In the spring of 2018, EAN interviewed Leya Tanit about the foundation of Pineapple Support, a unique charitable organisation for people in the adult industry. Now, two years later, we sit down with Leya Tanit once again to learn how Pineapple Support has fared since then. And we also talk to Tim Brown, Brand Manager of Bathmate – a brand that has recently become a sponsor of Pineapple Support.
We reported about your charity organisation Pineapple Support in spring 2018, but there are probably still some people who have never heard of it. What exactly is Pineapple Support?
Leya Tanit: Pineapple Support is a registered charity in the UK and a 501(c)3 non-profit in the US, providing mental health care and emotional support to adult industry professionals.
How did you get the idea for Pineapple Support?
Leya: The inspiration to create an organisation specifically aimed at providing mental health care and support to the adult industry came in January 2018 at the XBIZ awards in Los Angles. It was at this award show that I was made aware of the desperate need for affordable, stigma-free health care for performers and the then current lack of adequate support. As many of you will know, at the end of 2017, beginning of 2018, five well-known performers lost their lives dues to ill mental health. This was sadly just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of adult industry performers took their lives during those months and many more were struggling with their mental health and unable to find support or care.
What kind of support do you offer? How do you help the actresses and actors who turn to you?
Leya: Pineapple Support offers mental health care and emotional support to performers in a number of different ways. The first is through free and subsidised professional therapy and counselling. Currently, Pineapple Support is working with over 100 independent, sex-worker positive therapists across Canada, the US, Colombia, UK, Europe, and Australia. These therapists and counsellors all provide care both in person and via Skype when in-person therapy is not possible. The second resource is the Pineapple Support emotional support text service.
This service is completely anonymous and available 24/7. The listener service is there to help with day to day problems, to help alleviate the isolation felt by so many in this industry. Allowing a person to feel heard can make a huge difference in their lives. Pineapple Support also provides online support groups, hosted by our therapists and counsellors. These support groups generally run between 6-8 weeks and focus on different, specific aspects of mental health. For example, this month we are focusing on addiction and are running an addiction and recovery support group to coincide with our blogs and social media posts.
In addition to these support groups, we are also launching monthly webinars, available exclusively to our sponsors. Last October, together with Pornhub, Pineapple Support launched our first online mental health summit, the Pineapple Summit. Fourteen Pineapple Support therapists and counsellors spoke on different mental health topics and provided advice and coping strategies. This year, in honour of Dr. Amie Harwick, a Pineapple Support therapist who was murdered this February, the Summit will be focusing on abuse and providing legal and well as mental health advice. The Pineapple Summit can be accessed at PineappleSummit.org
Do many people make use of your offers and therapies? Is there a great interest on the part of the performers?
Leya: There has been incredible interest and support from the industry. April will mark the two-year anniversary of Pineapple Support’s launch and since our inception, we have provided mental health care and emotional support to around 1000 performers across the globe.
“April will mark the two-year anniversary of Pineapple Support’s launch and since our inception, we have provided mental health care and emotional support to around 1000 performers across the globe.” – Leya Tanit
When we spoke with you in spring 2018, Pineapple Support had just been born. How has your organisation changed since then?
Leya: Pineapple Support has grown from a seedling idea funded and run by only myself, to a registered UK charity with two board members and a US 501(c)3 with 8 board members and three part-time team members. It is a fully operational organisation that is making a huge difference in the lives of many adult industry performers. We have over 40 companies sponsoring and supporting us and this year, we hope to provide care to even more people across the globe.
Has the erotic industry shown an open ear to your request? Are you satisfied with the support from the industry?
Leya: The adult industry and all those connected to it have shown us incredible support with both monetary and in-kind sponsorships. Of course, we need to continue raising funds and awareness. As Pineapple Support grows, so does the amount of support that we need from within the industry. Without the hardworking performers, we would have no industry, and it is important that we all join together to provide the support and care that they deserve.
How can the industry support you and who should interested parties contact?
Leya: The industry and those who support the adult industry can get involved in Pineapple Support by becoming a sponsor, making an individual donation, hosting a fundraising event, following our twitter and facebook pages, raising awareness throughout the community and by .volunteering as a Pineapple Support listener. We are so appreciative of all the support we receive and are grateful to all those who have helped us on our journey so far. If you would like to contact us for any more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim, Bathmate sponsors Pineapple Support. How did you learn about this organisation?
Tim Brown: I was attending the Affiliate Summit West Show in Las Vegas earlier this year when I was introduced to Leya by a mutual business contact.
Why did you decide to support Pineapple Support? How important was it for you to support a charity organisation that has grown out of our industry?
Tim: I spoke to Leya about what Pineapple support did and how they helped adult performers. I had no idea about how many adult performers have emotional or mental health problems and that there was so little support for people. Leya gave me a very powerful explanation about the help Pineapple provides, and I was so moved that I spoke to my Managing Director and we agreed to help with a contribution. It is important to ‘give back’ so to speak, the industry is very good to Bathmate, so it’s good that we help a great charity in return
“I had no idea about how many adult performers have emotional or mental health problems and that there was so little support for people.” – Tim Brown
Why do Bathmate and Pineapple Support fit together?
Tim: I think Pineapple Support is a good fit for anyone in our industry. Most established people in this industry know some of the performers so being able to help is a great thing to do.
Will Bathmate use its own communication channels to create awareness for Pineapple Support’s cause?
Tim: Yes, for sure. We intend whenever we advertise in all media to add the Pineapple logo
How important is it to take social
responsibility as a company, especially today?
Social responsibility is something we take very seriously. I think it’s
important we do so, the world today is constantly changing, and there are
always new challenges, but people are the cornerstones of any business and the
most important part. If you look after your people properly then the business
looks after itself.