Duke University freshman Belle Knox says every day for her has become a nightmare since her side job as a porn star was exposed earlier this winter.
The 19-year-old most famous college kid in the U.S. tells HuffPost that she expected some people would hate her after she became an adult film actress.
But she didn’t expect the intense vitriol to reach this point. Not even close.
"It’s horrible how my family’s safety is literally threatened," Knox said.
In the past two months, Belle Knox‘s porn career has driven the prestigious school in Durham, N.C., into such a frenzy that she can no longer go to parties.
All the while, some strangers have posted details about her family on the Internet, while others troll her online, even threatening to rape and kill Knox.
"Either drunk guys will yell at me, ‘You’re the porn star!’ or I have a bunch of girls glaring at me," Knox said, noting that privacy has become a struggle.
Although Knox never publicly revealed her real name, people have posted her identity and background, along with that of her family in Spokane, Wash.
"It’s horrible and creepy how obsessed people are," Knox said. "People look at me like this messed-up naive little girl. They want to shame and terrorize me."
British and American celebrity gossip tabloids immediately disregarded Knox’s request to be identified by her stage name and have used her birth name.
The Daily Mail said Miriam Weeks‘ parents were horrified by her career. But Knox maintained that her family fully supports her, and that article was bogus.
The New York Daily News reported Wednesday Knox is dropping out of Duke, but Knox says that too is false, and she intends to graduate with her class.
The uproar started en route to a party in January.
A friend confronted Knox about her appearances in porn, which she began in November. Knox confessed to the friend and he promised not to tell anyone.
"Within hours, he told everybody at the party, and then it went from one frat to another," Knox said, declining to name the student who she said outed her.
The story became a national sensation and Duke students have harassed Knox non-stop online with a flood of Facebook and Twitter messages.
"It was just like every single day things would get worse," Knox said.
"I was getting a bunch of students tweeting me mean things. There were stares and whispers in the dining hall. After I was outed, every single day was like a nightmare."
At first, Duke was unresponsive, she said, but Knox maintains that the school administration since has been supportive. Duke declined to comment.
Despite the ordeal, Knox said she plans to continue both porn and classes at Duke. She frequently mentions working to increase the rights of sex workers.
"I really want to break down barriers," Knox said. "I want to change peoples’ views on sex work … I mean, I was the first porn star to go on The View. This is really exciting for me."
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