Duke reacts to news of student porn star

generic National News
By AJ Willingham

HLN

(HLNtv.com) — Belle Knox, a Duke University freshman who recently revealed her double life as a porn actress, is raising eyebrows, rallying support and calling out her school on its financial policies (and no, Belle Knox is not her real name). Now, the university has responded to her rise to fame.

Knox wrote two articles for XoJane.com. The first detailed her secret life as a porn actress under the subhead, “I am a porn star. I am a college freshman. You know nothing about me.”

In the article, she wrote that she was struck with fear when a classmate started following her porn alter ego on Twitter. “When I got the notification, my heart stopped,” Knox wrote. “I stood there shaking in disbelief and fear. I knew what was coming next: fear, humiliation, shame, threats, name calling.”

Knox said that since her identity was disclosed to a few students, she has been harassed online, and been told multiple times to kill herself.

In her second piece, she revealed her professional name — Belle Knox — and her face, both things that could previously be found online, including on social media. However, it was the first time she connected her identity to her school. In her first article, and in a profile of her that was published in the Duke Chronicle newspaper, she used a different pseudonym, “Lauren.”

Using her professional name, Knox detailed horrifying, violent threats she had received after her identity was revealed. She claimed when she tried to work with police, they responded with “disrespect as to my welfare and safety.” Although it is unclear which police department she contacted, HLN made several calls to the Durham, North Carolina, Police Department and the Duke University Police Department. Neither returned calls for comment. The Duke Police website contains guidelines regarding the way they handle harassment complaints were Knox to file one.

“Duke takes reports of harassment seriously and each report will be investigated fully,” the site reads. “The Duke University Police Department treats all crime victims with dignity, compassion, and respect.”

Knox also gave an interview to Playboy in which she said, point blank, that if Duke were cheaper, she wouldn’t have done porn at all:

Playboy: You wrote that one of the main reasons you did porn was to pay for school and not be saddled with large student loans once you graduated. Would you be doing porn if Duke were free?

Knox: No. If Duke had given me the proper financial resources, I wouldn’t have done porn. They have nobody to blame for the scandal but themselves.

Her comments have raised a lot of questions regarding how her experience fits into Duke University’s policies and guidelines. HLN spoke to a representative at the university who made it clear the school was refraining from talking about details.

“While we will not comment on any specific situation, there are some relevant facts,” Keith Lawrence, Duke University Executive Director of News and Communications, told HLN in an e-mail. “There is no restriction in the Duke Community Standard regarding off-campus employment.”

Knox said she truly felt threatened by the comments and abuse leveled at her. If that were the case, Lawrence said the school has resources to help her.

“We are committed to protecting the privacy, safety and security of our students. Whenever we identify a student in need of support, we reach out to them and offer the many resources that we have available on campus to assist them,” he said.

In response to Knox’s comment that her porn career was started out of financial need, Lawrence wrote, “Duke has an expansive financial aid program that meets 100 percent of every student’s demonstrated (need) based on a careful review of his or her individual family circumstances. More than half of all Duke students receive some form of financial assistance from the university to cover the cost of their education.”

HLN’s repeated attempts to reach Knox for comment have been unsuccessful. For now, Knox has been dealing with the backlash in her own way. Her Twitter account (NSFW) contains several warnings to those hurling threats.

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2 comments

  • Stinger

    Since when is going to school and working in porn is living a double life?
    It is a legal job. Why is it any of the school’s business what she does to earn money to pay for schooling. She is not doing the porn on campus Duke needs to back off. This should have never became a story on National News of someone earning a legal wage to pay for school. What do you want her to do quite her legal job get student loans and never pay them back. That seems more news worthy!!!!! I am proud of her for working and going to school.

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