After news broke that 23-year-old adult film actress August Ames had passed away, speculation has been growing about the role that depression may have played in her death.

While the cause of her death has not yet been confirmed, according to Hollywood Life, friends close to Ames have claimed that she had been battling depression, and that online bullying may have played some part in her passing.

Ames received severe criticism on Twitter over the weekend after refusing to complete a scene with a man because he'd previously starred in gay porn, saying: "I do homework for my body".

Many slammed her for being homophobic, which she had denied profusely, saying her comments were not meant to be malicious. Ames' final tweet, posted on Tuesday, then simply said: "fuck y'all".

The development of events may as yet still be unclear, but it has forced the world to look at the potential impact of online bullying on social media - particularly within the adult film industry, where everyone's got an opinion.

"Social media is a great way to market yourself," adult performer Ashley Downs tells LADbible. "However, it does enable people to speak freely and sometimes negatively, as they hide behind a keyboard."

Ashley has worked in lap-dancing, adult films and web cam work for four years, and while she says she would never quit the industry because of bullying, it's not been easy.

Credit: Ashley Downs

"I have had online abuse about my age, weight and looks before," she says. "It takes a strong individual to overcome this. You have to be aware that you're not going to be everyone's cup of tea."

"Most performers I know have had nasty comments online," she continues, before adding: "I really don't understand why people don't just watch someone else if they have a dislike for you. There are so many amazing performers and much variety in the adult industry to choose from."

LADbible also spoke to a male who has worked in the adult entertainment industry, but he wanted to remain anonymous. Like Ashley, he explains that a large part of surviving the industry is about developing a thick skin.

"In my opinion the best you can do is just give no fuck to online trolls" he says. "They feed on attention, you ignore them and they go away, looking for a vulnerable prey - one who is answering the call.

"If you work in this industry, you need to develop a barkskin."

Twenty-three-year-old August Ames died on Tuesday. Credit: PA

However, it's clear that the 'thick-skinned' approach may not always work, and while online bullies only thrive on attention, sometimes there's no escaping them.

"If you are a vulnerable person and you get bullied by a lot of trolls at the wrong time, it's a totally different story," he continues."That's when sad things happen."

Ashley also says that there's a lot that the industry can do to help vulnerable people.

"The industry itself is one big, money-making machine and it's easy for the vulnerable to get swallowed up," she says.

"Some young girls come into the job thinking it's going to be easy to be rich and famous, when in reality it's hard work, and you have to be strong physically and mentally."

She continues: "Inside the industry all we can do as performers is try and support our friends and colleagues. There are online forums where you can discuss, and coffee mornings set up to go and chat with other people working in any aspect of the adult Industry.

"Nobody should be discriminated against because of age, size, race or sexual preference. There is room for everyone and we should celebrate this."

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: PA. August Ames was found dead this week

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist at LADbible. Jess graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013