CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses sexual assault.
The actor has apparently blocked a documentary that would’ve detailed and discussed the allegations made in 2015 by a number of fellow adult performers and ex-partners.
The documentary film, reportedly commissioned by Deen himself, was set to air on US premium cable network Showtime at some point this year. But the director of the film, Maria Demopoulos, is now suing Deen (real name Bryan Sevilla) for fraud, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty, claiming that she is now owed in excess of US$150,000.
The story goes that Deen’s production company Seven Sins hired Demopoulos to direct the documentary about the actor back in early 2015. Demopoulos and a film crew subsequently followed Deen around and shot footage over the course of a few months, including shooting footage at the 2015 AVN Convention in Las Vegas. The film was on-track to be completed in late-2015, however in November of that year Deen’s ex-girlfriend and fellow-adult star Stoya took to Twitter and publicly accused Deen of repeated sexual assault.
In the weeks that followed, as many as twelve other former partners of Deen came out and levelled similar accusations against him. Deen rigorously denied all claims; a stance he maintains to this day.
Regardless, the film’s distributor Showtime insisted that the film be recut to address the issues. Demopoulos subsequently went out and shot interviews with some of his accusers, as well as with author Bret Easton Ellis, who has repeatedly defended Deen throughout the saga. Everyone interviewed about the issues signed legal releases for the film.
Here’s where it gets dodgy.
A cut of the re-edited film was reportedly shown to Deen on July 30th, 2016. Deen, at the time, reacted positively overall to the film, according to the suit.
Three months later however, Deen arrived unannounced at Demopoulos’ producer’s office. Variety details what allegedly happened next thusly:
“Deen appeared unannounced at the producer’s Culver City office. The producer was out of state shooting a film, and Deen persuaded a production assistant to turn over a binder of signed releases.”
“Deen also asked a post-production staffer for the footage from the film, but the staffer recognised him and refused, the suit states, and Deen then walked out with the binder.”
Without that binder of releases, the film can’t be screened on Showtime or taken to festivals. Deen’s commandeering of it effectively blocks the film from being distributed. The suit filed by Demopoulos officially claims:
“This was all captured on security footage. Defendant James Deen maliciously refused, and continues to refuse, to return the original releases, thereby hijacking the Picture to the substantial detriment of Plaintiff, as well as that of her Producer and of Showtime.”
For what it’s worth, Deen asserts that his production company owns the distribution rights to the film, despite a clear production deal with Showtime being in place.
He has reportedly refused to release the binders, meaning the film could effectively be prevented from being seen altogether. Or, at least, seen in a form that addresses the accusations.
Stoya, in a 2015 interview, gave a harrowing depiction of her experience with her then-boyfriend.
“If you hold someone down and fuck them while they say ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and use their fucking safeword, that is rape. But when it first happened, I felt numb. And I went to work the next day. And I went to work the day after that. And I did a scene with him two days after, maybe three days after, I’m not sure. Then I felt like I’d been violated by someone I trusted … It took me months and months, over a year of months to be able to call it what it was – which was rape.”
None of the allegations levelled against Deen have thus far resulted in criminal or civil action against him.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty.