Porn Star Slammed for Reading to Elementary School Children

If you’re thinking about entering the porn industry, you probably won’t be able to read children’s books to elementary school kids afterwards. Maybe it’s because you’ll stimulate too many of their senses with all your clothes on, or because you’ll somehow send subliminal messages and slip in sexual innuendos while reciting Dr. Seuss rhymes. Sorry, but after a career like that, you’re simply…unfit for this kind of thing.
Okay, so the above is not the exact word-for-word reaction of Emerson Elementary School parents, but I don’t think I’m too far off from what they thought when they found out that former porn star Sasha Grey was invited to visit the school’s 1st and 3rd grade students. Sasha read them Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey on behalf of Read Across America, a year-round program by the National Education Association that aims to motivate reading among children.
Sure, Sasha was a porn star. She even won some AVN awards during her handful of years in the business. But she hasn’t made an adult film in two years and is officially retired from the industry; she had a multiple-episode role in the show Entourage and has acted in a Steven Soderbergh film, among others. She also published a book of self-portraits and short essays on her sexual philosophy, and a portion of the book launch’s proceeds were donated to the charity Housing Works. In short, she’s moved on, but it seems like those California parents can’t see anything beyond her XXX filmography.
And even though TMZ took plenty of pictures and Sasha tweeted about it later that day, the elementary school is now denying the fact that her visit ever happened. A school district representative told TMZ, “We have several celebrities who read to our students each year. The actress you have indicated [Sasha] was not present.”
Maybe my moral compass points a little differently than that of a parent, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that Sasha is being bashed for her nonprofit activity by both the parents of the children she served and the school who was initially happy to have her. It’s not as if Sasha had a huge celebrity blunder and is now collecting community service as part of a PR stunt; she’s actually participating because she believes in Read Across America’s cause. How long should one wait after filming porn to actively support literacy? Is there a statute of limitations on scandalous jobs?! Are people scared she’s going to promote sexual activity over literacy or suddenly have sex with the kids?!?
Though denied by Emerson Elementary, Sasha reiterates how proud she is of her non-profit involvement. She tweeted a statement yesterday, a portion of which is included below:
“Read Across America” is a program that was designed to promote literacy and instill a lifelong love of reading in elementary school students. Promoting education is an effort that is close to my heart. Illiteracy contributes to poverty; encouraging children to pick up a book is fundamental. I believe education is a universal right. I committed to this program with the understanding that people would have their own opinions about what I have done, who I am and what I represent. I am an actor. I am an artist. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a partner. I have a past that some people may not agree with, but it does not define who I am. I will not live in fear of it. To challenge non-profit education programs is an exercise in futility, counter-productive and anti-educational. I cannot thank my fans and “Read Across America” enough for supporting my decision. Your support and kind words continue to inspire me. I believe in the future of our children, and I will remain an active supporter and participant in education-focused initiatives.”
For the record, Read Across America states that “There is something powerful about a policeman, firefighter, mayor, radio personality, pastor, high school quarterback, or grandmother sharing their love for reading.” The program doesn’t discount that love if it comes from a porn star, former or otherwise. Emerson Elementary School parents: neither should you.
What do you think: Do the parents have a right to be upset about Sasha reading to their kids? Or is Sasha being unfairly shamed after leaving porn for good?

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