Suicidegirls. com, a website founded in Portland that features tattooed and pierced nude women with blogs, has been busy taking down photos of dozens of models.
Missy, a co-founder of the website now headquartered in Los Angeles, posted recently on Suicidegirls.com's site that the "new war on porn task force'' touched off the removal of any "images with fake blood and any images we felt could be wrongfully construed as sadist or masochist."
The Sept. 24 post by Missy (who doesn't give her real name) comes after the U.S. Justice Department this year established an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. The task force mission: to investigate and prosecute distributors of hardcore pornography, including images of consenting adults.
The Washington Post reported Sept. 20 that the FBI said the best chance for convictions will come with pornography that "includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior."
The FBI would not comment when asked if it is investigating Suicidegirls.com (see "The Calculated Assault of Suicidegirls.com," WW, March 19, 2003).
But meanwhile, the website's decision to remove models has angered other models to the point that they're making their own decision to leave, and criticizing Suicidegirls.com along the way.
That, in turn, has led Suicidegirls.com to delete negative posts from ex-models and put other websites on legal notice not to let themselves become forums for criticizing Suicidegirls.com.
All told, through either voluntary or forcible departure, about 31 of the roughly 800 Suicide Girls models left last month. That compares with just two who left in the months of July and August combined.
Suicidegirls.com pays models $300 per photo set, which generally consist of a model's pictures set to themes like Andy Warhol, Catwoman, or Twin Peaks. Some models can receive more pay if their set becomes one of the "sets of the month," based upon the number of comments and Web hits it generates.
Web site members pay from $4 to $9 a month to view sets and post messages. Members can interact with the models through message boards and pay compliments to their favorites.
A model who uses the name Apnea, one of the women to be locked out of the website and have her blog deleted, says two of her photo sets ("Candyass" and "Water") with another model were removed. Both featured ropes and restraints.
"I could see how they could find it more obscene, or at least a bit more obscene than some of the other sets on the site,'' Apnea says. "They took it down because a model was tied up. It was very dominating and submissive.''
Shannon Larrat of the e-zine Body Modification, which covers all forms of body modification including genitals, wrote in his blog that Suicidegirls.com is effectively at zero risk of obscenity prosecution, since it's one of the most softcore sites out there.
Larrat can't understand the website's reaction unless it's "trying to trick the FBI into going after their competition or garner up some free PR."
Many ex-Suicide Girls models have migrated to Myspace.com and Livejournal.com, where they posted farewells to their fans and shared stories of alleged mistreatment like low pay and name-calling by Suicide Girls co-founder Sean Suhl.
The Myspace group "SG SUX" which had a growing number of former SG girls posting, was deleted by Myspace management this week. And a gloomdolls.com website posting messages from ex-Suicide Girls was served with a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer claiming to represent SG.
WW messages left for Suhl and Missy were not returned. But in a Sept. 28 interview with Wired magazine, Missy said Suhl "co-founded a site that is about the appreciation of women" and added, "A few girls are spreading rumors and lies."