Miriam Weeks (born June 9, 1995), known predominantly by her stage name of Belle Knox, is an American former pornographic actress. She is known for performing in pornography while studying at Duke University.
Belle Knox in 2014.
June 9, 1995
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Other names||Lauren, Aurora|
|Occupation||Former pornographic actress|
|Known for||Working in the adult industry|
|Height||5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)|
|Weight||92 lb (42 kg; 6.6 st)|
Knox started doing pornography in 2013 to help pay for her $60,000 per year tuition costs. After the outing, she has publicly defended her decision to do the work, and the choice of discussing the situation. She believes her experiences are indicative of the rising costs of higher education in the United States. Knox took a college-sanctioned break from Duke University in early 2014 and later returned to continue her studies. Knox has also spoken publicly about her views of feminism and rights for sex workers. She has won a 2014 Fanny Award and a 2015 XBIZ Award.
Knox chose the name "Belle", inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast and the character of Belle from Secret Diary of a Call Girl (meaning "beautiful" in French); the name "Knox" is after Amanda Knox, exonerated in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She decided to enter the pornography industry because she enjoyed sex and pornography, and compared it to her previous work as a waitress for a boss who treated her poorly, with a schedule that interfered with her studies, where she earned less than $400 a month after taxes. Pornography allowed her to control her schedule, and she could make about $1300 per scene. Knox had tried to apply for government loans but was told that she was ineligible, and did not want to apply for private student loans as she did not want to "strap her family with debt." She began working in pornography in November 2013, flying out to Los Angeles while on school breaks to perform in the films.
She did a scene for the controversial website "Facial Abuse." In the scene she is repeatedly choked, spit on, slapped, gagged, and forcibly held.  "They try to figure out what makes you tick and fuck with you," Knox says. The person filming her noticed there were cut marks on her upper thigh spelling out "fat" and proceeded to mock her, calling her fat, stupid, a terrible feminist, and a slut.
Weeks is a College Republican and considers herself a sex-positive feminist and libertarian. She identifies her "favorite figures in liberty" as Ayn Rand, economist Milton Friedman, and two other activists whose careers have included both sex and politics: porn actress Nina Hartley and former call girl Maggie McNeill. She has also shown admiration for both former Representative Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul.
She is involved in the organization Students for Liberty, an organization that bills itself as "the largest libertarian student organization in the world", and is the campus coordinator for Students for Liberty at Duke. In addition to her work with Students for Liberty, Weeks said she was recently appointed to the national board of directors for the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Weeks also said she has given speeches at other colleges.
While her work in porn helped fuel her political beliefs, Weeks says she began developing her ideology earlier in life. "I grew up Catholic, so I grew up in a very, very, conservative background and that, I think, really was kind of the impetus for why I wanted to become a libertarian. I was always being told to cover up my body and I was always being told to wait until marriage to have sex, that my body would go down if I didn't wait till marriage to have sex," Weeks explained, adding, "That really made me become a libertarian and become a feminist."
Outing and harassmentEdit
Knox faced harassment after a fellow Duke student watched her pornography and recognized her. He then exposed her work to his fraternity brothers. He stated that Knox revealed her work to him and asked him to keep it private, which he agreed to do. That evening, however, he shared her secret, and the news quickly spread through the community.
After returning to campus from winter break, Knox discovered that her personal Facebook account had received more than 230 friend requests. Then, fellow students started following her porn persona's Twitter account, at which point she realized that her porn career had been discovered. Shortly thereafter posts began to emerge on the anonymous college discussion board CollegiateACB under the thread title "Freshman Pornstar." Knox received threats of violence and death, as well as harassing messages via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, with some individuals endorsing people raping and beating her. Other posters also stated that they would like Duke University to expel Knox. Knox's identity, contact information, and location were posted as well.
In February 2014 Knox gave an interview to the campus newspaper, The Chronicle, in which she used the pseudonym "Lauren A.," and referred to her stage name as "Aurora" to avoid identifying herself. She expressed frustration over her treatment stating, "I feel like girls at Duke have to hide their sexuality. We're caught in this virgin-whore dichotomy." She posted similar sentiments in blog posts on XoJane. Knox reported that she received additional harassment after posting her initial blog post through XoJane, which prompted her to write a second post where she revealed her stage name. She detailed some of the threats and messages of harassment, violence, and rape against her, but the reports, according to Knox, were largely "belittled or ignored by the police." Media outlets noted the trolling as slut-shaming, and characterized it as relentless, with the comments saying she "deserves to get raped," blasted her appearance and demanded that she use her real – rather than her stage – name in porn." Knox also has discussed what she, and others in the industry, see as a double standard sex workers face from those who seek their services. According to critic and former sex worker Eric Barry, "It's impossible to separate those trying to violate sex workers' right to privacy, from those who believe sex workers somehow deserve to be devalued." Elizabeth Stoker, in The Week, noted the "reprehensible and personal" comments of threats and harassment through social media were "odious and inexcusable," and characterized them as unjustifiable, as well as being "disproportionately aimed at women in the public sphere." In an interview in early March 2014 with Playboy regarding her experiences, she noted, in regard to just disclosing her stage name, that "I'm scared, because I've already been getting stalked and threatened." In her interview on TMZ Live she detailed a few of the threats, and together with the TMZ staff talked of the hypocrisy of the consumers of porn being some of those who outed and threaten her.
The Poynter Institute's Kelly McBride commented on the reception for Knox's story, stating that it "[presented] a lesson in crowd behavior," and noted, "While her critics were loud and destructive, advocating that people call her dad to let him know his daughter is a porn star, no one suggested a phone campaign to inform the mother of the frat boy who outed her that her son is watching porn." A journalist for TIME magazine expressed skepticism over Knox's comments stating that she viewed her pornography career as empowering. The journalist continued that while shaming her was wrong, Knox "doesn't know how to process her newfound fame," and that her decision, "will likely haunt [her] for the rest of her college and professional career." Elizabeth Stoker, in The Week, criticized Knox's statements, noting the sex industry did not have a trade union, and male sexual desire would ultimately oppress women and dictate their performances on camera. For John Rogove, Knox's predicament highlights that of women in a liberal market society in general.
A representative for Duke University issued a statement saying that while they would not comment on specific cases, the college's community standard did not have any restrictions concerning off-campus employment. Of Knox's allegations that campus police did not take the threats against her seriously enough, the representative remarked, "We are committed to protecting the privacy, safety and security of our students. Whenever we identify a student in need of support, we reach out to them and offer the many resources that we have available on campus to assist them." Knox has been asked to speak in Duke classes about being a sex worker.
Media appearances and other workEdit
A fictionalized version of Knox's story was featured in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Pornstar's Requiem," which aired on October 22, 2014. In May 2014, Knox announced that she would be hosting an online show called The Sex Factor along with four other porn stars, where they would oversee 16 contestants that would compete for the right to participate in a sex scene with Knox. In February 2015, it was announced that Asa Akira had replaced Knox as the show's host. Knox has also been the focus of the five-part documentary series Becoming Belle Knox, which was produced and released by Stateless Media and Conde Nast Entertainment. The series was released in September 2014 via Conde Nast's digital site The Scene. In 2015, she appeared on a one-hour episode of "One Bad Choice" on MTV, showing a dramatized version of her life, and narrated by Weeks. A TV docudrama based on her life titled From Straight A's to XXX premiered on the Lifetime network in February 2017.
Knox is half Canadian and half Punjabi Indian. She was raised as a Roman Catholic in Spokane, Washington. For high school, she attended Gonzaga Preparatory School and was featured in Salt & Light, a Catholic Christian magazine, as well as the newsletter for Catholic Charities for her volunteer service. She has one brother and one sister.
As of 2014, Knox is pursuing a major in women's studies and sociology and has expressed interest in becoming a women's rights activist, and civil rights lawyer. She identifies as bisexual.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2014||Fanny Award||Won||New Girl on the Block (Female Newcomer of the Year)||N/A|
|2015||AVN Award||Nominated||Best New Starlet||N/A|
|Nominated||Mainstream Star of the Year||N/A|
|XBIZ Award||Nominated||Best New Starlet||N/A|
|Nominated||Crossover Star of the Year||N/A|
|Nominated||Best Scene - All-Girl (with Lisa Ann & Nina Hartley)||Lisa Ann's School of MILF 2: The Education of Belle Knox|
|Won||Marketing Campaign of the Year||N/A|
|XRCO Award||Nominated||Mainstream Adult Media Favorite||N/A|
- Reece, Robert L. (July 2015). "The plight of the black Belle Knox: race and webcam modelling". Porn Studies. Taylor and Francis. 2 (2–3): 269–271. doi:10.1080/23268743.2015.1054672.
- Kutner, Jenny. ""A lot of my life has been ruined because of sex": Belle Knox opens up in a gripping new documentary". Salon. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Belle Knox at the Internet Adult Film Database
- "Duke porn star reveals face and film name on Playboy, xojane websites". News Observer. Archived from the original on March 8, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Knox, Belle. "In Defense Of Kink: My First Role As The Duke Porn Star Was On A Rough Sex Website, And No, That Doesn't Make Me A Bad Feminist". XO Jane. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Parihar, Rohit (12 March 2014). "How the half-Indian porn starlet Belle Knox got her ticket to education". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
News blocks are abuzz with reports of half-Canadian, half-Indian Punjabi girl Belle Knox a.k.a Lauren using a not-so-new and oft-repeated method of getting her ticket to Duke University for a decent education.
- Heck, Laura (March 5, 2014). "Duke student reveals porn identity, responds to backlash". KTVU. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Kingkade, Tyler (March 4, 2014). "Duke Porn Star Reveals Her Identity". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- "Why death threats won't keep the 'Duke porn star' from doing what she needs to do to pay tuition". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Stone, Zak (March 4, 2014). "Meet Belle Knox, the Duke Porn Star (As You Might Have Heard)". Playboy. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Li, David. "Duke porn star has 9 videos under her belt". New York Post. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Lawrence-Turner, Jody (March 12, 2014). "Duke University freshman, porn star graduated from Gonzaga Prep". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- McGill, Sean. "Adult Film Star Belle Knox Returns to Duke University". RantLifestyle.
- "Belle Knox Is Remaking Herself As A Libertarian - Business Insider". Business Insider. January 28, 2015.
- Morgan, Piers. "How I selected my porn name". CNN. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Dillon, Nancy. "Duke porn star Belle Knox says she wants to help sex workers after bankrolling law degree with sex". NYDN. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Rajghatta, Chidanand. "US girl stars in porn flicks to meet college fees". Times of India. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Morris, Alex (8 May 2014). "The Blue Devil in Miss Belle Knox: Meet Duke Porn Star Miriam Weeks". Rolling Stone. New York City. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "FacialAbuse.com: The Truth About their REAL Abuse and Exploitation". AntiPornography.org. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Interviews: Gina Lynn Interview". LukeFord.com.
Have you ever been asked to do a scene ... and wondered if it was offensive/legal?
- Knox, Belle. "Belle Knox Twitter Post". Twitter.com. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Fernelius, Katie. "Portrait of a porn star". Duke Chronicle. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Golgowski, Nina "Duke porn star Belle Knox is remaking herself a libertarian fighter, with possible eye on political career NY Daily News, January 30, 2015
- Gettys, Travis "Duke's Belle Knox trades on porn fame to promote libertarians Ayn Rand and Rand Paul" Raw Story, January 30, 2015
- MacIntosh, Jeane. "Student who outed Belle Knox has $1K-a-month porn habit". New York Post. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Goldstein, Sasha. "Porn big offers frat boy who outed Duke porn star 10G to appear in his own flick". NYDN. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Moye, David (March 7, 2014). "X-Rated Offer For Duke Student Who Outed Porn Star Classmate Belle Knox". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Knox, Belle. "I'm The Duke University Freshman Porn Star And For The First Time I'm Telling The Story In My Words". XOJane. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Knox, Belle (March 4, 2014). "I'm Finally Revealing My Name and Face As the Duke Porn Star". XoJane. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Duin, Steve. "Belle Knox, the Duke 'porn star,' puts a face on her story". Oregon Live. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Why Belle Knox's Anonymity Was So Important, As Told by an Out Sex Worker". The Huffington Post. March 6, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber". The Independent. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Stoker, Elizabeth. "Sorry Belle Knox, porn still oppresses women". The Week. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Stone, Zak. "Meet Belle Knox, the Duke Porn Star (As You Might Have Heard)". Playboy.com. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- 'Basketball Wives' Star to New Parents -- Kill Your Cats, "And, Duke University's porn star student Belle Knox joins us to discuss the utter hypocrisy behind the death threats she's been receiving since being discovered." TMZ Live, (10:20-15:46 min. At 11:40 mark, "I've had people threatened to kill me, I've had students threaten to throw trash on me, I've had students threaten to "kick me in the face," so it's really really vicious.")
- McBride, Kelly. "Outed Duke student presents lesson in crowd behavior". Poynter Institute. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Dockterman, Eliana. "The Duke Porn Star Isn't as Empowered as She Claims". TIME. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Willingham, AJ. "Duke reacts to student's 'outing' as porn star". HLN. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Herbert, Geoff. "Duke University student reveals she's a porn star, stirs drama in college newspaper". Post-Standard. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Lila Gray (October 22, 2014). "Tonight's 'Law & Order: SVU' Draws on Belle Knox Story". XBIZ. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- Anne Easton (2014-10-23). "'Law & Order: SVU' Recap 16×5: Understanding the Very Definition of Rape". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
- Grow, Kory. "Duke Porn Star Belle Knox Explains New Reality Show 'The Sex Factor'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Chris Spargo (2015-02-06). "Men and women competing to be porn stars in new reality show The Sex Factor revealed after auditioning by 'having sex on camera' - including Wall Street intern Paige Jennings". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- Stoeffel, Kat. "Watch the SFW-ish Duke Porn Star Documentary". New York Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Falzone, Diana. "Duke porn star Belle Knox in Conde Nast docu-series, says line between adult, mainstream entertainment disappearing". Fox News. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "Belle Knox documentary reveals the real "new passionate" Miriam Weeks; the personal benefits of porn and how the industry works". VC Post. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- White, Chris (10 March 2014). "'Welcome home daddy, I'm a porn star!' 'Heartbroken' devout Catholic Army doctor returns from Afghanistan to find beloved daughter is the Duke student Belle Knox starring in X-rated films". Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Beusman, Callie. "Watch a Fascinating Docuseries on the Duke Porn Star". Jezebel. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Peter Warren (2014-04-13). "2nd Annual Fannys Presented". AVN. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- "2015 AVN Award Nominees". AVN Awards. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- Lila Gray (2014-11-12). "XBIZ Announces Movies & Production Nominees for 2015 XBIZ Awards". XBIZ. Retrieved 2014-11-21.
- Dan Miller (2015-01-16). "2015 XBIZ Award Winners Announced". XBIZ. Retrieved 2015-01-25.
- Dan Miller (2015-03-03). "2015 XRCO Award Nominees Announced". XBIZ. Retrieved 2015-03-04.