Four sex workers who were filmed as part of the A&E reality series 8 Minutes—where former cop and current pastor Kevin Brown “hires” sex workers and then attempts to convince them to leave the business, with the promise of assistance, financial and otherwise—claimed the show was nothing more than false promises.
The women told BuzzFeed that after receiving nominal fees (around $200 for appearing in an episode) and agreeing to accept “medical, dental, housing, and employment assistance” for leaving sex work behind, attempts to follow-up with the show and network were met with silence. One woman, Gina, said she “didn’t get a fucking thing.” Another woman, Donna, claims the only “assistance” she was provided was the phone number of a counselor.
“All I wanted was help, man. All I wanted was a way out. I gave them what they wanted, but they didn’t give me what I wanted,” Gina told BuzzFeed. “I’m not gonna beg people.”
Kamylla received a call on her work number from the producers of the show, who immediately identified themselves as such (this is in contrast to the premise of the show, which implies that the women believe they are coming to a normal appointment, only to be met by Brown). She agreed to tape a segment for the show, in which she said she wanted help getting out of the business, and after the taping was told she’d soon hear back with more information and assistance.
She never heard back from them, and instead reached out herself, but no meaningful help was to come. Kamylla found herself broke and needing to work again. She posted an ad, using the same number the 8 Minutes producers had contacted her on, and was arrested in a sting. Now she was broke, frightened, and facing criminal charges, and when she reached out for help from 8 Minutes, Brown offered to pray for her.
The show also apparently left the women particularly exposed, declining to blur their faces for broadcast and apparently not taking measures to protect their identities—one woman, Jazzy, said her husband found out about her sex work after watching her on the show. “It took less than an hour for this reporter to find contact information for three women using only the information A&E broadcast on television,” BuzzFeed’s Ariane Lange writes in her report.
A&E appears to be trying to forget the show ever happened. The show has been scrubbed from the A&E website, with the show’s official page now just redirecting to the main A&E site. Other links previously nested within the 8 Minutes site now turn up a 404 error. There’s not even a Wikipedia entry for the show. The network declined comment to BuzzFeed because “the show is no longer on the air.”