In a press release on their blog, AVN said the category would be merged with the “Best Duo Scene” category and that all nominees would run for a single award.
“The team at AVN offers a heartfelt, unequivocal apology to anyone who felt that the category of Best Ethnic Scene was an attempt to slight performers of color,” the release said. “It truly pains us to have offended any member of our community.”
AVN shared additional thoughts on the category to “provide context” for their decision. The organization said the category was part of a slew of categories like Best Fetish Scene and Best Bear Scene “aimed at certain consumer groups.” They said Best Ethnic Scene was added “to recognize producers who work largely with performers of particular ethnic backgrounds.”
“The addition of this category was never intended to restrict performers of any non-European ethnic background from competing fully in ANY other category, whether in the judged categories or the Fan Award categories,” the said. The group said it invited members of the community to give the nominees a “comprehensive critique.”
After the nominations were announced, members of the adult film community, like actor Hugh Hunter, withdrew their names from the nominations.
In a statement to INTO, Hunter said that “their explanation in defense of adding this never-before-used category still smacks of racial prejudice.”
“While they validated the public’s concerns over the category, removed the category, and blended the nominees into other categoriesall positive things and steps in the right directionthey never apologized for the methodology used in creating this new category which demonstrated racial prejudice,” the actor said.
At the time of the nominations, Hunter wrote that he’d “never felt so ill-at-ease” with awards as he did with the 2018 GayVN awards.
The @gayvn awards announce nominations including a BEST ETHNIC SCENE category for black, Latin, and Asian models. Meanwhile none are nominated as best actor or supporting actor.
My response, “…I am respectfully declining my nominations in all categories…”
Full letter here. pic.twitter.com/CQPxZFRuZ6
— Hugh Hunter (@theHughHunter) November 25, 2017
“The gay porn industry has always been a place of veiled racism and bigotry,” Hunter wrote on Twitter. “I’m asking fans, supporters and admirers of gay pornography to not support these awards or any awards that promote racism and bigotry.”