Will the Condom Ordinance Drive the Industry Out of LA?

Diane Duke

With growing media attention to the recently-passed adult industry condom ordinance by city officials in Los Angeles – which goes into effect today – as well as the announcement last week that AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has collected half of the signatures needed to put the a condom initiative on the LA County ballot in November – there has been much speculation that the adult production industry might be looking for greener pastures.

At this point, many issues remain undecided. City officials in Los Angeles are still grappling with the logistics of enforcement policies and, presumably, the considerable costs associated with enforcing the new ordinance. There also is a lot of speculation on whether or not industry stakeholders will pull up stakes and move to Nevada or Arizona, taking industry jobs and revenue with them.

One thing’s for sure – there’s already been an outrageous amount of funds that have been spent on pushing AHF’s relentless campaign to mandate adult’s sexual rights through governmental channels.

It is fair to say that, at $5 a signature, AHF has already spent more than $600,000 just gathering signatures for the county ballot initiative ($5 a signature is what was quoted by local pollsters for an average price per petition signature). Not to mention, the cost of relentless litigation that AHF has pursued against adult industry members and businesses since 2009. Not to mention, even more possible litigation for all parties involved if the ordinance is challenged in court.

AHF is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit; so, where is the speculation as to whether or not AHF’s supporters actually support the expenditure of funds on a campaign to “help” adult performers? Where are the projections of how much this misguided campaign to mandate sexual freedoms will cost going forward?

AHF President Michael Weinstein has already stated that he will go, county by county – and to the State Supreme Court – in order to push his agenda. With a $187 million annual budget, AHF can afford costly litigation. But can California’s taxpayers really spare any more dollars to fund litigation for what AHF calls a “public health threat,” even as the organization’s leaders continue to spread misinformation based on flawed data and false claims?

Would that money be better spent on educational resources for people in high risk demographics, who might not have access to public health services? AHF claims that education through adult films is one of their goals; wouldn’t it make more sense to have adequate sex education resources for parents and teachers, so teens wouldn’t have to seek that information from adult entertainment? A recent report stated that improper condom use is a global problem – why isn’t AHF tackling that issue?

The other question that should be asked – what if adult industry producers do decide to leave California?

The state will lose billions in revenue from an industry that a) has self-regulated health protocols successfully since 1998 with monthly performer STI testing, b) is a legal business that produces product exclusively made in the state of California and employs thousands of industry members, as well as contracting other local businesses and individuals, and c) would rather spend its money doing business than fighting legal battles that cost the industry and the taxpayers millions of dollars.

In fact, if AHF’s condom agenda is successful, it still will not eradicate non-condom adult video. In our free market society, consumers are free to purchase non-condom adult content from other areas and countries where there is very little regulation, putting adult performers at greater risk.

And, as industry sales statistics show us, the consumers will do just that. They don’t purchase adult content for a lesson in proper condom use; they purchase adult content because they enjoy it. If you believe in individual’s rights to sexual expression and you understand that adult content is protected under the First Amendment, then you know that there is more at stake – and that AHF is not protecting anyone by dictating the sexual rights of adults.

Another point that deserves some speculation: Where does AHF’s witch hunt stop? If consenting adults producing an adult movie are restricted by government regulations, how far are we from seeing laws that criminalize other types of alternative sexuality? How far are we from a situation where condoms become the only legal form of safe sex protection, while alternative approaches to safe sex practices are rejected by conservative lobbyist groups and special interests? Are you willing to fund a special detail of “sex police” with your hard-earned tax dollars?

AHF’s “Condom Nation?” Condemnation, indeed.

If you feel that government has more important issues to address than a mandate on sexual rights, or that governments should not be influenced by big-money, third-party special interests – well, most of the people in the adult industry agree with you. Because most of the people in the adult industry are just like you, except for their choice of careers.

Here’s a video, from the iTeam at Las Vegas’ channel 8 news with commentary on the industry’s potential relocation. FSC Executive Director Diane Duke is featured, along with director Will Ryder and performer James Bartholet as they attended the premiere of Vivid Entertainment’s “Star Wars XXX,” at the Supper Club in Los Angeles.

(Photo: Some rights reserved by MichaelPloujnikov)

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