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What would you do for $33,000


Ms. Hawkenson, proudly showing her ASU student ID card.


Granted, nobody wants their 18 year old daughter having live sex on camera in exchange for $2000. But, honestly, is it that big a deal?

The news sources have landed on this loopy tale about Elizabeth Hawkenson, the ASU geology student, who appeared in a video for the porn Web site Backroom Casting Couch and allegedly lost her $33,000 ASU scholarship.

Well, first of all, the whole kerfuffle about the scholarship is a hoax. Apparently there was no irate alumnus who wrote to the board of regents insisting the scholarship be revoked. The video itself; however, does exist. Ms. Hawkenson, finding herself a few thousand dollars short of tuition, (and apparently a few cards short of a full deck), made the unwise decision to appear in a “reality porn” video about a young student who innocently ends up copulating for a promise of 5 grand that never materializes. The “reality” is that Ms. Hawkenson knew exactly what she was doing and chose to have sex on camera supposedly believing that the tape’s distribution would be limited to pay per view websites.

Okay, naivete is one thing. But let’s examine the idiocy of this young woman’s choices. First of all, no matter what part of Texas you’re from, you ought to know that sex videos go viral. And if not right away, 20 years later when you actually have a family, career or husband who might really be humiliated by them. Sex on camera, nude photos, and compromising voice-mail messages all fall into the category of idiotic mistakes that even a country rube just off the turnip truck shouldn’t make. Can you say “Dr. Laura?” But there’s an even more asinine choice that Ms. Hawkenson made and that one really baffles me. At one point in the video, she proudly displays her drivers license and ASU student ID card. I’m sorry. But that takes the cake for stupidity. I mean, if you’re gonna have sex with strangers for money, at least pretend you’re from U of A, or Oregon, or USC for that matter.

Now I actually get that people sometimes do foolish things when finances are waining. I, for one, remember a time, eons ago, when a starving actor in Chicago, posed nude for a high class shoe advertisement that turned out, luckily enough, to only expose the scaly skin of a pair of crocodile leather Jimmy Choo stilettos. I was fortunate. A lot of young women aren’t.

Ms. Hawkenson is quoted in several articles saying that her dorm life has become treacherous since the viral video hit the web. No kidding. It’s gotta be rough fielding all those late night “study” invitations she’s no doubt been receiving. But what did she expect? If you’re gonna have sex on camera, you need to realize that someone is going to see that. That’s the whole bloody point of it, you dodo. I mean, they’re not capturing the act on film in order to bury it in the backyard.

I’m glad Ms. Hawkenson didn’t lose her ASU scholarship on account of her poor choices. I can even argue that it’s partly her parents fault for not finding the cash to fund tuition. She did what she had to do to make some much needed dinero. If she’d founded an internet start-up, we’d all be praising her independence and entrepreneurial spirit.

But instead, she used her God given gifts to up her bottom line (if you’ll excuse the expression). And that, my friends, is considered a no-no in our culture. But perhaps we all ought to just drop the “holier than thou” attitude and look within to see how we may have contributed to this sad scene of juvenile delinquency

Maybe there aren’t enough legitimate work-study options at ASU. Maybe sky-rocketing tuition costs for out-of-staters need to be re-evaluated. Or maybe, we all need to step back and stop reveling in the juicy details of this poor woman’s misfortune and focus on earning a few extra bucks ourselves, so that by the time our kids need to pay tuition, we’ll actually be able to cover it. I mean, given the choice, wouldn’t you rather spend a few extra years with your nose to the grindstone, so that your poverty stricken youth don’t end up hocking their wares in today’s equivalent of the world’s oldest profession?

About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Oklahoma City with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

3 responses to “What would you do for $33,000

  1. Terri

    I’m a parent who put 4 kids through a parochial prep high school, and then college. We use to have multiple cars and a 4 bedroom house out in the country. The kids are all through college now, settled, and paying off their share of student loans. Dad and I sold the house and extra cars and are now living in an apartment in town. (still paying off our parent loans) Sometimes parents don’t have the means to to support their child’s educational desires. Tuition is outrageous. it enslaves the livelihoods of parents and students alike. At this point in life, I wonder if a college education is worth the burden on parents and students!? Still, I’m glad we were able to help as much as we could for our children. (without videos…)


  2. Julie ⋅

    As a fresh college-grad, I’d like to throw out that, yes, it’s partially the parent’s fault. However, if a young woman is old enough to go to college, she should be mature enough to make wise decisions (I’ve noticed a trend among my college friends: the days of being “youthful” are getting longer and longer — kids in the 20’s are considered just that: kids. No… we should be adults by now, people). Quite frankly, I’d say that it’s time to get a student loan, or take a break from college and earn some money — she had other choices, and she chose a really crappy one. So, yes, she was stupid, but it’s not the parent’s job to keep on being mommy and daddy for so long. If the parents have the funds and desire to pay for their kid’s college: wonderful! If not… well, don’t be stupid about it.


  3. Brian ⋅

    I just learned about the Libby Hawkenson story in early 2012 from my friends son. Being a teenager he of course made some extremely crude and unkind remarks about her but I decided to look up the video to see for myself. Wiith a little work I managed to find both the long and short verisons, still on the net. Although I’m hardly an expert, my wife and I enjoy some porno together occasionally so I am no stranger to it. The Hawkenson video had nothing really new but I was shocked at how.totally flat, emotionless and humorless it was. It wasn’t even sex, it was just him telling her ways to humiliated herself and her going along with it. Nothing sensual or stimulating at all and except for her smiles, giggles and occasional moans It seemed the only purpose of the video was to dehumanize, humiliate, and to show what it’s like to completely treat a woman like an unfeeling object. It’s pretty sorry and pathetic that a young women would promote something like this and allow someone to completely control and treat her like crap. Sex is exciting and fun but what was on that video was just so sad and lifeless.

    The second thing that struck me about the video was how incredibly dangerous it was for her. Come on, it’s not 1980, doesn’t she know that having rough and unprotected anal sex with a stranger is probably not a good idea. Especially with a stranger that probably had hundreds of other women before she let him do whatever he wanted with her. She must know about safe sex and condoms, two thousand bucks just isn’t worth dying for. Not insisting on a condom is the worst of her list of very poor decisions. She ironically bragged at the end of the long version about what a smart girl she was but putting her body at such risk was certainly the dumbest of many dumb things that day. I certainly hope she took a HIV test, not only for herself, but for her future family. If this was my daughter I could forgive all of it, but the fact that she was was just so stupid to let this guy do the things he did to her without insisting on proper protection would be the most difficult.


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