SAN DIEGO — Adult performers and producers joined with infectious disease specialists and public health experts to voice strong opposition to proposed Cal/OSHA regulations, which could require adult performers to use condoms, dental dams and goggles while shooting adult film, at a hearing Thursday morning in San Diego.
“These are regulations designed for medical settings, and are unworkable on an adult film set — or even a Hollywood film set,” said Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition. “We’ve come to San Diego with ways to amend the regulations, with input from both performers and public health officials, in ways that protect adult film performers without stigmatizing and shutting down an entire industry.”
Among those voicing opposition to the regulations unless amended are the American Civil Liberties Union, the County of Los Angeles Commission on HIV, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Equality California, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), which represents adult performers.
The Cal/OSHA regulations are the result of a five-year campaign by Michael Weinstein, of the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Weinstein has called adult performers a threat to public health, and is currently funding a ballot measure that would pay him personally to review all adult films produced in the state of California for condoms, as a taxpayer funded ‘porn czar.’
Weinstein’s campaign has drawn ire of local and national health officials, who have accused him of fomenting a crisis where none exists. The County of Los Angeles Commission on HIV recently voted to oppose the new regulations unless amended, and, at a commission meeting earlier this month, Mario Perez, director of HIV and STD Programs for Los Angeles County was vocal in his opposition to the proposed regulations:
“As we think about the HIV and STD epidemics in our county, there continues to be … a disproportionate amount of energy and attention on an area that is not contributing to new HIV infections,” Perez testified to the Commission. “The epidemiology just isn’t there for folks to continue to harp on this issue.”
Rather than merely mandating condoms, the industry’s own amended regulations include multiple options for STI prevention, including the industry’s current testing protocol, known as PASS, biomedical prevention methods like PrEP, and condoms for performers who prefer them. In an industry shift, producers would bear the cost of production-related STI testing for employees.
“We need to empower performers to take control of their own health and sexuality,” said Maitresse Madeline Marlowe, an adult director and performer from San Francisco, one of dozens who drove in for the hearing. “We want to keep our sets safe, but you can’t regulate sex the same way you regulate surgery. We’re here to present amended regulations that make sense for performers, and are based in reality, rather than stigma.”
There has not been an on-set transmission of HIV on a regulated adult set since 2004. Legislation that would have mandated condoms on adult sets was defeated in the state Senate in 2014, after wide opposition from performers, HIV outreach organizations, and civil rights organizations.
The industry’s amended regulations, additional testimony, data analysis and statements from public health officials can be found at OurBodiesOurChoice.com or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.