Treasure Island Media Vows to Fight Cal/OSHA Decision

Bob Johnson

SAN FRANCISCO — In response to a Cal/OSHA decision delivered on Jan. 8 that rejected an appeal by Treasure Island Media (TIM) and found it guilty of workplace health code violations, the gay studio has vowed to continue to challenge the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Cal/OSHA and subsequent fines centering on its 2009 film, “The 1000 Load Fuck.”

The San Francisco-based studio said it would appeal the rulings handed down by Administrative Law Judge Mary Dryovage despite a reduction of fines for two violations of the blood borne pathogen regulations by dropping one from $9,000 to $6,300 and the other from $9,000 to $0.

What began in 2009 when the AHF filed a number of official complaints with Cal/OSHA over TIM films, spawned formal hearings in February and April of 2013. TIM said in a statement that this forced the agency to act as a policing agent against the adult entertainment industry, ultimately wasting U.S. tax dollars through mandatory spending.

"We're not just a company being attacked but a culture — one that believes the sex of HIV positive men should be open, celebrated, and embraced as we enter a new era where HIV is no longer looked down upon as a death sentence,” TIM owner and founder Paul Morris, said.

"Having the fines lowered by a total of nearly two-thirds is a very significant win for us," TIM attorney Karen Tynan, said.

She added, “We will be appealing the decision with a Petition for Reconsideration on the grounds that the decision was unsupported by the facts." TIM maintained that among the issues regarding the sufficiency of evidence: Cal/OSHA’s star witness was a disgruntled former employee who had been terminated in 2010 and their medical expert was an osteopath who last treated communicable diseases almost twenty years ago. At issue was the 2009 film directed by Morris. TIM said the video pushes the envelope, taking porn into taboo regions of the forbidden and depraved. In a bold and unprecedented experiment, one young man voluntarily takes a gallon of semen up his ass.

"We watched the video over and over and over. Then we watched it in slow motion, reverse, and paused it on almost every frame,” TIM General Manager Matt Mason, said, who testified for almost a day and a half and withstood hours of cross examination by Cal/OSHA attorney Kathryn Woods. "The state prosecutors took special interest in the turkey baster and the liquid fun in that scene."

According to Tynan, "The regulations that Cal/OSHA is imposing on the adult industry were originally intended for hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral homes, and require gloves, goggles, and every imaginable impermeable material to be used during sex. It's ludicrous, and we're appealing."

But in an AHF press release, President Michael Weinstein applauded the decision. “For the first time ever in California, Cal/OSHA’s Appeals Board has, in a formal trial of an appeal of several safety violations lodged against a California adult film company, overruled the appeal and upheld the citations and fines originally issued to Treasure Island Media for its condom-less porn productions.

“Treasure Island has been quite outspoken in its opposition to condom use in the company’s films. That is partly why we filed workplace health and safety complaints with Cal/OSHA: to press for the enforcement of existing state and local workplace regulatory guidelines which require the use of condoms in their—and all—adult films produced in California. After Treasure Island took its OSHA case to trial, claiming that the performers in their films were independent contractors and that the section of the regulations regarding Bloodborne Pathogens did not apply to the adult film industry, the court sustained Cal/OSHA’s citations after testimony and evidence were presented. This ruling is a milestone for workplace safety in California, and the first time OSHA has had the opportunity to weigh in so clearly and forcefully on workplace safety on adult film sets.”


Read the Cal/OSHA Ruling