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.