A little over two weeks ago, Marland Anderson aka Sledgehammer, died after being tased by the LAPD, who were responding to a report of an apparent suicide attempt. This was another tragic incident in a long string of events that the media and political interests love to sensationalize, publicize and use for their own agendas as it pertains to the adult industry and the performers who meet an untimely death, either through drug overdoses or self inflicted bodily harm. While the details of what led up to the incident are still being sorted out, what has become clear are the indifferent comments left by the public when they read the story and hear of the connection to the adult industry.

I have known several male and female performers who have died from suicide or drug overdoses. Cal Jammer, Lance Heywood, Jon Dough, Alex Jordan and others have unfortunately ended their lives at their own hands. It truly is sad to think that they were in so much pain, that they thought suicide was their only choice. I spoke with Cal Jammer the evening before his death and sensed he was not in a good place. I tried to get him to talk about what was bothering him but I don’t think he felt like he knew me well enough to divulge his personal issues. For a while after, I even felt like I hadn’t tried hard enough to get through to him, to maybe help him see another way of looking at his situation. I liked him and he was a sweet guy to be around.

But, what I find interesting, is that people automatically correlate that suicides amongst adult performers is a given; they think to themselves ‘of course they committed suicide, they’re in the porn business. That reasoning is absolutely wrong. It would be the same as stating that global warming is caused by Somalian pirates.

Drawing unwarranted cause-and-effect conclusions like ‘the porn industry causes suicides’ ignores too many variables. Suicides happen all over the world and across many different socioeconomic groups; from Wall Street executives to rock stars to high school students to soldiers returning from their military tours. While the professional arena that one does finally find themselves in can be a factor in suicides, what I believe is a more potent observation is that, in this day and age, chemical imbalances in the brain, powerful drugs being used to treat psychological conditions (sometimes through misdiagnosis), a growing sense of hopelessness (through technology that is expanding our awareness of the myriad of problems around the world) and ironically, our rising isolation from each other (despite these same forms of technology supposedly bringing us closer together) and economic hardship from the ongoing recession are the real underlying contributors to suicide, regardless of occupation. The CDC and The New York Times have even reported suicide rates being higher during recessions. (CDC, NYT )

In the adult business, many  who have been in the business for more than five or six years, struggle with the fact they are not the young, beautiful or handsome person they were when they originally came into the business and jobs were easy to book as the talent pool was around 100 people give or take. Everyone wanted to shoot the new girl or the new tried-and-true stud.  I knew Sledgehammer from my earliest days in the business. He and I have seen many changes happen since then. Today, the talent pool is larger than it has ever been,with new people coming in all the time and the shelf life of performers becoming shorter and shorter. As the business, in recent years, has shifted from a being a small circle of independent companies to a corporately owned environment where features are now referred to only as ‘content’, this is a difficult transition for many performers (who derived their sole income from adult feature work) and also to truly understand the complexity of this new platform that the web has become now for the various forms of entertainment media. The business takes so much of your attention, that when new trends are starting to form and old trends are becoming obsolete, most don’t even see what is happening and get a chance to act accordingly. The global recession since 2008 has hit every industry on every level (the middle class and the rich) and the adult industry has not been immune.

Economic uncertainty has always been a constant source of stress in this business for performers. Losing bookings, either through sickness or just not being a compelling performer for a director; creates a fear in performers that is further magnified when the performer is focusing on why he or she is not working as much anymore as opposed to just focusing on how they can be a better performer and to take better care of themselves. When you are making more money than you ever had before and everything is fun, thats when it’s easy to run off the rails. Drug and alcohol use doesn’t make an already muddy picture any clearer. Add to that the particular issues of background, upbringing, past & present relationships (parents, siblings and lovers) and how one sees themselves fitting in the world today (and what their options later in life are), you can see how this can make a toxic cocktail for someone giving in to the thought of ending their own life.

I don’t think many like to talk, address or acknowledge the fact that we ALL sometimes have these battles with our black hooded demons who will fight us to the death for its own power and dominance. And yet, it still is very much real for many people. 

I can go on about what else is between the cracks of our lives in this industry but I can assure you, it is not much different  than what others are going through regardless of status. Warrior or monk, king or slave, clever or simple minded; we all deal with mental paralysis, insecurity, fear of loss, fear of getting older, fear of losing the significance to others that we may once have had.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Talk to someone. Seek help. There are people who want and CAN help you.


  1. Juilius Alberico

    My brother took his own life by gunshot in June of 2003. He had lifelong depression. After numerous attempts at help, with unflinching family support, yet plagued by self-doubt and, ultimately, financial woes, he decided to end it all. But you’re right, taken one at a time, his problems were temporary. But the magnitude of them, piled up on his soul all at once, overwhelmed him at the wrong moment when he owned a pistol (God how I hate handguns). My family has become active in AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and has established a foundation in my brother’s name, The Martin G. Alberco Foundation. Its original mission was to provide scholarship aid to college students. It has evolved into a suicide awareness and support organization. Thanks for the blog. Any way to get the word out is helpful.

    • Steven St. Croix

      I’m sorry to hear of your loss. An overwhelming feeling of lack of control in one’s life can be frightening. It seems that today, those feelings are experienced in greater numbers. I encourage anyone who is feeling that to:
      1. Find someone who can just listen to you. They don’t have to fix anything, just listen.
      2. Find a support group of individuals that are experiencing the same issues.
      3. If you own guns, have a friend hold them or store them at a gun store/range.
      4. Exercise. Get out and do an activity you’ve never tried before. Focusing on new experiences helps take the focus of your perceived problems.
      5.Write. Get a journal and write down everything you are feeling. Don’t worry about proper grammar, spelling or punctuation. Just get it down on paper. Each morning write just three pages; whatever comes to mind, whatever you’re feeling, even if it’s ‘I hate my landlord’ 100 times, just write it.

      These are some helpful tips I have used to battle my own moments of despair. I hope it helps others. I would like to hear other people’s tips on fighting depression. What things have worked for you?

  2. eye8urcake

    I just found your blog and have to say that I’m extremely impressed with your opinions and insight and the way you express yourself. When I read about the gentleman being tazed after police were called, ostensibly to HELP this man, I was incensed. One of the things society as a whole fails at, miserably, is in aiding those who are mentally ill, whether that illness be a permanent, incurable part of an individual or a passing thing brought on by circumstances, whatever they are. Seizing upon a singular aspect of the life of anybody and using it to define in entirety who they are or were and to excuse or lessen the impact of whatever situation is being publicized and oftentimes politicized is a very glaring symptom of this problem and it doesn’t really seem to be getting any better. Thank you for a bucks the trend of smugness and lack of basic human compassion in covering such tragedy that seems to have become an epidemic.

  3. Hugo Durand

    Steven i have admired you as an artist, but i am now admiring you as a person. Your mission with this blog is a very strong and completed one. Being and adult performer is a high risk profession, as it is being a wall street guy or a nurse in a hospital. What you get in the adult industry is Prejudice. From the people you love the most (mother, fathers,..), from society (and with it the fear of never building a family) and, most important, from yourself. You are a clear of someone that has clearly gone above that and shows how you can be what you want and live happily ever after. More examples should come out and not hide. Whatever profissional choice you make, it should be the one you want and the one that makes you proude. And it should build on your life goals. Being a pornstar is perfect if it´s YOUR choice, and if you can manage the long term impact on your life. The same goes when you chose to work on wall street 12hours per day. There is a similar impact on your long term life (if you dont know when to stop) and you day-2-day (you will no socialize). It´s the same. Of course you have high salaries, but for what? Life is the result of your choices, and the amount of zeros on your bank account. So make sure your choice in the direction of what you truly want, of what´s gonna make you happy, an not of what gives you money. Wanting to have both, it´s when depression kicks in.

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