23-year-old adult film star August Ames has been found dead in her Camarillo, California home on Tuesday morning. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed that Ames aka Mercedes Grabowski had died of asphyxiation due to hanging. The police had initially suggested that they had no reason to suspect foul play and that was corroborated by her friends who told The Blast that August suffered from long-term depression and may have taken her own life.
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Ames was one of the industry’s biggest stars and has appeared in almost 290 movies. She began her career in the adult movie scene in November 2013 with companies such as New Sensations, Brazzers, Lethal Hardcore, and Jules Jordan Video. Having worked in films such as Dirty Talk, Naturally Delicious, and Flesh Hunter, she won two ‘Oscars of porn,’ AVN, in 2015 and 2017.
Her death comes only four days after she courted controversy and drew the ire of the gay community with a contentious tweet. She appeared to refuse to work with men who have appeared in gay pornography, ‘warning’ the performer who was replacing her that she would be working with what the porn industry refers to as a ‘crossover performer.’
She was immediately bombarded with accusations of homophobia, which she did not take to kindly. She responded to the trolls by tweeting out: “NOT homophobic. Most girls don’t shoot with guys who have shot gay porn, for safety. That’s just how it is with me. I’m not putting my body at risk, I don’t know what they do in their private lives,” adding more fuel to the fire.
“Most girls I know DON’T work with crossovers! Loving all the love and help ladies,” she added in another tweet.
When the accusations still continued, she tweeted: “I don’t have anything to apologize for! Apologizing for taking extra steps to ensure that my body stays safe? F*ck you guys attacking me when none of my intentions were malicious. I f*cking love the gay community! What the f*ck ever! I CHOOSE who I have inside my body. No hate.”
A few days before her death, she had posted an ominous ‘f*ck y’all’ on Twitter, and it seems now as though that was her final message to the world. Her grief-stricken brother blasted the ‘bullies’ who relentlessly targeted August in the days leading to her death on Facebook and also paid tribute to his deceased sister in a now-deleted heartfelt post.
He wrote: “Bullying is not a joke. It took my sister’s life and I can’t get her back. This pain I feel cause people couldn’t keep their opinions to themselves is unbearable, although I have nothing but hate for each and every one of you people who drove her to this I still do not wish this pain on you. This has forever changed me and who I am as a person.”
He continued: “I guess I can’t hide from the rumors and the messages won’t stop. This will be my one and only post and then I would like to be left alone. I lost my baby sister yesterday. There is no replacing a love and bond like I had with her. She was my rock and I was hers. Anyone who knows me truly knows my love for my family and how much heart I have. I can’t process this she was supposed to be here in 14 days so o ask to be left alone (sic).”
He ended with: “To anyone that is reading this that I have bullied or hurt in one way or another in my lifetime, I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. Mercedes I will not let this go and will continue to do what’s right and try to be a voice for you for the rest of my life so that others don’t have to endure the pain you felt and the pain your loved ones now feel. I love you baby girl.”
She received a similar tribute from her husband who reportedly said: “She was the kindest person I ever knew and she meant the world to me. Please leave this as a private family matter in this difficult time.”
Heartfelt consolations flowed from several stars in the industry:
Her former employer Brazzers paid homage to her as well and postponed the release of a previously planned scene:
At the time of her death, Ames was one of the most popular porn stars on the internet, with her videos on PornHub alone receiving more than 415 million views. It goes to show that vulnerability is an issue even amongst stars and that this online culture of bullying and harassment has to be put to a stop. Offering differing opinions is one thing, but attacking a person relentlessly should constitute abuse.
Pornstar Nikki Benz tweeted out a series of statements which summed up the feelings of most who work in the industry: