November 13 2011

Sasha Grey Criticized for Reading to Children

Sasha GreyApparently one can never live down their past, especially if it happens to involve porn.

Back on November 2, Sasha Grey, an ex-porn star, took part in the Read Across America program by reading to 1st and 3rd grade children at the Emerson Elementary School in Compton, California.  She tweeted after leaving the school:

Spent the am with Read Across America Compton, reading to the sweetest 1st & 3rd grade students @ Emerson Elementary!

As parents heard about this, and complained to the school about a former porn actor being at the school, the school issued a statement saying:

We have several celebrities who read to our students each year. The actress you have indicated was not present.

Too bad there are photos of her being present.

As criticism of her presence has escalated, Ms. Grey has issued a statement:

I am proud to have participated in the “Read Across America” program at Emerson Elementary School in Compton, CA. I read “Dog Breath” by Dav Pilkey to the sweetest 1st and 3rd grade children.

“Read Across America” is a program that was designed to promote literacy and instill a lifelong love of reading in elementary school students. Promoting education is an effort that is close to my heart. Illiteracy contributes to poverty; encouraging children to pick up a book is fundamental.

I believe education is a universal right. I committed to this program with the understanding that people would have their own opinions about what I have done, who I am and what I represent.

I am an actor. I am an artist. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a partner. I have a past that some people may not agree with, but it does not define who I am.

I will not live in fear of it. To challenge non-profit education programs is an exercise in futility, counter-productive and anti-educational.

I cannot thank my fans and ‘Read Across America’ enough for supporting my decision. Your support and kind words continue to inspire me. I believe in the future of our children, and I will remain an active supporter and participant in education-focused initiatives.

As anyone who knows me, or reads this blog for more than a day or two can tell you, I have zero tolerance for child molestation, teacher-student sex scandals or anyone that preys on children in any way.  Ms. Grey does not fall into any of these categories.  She has not been involved in the porn industry for two years now and has moved into mainstream acting amongst other projects.

Essentially I can’t see the issue here.  She volunteered her time to read to children who are far too young to have any clue who she is.  She did not come dressed in any provocative manner – judging by the photos that surfaced of her in the classroom – , she did not speak of her past according to reports and she certainly did not advocate it as a career path.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do understand the parental concern here, and the school certainly messed up denying she was there when there was evidence to the contrary, but I have never understood condemning people who have engaged in legal activities and then aren’t even involved in those activities any more, never being able to move on from that.  I’ve seen similar stories over the years where it is discovered a teacher used to be a stripper years before and they are asked to leave their job or just flat out get fired.  If they are doing their job, and are not in any way involved in that activity at the present time, what the heck does that matter?  This is far more about the hang-ups of parants than the possible harm to the children.

As someone who has talked time and time again about protecting children, I just don’t see the issue here.  Our schools need more volunteers, and if you start cutting off folks from doing that due to their pasts, you’re going to find some very empty schools.

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