August Ames Cause of Death Revealed; Bullying Backlash to Blame?

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Even in 2017, this story was positively surreal.

Just two days after straight porn star August Ames made waves with her controversial and homophobic statements, she died by suicide at the age of 23.

It was mysterious, strange, and sad.

August Ames Image

And now we know exactly how she died.

August Ames, whose real name was Mercedes Grabowski, was a straight porn actress whose homophobic tweet and ensuing defense of it made the rounds earlier this week.

It all started with a tweet of hers:

"Whichever (lady) performer is replacing me tomorrow for @EroticaXNews, you’re shooting with a guy who has shot gay porn, just to let cha know."

"BS is all I can say [shrug emoji] Do agents really not care about who they’re representing? #ladirect I do my homework for my body."

So, what she's clearly saying here is that she believes that gay men, bi men, or a straight man who has had sex with a man for money is more likely to have secretly contracted an STI.

August Ames Pic

Plenty of male porn actors have sex with people they wouldn't choose to date - money is money after all.

However, the porn industry tests its performers regularly - particularly those who film bareback, as most of them do.

This is a complicated issue, because as August Ames said herself while defending herself on Twitter, it's her body and her choice.

Which is fine. Being a sex worker does not in any way negate your bodily autonomy or grand automatic consent or whatever.

You know what's not fine?

Bigotry.

Some sex workers refuse to do scenes with a man who's had sex with a man. Some sex workers refuse to do scenes with black men. That's their right.

August Ames Photo

In both cases, though, it sure looks a lot like prejudice.

And the assumption that a man who has done gay porn is more likely to be diseased than someone else, well, that reeks of some anti-gay beliefs.

Her tweet was further complicated by the fact that she was "warning" some unknown other woman, as if she believed that all women shared her prejudiced belief.

"don’t have anything to apologize for!" she tweeted.

"Apologizing for taking extra steps to [ensure] that my body stays safe?"

Obviously, she would not have faced this kind of backlash if she were just a performer who always had her costars wear condoms (though that can be a career-killer). It's because her "precautions" were so targeted that she was controversial.

"F--k you guys attacking me when none of my intentions were malicious. I f--king love the gay community!"

August Ames on Instagram

Given her other tweets, people read that as "I love these disease-prone, untrustworthy folks!"

"What the f--k ever! I CHOOSE who I have inside my body. No hate."

A lot of people wanted for her to understand that her views did not reflect reality and that her beliefs were mistaken.

Though some of the responses to her tweets were extreme, the vast majority did not want her to die.

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, December 5th, news broke that August Ames had died at the age of 23.

23 is young -- young enough that she could have later grown and realized the error of her beliefs. She's not the first to have some problematic opinions at 23? 

For a little perspective, we're talking about a woman who was probably too young to have told you where she was and what she was doing on 9/11.

August Ames

August died by suicide, but the circumstances and manner of her death were unknown.

Until now.

HollywoodLife reports that the The Ventura County Medical Examiner Media spokesperson shared August Ames' cause of death:

"Mercedes Grabowski died of asphyxia due to hanging. [The] manner is suicide."

That is the medical examiner's determination.

The toxicology report (those never get finished as quickly as they do on police procedurals) has yet to come back, and may be illuminating regarding Ames' state of mind.

We can only assume that the backlash played a role in her mental state before she took her own life.

August Ames has amassed more than 270 credits in the porn industry since 2013. She'll be missed by fans, fellow adult performers, and of course by her friends.

Her husband, Kevin Moore, has asked for privacy as he mourns his wife.

Whatever anyone may think of August Ames' statements, this is a tragedy.

A young woman lost her life. Many people lost a friend and loved one.

And the important discussion about STIs, homophobia, and sex workers? That will wait for another time.

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