Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress

The Lebanon born star has been the subject of heavy criticism

A Lebanese-American porn star has received death threats after being ranked the number one actress on the adult website Pornhub.

Mia Khalifa moved from Beirut, Lebanon to the United States at the age of ten before eventually moving to Miami, where she is now based.

The 21-year-old history graduate was ranked the most popular performer by Pornhub after only only a short period in the industry – but not everyone was impressed.

Her ranking drew strong criticism from many, including some in the Middle East who branded her “a disgrace” to the country and “shameful”.


Her ranking kicked off a steady stream of criticism

Khalifa has since been re-tweeting the abuse sparked by those taking issue with her Middle Eastern origins – some of which included death threats.

Many took issue with a scene from one of her videos showing her wearing a hijab, a part of traditional female Muslim dress, describing it as “problematic and gross”. 

Khalifa told the Washington Post such scenes are “satirical” and should be taken as such, adding: "There are Hollywood movies that depict Muslims in a much worse manner than any scene Bang Bros [the production company] could produce."

Another user also sent a manipulated photo to make it appear as if Khalifa was in an orange jumpsuit and being held by Jihadi John, the Isis militant believed to be involved in a series of beheadings, with the caption “coming soon”.

One Twitter user threatened her head “will be cut soon” while another warned Khalifa would be the “the first person in Hellfire”, to which she quipped: “I’ve been meaning to get a little tan recently”.

The Lebanese Examiner reports that various Beirut-based newspapers wrote critical reports about Khalifa in response to her ranking.

Khalifa was quick to respond to such reports on Twitter.

Khalifa also came under fire for her tattoos she has relating to Lebanon, including the opening line of the Lebanese national anthem and a tattoo of the Lebanese Forces Cross, which she said was to "show solidarity with my father's political views after a bombing in Lebanon in 2012”.

In an interview with Newsweek, Khalifa said her critics were accusing her of shaming Lebanon by appearing in adult films with such a tattoo on her body.

“They’re embarrassed I’m 'claiming' them - as if I had a choice. I was born there,” she said.

Khalifa told the site her parents have also stopped speaking to her because of her career choice.

“I’ve dragged their name through the mud,” she said. "I feel guilty for dragging them into this and having all their friends know now that it’s on Lebanese media. But that was never my intention.”

However, Khalifa also had many supporters defending her decision to perform in pornography.

British-Lebanese author Nasri Atallah was one of many to take a stand against the criticism she was receiving, writing in a Facebook post: "The moral indignation […] is wrong for two reasons. First and foremost, as a woman, she is free to do as she pleases with her body.

“As a sentient human being with agency, who lives halfway across the world, she is in charge of her own life and owes absolutely nothing to the country where she happened to be born.”

We need to talk about porn

Khalifa suggested the uproar is a sign of bigger issues surrounding freedom and women's rights in Lebanon.

She told the Post: "Women's rights in Lebanon are a long way from being taken seriously if a Lebanese-American porn star that no longer resides there can cause such an uproar.

“What I once boasted to people as being the most Westernized-nation in the Middle East, I now see as devastatingly archaic and oppressed.”