VALENCIA, Calif.—It was a project launched with the best of intentions in order to help out an important member of the Girlfriends Films family. Upon receiving word that performer/director Elexis Monroe needed surgery and was facing mounting medical expenses with no health insurance, Girlfriends Films quickly stepped up to the plate to organize a benefit movie.
In November 2012, Monroe was rushed to the hospital, suffering from severe infections in her face as a result of dental abscesses. Though an initial surgery initially prevented the infection from spreading, Monroe needed to undergo additional emergency surgeries to prevent facial disfigurement and the spread of the infection into Monroe's bloodstream. Needless to say, medical bills started piling up.
The company announced in December that it would organize a movie to help Monroe with her situation and that it had already pledged it's $1,000 monthly charity donation to help pay for her expenses.
"Girlfriends Films will soon be shooting a special DVD issue of our popular series Lesbian Sex which we want Elexis to host," company owner Dan O'Connell said upon making the announcement in December. "Performers will donate half their fees to the Elexis fund, and those donations will be matched by Girlfriends Films. Given the number of performers who have submitted their names for the project, it will be a difficult selection process."
In none of Girlfriends' announcements surrounding the benefit video did it state that the company was giving the proceeds of the sale of the video to Monroe. With distributors frequently taking 30-90 days to pay it's possible Monroe wouldn't see a dime of that money until four months after she needed the surgery.
Somehow that message was muddled last week when a few fellow performers who took part in the shoot and some fans posted that they believed that Monroe was "screwed" out of the money she was "promised" by Girlfriends Films by not receiving a portion of Lesbian Sex 10's proceeds. A select few hit Twitter and the Girlfriends Films online forum to voice their displeasure despite Girlfriends contributing a considerable amount to Monroe's medical expenses.
In order to put the internet chatter to rest, O'Connell issued the following statement to AVN:
Elexis fell ill on Thanksgiving and Girlfriends Films arranged the benefit movie immediately, shooting it within a month. I felt very good about arranging a situation where the performers would contribute half their normal fees to Elexis for personal and medical expenses, and Girlfriends Films would match those contributions, even adding some additional funds. I knew that Elexis needed the money quickly and—given the time required for post-production, movie release, and subsequent collection of accounts receivable—there would be a months-long wait for revenue to start arriving. So, we shot the movie with lightning speed and Elexis received her money over a month ago. To facilitate contributions from fans, we offered to have those contributions sent to us and then forwarded them to Elexis, who didn’t want her home address published, of course.
No matter how you shake it, this is truly a “benefit movie.” Some folks appear to assume that some or all of our contribution would come in the form of a future revenue share. However, Girlfriends Films never represented that we would be giving Elexis part of the movie revenue. Elexis contacted and booked the performers who took part in the movie. I did not have contact with any of the performers until they came on set to shoot their scenes. I’m not sure what Elexis told the participants but, during production, none of the performers asked me any questions or made any comments that would suggest that future proceeds would be part of the deal. None of the press releases we disseminated reported that this would include a revenue-sharing arrangement. I should add that the movie was placed in our regular release schedule (knocking out the originally planned scenes in the long-scheduled Lesbian Sex, Volume 10, which has a release date of February 8) and that it was not put out as an additional movie or otherwise utilized as an additional revenue source for the month.
Most people seem to understand all of this and there actually has not been a lot of negativity. Except for the performers in the movie, I would venture a guess that any of those who have posted negative comments did not make any contribution to the cause. And I doubt that there have been any contributions made by any of the other adult studios that Elexis has worked with. As usual, Girlfriends Films has acted in a responsible and generous manner from the very inception of the movie and—as we always do—has represented our industry in the best possible light.
Monroe, to her credit, didn't appear to feed into the internet gossip, but felt it necessary to set the record straight with the following statement, in part, that she posted to Twitter on Feb. 8.
Neither Dan O'Connell nor any representative from Girlfriends Films promised that I would receive a percentage of sales profits from Lesbian Sex 10 - The Elexis Benefit Movie. Any hopes or beliefs that my fans, the performers, or I may have had about this is incorrect. I apologize for any embarrassment this may have caused GFF.
To clarify, I received donations from the models and $3,200 directly from Girlfriends Films from the film. I was the December charity $1,000 recipient. I was paid $1,000 for work on the movie, work also behind & in front of the camera. I am deeply grateful for both contributions, as they helped to cover my living and medical expenses while I underwent emergency bone surgery.
I would never knowingly mislead fans or the beautiful performers who have come to my aid. The love I have for my fans is equalled only by my love for the ladies I work with.
As a result of the surgeries to her face, of which she must have more of, Monroe has permanently lost her hearing in one ear.
Monroe continues to accept donations via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.