FSC Responds to AHF's Accusations

FSC Responds to AHF's Accusations
Dan Miller

LOS ANGELES — The Free Speech Coalition said Wednesday it has been falsely accused by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) of obstructing a medical investigation by the Los Angeles County Public Health (LACPH) regarding the possible HIV exposure of an adult industry performer.

FSC, the adult industry trade association, said “this accusation is completely false and that is appallingly irresponsible for AHF to accuse any adult industry members of wrong-doing without any basis in actual fact.”

AHF President Michael Weinstein made the statements Wednesday during an AHF press conference in which the organization announced the filing of a “sanitary nuisance” health complaint with the Florida Department of Health, and a similar letter of complaint with federal OSHA officials against Brazzers. AHF said it was making the filings because a possible HIV positive performer may have worked on the company’s shoot.

Weinstein said that Brazzers is thought to be the production company for which the infected performer was working in Florida based on AHF’s own information gathering.

A Brazzers representative was not available for comment at post time.

FSC said that during the press conference Weinstein also falsely accused FSC of withholding information from public health authorities. FSC said it has received no contact from LACPH, out-of-state health officials, or AHF.

“This is another prime example of AHF and its President Michael Weinstein’s outrageous grandstanding, which is completely false and baseless,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “AHF has a history of spreading misinformation in order to further their agenda to force government regulation of sexual behavior. Apparently, Mr. Weinstein will stop at nothing, including spreading false information, in order to call attention to AHF’s agenda.”

The FSC early Monday asked for a moratorium on porn productions after reports indicated that an active performer may have tested positive for HIV.  

The FSC, as well as its performer testing unit, Adult Production Health & Safety Services Program (APHSS.org), said that a moratorium should be "instituted immediately and continued for a time period until the primary reports are confirmed" as well as possible first- and second-generation exposures identified.

That moratorium so far has been observed by the vast majority of adult producers.

FSC said that to its knowledge, there is no investigation being conducted by LACPH at this time.

“It is impossible for FSC to obstruct an investigation that, evidently, does not exist,” the FSC said in a statement. “In the event that FSC were to be contacted by authorities from LACPH or elswehere, it would endeavor to cooperate fully, while still protecting the rights of any individuals to medical privacy.

“It should also be made clear that at this time FSC does not have authorized information confirming that a performer or any performers have tested positive for HIV. However, after reports received on Saturday were corroborated by various sources, there was enough serious concern regarding the possible infection for FSC to call a moratorium on production."

The statement continued, “It also should be noted that the possible infection took place outside of California, and there is nothing to suggest that the Los Angeles adult production industry has been affected by any possible infections. However, adult production companies in Los Angeles have voluntarily agreed to the moratorium in order to eliminate the potential for exposure.

“Also, the possible exposure and subsequent events took place outside of the APHSS.org database program and therefore, outside of the authority of FSC to implement industry exposure protocols. However, FSC has reached out to concerned parties and is providing assistance.”

FSC said the APHSS.org database program was developed in order to fill the gap left by the closure of Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) that, since 1998, had been the primary testing facility for adult performers before its closure in May.

APHSS.org was launched on Aug. 1 and still in the process of organizing producers, agents and performers for participation in the program, FSC said.

“AHF’s campaign for mandatory condoms has done nothing but create controversy and, with the closure of AIM, has deprived the adult industry of an important health and safety resource,” Duke continued. “The industry has successfully self-regulated since 1998, due to AIM and the cooperation of the content production industry nationwide. However, without a similar system in place, the issue of industry protocols not being followed by separate testing facilities presents substantial difficulties for maintaining health and safety standards.”

FSC said it also has consulted with legal advisers in order to issue "a demand for an immediate retraction from AHF."

Weinstein, who was joined by Brian Chase, AIDS Healthcare Foundation assistant general counsel on the teleconference, said he made the announcement in an effort to “smoke out the facts” about the situation.

“We want L.A. County to immediately demand any information [the Free Speech Coalition] might be withholding and we renew our call on the City of Los Angeles to immediately stop issuing new permits,” Weinstein said.