SAN FRANCISCO — Voicing concern over the real effects that California's AB 1576 and the proposed Cal/OSHA regulations will have on performers and adult in general, and seeking common ground for a beneficial solution to the HIV controversy, Kink.com chief Peter Acworth has penned an open letter to AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein.
In his personal blog, Acworth sternly chronicled Weinstein’s legal battles against adult including crusades against the now defunct AIM testing facility, adult production studios, and his lobbying initiatives including Weinstein’s crown jewel — Measure B.
“If the current direction continues, I believe it to be inevitable that what remains of the adult video industry will leave the state, and threaten the performer protections we’ve worked so hard to create. AB 1576 will force 14-day testing and mandatory condoms, plus record keeping that invades performer privacy; new Cal/OSHA regulations propose to require condoms for oral and protection of other mucus membranes such as eyes.
I’m afraid it is just a brutal reality that the industry will leave California under these regulations. Abroad, standards are lower than what the industry already self-imposes here in the U.S. Worse, I fear smaller production companies will shoot underground and that we will see a reduction in the safety on-set that the industry has worked very hard to build over the last decade," Acworth wrote.
The Kink founder pointed out that he is also concerned about performer safety above all else, recounting his CNN appearance advocating condom use. But market and talent pressure forced the older condom-optional plan. Acworth noted that 10 years later testing has improved and there’s not been a single on-set transmission.
Acworth said, “I could not, in good conscience, write this letter did I not believe in the track record of the industry.”
Although he said Weinstein believed he was “doing the right thing,” Acworth openly disagreed with the AHF boss's tactics and hoped both sides could reach common ground.
Acworth laid out measures he feels would be mutually agreeable and would allow the industry to remain in California that includes performer safety that does not include a “one-size fits all” approach — pointing out that a number of gay studios resist testing but use condoms in order to protect talent privacy rights; the need for education; the availability of condoms on all sets; and the evaluation of the PrEP medical regimen Acworth said could help prevent HIV transmission.
“The fact is, none of the performers you bring to your press conferences would have been protected had AB 1576 been passed 10 years ago, because no California condom law is going to protect performers during their personal lives, or shooting on unregulated sets overseas. PrEP, if it works as advertised, could do just that. In fact, we’ve recently begun working with HIV and sex worker health organizations to develop an educational program about PrEP specifically targeting adult performers — it would be great if you could be a part of it,” Acworth wrote.
A Kink spokesperson commenting on what he labeled Weinstein’s “moral crusade,” told XBIZ that if the AHF leader really does want to protect performers, he should be listening to them, not attacking them.