LOS ANGELES — As the battle over California’s Proposition 60 escalates ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, the adult entertainment industry has taken a stand against the proposal that has become much more about politics than about its stated goal of protecting performer’s health.
Earlier today, Eric Paul Leue, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, provided commentary to The Advocate entitled “Suing Porn Stars Will Not Lead to Less HIV,” which countered claims made by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in its crusade to mandate personal protective measures in porn.
Leue, who also serves on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV, is a former Mr. L.A. Leather that brings a range of personal and professional insights to the debate, which is pitting the AHF against the free choice of consumers and content creators, as well as the performers that condom use ostensibly protects.
Leue also is campaign manager for Californians Against Worker Harassment, an advocacy group that is going head-to-head with the AHF over Prop 60.
“Fighting Prop 60 is bigger than our own industry, it touches the diverse communities to which we belong as individuals,” Leue told XBIZ. “As a gay man I have been an advocate for HIV/LGBTQ issues for over a decade, and I am a fierce ally of the adult industry both personally and professionally.”
Leue notes that the adult industry and the LGBTQ communities have been intertwined since the inception of the modern liberation movement.
“All of us remember what government sanctioned harassment did to us. Now, under Prop 60 we see this kind of harassment return, even giving a financial incentive to hunt down people working in or with the adult industry,” Leue explains, telling XBIZ that now is the time to stand united to fight against Prop 60, which he calls “a regressive piece of anti-science legislation rooted in prejudice and shame.”
In his Advocate piece, Leue says that most voters are unfamiliar with the industry and its workers, so the initiative appears to be an easy victory for progressivism.
“[It is] a one-two punch wherein the porn industry becomes a conduit for safer-sex messaging, while allegedly increasing workplace protection for the performers. But Prop 60 is anything but progressive,” Leue wrote. “It jeopardizes personal privacy and weakens workplace safety for adult film workers by empowering any resident of California to sue adult film performers — even a married couple producing content from their own home.”
Leue commented on several of the misconceptions included in Prop 60, which is being backed by AHF and its controversial founder, Michael Weinstein, who has long sought to impose new restrictions on California’s adult film industry.
Leue notes that performers, many of whom have taken production into their own hands, will be hardest hit by Prop 60, and also warns members of the LGBTQ community in particular about some of the more frightening aspects of the proposal.
“Imagine stalkers, overzealous fans, angry family members, and LGBTQ hate groups being able to obtain legal names and home addresses of people who are open about their sexuality and gender identity,” Leue wrote. “Performers already face daily privacy invasions, harassment, and discrimination — a law giving a digital mob incentives to patrol sexual behavior should raise flags with all LGBTQ people everywhere.”
Indeed, Prop 60 should be raising flags among all industry members and consumers alike.
“What Prop 60 threatens to do is not only demonize but destabilize,” Leue explains, “to push production underground and out of state, to make performers vulnerable to harassment and lawsuits, to take away control over their own bodies.”
This is the second editorial that Leue has provided to The Advocate this year concerning AHF’s push to ban condomless porn, with his earlier commentary from February available here and his current comments available here.