August Ames, who has more than 270 adult film credits to her name, experienced intense criticism just days before her death after saying she would not work with men who had also done gay porn.
Canadian porn star August Ames was found dead Tuesday in California after hanging herself, authorities said. She was 23.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed the cause of death as asphyxia due to hanging after notifying family members.
The death of Ames, whose real name was Mercedes Grabowski, occurred just days after she experienced intense criticism on Twitter for saying she refused to work with men who had also appeared in gay pornography, who she labeled as “crossover” performers.
After posting her statements on Twitter, Ames was hit with a barrage of comments accusing her of anti-gay prejudice. She defended herself, pointing out that she liked women, and said she was merely making a decision about who she has sex with, noting it is “my body, my choice.”
She posted her last tweet the next day, saying only “fuck y’all.”
Ames’ husband, Kevin Moore, told AVN that his wife “was the kindest person I ever knew and she meant the world to me.” He also asked for privacy.
Ames amassed more than 270 film credits since she started performing in 2013, and was a nominee for Female Performer of the Year at the upcoming 2018 AVN Awards in January.
Upon learning of her death, adult entertainers took to social media to express their shock and sorrow.
Fellow performer Kissa Sins tweeted: “You were always there for me when I was feeling sad or sensitive and I’ll always love you. I’m sorry I didn’t do more to help. RIP Auggie.”
A gay porn actor who was among the people trashing adult film star August Ames on social media is shooting down claims he had anything to do with her death.
Ames, 23, born Mercedes Grabowski, was found dead last week of a suspected suicide in California just days after she was forced to defend herself against online critics who accused her of being homophobic.
Gripes against Ames, who had previously struggled with bipolar disorder and bouts of depression, stemmed from the fact that she cited safety reasons in choosing not to work with an actor who had previously shot gay porn.
Among those who took issue with her decision was Jaxton Wheeler, an adult film star who took to Twitter with a threatening message
“The world is awaiting your apology or for you to swallow a cyanide pill. Either or we’ll take it,” he wrote.
Wheeler’s tweet was published after Ames’ death, and it doesn’t appear that he was aware of her suicide when he published his message.
The two had previously exchanged notes on Twitter the day before her death, when Ames told Wheeler that she never said gay performers don’t get tested.
Backlash against Wheeler was swift — Evil Angel, a popular production company, tweeted that Wheeler would never shoot a scene for them again.
Former adult film actress Jenna Jameson also chimed in.
“You told my friend August to swallow ancyanide (sic) pill…you are directly responsible for her death. I will not rest until you are deleted from social media all together,” she wrote on Twitter.
Wheeler defended himself Sunday, explaining that he was simply upset that Ames was spreading false information about the gay porn industry’s STD testing regulations.
Wheeler added that he has received death threats and was fired from two upcoming shoots.
“The idea that I played any role in her decision is erroneous, as is the idea I demanded her death,” he told the gay porn blog The Sword. “All adult professionals have the same screening and testing protocols. As a performer, she knew that, but she put it out there to her half-million Twitter followers who didn’t. Now they believed it. It struck a huge nerve.”
Wheeler also told The Sword that Ames had been dropped from her agency in response to the tweet, and implied her death may have been prompted by that — a spokesperson for Foxxx Modeling however, confirmed to the Daily News that Ames had not, in fact, been dropped, and that she was only removed from the site after her death at her family’s request.
In a lengthy statement, Wheeler, 30, said he was “saddened” by Ames’ death and admitted his language had been unnecessarily harsh.
“I acknowledge that I responded with emotions and an unfortunate choice of words. None of my aggression was directed at August nor her ability to consent to who she decides to work with,” he wrote. “My issue was with the misinformation that exists within the adult industry on crossover talent… I go through the same rigorous, regular testing all talent does.”