AceShowbiz - Laverne Cox has parted ways with Sarah Jones (II) in making a documentary about sex workers. The actress has decided to pull out from "Sell/Buy/Date", in which she was originally set to serve as executive producer alongside Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones, following a string of criticism from the sex industry workers.
"Just what the world needs," one person sarcastically wrote on Twitter. "Another movie where non SWers debate whether sex work is exploitative or empowering." Tagging @Lavernecox, the critic added, "this project is everything you're supposedly against. Stop trying to tell sw stories by ignoring and doxxing them."
Another voiced disapproval of the project, "As a sex worker-- I get being misrepresented. I mean-- people in Hollywood are still doing SWer documentaries without talking to actual sexworkers."
Noticing the negative feedback, Laverne took to Twitter to announce her withdrawal from the documentary. "When I agreed to come on as an executive producer of 'Sell, Buy Date' I did so because I was so deeply moved by Sarah Jones' brilliant play and her unbelievable, undeniable talent as an artist, as an actor. I signed on to support her incredible talent," she began her statement.
She explained her decision to exit the project, "I have so much love for her as a human being. But I am not in an emotional place to deal with the outrage by some around my participation in this project. So I have decided to pull out."
"To be clear I am no longer involved in any capacity in 'Sell. Buy, Date.'," she stressed, citing her mental health as her priority, "I have to take care of my mental, physical and emotional health, This is all I have to say on the matter."
Respecting Cox's decision, Jones responded to the "TRANSform Me" co-host's announcement. "I'm so grateful to you Laverne for coming on the journey with me thus far, and I'm looking forward to continuing my work on the film," she wrote back to the actress, before asking "that everyone give Laverne her space while keeping an open mind about the project before judging it."
Jones herself has addressed people's concern about misinterpretation of sex workers in her upcoming movie. "As a Black feminist artist, I have always centered the stories of traditionally marginalized people, especially women and femmes struggling for liberation and self-determination. My sisters in the sex industry are no exception," she said in her own statement. "I am committed to deep listening to folks with lived experience, not only in my interviews but also in those we hire behind the scenes."
She added in a statement to THR, "As I do with all my work, I'm approaching this documentary with compassion and in an attempt to understand the nuance and complexity of how sex work affects everybody, especially women of color. For too long, BIPOC women have had our narratives controlled by others. Thanks to this new moment, I have the opportunity to finally share mine."
She went on assuring, "I am committed to making this an inclusive, respectful documentary about my personal experience as a Black woman, informed by various voices of people with lived experience around this topic. As a feminist who cares deeply about the wellbeing and freedom of ALL people, I am looking forward to sharing my story in the creative way I know how. I hope those who have never lived in my shoes allow me the chance to express my own experience as a Black woman."
"Sell/Buy/Date" is billed as a documentary that will tackle the themes of "inequality (criminal justice, race, sexism, poverty) through the lens of the debate around the sex industry. The documentary asks the question, 'Is sex work exploitative or empowering?' "