Laverne Cox exits sex work doc ‘Sell/Buy/Date’ amid backlash

 'I am not in an emotional place to deal with the outrage,' Cox said.

Laverne Cox is stepping back from Sell/Buy/ Date, a documentary she was set to executive produce alongside Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones. 

The actress announced she would no longer be participating in the project that is based on the play by Sarah Jones who is set to make her feature directorial debut with the documentary about sex workers. 

Laverne Cox
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

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When the project was announced last week, the news was met with criticism from sex workers on social media who accused Jones of co-opting their personal stories for the 2016 one-woman play the film is based on. The play was was based on several interviews Jones conducted with sex workers. Activists allege the story would be stigmatizing and Cox has been vocal about decriminalizing sex work in the past. 

“I am not in an emotional place to deal with the outrage by some around my participation in this project. So I have decided to pull out,” Cox wrote on social media Wednesday night. “To be clear I am no longer involved in any capacity in ‘Sell Buy Date.’ I have to take care of my mental, physical and emotional health. This is all I have to say on the matter.”

Jones responded to Cox’s announcement on Twitter.

“I’m so grateful to you Laverne for coming on the journey with me thus far, and I’m looking forward to continuing my work on the film, and only ask that everyone give Laverne her space while keeping an open mind about the project before judging it,” she posted. 

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The playwright also responded to the criticism she had received on social media. 

“I appreciate everyone who has reached out of commented with concerns about how folks currently in the sex industry will be represented in my film. As a Black feminist artist, I have always centered the stories of traditionally marginalized people, especially women and femmes struggling for liberation and self-determination. My sisters in the sex industry are no exception,” she wrote.

“I am committed to deep listening to folks with lived experience, not only in my interviews, but also in those we hire behind the scenes.”

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