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Porn Star Belle Knox: Every Day Is 'Like A Nightmare'

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Duke University freshman Belle Knox said she expected some people would hate her when she revealed she had become a porn actress. But she didn't expect the vitriol to reach the point that strangers would post details about her family on the Internet and threaten to rape and kill her.

"It's horrible how my family's safety is literally threatened," Knox, 19, said in an interview.

In the past two months, Knox's budding porn career has driven the prestigious school in Durham, N.C., into an uproar, to the point where she can no longer go to parties.

"Either drunk guys will yell at me, 'You're the porn star!' or I have a bunch of girls glaring at me," Knox told The Huffington Post.

Privacy has become a struggle. Although Knox never publicly revealed her real name, people have posted her identity on the Web, along with the names of parents, sisters and other family members in her hometown of Spokane, Wash., and the high schools and middle schools they attended.

"It's horrible and really creepy how obsessed people are," Knox said. "People look at me like this messed-up naive little girl. They want to shame me and terrorize me."

British and American tabloids have disregarded Knox's request to be identified by her stage name and have used her birth name. Her hometown newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, has used her real name as well, and has identified where her father works.

The Daily Mail said her parents were horrified about Knox's career. But Knox maintained that her family fully supports her, and that article was based on interviews with people she never met. The New York Daily News reported Wednesday Knox is dropping out of Duke. But Knox told HuffPost she intends to graduate with her class.

The uproar started when she was walking to a party in January. A friend confronted Knox about her appearances in porn films, which she said began in November. Knox confessed to the friend and he promised not to tell anyone.

"Within hours, he told everybody at the party, and then it went from one frat to another," Knox said.

Word eventually reached national websites aimed at fraternity members. Knox said she thought an interview with the campus newspaper, The Chronicle, would allow her to get the story under control, but it only propelled further interest in her.

Knox declined to name the student who she said outed her. He has supposedly been outed by the Internet as well, and declined interview requests.

Students have harassed Knox online with a flood of Facebook and Twitter messages. They have threatened to throw garbage on her, and have lobbed rape threats and death threats in her direction.

"It was just like every single day things would get worse," Knox said. "I was getting a bunch of students tweeting me mean things. There were stares and whispers in the dining hall. After I was outed, every single day waking up was like a nightmare."

At first, Duke was unresponsive, she said. But she said the school administration since has been supportive. Duke declined to comment, except to say it values every student's safety and privacy.

When Knox contacted Durham police about the threats, she said an officer quickly asked if she had made any guys mad lately, and referred to the harassment as "childish threats." Police did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite the ordeal, Knox said she plans to continue both her porn work and her classes at Duke. In interviews, she frequently mentions working to increase the rights of sex workers.

"I really want to break down barriers," Knox said. "I want to change peoples' views on sex work. ... I mean, I was the first porn star to go on 'The View.' This is really exciting for me."

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