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The Naked Sorority, Part II

 SuicideGirls with a vengeance
By CAMILLE DODERO  |  May 3, 2006

Sometimes a story changes just by telling it.

Last week, hours after the Boston Phoenix cover story “The Naked Sorority” was published, the moderator of the SGBoston message board and SuicideGirl “Kera” were kicked off the site by management.

In the story, Dan Wherren, who appeared on the Phoenix cover wearing an SG logo and who has been the moderator of SGBoston (a regional SuicideGirls group with 220 members) for two years, expressed ambivalence about the site’s management and the allegations of everything from misogyny to censorship, mismanagement to manipulation. “I’m sure that 90 percent of what’s out there that’s negative is true,” Wherren told me. “But even though I don’t believe in PepsiCo and Coca­Cola, I still buy their products.”

Co-founder “Missy Suicide” (a/k/a Selena Mooney) elaborated on the site’s decision to delete Wherren immediately after the story was published by posting to the SGBoston message board. “As SuicideGirls or Regional Group Owners we ask you to represent the site to the outside world and the larger community. If you choose to represent us to the press by saying, ‘90% of the negative stuff you read is true’ you shouldnt [sic] be surprised to learn we ask you not to represent us anymore . . . You can choose to see this as censorship but I see it as trying to keep a happy and positive atmosphere on the site . . .”

Kera, a 25-year-old SuicideGirl studying at UMass Boston and whose photo was also prominently placed in last week’s article, immediately contested. “[I]’m really bothered by this,” she wrote in a message-board thread, and then added, “[I]sn’t one of the things that’s negative that’s being said about the site is that there is an authoritarian regime running it who doesn’t allow people to disagree with them publicly for fear of being removed from the site? i never believed that really. . . . but now . . .”

Suddenly Kera’s voice disappeared from the site too, her journal entries deleted, her name grayed out (showing her to be a nonmember). Her nude photo sets remained, however.

A handful of SuicideGirls’ journals reflected the group fissure. “Palo” left her off-site e-contact information “if I disappear for some reason.”

Wherren writes in a press release, “I stand behind that statement. The only thing I might wish to change is the percentage. SuicideGirls is a purely corporate entity. It is the Microsoft of the Alt-Erotica industry,” he says. “The only positive aspect of SG is that it . . . draws a loyal community of members. That is what I enjoyed about the website, that is what I was interviewed about. The heart of SG is its membership and models.”

“I’m not deceived anymore — my eyes are opened,” says Kera, reached by phone this past Tuesday. “It doesn’t change the ideals that I believe in — the ideals that the site professes are worthwhile — but I now understand that the site does not even come close to living up to those ideals.”

But there’s more. Kera says that Missy Suicide invited her back to the site if she would sign an “updated Model Release form.” Kera decided that the agreement effectively committed her to “indentured servitude.” For one, it “basically amounts to a four-year contract at the very minimum.” (She says it automatically renews for a second year and then stipulates that SG models can’t work for competitors for another two years.) Plus, “in the original contract [I signed], [SuicideGirls] buy the universal and exclusive rights to the photos for its own use. In this contract, it’s not just the photos, but it’s also the right to resell to other third-party individual for whatever use that they want.” The contract also buys “perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free” rights to each model’s “name,” “persona,” “autograph,” “voice,” “biographical or historical information,” and “body art and tattoos.” Kera opted not to re-sign. “I don’t want to sell my personality.”

Reached by phone, SuicideGirls marketing and publicity arm Alexis Haase said simply, “We have no comment.” On everything? “Yup.” And she hung up.

To echo “Sicily,” a/k/a Jennifer Caravella, a SuicideGirl who angrily left the site last fall and was quoted last October in the Phoenix, “There’s nothing punk rock about that Web site.”

Related: The naked sorority, Phoenix | Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Photos: Phoenix live at the Paradise, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , University of Massachusetts Boston, Dan Wherren, Missy Suicide,  More more >
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The Naked Sorority, Part II
Unfortunately you missed the beginnning of Missy's Post wherein she states "The Boston Pheonix is a small alt weekly that was only trying to sell papers by doing a story on us. When they printed lies about us, it didn't affect our traffic and when they print what you see as a positive article about us it doesn't affect our traffic either."
By ProjectWARBEAST on 05/05/2006 at 6:38:34
The Naked Sorority, Part II
As I stated in my last SG entry before leaving the site: PolyStyrene said it best: "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard, but I think...OH BONDAGE UP YOURS!" Being an SG model or member is all well and good until your opinions don't reflect the interests of SG Incorporated. I fell for the DIY pro female image. But clearly an image is all it ever was. Nothing makes that more evident than the new contract.
By on 05/09/2006 at 1:38:37

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 See all articles by: CAMILLE DODERO

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