An Exercise in Irony: Banks Throw Adult Entertainers Under the Bus
Major financial institutions have started shutting down the accounts of adult entertainers for no apparent reason. Despite the fact that those affected are in good financial standing, it seems that the only commonality between them is the fact that they work in the pornography industry. It appears that the account closures may be happening after the banks are receiving heat from the U.S. Department of Justice, in an attempt to undermine legal businesses that may not be in compliance with the its own moral judgments. Coined Operation Choke Point, the practice is not only legally questionable, but an eerie attempt at governmental overreach.
The complaints against the banks started with closed accounts at Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), and have even included online transaction site Paypal (NASDAQ:EBAY). Actress Chanel Preston told Al Jazeera that her accounts City National Bank were terminated, and she couldn’t get an answer as to the reason. “When I went to deposit my check, my account had been shut down,” she said. “I asked, ‘Is it because I do porn?” She didn’t get an answer.
Actress Teagan Presley experienced something similar when Chase sent her a letter asking her to terminate all of her account activity. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account,” she said. It doesn’t stop with Presley, as Chase has reportedly gone on to close the accounts of hundreds in the adult entertainment business.
So what is the motive behind Operation Choke Point? Jason Oxman from The Hill writes that suffocating the financial transactions between parties in industries seen as unfavorable is the DOJ’s way of attempting to disable them. “Payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that – although providing a legal service – are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities,” he writes.