When Louis Theroux makes a new documentary, the nation takes note. From hanging out with the most hated family in America to investigating Scientology, the 49-year-old has made a name for himself as a master of his craft.
Last night (Sunday), his latest offering Louis Theroux: Selling Sex was broadcast on BBC Two, and as the name suggests, it looked into the world of online transactional sex, focusing particularly on the role the internet has played in the industry.
However, two sex workers who feature in the documentary have claimed they were misled and misrepresented in the making of the hour-long film.
Georgina Tyson and Ashleigh Williams shared an 'open letter' on Twitter back in August, in which they claimed the team hadn't done sufficient research, nor had they taken Ashleigh's disability seriously or safeguarded her properly.
The letter reads: "They supposedly wanted to follow a newish sex worker to document that experience, it felt more like they were pushing the stereotype of sex workers being sex workers because something bad happened to them. Which is not the case for everyone and an outdated stereotype."
It continues: "They told us it was going to be called 'selling sex'. Immediately I explained what was wrong with that title. It implies that escorting and fssw [full service sex work] and sex work are all like the same thing but there had been plenty of clients that book escorts or fsswers that don't even want to have sex.
"This was a clear indication that we had not been listened to or heard. At first we laughed along as they zoomed into aspects of our flat and it was all a bit surreal. But as the show developed it just got worse and worse."
In a statement issued in August, the BBC said: "Georgina is not identified as being a sex worker in the film, nor is she a subject of the documentary. Our initial contact was with Ashleigh, and it was clear that she was the focus of the film, not Georgina. We have addressed their concerns in the final edit of the film, and have listened to their comments throughout the filming process.
"We are confident that Ashleigh gave informed consent to be a part of the documentary as is evidenced by ongoing communication with her. Louis is well-versed with handling sensitive cases and has always had the utmost respect for the subjects of his documentaries."
You can watch the documentary on iPlayer now.Featured Image Credit: BBC