Traci Lords, child-porn-star-turned-minor-Hollywood-starlet, is back in the news. The other day, as the lurid trial of two Steubenville, Ohio teenagers charged with rape was ongoing, Lords told Piers Morgan the story of how, when she was ten years old and living in Steubenville--or "Stupidville" as she said everybody there calls it--her teenage boyfriend raped her. This is typical of the kind of stuff that's always happened in Steubenville, she said.
Lords, whom I describe in Beaver Street as an ambitious juvenile delinquent who, in the 1980s, using a fraudulent passport and driver's license, systematically sought work in the porn industry, has built her "legitimate" career on playing the victim--a story that the courts dismissed more than 25 years ago, either dropping the charges against or acquitting everybody who'd worked with Lords and was then arrested for child exploitation. Nobody, they said, could have known that she was a minor. (The only exception was the president of a video company who'd foolishly sold 50 Lords tapes to an undercover vice cop after it was known that she was underage.)
But because her tale of teenage sexual victimization makes such good copy, the media has always treated Lords without skepticism, and their reaction to her “confession” on Piers Morgan is a case in point. Saying that the “former porn actress” had “come forward” to make a “shocking claim,” they seemed unaware that this is a story Lords has been peddling for the better part of 25 years, singing about her rape, in 1995, in a song titled “Father’s Field,” and writing about it, in 2003, in her less-than-revealing memoir.
The only thing of genuine interest about Lords’ latest media foray, which was designed to promote her latest song, is how, at age 44, she’s still angry about everything’s that’s happened to her. It was anger that fueled her porno career, her music career, and her writing career. And if Lords is to be believed, the root cause of all that anger is that long-ago rape. Which is a story worth telling, possibly one that some people might find helpful, and definitely one that deserves to be told honestly.
March 19, 2013