very source of the violence: In , for example, a woman named Yang Song, a massage parlor worker in Queens, fell to her death when New York City police officers attempted to arrest her for sex work during a raid.
A few things are important to note here: As Rolling Stone reported last week, sex addiction is an extremely controversial and dubious diagnosis, and the intersection of anti-Asian sentiment and whorephobia are impossible to extricate from each other in this specific case.
But as the shootings sparked a difficult and necessary conversation about the intersection of race, misogyny, and whorephobia, the far-right rushed in to blame an entirely different culprit altogether: porn.
Reports that Long had also intended to target the Florida porn industryand that he had been in rehab for porn addiction, added fuel to the fire.
But as the Asian sex worker advocacy group Red Canary Song noted in a statement, their actual job was beside the point: "Whether or not they were actually sex workers or self-identified under Atlanta Killings: Sex Worker Advocate Sees Deadly Consequences Of Overlapping Hatreds Yves Nguyen, an organizer for Red Canary Song, says the fatal shooting of six Asian "As Asian massage and sex workers we wish to hold a space of radical love and care for our shared communities and to remember to let grief be a part of our movement building process."
In isolation, such comments could have easily been dismissed as the ravings of online trolls. But in the context of a far-right war on pornography that has been steadily mounting, the supposed connections between porn, exploitation, and violence are all too familiar.
David Ley, author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. Anti-porn discourse has always been prevalent among members of the far-right, who have long equated the adult industry with Jews attempting to sap Christian men of their masculinity ; adherents of other conspiracy theories like QAnon have also long alleged the adult industry is a bastion of child trafficking and abuse.
But such beliefs have gradually shifted from the fringe toward the mainstream, with real-world consequences. A recent wave of anti-porn laws, such as a Utah bill requiring all phones and tablets to install anti-porn filtersalso recently passed the state legislature and is pending approval from the governor.
People get distracted from dealing with real, complex, frustrating social issues. This is despite the fact that researrs like Ley believe that sex and porn addiction have no underlying physiological basis, and that such diagnoses are more often linked to sexual shame and repression.
Indeed, some research indicates that religiosity is strongly linked to whether one feels they have a sex addiction, a description that appears to apply well to Long, a devout member of the notoriously anti-porn Baptist church who reportedly went to rehab to seek treatment for porn addiction and his reliance on massage workers.
The conflation of the sex industry with nonconsensual sex trafficking has also permeated mainstream coverage of sex work or sex work-adjacent issues. Would they have deserved it?
The answer is no. Nguyen has worked with her group to lobby for the decriminalization of sex work, an industry that law enforcement frequently targets in sting operations that lead to arrests of vulnerable sex workers. According to past police reports obtained by The Washington Postemployees of Gold Spa, one of the businesses attacked by the gunman last week, have been arrested as the result of prostitution stings.
Police made 10 arrests, all of women, in sting operations at Gold Spa, between an the Post reported. All three spas that the gunman attacked are listed with recent reviews on a popular erotic review site, reported USA Todaythat lets users peruse and rate illicit massage businesses.
The illicit nature of such businesses makes the workers there particularly vulnerable. Researrs who interviewed more than Chinese and Korean women who have worked at illicit massage parlors, in New York City and Los Angeles County found in a study that most participants saw the work as "the best alternative among very limited choices for meeting economic needs," or they were otherwise coerced into the work.
Violence reported by women in the industry is widespread. And that includes from the community. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player.
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Everyone described what they were wearing and what they looked like for accessibility before speaking, and ASL interpretation accompanied the entire vigil; simultaneous interpretation was also available for Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean speakers. Often the policing is the very source of the violence: Infor example, a woman named Yang Song, a massage parlor worker in Queens, fell to her death when New York City police officers attempted to arrest her for sex work during a raid.
As New Republic reporter Melissa Gira Grant pointed out, this over-policing may also prevent sex workers in the Atlanta area from gathering in person to mourn these most recent deaths. How many funerals do we need to attend? Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, The New Republic, Vice, and more.