Mia Khalifa, who once worked in the pornography industry as a adult star, has made it known that she was forced to quit the industry due to death threats from ISIS.
The Lebanese-American woman moved to the United States from Beirut, Lebanon when she was only 10 years old. She spent her teenaged years in Maryland, and then ended up in Miami, which is where she lived during her time in the pornography industry.
Mia, who is now 25-years old, later ended up one of the top-rated performers on the popular adult website PornHub. However, many from the Middle East criticized her decision to join the pornography industry, referring to the actress as a “disgrace to the region”.
Mia, who graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in history, started working in the industry in October of 2014 and was only active until early 2015 because of the death threats she received from ISIS. She was only in the industry for about three months, but was briefly Pornhub’s number 1 performer.
One of the reasons people in the Middle East found Mia so controversial is that she once engaged in sexual acts while wearing a hijab, which is part of the traditional dress of a Muslim woman.
It is worth noting at this point that Mia is not a Muslim. She actually comes from a Christian family. In 2015, Mia told The Washington Post that the scene was intended to be satirical and was supposed to viewed as such—and she was surprised that it caused so much anger.
She also said that there are movies made by Hollywood that depict Muslims far worse than the scene in which she starred.
Mia also said that women’s rights in the country of Lebanon have a long way to go if a adult star from Lebanon who no longer lives there can cause such a controversy.
She said that she once viewed Lebanon as the most westernized country in the Middle East and boasted to people about that; as a result of what happened to her, however, her views changed.
During a podcast, Mia—who is now the host of a daily sports show—told cyclist Lance Armstrong about how the threats impacted her. As she put it, things started to “spiral out of control” due to the death threats she was receiving, and that’s when Mia decided to step away.
It was when Mia became popular as an actress that she realized she needed to distance herself from the industry. Being an adult star, she says, is not what she was trying to do with her life—she just wanted to “let loose” and rebel a bit.
As she put it, the industry wasn’t really for her. She “smartened up” and tried to distance herself from it.
At the height of her popularity, Mia had been viewed over 1.5 million times via PornHub. She was 22 years of age at the time.
One of the death threats received by Mia was an image—manipulated, of course—of an executioner preparing to behead her. A message warned her that she would go to Hell. Mia cheekily replied that she had been meaning to get a tan.
Lebanese newspapers actually reported on Mia, and they were critical of her—Mia considered that reporting trivial considering everything else that was going on in the area.
PornHub data showed that searches for Mia increased five-fold for a three-day period in early January of 2015. Roughly 25 percent of those searches actually came from Lebanon. There was also a lot of traffic from nearby countries, such as Jordan and Syria.
According to one site, Mia was the adult actress who was most searched for in the year 2016.
Many have been critical of Mia’s decisions—including her own parents, who have reportedly cut off contact with their daughter.
However, one person who did defend her was Nasri Attallah, a British-Lebanese publisher, author, and entrepreneur.
He said the moral indignation expressed by many was wrong for two reasons. Firstly, as a woman, she is free to do whatever she wants with her body. Also, because she lived halfway around the world when she made the videos, she did not owe anything at all to the country where she just happened to be born.
Mia now resides in Texas.
H/T – Source