FSC Discusses L.A. County ‘Safer Sex’ Letter to Adult Producers

Rhett Pardon

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition, in response to a Los Angeles County Public Health memo that is being disseminated to producers of adult films, has provided supplemental information for decision-making involving shoots in the county.

The FSC said Wednesday that all local adult businesses should consult with their attorneys as far as where to shoot, permitting procedures, the interpretation of the law, as well as the civil and criminal risks involved. The FSC emphasized that it cannot provide legal advice.

"Only a lawyer familiar with your company’s circumstances can advise you how to reduce risk of liability," the trade group said. "What is good advice for one company could be disastrous for another."

Film LA, the entity that grants onsite permits for filming, has been asked to provide L.A. County with information about adult companies that apply for a permit, the FSC said.

"The county plans to provide Film LA with a list of adult companies on which to report," the FSC said. "Therefore, when an adult company applies for an on-site permit from Film LA for filming in L.A. County, the county will be notified about the shoot. L.A. County can inspect shoots at will without giving prior notice.

"A permit from Film LA will not mean compliance to the county’s permit requirements and the county will be notified about the time and place of adult filming for those who obtain a Film LA permit.

The FSC said the letter sent by L.A. County is the county’s interpretation of the law and it is possible that the law could be interpreted even more strictly by the courts.

"Also the ordinance allows for private citizens and entities — like AIDS Healthcare Foundation — to file civil complaints concerning ordinance compliance," the FSC said.

Paul Audley, who leads Film LA as CEO, said that his agency will play a limited role if or when the ordinance is formally implemented.

Collectively, the adult industry has vowed to sue the county if there is any action over the ordinance involving a shoot.

"Look, we've been informed with what is going with this ordinance, but the fact is we are a contractor with a budget," Audley told XBIZ. "There are serious limits with Film LA. We've got a limited role and we do not want to get involved in any types of enforcement."

Audley noted that his agency gets more than 250 applications a day to film in the Los Angeles area, and it is impossible for the agency to absolutely determine if the production is an adult one because the category is not included in forms or the database.

"It is also a First Amendment issue, as well," said Audley, noting that producers aren't legally required to disclose if they are "adult" productions.

In the letter, that Los Angeles County Public Health has handed out, the county states that the ordinance pertains to the unincorporated cities in L.A. County and cities that have adopted “Title 39.” (The FSC said that is an error and that the correct code section is Title 11.39.)

"It is up to adult businesses to track cities that have adopted Title 11.39 — there are 88 incorporated cities in L.A. County," the FSC said. 

"Vernon, Long Beach and Pasadena have their own Public Health Departments and do not contract with the county.

"It may be that those cities will not be enforcing Measure B. FSC will try to undertake this analysis, but it will take time and staffing which we do not currently have."

The Los Angeles County Public Health's letter has not yet been sent out to producers but will be soon, spokesman Alan Sullivan told XBIZ.

Sullivan said that the letter currently is being disseminated only through Film LA when known adult entertainment applicants file papers for shoots.

Audley said Film LA has 12 known adult entertainment studios on its books.

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