Porn Cooties: The Robyn Foster Story

DALLAS, TX—Very few adult performers are what's been termed "lifers": people who continue performing for decades, or switch from performing to behind-the-camera work for a similar length of time. For the most part, the average span of a female performer's career is about six months; some quit after one or two movies, some after a couple of years. But the point is, for the vast majority of actresses, acting in adult content is not something they intend to build a career on; it's something with which they can earn money while going to college (Belle Knox was hardly the only one) or doing some other type of "day job," and former adult performers are now lawyers, real estate brokers, doctors, police officers, Hollywood actresses (Hi, Traci and Sasha!), EMTs, therapists—the list goes on... and it includes school teachers.

Robyn Foster joined the adult industry in 2001 at the age of 19, and over the course of her brief career, she did a grand total of 13 movies; eight of them in her first year, two in her second, and there's good reason to believe that she was actually gone by the end of 2002, though three scenes did surface in Avalon Enterprises' Sex Underwater series in 2003 and 2004. One of her scenes, for Fallen Angel's Sex Across America 5 (2001), was apparently done with her then-husband Peter Foster.

But as is the case with most adult actresses, she got out of the business; she then divorced the husband, and according to her account, finished high school, went to college, earned her Bachelor's degree in Education, got teaching jobs in North Carolina and Florida, took a year off in 2013 to earn her Master's degree in-between another teaching position in Texas.

Beginning in 2012, Resa Woodward, the woman formerly known as "Robyn Foster," taught sixth grade science at the Young Women's STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School in Dallas, but that job ended in late November of 2016 when the now-38-year-old was pulled out of class, suspended and eventually fired because, as the Dallas Morning News , "her previous work 'in adult content media' was accessible on the internet and available to the public," and that fact "casts the District in negative light and adversely affects the District." (Translation: some of the city's religious conservatives would be bent WAY out of shape knowing that their children might possibly be taught science by a former porn performer.)

So, in short, the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) fired a teacher who was "exemplary" by the school administration, was a nominee for DISD Teacher of the Year, as well as Campus Teacher of the Year for 2016-'17, all because, a decade and a half previously, she'd had sex on camera.

But even that's not all there is to the story. It seems that this whole fracas came about in part because Woodward was active in the Texas branch of the Libertarian Party, and one day while she was driving down a state highway, she spotted a driver in front of her weaving all over the road, so she did what any other good citizen would have done: she called the police to report a drunken driver. Well, seems that no good deed goes unpunished, and when Woodward wrote about the incident on her Facebook page last Spring, another "libertarian" in Michigan decided that reporting drunk drivers to the fuzz wasn't a very libertarian thing to do, so he looked into her background, discovered the porn connection, and promptly reported her to the DISD.

"'The caller was concerned because he/she did not want his/her child exposed to things like this,' according to the [DISD] report," the Dallas Morning News article stated, adding, "The tipster felt Woodward was trying to deceive the students and parents."

Interestingly, Woodward's porn connection wouldn't necessarily have led to her termination. According to an in the New York Daily News, "An internal review cleared Woodward of any policy violations and school officials told her she’d be able to continue teaching as long as she was able to keep her background quiet." But while Woodward herself never mentioned it publicly, the pissy "libertarian" started posting about Woodward's past on social media, and her goose was cooked.

"They told me they were pursuing termination because it became public," she the Dallas Morning News.

And there we have it: another case of that incurable disease "porn cooties," the symptomless affliction affecting anyone who has ever worked in the adult entertainment industry (though it's worse for performers) which brands them as unfit to participate in "polite society" or professional employment due to their sex-worker background, no matter how far in the past that work may have been.

Since then, Woodward's tried to get her job back, but according to the Powers That Be (aka the Texas Education Association, or TEA), she missed a filing deadline for her appeal, and didn't submit it properly anyway—charges her attorney disputes, and postal service records seem to back up her claim, at least as to the filing deadline.

What's troubling, however, is what Woodward said in her appeal: That her then-husband had coerced her into the adult industry, essentially as a "sex slave" (her term), because the couple was short on money, and because she was, she said, "young, naïve, easily controlled," as well as, "Very book smart, street stupid," she gave into his pressure.

"Only a woman who has been through such a horrifying experience could fully understand, but I'm asking you to understand and re-consider the terrible charges being brought against me, the victim of an abusive past," she told the appeals board. "Please tell me this is not the end. Do not penalize me for a dark saga in my youth that was not of my making."

How accurate that description is, is open to question. As "Robyn Foster," she worked for such prolific and respected directors as Pleasure Productions' Jim Gunn and Luc Wylder, whose Fallen Angel line continues to be distributed by Adam & Eve, as well as then-popular actress Jessie James, and it's doubtful that any of those would have let her perform in their movies if they suspected that she were being coerced into doing so.

"Robyn performed in one of our Sex Across America volumes, the one we shot in Miami," Wylder recalled. "Robyn was a local girl and she performed with her husband, and they were beautiful, they were spectacular; they were bodybuilders. We took a photograph of Robyn's butt when she was in a red, white and blue bikini, and she became the logo we use to advertise the series. She really was a very wonderful girl, and it's tragic that a few indescretions in one's life can mark them forever. I thought that Robyn and her husband were fine people and would defend them to anyone.

But did it appear to Wylder as if Robyn's husband were forcing her to perform in XXX?

"Absolutely not!" he said firmly. "They were a couple that seemed to be romantically involved."

Nevertheless, coercion is her story, and she's sticking to it—and her plight most recently caught the attention of well-known conservative attorney Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School in D.C. and sometime consultant to members of Congress, who made the news recently for his defense of the polygamous family chronicled in the TV show.

"While I understand the difficulty presented by such cases for schools, I find it problematic that schools can fire people for their work in lawful industries due to the objections of some to the underlying morality of the field," Turley , after recounting her claims of sexual slavery. "This may be my libertarian tendencies but I find punishing people due to their lawful lifestyles or professions to be troubling ... I recognize the disruptive aspects of having a teacher with such images on the Internet. However, we have seen teachers disciplined for images of drinking wine in Florida or engaging in dancing deemed inappropriate. The question is how much discretion is allowed in barring people who have committed no crime or simply engaged in activities that some consider immoral. Is it enough for a district to declare that something you have done in the past would be disruptive? What if the activity was more artistic, like nude acting scenes or interpretive dancing? My concern is always focused on how to draw such lines and who is given such authority."

Turley then asked his readers to comment on his position, and many did (including this author). It remains to be seen how the TEA will respond to Woodward's appeal, given the the case has drawn.

(H/t to Susan and David Bradley for alerting us to this story.)