Target: A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc
Goal: Thank network for removing program based on exploiting and shaming sex workers.
A reality show that claimed to “save” sex workers by trapping them in a room with cops and cameras and pressuring them to give up the trade has been cancelled by A&E. The program, 8 Minutes, was quietly removed from the channel and their website after a woman came forward about her experience on the show. Drawn in with promises of housing assistance, job placement, and medical help, she ended up having to return to prostitution when this help never materialized.
Thanks to this brave woman as well as pressure from communities such as ForceChange, this gross TV program lasted less than six weeks before being taken off the air. Anti-human trafficking organizations and sex worker advocates condemned the premise of the show, which was that a former cop and current pastor could convince women to give up sex work with an eight-minute speech.
Part of the speech was an offer of various forms of assistance meant to get the women into a stable enough position that they didn’t have to rely on prostitution anymore. However, this was apparently a lie. It’s clear that this show was nothing more than a way to make money off of shaming and stereotyping sex workers in a coercive situation.
By signing this petition, you’ll thank the CEO of A&E for listening to our voices and removing this harmful, exploitative TV show from the network. Sex workers are not props to be used in a feel-good lie that ignores the realities of sex work and perpetuates stereotypes that hurt them.
Dear Ms. Dubuc,
I see that you recently cancelled the A&E program 8 Minutes in which sex workers would be lured into situations where they were trapped with police officers and cameras as a man gave them a speech about why they should leave prostitution. Part of the deal was that the women would be given financial help as well as housing and job assistance so that they would be able to survive without sex work.
Unfortunately, it appears that these promises were lies. I’m disappointed that such an exploitative show that plays on stereotypes about sex workers and the idea that they’re all unwillingly trapped in the trade was allowed to air on your network in the first place. However, I am glad that you listened to the voices of the real advocates for sex workers, especially after it came to light that the women lured onto the show were not being given the help promised.
Thank you for cancelling this awful program. It clearly did absolutely nothing to help sex workers and only existed to make the producers money while pushing falsehoods about prostitution that harm the people who engage in it. Please make sure you use better judgement in the future and never air a program like this on your network again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Department of Justice