AceShowbiz - Laverne Cox has pulled out of a film about sex workers following a backlash.
The "Orange Is the New Black" star had been due to executive produce "Sell/Buy/Date" - a documentary based on Sarah Jones' one-woman show - alongside Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones. However, the production has faced criticism for potentially contributing to the stigma around sex work.
Tagging Laverne in a post, one Twitter user wrote, "Just what the world needs. Another movie where non SWers debate whether sex work is exploitative or empowering."
"This project is everything you're supposedly against. Stop trying to tell sw stories by ignoring and doxxing them. (sic)"
Another added, "As a sex worker-- I get being misrepresented. I mean -- people in Hollywood are still doing SWer documentaries without talking to actual sexworkers. (sic)"
In response, Laverne explained she was pulling out of the project because she didn't feel she is in an "emotional place" to deal with any of the outrage.
In a statement, she shared, "When I agreed to come on as an executive producer of Sell, Buy Date I did so because I was so deeply moved by Sarah Jones' brilliant play and her unbelievable, undeniable talent as an artist, as an actor. I signed on to support her incredible talent."
"I have so much love for her as a human being. But 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."
"To be clear, I am no longer involved in any capacity in Sell. Buy, Date because I have to take care of my mental, physical and emotional health. That is all I have to say on the matter. (sic)"
The 48-year-old star went on to post an old video in which she discussed the need to decriminalise sex work.
Director-and-actress Sarah - who played multiple characters inspired by real people in her 2016 sex industry play - later wished Laverne well and thanked her for her support so far.
She tweeted, "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."
The documentary will reportedly focus on inequality of race, sexism and poverty, as well as in criminal justice, through the lens of the debate surrounding the sex industry and will explore whether sex work is exploitative or empowering.
Sarah has defended the documentary and urged people not to write off the project before seeing it.
She wrote, "As a Black feminist artist, I have always centered the stories of traditionally marginalised people, especially women and femmes struggling for liberation and self-determination. My sisters in the sex industry are no exception."
"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."