Generation Porn review: An unsettling exploration of the impact of internet porn

From young female porn actors in Los Angeles to ordinary British families in their living rooms, the three-part series looks at the impact of a booming, international industry

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 17 July 2019 11:09
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Trailer: Generation Porn

In order to stand out in a crowded genre, porn documentaries must reveal something surprising and new. It is a triumph for the makers of Generation Porn on Channel 4, therefore, that within the first few minutes of episode one, we are hit with a startling fact about Twitter.

“What people don’t realise about Twitter,” boss of cult porn series Fake Taxi Joe Todd shrugs, “is it’s one of the biggest porn sites in the world.”

Todd divulges this information in a matter-of-fact way after demonstrating how a 13-year-old child can, in a couple of clicks, alter their privacy and safety settings on Twitter to gain access to hardcore pornographic videos.

The aim of Generation Porn is to examine the influence of the modern internet porn epidemic through the people who control it, star in it, and watch it, with filmmakers visiting three groups in the first episode: the British father-and-son bosses of Fake Taxi in Prague, young female porn actors and their director in Los Angeles, and ordinary people in their living rooms across the UK.

Unsettling footage in Prague, where Fake Taxi is filmed, shows Todd and his father Jonathan standing hip to hip, watching a porn film being shot. Todd appears to have conflicted feelings about how easily youngsters can access hardcore pornography. Although he worries about the impact porn could have on children, a big part of Joe’s job is to post Fake Taxi videos to hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.

Jonathan appears to have less of a conscience. When asked if he feels responsible for making porn so accessible to young people, he comes up with a garbled defence, suggesting that the finger of blame might as well be pointed at “poor” Hugh Hefner. At which point the camera pans to Joe, who visibly flinches at his father’s response.

Across the pond in San Fernando Valley, LA, we meet American porn actors Gia, 19, and Gianna, 21, as well as their director Mike Quasar.

Gia, who is “hugely into the anal thing”, has wanted to do porn since she was in seventh grade and is working her way up to DP (double penetration). Gianna, who was recruited on Tinder, reads out texts from her father, who is struggling to come to terms with her decision to enter the porn industry.

The two young women, who share a bed every night, are jarringly reminiscent of excitable teenagers at a slumber party. Their childlike nature is starkly contrasted with the realities of their work: they are filmed giggling about whether they had an orgasm in the last film they did, and we see Gia preparing for a “boy-boy-girl” porn film, where she has sex with two much older men, and is paid $1,500 (£1,200) for less than three hours of work. Both Gia and Gianna say it was a lack of sex education in school that drove them to watch porn and eventually decide to star in it.

These scenes from Prague and LA are punctuated with clips of parents and their children sitting uneasily in their living rooms, discussing porn. While the home interviews don’t properly delve into the implications of viewing pornography in episode one, here’s hoping the two forthcoming episodes will answer the most interesting, and daunting, questions: What impact does watching porn have on viewers’ personal relationships? And is there any way of repairing the damage mass access to porn has already done?

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