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How a harrowing 24 hours ended with porn actress August Ames taking her own life.

Warning: This articles deals with suicide and may be distressing for some readers.

After posting a final “f*ck y’all” to Twitter in the early hours of December 5th, 23-year-old August Ames took her own life.

The adult film actress (real name Mercedes Grabowski) was found dead in a park in California at 3.45 on Tuesday morning, The Blast reports. She left a note apologising to her parents.

Her brother believes the internet killed her. Ames was the target of cyber bullying in the hours before her death, with people labelling her “homophobic” and threatening violence.

Several weeks before she died, on September 13, Ames spoke publicly about suffering sexual abuse as a child and struggling with depression and bipolar disorder.

“I try to do therapy. I hate that word. I hate therapy,” Ames told the Holly Randall Unfiltered podcast, as reported by The Independent.

She said she was struggling to deal with memories of the abuse she suffered as a child. “It was just awful. It’s still recent where I have to keep myself occupied or else I start thinking about all that sh*t and then I fall into a depression.”

And, when she tried to seek psychological help, she said she was often judged for her profession.

“I would get in contact with some people and then I would feel badly because they’d be like ‘what’s your profession and I’d be like ‘oh, I’m in the adult industry’ and then I’d feel like they’re like ‘oh, that’s the whole reason that you are the way you are’ and then I’d get turned off.”

Ames revealed herself as a woman who, at 15, was asked to strip for cocaine by the father she was babysitting for. Someone whose moods could “flip” in a way that was “crippling”. A porn actress who wasn’t treated equally by the people she asked for help.

Remember these details, when you read about the way the internet assaulted her in the 24 hours before her death.

“Cyber bullying cost me my baby sister’s life,” Ames’ brother James Grabowski told The Sun on Thursday. “I want my sister’s death to be recognised as a serious issue – bullying is not OK.”

A post shared by August Ames (@msmaplefever) on

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The day before she died, 6.45 am on Monday December 4, Ames, the screen of her phone glowing bright in her hands, typed 261 characters, four emojis, and hit send on a tweet to her 600,000 followers.

It was a warning message to the performer who would replace her in Tuesday’s shoot for Erotica XNews.

Ames wanted the woman to know the show’s co-star is also involved with gay porn. Some women don’t like working with “crossover” gay porn actors for health reasons, Ames later explained.

The performer, she believed, should know the facts and she didn’t trust the industry’s agents to offer transparency.

Within minutes, she was labelled a homophobe.

“Honestly I’m sorry I offended anyone,” she quickly responded to the hate. “It was just my opinion. My body, my rules.”

Still the death threats, and threats of violence continued. People suggested she should suicide. Others said gay men undergo the same tests as all porn stars, and accused her of discrimination. All forgetting that adult actors are entitled to bodily autonomy,

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She tried to reason:

She tried humour:

She tried logic:

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She tried to show the hypocrisy of an industry that was doing nothing to protect her against the hate:

Still, she was relentlessly torn down and the trolls never stopped.

One of the top comments on Ames’ final tweet – the “F*ck y’all” one – is from Twitter user ‘Mr.Jones’ who threatens: “F*ck you …Piece of sh*t I hope I see you somewhere!!! I really do.”

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“I’m with you,” ‘Black.Candy’ backs ‘Mr.Jones’ up.

“I’m in,” ‘Katrina.Jade’ also wants some of the action.

All this, is the internet at its very worst.

It’s impossible to put suicide down to one reason. Ames’ interview with Holly Randall Unfiltered shows how troubled the 23-year-old actress was.

How she was struggling with mental health and discrimination because of her profession. How she learnt from a young age the way her body could be used for other people’s satisfaction while her health and safety was left unconsidered.

It would be ignorant and simplistic to blame cyber bullying for solely Ames’ death. But we know – because we’ve seen it before – that bullying over the internet can play some part in the death of young people who suicide.

Last year, 19-year-old Stuart Kelly was found dead in a Sydney carpark. In the days following his suicide, it emerged he’d been the victim of relentless cyber bullying. People who blamed the Kelly family for NSW’s strict lock-out laws – which came into effect after Stuart’s older brother, Thomas, was killed by a one-hit punch in Kings Cross. They took their anger out on a boy who’d just finished high school. Who should have been looking forward, but instead could not pull himself up out of a dark, lonely, dangerous spiral.

LISTEN: Mia Freedman speaks to Kathy Kelly about the death of her son, Stuart. Post continues after audio. 

Again, we don’t know what ’caused’ Kelly’s suicide. But the bullying was a factor.

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In 2014, on Easter Saturday, 19-year-old Jessica Cleland, from Kilmore, Victoria, sent her parents a text message saying she was going for a run on the rural property next to theirs. She never returned home.

After finding their daughter’s body, Michael and Jane Cleland began searching for answers. They found 87 messages between Jessica and her bullies. Again and again she pleaded with her tormenters to stop. Again and again, her pleas were ignored.

A post shared by August Ames (@msmaplefever) on

Ames’ case was arguably made worse because everything was public.

The whole world saw the actress being trolled. The industry did nothing. Twitter did nothing. Her defenders – because there were defenders – were shouted down with equal aggression.

Her final 24 hours were almost Winehouse-esque in the way her mental health, her whole life, unravelled so drastically and everyone watched. The world re-tweeted, favourited, commented, and… watched.

How many times must we be shown the dangers of cyber bullying? How many people must die before someone – social media, workplaces, users themselves – do something to stop it?

Ames’ was 23 and she was trapped. She couldn’t see a way forward. Her inner turmoils meant she couldn’t see past the online hate. She fought and reasoned and argued until she had nothing left. What a heartbreaking end to an already heartbreaking life.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues and need help, or just someone to chat to, Mamamia urges you to call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636. 

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