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FSC Issues Statement on AHF Ballot Initiative

FSC Issues Statement on AHF Ballot Initiative
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Nov 7, 2014 10:45 AM PST    Text size: 

LOS ANGELES — Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, on Friday released a statement in response to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's announced statewide ballot initiative that would require condom use in adult films.

The statement follows:

“[AHF President] Michael Weinstein is resorting to the ballot initiative process because he can’t get it done any other way. His campaign has failed multiple times in the legislature, it has been opposed by HIV outreach and LGBT groups, it’s been opposed by civil rights groups, it’s been opposed by newspaper editorial boards and, most importantly, it’s been opposed by performers. Why? Because the bill not only takes away performers’ control over their own bodies, it pushes the industry out of California and underground, making performers ultimately less safe.

"Anyone who looks at the data around performer health sees that Weinstein’s campaign is more about his dislike for the adult industry than it is about workplace safety. Despite shooting hundreds of thousands of scenes, there hasn’t been a transmission of HIV on a regulated adult set since 2004 thanks to a rigorous protocol that requires performers to be tested every fourteen days for a full slate of STIs including HIV. Yet because it attracts donors to his organization and headlines for himself, Weinstein has manufactured a crisis.

"In his one-man war against the adult industry, Weinstein routinely uses performers who contracted HIV in their personal lives, and were stopped from working by testing protocol, as evidence of danger. It’s cynical and shameful, and he’s been reprimanded repeatedly by public health authorities for making claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

"As a result, Weinstein now uses confusing language, most notably 'the performers contracted HIV while working in the adult industry' to imply that transmission happened on a set without making the claim directly. (It’s like saying 'Magic Johnson contracted HIV while working as a basketball player'). Having failed at the legislative level, he’s now hoping that he can use such language to confuse voters.

"Michael Weinstein’s controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been under fire locally and nationally for using his taxpayer funded organization to enforce various versions of his conservative morality. His misguided morality campaign is not limited to adult sets — as part of his condom-only campaign, he has called for an end to HIV vaccine research, he opposed medication that can prevent HIV transmission, and he has sued the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles when they’ve opposed him.

"Performer health is important. But performers, the most tested population on the planet, should have the ultimate right to control their bodies and their health. They don’t deserve to be shamed or treated as a public danger, or to have their rights trampled. Michael Weinstein is using taxpayer money to fund a campaign that is opposed by performers, public health experts, and civil rights groups, in hopes that he can use the ballot initiative to accomplish what has failed in every other venue. We, likewise, will oppose this.”

Measure B, a Los Angeles condom ordinance that passed in November 2012, resulted in a 95 percent drop in permits for adult production, and spurred numerous producers to move to Las Vegas, according to FSC.

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