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Forbidden America: Louis Theroux Says 'I'm 51, No One Needs To See Me Stripping Off'

Kimberley Bond

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Forbidden America: Louis Theroux Says 'I'm 51, No One Needs To See Me Stripping Off'

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Louis Theroux is going back to his Weird Weekend roots for this latest project.

Entitled Forbidden America, the new three-part series will see the filmmaker investigate the seismic changes that have taken place across the US since his popular documentary series first aired in the 1990s.

As well as revisiting the world of gangster rap, and the scary reality of far-right influencers on the internet, the 51-year-old is revisiting porn for the third time to see how the industry has been affected after the #MeToo movement.

Speaking to Tyla ahead of its release, Theroux revealed he had been reunited with some of the adult film stars featured in his 1998 documentary, Weird Weekeends: Porn.

Louis is back with a brand new series (Credit: BBC)
Louis is back with a brand new series (Credit: BBC)

“I had a rough idea for what I was looking for when I was going into this documentary,” he explained. “I was fascinated by the effect #MeToo, which anyone without any real power could contribute to on Twitter, had on the adult entertainment industry.

“Platforms where people pay to subscribe, like OnlyFans, mean adult performers can get money straight from subscribers without having to be linked to a studio or directors. They have the financial independence where they no longer really have to worry about the consequences of speaking out.

“In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a wave of performers, and directors, and agents, being called to account and being called out in the public for alleged predatory behaviour.”

He added that he believed porn was getting more progressive in more recent years, thanks to the shift in power dynamics away from the old ‘casting couch’ culture.

Louis Theroux once bared all for his documentaries (Credit: BBC)
Louis Theroux once bared all for his documentaries (Credit: BBC)

“In all kinds of spheres of life, the younger people who work in a company may take a more serious view of indiscretions and behaviours that an older crowd might say, well that’s just what happens, let’s not be part of cancel culture," he said. "That debate is dividing all different spheres of life. That’s happening in porn too.

"The challenge for me here was, as well as recognising all other aspects of this industry, there’s also that outsider judgement of porn – people who work in adult form still experience forms of stigmatisation or discrimination. There’s a real temptation to think, because it’s porn there’s going to be more predators here.

“What I’ve heard, though, is that it’s just the same as everywhere else; just they’ve had trouble getting heard.”

However, we’re not going to see a repeat performance of Louis’s original 1998 doc, where he actually stripped naked for the camera and had a top porn agent assess whether he’d ‘make it’ in the adult film business.

Louis reunites with former porn stars (Credit: BBC)
Louis reunites with former porn stars (Credit: BBC)

"Ever since I started making programmes, I’ve always done stories that have touched on areas of life that are considered ‘othered’ or come under sense of judgement," he said. "Early on I used to participate in the stories. I once stripped off for a porn agent for a documentary. Now I’m 51, no-one needs to see me naked, stripping off. I’ve got a different way of working. But I still try to hold on to that feeling that the people that I among, as different as they seem on the surface, are quite similar to me."

Louis Theroux: Forbidden America starts on Sunday 13th February, 21:00, BBC Two and iPlayer.

Topics: Louis Theroux, BBC, Documentaries, TV And Film

Kimberley Bond
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