The recent spate of adult film star deaths - five in the last three months - has sent shock waves across the porn industry. Now, one star in the industry has come forward to say that the tragic trend is no coincidence.
Adult performer Ginger Banks has called for stars to be given greater support, saying that people in the adult film industry are regularly treated like 'second-class citizens'.
She said that the reason that women in the industry struggle - particularly recently - is because of how they are unfairly treated by their viewers and by society as a whole.
"The way society looks at and treats porn stars makes us more depressed, it is hard to feel like we don't belong or that we are second-class citizens," she told the site HollywoodLife.
"I have suffered depression because of the way people view my job. That is the worst part of this job, the way people treat me because of what I do for a living."
One death particularly linked to cyber-bullying is the death of August Ames, a 23-year-old starlet who killed herself in a public park at the age of 23 last month.
Ames had been viciously bullied and branded 'homophobic' online in the hours before her death due to her refusal to have sex on-screen with a man who had also performed in gay porn.
Credit: Instagram/August Ames
In a blog post, her husband Kevin Moore blamed the trolls for her death, saying they had 'her blood on your hands' after he found screen shots on her phone of every abusive comment she had received.
Banks has now suggested that people working in the adult industry would benefit from being less lonely, along with being offered an outlet through means such as therapy.
"We need to facilitate more networking and community for sex workers and entertainers, it is important so you don't feel like you have a dirty secret," Banks said.
"So you have an outlet and maybe find a therapist who is OK with your job and who doesn't make you feel ashamed for what you do."
In addition to instances of cyberbullying, several tragic deaths of porn stars recently have been put down to overdoses as the women involved in the industry have clearly struggled to cope.
Just this past Friday, the 23-year-old porn star Olivia Lua was found dead in a rehab facility where she had checked in as she battled her addiction to prescription pills. Her modelling agency, LA Direct Models, said that she'd been battling 'personal challenges'.
20-year-old Olivia Nova, real name Lexi Forde died just two weeks earlier, with coroners finding that it was most likely the result of sepsis from a severe UTI and kidney infection that she'd been given medication for.
However, she reportedly also suffered from alcohol issues, struggling to deal with traumatic events including the suicide of her boyfriend last year and a drunken snowmobile crash she'd had which required hospital treatment.
Two other porn stars - Shyla Stylez and Yuri Luv - have also died in recent weeks, with Yuri Luv dying of an apparent drug overdose with a bottle of pills found next to her bed.
Ginger warned that we may now be seeing a pattern as the death of one high-profile star is leading to a ripple effect.
"Once someone in a community commits suicide it is more likely to happen to others in the community, so that could be what is happening with some of these porn star deaths," she said.
"We need to reach out to people we know are struggling with depression and talk about it and educating people about mental health."
With the death toll of porn stars rising, these problems surrounding the adult industry need solving sooner rather than later.
'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.
Australians can call Lifeline on 131114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 18000 or visit the National Centre Against Bullying website.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/August Ames