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Joshua’s Story: Why I Left the Porn Industry After Winning Awards and Performing in Over 1,000 Films

"I had watched porn a lot by that point, and it seemed exciting to be part of that industry. I mean how difficult could it be, right?"

Why I Left the Porn Industry After Performing in Over 1,000 Films

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization. The individual in this featured story discusses religion, but Fight the New Drug is not religiously affiliated.

My name is Joshua Broome, and I have been in over 1,000 pornographic films, won several awards, traveled the world, and grossed well over a million dollars from the porn industry.

Some people may quickly look at my fame and what felt like a fortune and say, “I would love to have that life.” But don’t jump to conclusions. My story is not a positive one, it is filled with loneliness, depression, and an identity crisis that I nearly led to me taking my life.

How it all started

I grew up in a small town called Pageland, South Carolina, which is the self-proclaimed watermelon capital of the world. It’s not, but we like to think it is.

My mom raised me at her parents’ home, which also included her sister and two brothers. Even though I lived in the same city as my father, we did not have a relationship as I grew up. My mother and I lived with her parents and siblings until she met a man who swept her off her feet. Unfortunately, that same man physically and mentally abused her under the influence of heavy drugs, which left us broken, poor, and abandoned.

We moved into government housing and then eventually some nicer apartments. My mom was a fighter. I’m alive today because she instilled an attitude of mental fortitude that did not allow me to give up. Even though I wore the mask of a popular, confident teenage boy, I truthfully felt deeply inadequate, incapable, and overlooked. My feelings of rejection both scared me and drove me to feel like I had something to prove. It caused me to outwork most people, but it also caused me to be a flake and made it impossible to have genuine relationships.

Related: I Almost Did Porn Because I Thought It’d Be Easy Money

My childhood was relatively normal. I had friends, played sports, and eventually went to college. Like many people, I embraced the freedom that came with college. I partied hard, I joined a frat, I hooked up with as many girls as I could, and I worked part-time jobs along the way. It was around this time I started watching a lot of porn, and I never thought much of it. But, there was always something inside me that caused me to cheat on girlfriends, leave friends hanging, not show up, and find any way I could to self-destruct any opportunity or relationship I had in my life.

After a short stint in college, I moved to Los Angeles, California, to become a full-time model and actor. That’s when the porn industry started playing a larger role in my life.

Listen to Joshua Broome’s interview with Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug.

Podcast - Terry

The start of my new life in porn

When arriving in Los Angeles, I stayed in a hotel for the first few days, and then, I found myself buying a wrap at McDonald’s, where my debit card was declined. I was broke.

Luckily, I found a couch to surf on, and he helped me find a job working at a restaurant/bar to make enough money to share an apartment with someone I didn’t even know. I was making a decent amount of money there, and then, one night, a group of girls asked me if I had ever considered acting. I had done various modeling and acting jobs since I was 15, and at that time, I had aspirations of that becoming my career. They were talking about pornographic movies, though, not the mainstream acting I had been pursuing all along.

I had watched porn a lot by that point, and it seemed exciting to be part of that industry. I mean, how difficult could it be?

Related: “I Thought I was Keeping Marriages Together”: True Stories from an Ex-Porn Performer

My debut in the world’s “sexiest” industry

The next thing I knew, I was signing a contract with the top adult agency. I was promised endless fame, just like that. I have always struggled with acceptance; every word my new agent said spoke to my insecurities. So I did one film, and then another, and then another.

Several years later, I had done over 1,000. Before long, I won Performer of the Year and starred in the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards Show on Showtime. My friends saw that which led to my uncles, aunts, grandparents, mom, and every person I knew knowing about my career in porn. I went from being proud of the awards I kept on a shelf in my living room to being embarrassed, realizing what I had done with my life.

The shame and guilt rose to a point where I wasn’t numb to what I was doing anymore. I felt trapped. I believed that I couldn’t do anything else, and depression set in.

Related: Desperate for Money and Validation, I Joined the Porn Industry—This is How It Changed Me

I truly believed that I had ruined my life to the point of no return. So, I continued to say yes to the need to be accepted. I never was attracted to guys, but they were to me. The idea of doing gay porn and the new level of fame, the money, the praise, and the attention all somehow made logical sense to me.

I was to the point that sex and shaking a hand were all the same to me.  It didn’t matter if the other actor or actors were girls or guys it didn’t matter if it was one camera or five cameras with a crew of 20, nothing mattered anymore.  This went on for about six months, and then, one day, I found myself wishing I would die. I was humiliated and had let my family down. I was sure they were embarrassed and wanted nothing to do with me.

Watch Joshua’s story below.

The moment I came back to reality

One day, I walked into a bank to deposit a check, and the clerk said, “Joshua, is there anything else I can do for you?”

Because I was typically referred to by my stage name, this was the first time I had heard out loud my real name in months, years actually. I woke up and saw myself as someone who was broken and needed reality. I needed my mom and needed some sense of normal.

She welcomed me with open arms after I gave my apartment and everything but my clothes away to the first person I could find to take over my lease.

Related: What Causes People to Choose to Go Into the Porn Industry?

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Facing the facts

Now, I was somewhere else and could forget about all I did. However, it was only a few days until customers at the grocery store where I worked recognized me. I then worked at a gym, but everyone soon knew my secret. This kept happening, over and over.

I tried for years to run from my past. I tried my best to hide and forget, but my time in porn kept coming up and coming back to me. The mental and emotional pain of what I had done was overwhelming.

Related: If You’re In the Sex Industry and You’re Thinking of Leaving, This Article Is for You

After some time, I met a girl who was so innocent,  perfect, and exciting, but I just knew, like many people, she would be disgusted with me if she knew. I was ready for rejection, so I told her everything. I told her my dark secrets, and can you guess her response? She accepted me for who I was then and told me my past had no bearing on who I could become—finally, being honest felt so encouraging and freeing.

Realizing what I truly wanted all along

What I had longed for was not fame. It was to experience love and acceptance. It was not money that I needed to feel like my life was worth something, but for someone to allow me the opportunity to feel valued.

The woman who saw potential in me, we have been together ever since. We have endured countless attacks and hurts because of my past, but we’ve had far more victories. We have been married for nearly five years, we have two sons, and we operate a nonprofit where our passion is to reach young adults and equip them to form their identities instead of allowing society and negative experiences to diminish their dreams.

In addition to that, I am now passionate about advocating against pornography. The invisible scars that I carry have impacted me emotionally and mentally to this day. Through honesty, setting boundaries, and having accountability partners I have found success to the battle against porn but it is a continuous process. It’s a battle I’m personally going through, and I use my experiences to lead others to find freedom from the thing that nearly took my life. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Love is always worth the fight.

Joshua Broome

BHW - General

Porn harms those in front of and behind the camera

Joshua’s story is powerful and unique. However, he isn’t the only former performer pulling back the curtain to expose the reality of the adult entertainment industry.

The porn industry brims with violence, drugs, coercion, disease, and exploitation. Active porn performers seldom speak out, fearing industry blacklisting or discrimination, but many share their experiences after leaving. These personal accounts are never pretty.

Related: This Anonymous Performer’s Reddit Post About the Realities of the Porn Industry is Chilling

Harms of porn affect not only those in front of the camera or behind the screen but extend beyond them. There is a growing body of research that shows how consumers, relationships, and society are all harmed by porn. This isn’t a moral argument. It’s simply something to consider, given the facts. Click here to read more about the proven harmful effects of porn and make a decision for yourself.

Consider before consuming, and fight for real love.

About the Author

Joshua Broome and his wife Hope, who have been married for nearly 5 years, have two sons. Together, they founded and operate a nonprofit organization and are passionate about leading young adults. Joshua has a book coming out in 2021 titled, Prodigal Pornstar. Joshua currently travels and shares his story all over the world. You can follow Joshua on Instagram, TikTok, or email him at [email protected].

Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization. This story discusses religion, but Fight the New Drug is not religiously affiliated.