AB 332 Stalls After Appropriations Committee Meeting
Attorney Karen Tynan and Kink.com director Princess Donna at the state capitol
This morning in Sacramento, proposed “condom” legislation Assembly Bill 332 was presented to members of the House Appropriations Committee. Sponsor of the bill Assembly Member Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) waived his opportunity to speak on the legislation and AB 332 was sent to suspense file by the committee. Free Speech Coalition is pleased that AB 332 legislation has not moved forward today out of committee.
Representing adult industry opposition to AB 332, labor attorney Karen Tynan stood ready to deliver a statement to the legislators, focusing on the financial pitfalls of the regulatory scheme. Tynan also hoped to speak to the process already started with state regulatory agency Cal/OSHA, to establish industry-appropriate regulations for adult film productions.
“My testimony was meant to explain and emphasize the incredible waste of taxpayer money that will result if AB332 is enacted,” Tynan said. “Cal/OSHA has a process where they have stakeholder meetings and attempt to create feasible regulations. We are still in that process with the draft regulations pending revisions. AB332 demands that the state legislature throw out all that work and start over with the AHF plan.”
Testimony would have also outlined the potentially enormous costs to taxpayers if AB 332 is passed, not only administrative costs, but also in a significant loss of jobs and revenue for counties in California as adult producers are pushed to other areas for production locations.
“Committee members with adult entertainment businesses in their districts should be reminded that these businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and should have a voice in this process,” Tynan added.
Kink.com founder and FSC Board Member Peter Acworth also attended this morning’s meeting with a contingent of performers and industry professionals. Acworth also had prepared a statement, but left the meeting without delivering testimony.
“We got here at 5:30am and spent most of the day,” Acworth said. “But we’re happy the bill has been put in suspension. I hope this is the end of the bill. I remain a strong advocate for performer testing and the APHSS.org database system.”
Representatives from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and other AB 332 supporters were apparently not in attendance at this morning’s meeting.
FSC, Industry Members Travel to Sacramento to Oppose AB 332
On Wednesday, Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke was accompanied by former performer Lydia Lee (aka Julie Meadows), producers Mo Reese and Lorenzo Marr, and FSC staff on a day-long trip to Sacramento, to stand in opposition of Assembly Bill 332, the proposed California bill that would require barrier protection use on adult film productions.
The bill was presented to the House Assembly Labor & Employment Committee by its backers Assemblymember Isadore Hall III and representatives of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Also in attendance were many adult industry members representing Kink.com, Hot House Entertainment, Factory Video, Naked Sword, and several other Bay Area adult companies. Lee and Marr both spoke before the committee, stating their reasons for opposing the “condom law.”
“It was inspiring to speak with so many industry professionals from Kink.com, Hot House Media and Factory Videos, as well as individuals from the community who care about how much more complicated this is than merely a condom proposition,” said Lee. “The opposition has constantly made demeaning comments that conflate the work I chose to do of my own free will with messages perpetuated by anti-porn propagandists, but I am proud of my participation in this process and exercising the voice I have.”
While attendees’ efforts were valiant, the Labor & Employment Committee unfortunately did clear AB 332 in a 5-0 vote later on Wednesday afternoon. The bill will now be sent to the House Appropriations Committee where it faces its next hurdle.
“The trip to Sacramento was a great experience,” said producer Reese. “Of course I’m not happy about AB 332 moving forward, but it was still interesting to see our political system at work. I appreciate the time and hard work both Lydia & Lorenzo put into their statements. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a room full of politicians & fight for what you believe in.
“The outpouring of support from industry members from San Francisco was amazing – I wish we could have seen more people from Los Angeles,” Reese added. “Our fight against AB 332, Measure B & AIDS Healthcare Foundation is far from over; together we can win this. For people who choose to focus on the negative, or on what others should have done, maybe instead ask yourself what it is that you can do.”
FSC opposes AB 332 because it will drive the adult industry out of California, taking thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue elsewhere. This misguided legislation addresses a problem that doesn’t exist by creating an unneeded bureaucracy that will be paid for with California tax dollars. FSC supports and oversees the industry-appropriate system of STD testing for adult performers that has proved to be effective since 1998; AB 332 actually threatens the health and well being of performers by threatening to dismantle industry standards for self-regulation.
For more on AB 332, Measure B or the Los Angeles “Safer Sex” in Adult Film Productions Ordinance – and for info on how you can help oppose it – please, visit StopCondomLaws.com.
FSC Thanks Opposition to AB 332 Volunteers
(l to r) Attorney Karen Tynan, FSC CEO Diane Duke, director Eli Cross, performer Alana Evans, former performer/blogger Lydia Lee
Free Speech Coalition would like to express gratitude to the industry members and experts that volunteered their time to speak in Sacramento, on opposition to Assembly Bill 332 in front of the Arts & Entertainment Committee at the state capitol. AB 332 was presented to lawmakers on Tuesday.
Current performer Alana Evans, former performer/blogger Lydia Lee (aka Julie Meadows), producer/director Eli Cross and attorney Karen Tynan accompanied FSC CEO Diane Duke to Sacramento, to send a message to legislators that adult film producers and performers oppose mandated barrier protection regulations and, instead, support the current system of STD testing and industry-appropriate regulations.
Ultimately, the proposed bill was passed by the Arts & Entertainment Committee; it may go before the state Labor Committee as early as April 24. If passed by the Labor Committee, AB 332 still has several hurdles to clear – it would then be sent to Appropriations for budgetary approval before being presented to the State Assembly and Senate for final votes.
FSC will continue to lead industry opposition to mandated barrier protection laws and appreciates the efforts, on behalf of their industry, of Evans, Lee and Cross. We encourage all industry members to join FSC and actively support efforts to confront challenges to the industry. For more information on how you can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 348-9373.
FSC Responds to Complaint Filed by AHF Against Immoral Productions
Free Speech Coalition (FSC) denounces actions taken by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) as another misguided attempt to monopolize public health policy by demonizing adult industry businesses
At a press conference today, AHF announced that it has filed a complaint against adult production company Immoral Productions. In response to the latest developments involving AHF’s relentless attacks on the adult industry, FSC CEO Diane Duke has issued the following statement:
“There hasn’t been an on set transmission of HIV since 2004 – nationwide. Adult film industry protocols are highly effective, which is why it is so preposterous that AHF has spent millions on a problem that doesn’t exist. Moreover, AHF has yet to bring forth performers who are not on their payroll and now, an ‘anonymous’ letter? Countless adult film performers have come out against AHF’s crusade as detrimental to their health and their livelihood,” Duke said.
“The bottom line is that AHF’s efforts will only diminish performer safety, drive jobs out of LA and California and spend valuable tax dollars on a non-issue,” Duke added.
As the adult industry trade association, FSC has opposed AHF’s special interest campaign for barrier protection use in adult productions since 2007.
In 2010, after a lawsuit brought by AHF delivered a crippling financial blow to the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) clinic, which had been the primary source of healthcare services for industry performers. At that time, FSC stepped in to uphold industry-appropriate standards and protocols for production safety and developed the APHSS.org database program, to oversee performer STD testing.
In 2012, after an estimated $6 million dollars in campaign expenditures by AHF, county voters passed the Los Angeles ‘Safer Sex’ Ordinance for Adult Productions (aka Measure B) by a margin of 57% to 43%. Language on the ballot scarcely stated to voters the proposed barrier protection use, which includes condoms, dental dams, goggles and gloves. Soon after the election, Vivid Entertainment and two performer co-plaintiffs filed suit against the County of Los Angeles, in an effort to strike down the regulation. The case is ongoing.
AHF’s anti-adult industry attempts continue with Assembly Bill 332, which was to be introduced in committee today in Sacramento. The bill has been tabled by the Arts & Entertainment committee, but was handed over to the Labor Committee for further consideration.
FSC will continue to oppose AB 332 and the Los Angeles ordinance as unconstitutional and a burden on both adult industry and California taxpayers. If you would like to find out more about the Los Angeles ordinance, AB 332, or how YOU can help fight AHF’s big money, special interest campaign, contact email@example.com and follow us @FSCArmy.
FSC Thanks Mara Epstein for 16 Years of Service to the Industry
The following message of appreciation is to Mara Epstein, industry veteran and longtime member of the FSC Board of Directors. Composed by FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas, this message represents the deep gratitude and appreciation expressed by the entire Board of Directors and staff of FSC. Her contributions helped shape the coalition, and benefited her colleagues and peers in the adult industry during her time at FSC.
Mara is currently Director of Sales for Maia Toys. She continues to be closely involved in fundraising efforts on behalf of FSC.
“On behalf of the Board, and personally, I thank you and honor your 16 years of service as Director of the Free Speech Coalition. Throughout the tumults of work and family, you have been a dedicated advocate and volunteer for this organization, generously providing your invaluable expertise and insight. You have enriched us all.
- Jeffrey J. Douglas
Chair, Board of Directors
Free Speech Coalition
FSC Responds to Proposed Statewide Legislation to Mandate Condoms in Adult Productions
Despite strong opposition from the adult entertainment industry, a new bill proposing a statewide mandate for barrier protection (condoms, gloves, goggles and dental dams) to be used in adult film productions was announced yesterday by the L.A. Times.
In response to the proposed legislation, Free Speech Coalition (FSC) CEO Diane Duke has released the following statements:
“Tragically, this law – if passed – will not only waste taxpayer dollars and compromise the effective performer health protocols already in place, but also compromise funding for critical HIV programs by diverting program funds to create an unnecessary condom-police bureaucracy,” Duke said. “Additionally, this regulation would force an industry vital to the San Fernando Valley and to California’s economy out of the area.”
The proposed bill, which has been tagged as AB-332, follows the passage of the Los Angeles “Safer Sex” Ordinance for Adult Production, which mandates barrier protection for adult productions shot in L.A. County. The new legislation is being sponsored by Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D – Compton), who held a Valentine’s Day press conference to announce that he will introduce the bill to California lawmakers.
“While other legislators are focused on gun safety, improving our schools and reducing crime, Assembly Member Hall has chosen to use his taxpayer funded salary and staff to focus on adult films,” Duke added. “We look forward to Assembly Member Hall visiting with adult film stars in the coming weeks to learn more about the exhaustive safety precautions already used by the industry.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) have been the sole backers of mandatory condom laws in Los Angeles since 2004; the organization has relentless spread misinformation and vilified adult industry performers and businesses as vectors for sexually-transmitted infections that AHF President Michael Weinstein has claimed are a threat to public health.
“In LA County alone, between June 30, 2008 and June 30 2011, 6,447 new cases of HIV were reported by the California Department of Public Health,” Duke explained further. “Out of the 6,447; two were adult entertainment performers. Both of those performers contracted HIV off-set and no transmission of HIV occurred during that time period on set. In fact, NO transmissions of HIV have occurred on an adult set since 2004…. NATIONWIDE!”
As the trade association of the adult entertainment industry, FSC will continue oppose ineffective legislation that will grievously harm the business interests of its membership and the adult industry community, as well as waste funds of taxpayers. FSC also upholds the right of choice for performers in regards to use of barrier protection.
Background on Adult Industry Opposition to Mandatory Condoms
Adult movie production has existed as a legal industry in California since 1989 and has grown over the years into a tight-knit community of businesses, many of them family-owned and operated. The hub of U.S. adult movie production is in Los Angeles County, especially in the San Fernando Valley. The “adult industry” in L.A. employs thousands of people, contributes to local economies, and generates more than $1 billion in revenue locally.
Since 2004, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) – the world’s largest HIV advocacy nonprofit organization with a budget of nearly $200 million annually – has been waging a campaign of misinformation and costly litigation on the adult industry, in an effort to mandate the use of barrier protection (condoms, dental dams, gloves, goggles) on adult production sets.
By 2009, AHF stepped up their campaign, actively filing complaints with Cal-OSHA against adult companies and talent agents. AHF also sued Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (or AIM Clinic) on behalf of two former performers that claimed their medical privacy had been violated by the clinic. AIM, which had been the primary healthcare resource for adult performers and industry-sanctioned STD testing since 1998, became a target for AHF’s protests and media stunts. The clinic eventually closed, due to financial hardship.
AHF gathered enough petition signatures to put the “mandatory condoms” issue on the Los Angeles city ballot in 2011. In response, the L.A. City Council preempted a vote on the issue by approving an ordinance requiring use of barrier protection on adult production sets. Then, after another costly petition drive, the condom issue was placed on the L.A. County ballot in November 2012. Measure B, the L.A. County “Safer Sex” in Adult Film Productions ordinance was approved 57% to 43%.
During the Measure B campaign, Free Speech Coalition (FSC) led industry opposition to mandated barrier protection regulations. We believe that AHF’s actions represent an example of a big money, special interest group leveraging local politics to create publicity for their nonprofit, while spending millions of their own funds and the funds of local taxpayers in costs related to the election and continued litigation. AHF is not a stakeholder in the adult industry and actually disrupted attempts between FSC and state officials to arrive at industry-appropriate regulations.
Measure B opposition also was endorsed by every major local newspaper in Los Angeles County, including the L.A. Times, and supported by 44 local Chambers of Commerce.
FSC’s mission is to protect and promote adult industry businesses. Since AIM clinic closed in 2010, FSC has developed and operated the APHSS.org database program, which allows industry stakeholders to continue to uphold health & safety protocols for adult production, including the extensive monthly performer testing for STIs.
For more information about FSC , any of our programs, the Los Angeles County “Safer Sex” in Adult Production or AB 332, the proposed statewide mandatory barrier protection legislation , contact Joanne@freespeechcoalition.com.
Ron Jeremy, Get Well Soon!
Yesterday, we were all sad to hear that Ron Jeremy is in the hospital, suffering from a serious heart ailment. Word in the media spread quickly; for friends and fans, it’s a big deal because Ron is part of the history and fabric of this industry.
Four years ago, when he received the FSC Positive Image Award, it was one in a long list of awards and accolades that Ron has received over the years. He’s been in the business since 1978. He’s the most recognizable “porn star” alive, though these days many of the fans that love him have probably never watched one of his scenes.
Ronnie transcends genres and generations. IMBD says he’s appeared in more than 800 adult films, but the actual count is probably more than 2,000. He has a BA in theater and also in education. He plays a mean harmonica and he used to go hang-gliding, back when that was a popular sport. He was real before “reality TV” was trendy, on “The Surreal Life” in 2004. He’s achieved cult status with college kids in 1999’s “Boondock Saints” and 1997’s “Orgazmo.”
Aside from the movie star credits, Ron works all the time and travels relentlessly. He speaks at churches and university debates, always offering a pro-adult perspective to the public discourse. Ron also appears at numerous charity functions, especially animal charities. He’s been a high profile spokesman for Peta and is well known as an advocate for animals. But it’s not just animals; it’s underprivileged children, or kids with cancer, or Haitian relief efforts – because Ron is just a genuinely nice guy.
Those that know him know that he will stop in a crowd, for a fan, to say “hello” to someone’s surprised uncle or mother on a cellphone, in the middle of an aisle at a show. He’s just that kind of person, and that’s what makes him the goodwill ambassador for adult entertainment. There is no one on earth quite like Ron Jeremy.
News on social media yesterday from agent Mike Esterman said Ron was resting comfortably following two surgeries.
Ron, the Free Speech Coalition Board members and staff send heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery, and we know that many friends and fans are wishing you well.
(Photo: Courtesy © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com)
AHF Comments on Steamray Studios CalOSHA Fines are Predictably Inflammatory
Recent comments by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on a Cal-OSHA case involving adult producer Steamray Studios are predictably inflammatory, said Free Speech Coalition today.
“Yet another attempt by Weinstein to cloud the issue and cause concern for adult producers and performers, in order to garner more media attention for his organization and its anti-adult campaign to drive adult film businesses out of Los Angeles County,” said FSC CEO Diane Duke.
Any complaint filed with state workplace safety agency Cal-OSHA should not be confused with enforcement of the Los Angeles “Safer Sex” in Adult Productions ordinance, the recently passed law that was funded solely by AHF.
Two weeks ago, adult production company Vivid Entertainment, performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce filed suit challenging the L.A. County “Safer Sex” Ordinance in federal court.
Interestingly the Cal-OSHA complaint supports the adult industry’s stance that the State has jurisdiction over such issues—not the County.
FSC advises concerned adult producers to consult with their legal counsel on issues related to health & safety compliance. FSC members can obtain a copy of the FSC Bloodbourne Pathogen Plan for Adult Producers by contacting Joanne@freespeechcoalition.com
FSC Booth at AEE Spreads Awareness, Raises Funds for Opposition to Measure B
Free Speech Coalition (FSC) traveled to Las Vegas last week to attend the 30th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo, where the adult industry trade association hosted a booth to spread awareness and raise funds for opposition to the Los Angeles County “Safer Sex” in Adult Productions ordinance or, as it is more commonly known, Measure B.
The booth offered fans a grab bag of adult goodies, in exchange for a minimum donation with all funds going to the legal efforts against Measure B. Adult businesses including Vivid Entertainment, Wicked Pictures, Adam & Eve, Hustler, Girlfriend Films, MetArt, Manwin and The Screaming O contributed items for the gift bags, in a show of unified support for the suit recently filed against Measure B in federal district court. Funds raised from these donations totaled nearly $4,000.
“We are very grateful to the businesses that contributed to the bags – the fans were thrilled to get a big bag full of DVDs, T-shirts, hats, sex toys, a calendar, and other goodies,” said FSC Communications Director Joanne Cachapero. “Many were curious about Measure B. Once they understood that the law means a lot more than just condom use – that it actually means regulation of a problem that doesn’t exist and that Measure B could drive producers underground to places where there is no way to regulate production, the fans were more than happy to donate what they could. Several said they thought the law was stupid and said the industry should move to another area.”
The booth also featured a stellar roster of adult stars signing for fans, including Amber Lynn, Julia Ann, Dyanna Lauren, Jessica Drake, Teagan Presley, Kylie Ireland, Kimberly Kane, Aiden Starr, Charlotte Stokely, Tanya Tate, Caroline Pierce, Raylene, Amber Rain, Sheena Ryder, Natalia Starr and Christie Stevens.
“All these stars volunteered their time to work at the booth and ask for donations. We know that all of them were very busy during the show – FSC appreciates their participation so much,” Cachapero added. “It was great that they got to see lots of fans, but they also told the public and media why they are against Measure B, from the perspective of performers. It’s really important that people know the truth about what Measure B will do to performers and how the condom law threatens freedoms important to performers and the public.”
Lawyers for Vivid Entertainment, performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce recently filed suit in federal district court against the Los Angeles County “Safer Sex” in Adult Production Ordinance.
XBIZ Awards Show Fundraisers Brings More Than $80K for Opposition to Measure B, ASACP
The XBIZ Awards held on January 11 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City, CA, paid tribute to the adult industry’s best and brightest, with a gala red carpet event and elegant awards presentation.
Midway through the evening’s festivities, a fundraiser was staged on behalf of two adult industry nonprofits, Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and Adult Sites Against Child Pornography (ASACP). A call-to-action was issued from the stage by industry leaders XBIZ founder Alec Helmy, Girlfriend Films’ VP Moose, MetArt founder Amnon Lisbona and FSC CEO Diane Duke, on behalf of FSC’s opposition to the Los Angeles County “Safer Sex” in Adult Productions ordinance (Measure B), as well as ASACP’s efforts against child pornography on the Internet.
The following adult companies donated during the fundraiser: XBIZ, Adam & Eve, Orbital Pay, The Screaming O, AEBN, ATKingdom, Fleshlight, MetArt, Springtown, Mansion Productions, Brazzers, California Exotic Novelties, Clips4Sale, Eldorado Trading Co., FUBAR Magazine, Gamelink, Girlfriend Films, HotMovies, Mobius Payments, MojoHost, New Sensations, Paradise Marketing, SexToy.com and Venus. Adult performers Sunny Lane, Sophie Dee and Bonnie Rotten also donated, bringing contributions to $40,7000.
An additional surprise pushed contributions over-the-top when it was announced that an anonymous donor had agreed to match the contributed amount, bringing the evening’s total to more than $80,000.
“It’s not often that the industry is brought together in a unified show of support, but FSC appreciates the opportunity presented by the XBIZ Awards, Alec Helmy, Moose from Girlfriend Films and Amnon at Met Art, and we are very grateful to all the businesses and individuals that donated to both of these important industry organizations. The money goes to support FSC programs and legal efforts,” FSC’s Duke commented.
XBIZ’s Helmy later stated, “We were honored to provide a special forum to raise funds for these two critically important industry organizations. We want to express our sincere gratitude to both FSC and ASACP for all they do to protect our industry.”