CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Those connected with the BDSM subsect of the adult community have been reeling from the news that began to trickle out earlier this week via social media of performer Natali DeMore and director/editor Jack Banner's passing. Today, AVN confirmed with the Los Angeles County Coroner's office that DeMore and Banner committed double suicide last Friday night at DeMore's studio in Panorama City.
DeMore was 35, and Banner was 60.
Lt. Fred Corral of the LA County Department of Coroner told AVN that Banner* "was examined yesterday, cause of death was a suicide, a shotgun wound to the head," and that DeMore* "also [died by] suicide, a shotgun wound of the head and neck."
One of the first people to learn of DeMore and Banner's passing was Dugeon Corp owner John the Ogre, who oversaw DeMore's marketing program and a lot of the administrative duties for her websites (BondageOrgasm.com and SmotheredSlave.com). The outpouring of affection he's seen for DeMore as this news has spread is comforting, he told AVN.
"It's so great to see that so many people are talking about it," he said. "Natali was not the biggest person socially in porn or BDSM, but god, she was a big part of our community. She shot plenty of girls, she was a part of BDSM porn, and she did a good job doing it, she was very professional. It's so great to see so many people writing articles and having interest. I'm just glad that people are actually taking notice, because I think a part of her problem was feeling that she wasn't noticed."
Actor and publicist James Bartholet, who handled PR for DeMore around the time she opened her studio in 2008, echoed some of John's comments. "She was a very private person about her personal life," Bartholet said. "She was very much into taking care of her own business. She always struck me as being an up, professional person. She was a lovely woman, a real professional and a talented performer. It's just a huge loss."
Fellow fetish performer Soma Snakeoil, who also learned of the twin suicide early on, said the news came as a tremendous shock. "Natali was a delightful, upbeat, generous person," Snakeoil remarked. "I didn't see any evidence that she was suicidal. It was an honor to work with her, and top her, because she didn't generally submit to women. The whole community is just heartbroken by the tragedy of how she died, and that we didn't see it coming at all, and she's certainly going to be missed on many different levels."
Banner, who edited content for DeMore's sites, was a veteran of the bondage sphere, directing and frequently appearing in titles primarily from Harmony Concepts, but also including Anton Productions, DomincWolfe.com and BondageDesigns.com.
Photo of Natali DeMore courtesty of BurningAngel.com, photo of Jack Banner with model Kendra James courtesy of AntonVideo.com.
*Real names removed by request.