opinion

Working Group Postpones Results of Report on Condom Ordinance Enforcement

Diane Duke

At the City Administrator’s office this morning, the Working Group on the City of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Ordinance met to review a report on enforcement strategy for condom ordinance on adult sets.

The meeting was started and it was announced that the Working Group report on enforcement was not ready and that another meeting would be scheduled next week, when the report should be completed. Despite the postponement, a public commentary period was allowed.

Adult industry members that attended the meeting included Immoral Productions owner/producer Dan Leal, industry attorneys Michael Fattarosi and Allan Gelbard, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke and Membership/Communications Director Joanne Cachapero.

Among those in the Working Group were representatives from L.A. Fire Department, Film L.A.,  the city council, the city attorney’s office and the department of public health. L.A. Police Department and Cal-OSHA representatives were absent.

During the public commentary period, Leal reported a situation that occurred last night on a webcam shoot for Immoral Productions. Leal said Los Angeles police had visited the set and that a citation had been issued to the camera operator (an independent contractor), for shooting a commercial production without a permit. Leal requested for the group to clarify if permits where required for any commercial shoot, even including a husband and wife that might produce amateur webcam content for profit in their home.

Leal and those present were informed that permits are required for any commercial production that is not shot on a soundstage.

FSC’s Duke then spoke, pointing out that the adult industry should not be treated differently than other entertainment media, based on sexually explicit content.

“You deal with film permits everyday,” Duke said, “but if the adult industry is going to be treated differently, then we have a problem with that.”

She went further to explain that an ordinance applied specifically to the adult industry would put the industry in a position to experience other forms of discrimination and censorship.

At that point, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) representative Mark McGrath was allowed to speak on behalf of the HIV nonprofit organization behind the push to enforce mandatory condom law.

He called the adult entertainment industry an “outlaw” industry, and said the industry had been violating condom regulations all along. He said that it was time for the industry to have a “modicum of corporate citizenship,” in regards to condom use. And he also stated that the city should call for RFPs (request for proposal), in order to establish contracts for enforcement staffing.

Speaking last, industry attorney Gelbard talked about the constitutionality of the condom ordinance.

“One point is very clear,” Gelbard said. “The statute is unconstitutional.”

He cited case law, referring to cases including Freeman v. California, and precedents establishing the legal and First Amendment protections for the adult industry. On the issue of freedom of expression, Gelbard noted that producers cannot be compelled to send a “safe sex message,” because this would infringe on the producer’s right of expression. He also called the ordinance “content-based” and assured the group that the ordinance would not withstand closer scrutiny in court.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after the commentary period. The next and final meeting of the Working Group will be scheduled for next week.

(Photo: Some rights reserved by Josef325)

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