Belle Knox, an adult film star and a sophomore at Duke University whose real name is Miriam Weeks, hosted a 15-minute lecture, which was followed by a question-and-answer session. About 100 people came to hear Knox speak.
The UNC Young Americans for Liberty, a group who advocates for social and economic freedom and individual liberty on campus, brought Knox to campus. Knox gave the lecture for free.
“We chose to bring Belle Knox because not only is she knowledgeable and has been nationally published on the topic, but she also has the ability to attract students that might not have otherwise had the opportunity or inclination to hear a libertarian stance on college tuition or a libertarian position in general,” said Alex Johnson, the president of UNC Young Americans for Liberty.
Knox told her own story about how high college tuition led to her involvement in the adult film industry.
“I felt that being screwed on camera was the best way to avoid being screwed by the higher education system,” Knox said.
She also discussed how government subsidies drive tuition prices up, as well as the cultural ideal that one has to go to college to be successful.
“The American dream is becoming more and more unattainable,” she said.
During her question-and-answer session, Knox discussed topics ranging from American economic policy to life in the pornography industry.
Sophomore Hannah Beason decided to attend the lecture because she thought what Knox has been through is intriguing.
“I don’t think I would ever do that — I know I wouldn’t — but college prices are so high, especially Duke prices, so I could definitely see how someone would be faced with that decision,” Beason said.
Sophomore Jonah Turcotte attended Knox’s speech because he saw it as an opportunity to check something off his bucket list.
“I mean, I’ve never met a porn star before,” said Turcotte. “That’s honestly the only reason (I went), I guess.”
After the lecture, senior Kyle Jackson said he was impressed by what Knox had to say. Jackson especially appreciated Knox’s explanation of how the laws of supply and demand drove up college tuitions.
Makeda Thomas, a junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, traveled from Winston-Salem to hear Knox speak.
“I thought it was very informative,” Thomas said. “It was good to see from the eyes of the youth our age that she’s going ahead and taking power into her own hands to better her education.”
Priscilla Del Aguila Vienrich, a sophomore at Salem College in Winston-Salem, said she gained respect for Knox.
“I admired her openness and courage in talking to people her age about this subject. I applaud her a lot for being so open and courageous,” Del Aguila Vienrich said. “She’s definitely a big voice in the media, and it was good to see her advocating for women’s empowerment and women’s body image.”
Knox said she felt confident about her speech.
“I think it went great,” Knox said. “I was nervous at first, but everyone was really chill.”