SAN FRANCISCO — Maureen Langan, a radio personality on KGO in the San Francisco Bay Area, interviewed three opponents of California’s Proposition 60 on her show Sunday night.
Adult performers Ela Darling and Chanel Preston and Eric Paul Leue, campaign manager for Californians Against Worker Harassment, gave their takes on Prop 60, which will be decided by California voters on Nov. 8.
The inititative would mandate the use of condoms in all adult films shot in the state. Californians Against Worker Harassment was formed in opposition to the measure and has been campaigning aggressively against it.
Langan, a comedian who recently opened for veteran R&B singer Gladys Knight, devoted the first half of Sunday’s show to the death of comedian Kevin Meaney on Friday. And when her three guests in the adult industry came on for the second part of the broadcast, Langan delved into their backgrounds as well as their reasons for opposing Prop 60.
Preston told Langan that “there is more in Prop 60 than condom mandates,” noting that the measure would allow private citizens to sue adult performers if they saw any condomless scenes in an adult film. The measure, Preston said, “puts us at risk for people to frivolously sue us” and would “create a cottage industry for harassment” of the adult industry.
When Langan asked her guests about testing procedures for sexually transmitted diseases in the adult industry, Preston said, “We have a really rigorous testing system in place” that includes testing of performers “every 14 days.”
Darling said that in the adult industry, “The protocols have only gotten more and more stringent” for STD screening of performers.
Leue said, “Sexual health goes beyond just condoms.”
Californians Against Worker Harassment has offered a variety of reasons for its opposition to Prop 60, saying that it would result in frivolous lawsuits, violate the privacy of adult performers and cost California taxpayers millions of dollars. And all of those concerns were voiced during Langan’s interview with Darling, Preston and Leue.
Langan’s guests were critical of Prop 60 proponent AIDS Healthcare Foundation, including Michael Weinstein, the group's president, saying he has so far resisted the adult industry’s efforts to debate the issue with him.
Weinstein, Preston said, “continues to exclude performers’ voices.”
Leue said that even adult studios that voluntarily use condoms in their productions are among Prop 60’s opponents.
Langan took some calls from her audience. One of the callers, identified as Phil from Reno, said that as a Nevada resident, he was a strong supporter of Prop 60 — not because he thought that mandating the use of condoms in adult films was a good idea, but because it encouraged the adult industry to leave California. And that, the caller said, could create an abundance of jobs in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada.
“Luckily,” Darling said of Phil, “he cannot vote in California.”
Another caller, identified as Mike from Santa Cruz, Calif., said, “I’m voting against it definitely” and characterized Prop 60 as “the Christian Right and radical feminists coming together.” If Prop 60 passes, the caller said, similar laws will inevitably be proposed and passed in other states in the U.S.
Mike asked Langan’s guests if Prop 60 would affect creators of amateur porn. Darling told the caller, “Yes, everybody will be liable under this law.”
Langan herself was critical of Prop 60 during the broadcast, saying that it was against freedom of choice and could open the door to countless lawsuits.
“You can’t mandate how everyone lives their lives,” Langan said.
Langan was intrigued by Darling’s background as a librarian and the fact that she went from being a librarian to being an adult film star. Asked if she saw any parallels between the two professions, Darling — who has a masters degree — said, “Librarians are freedom fighters.”
Preston, when asked about her background, told Langan that she was a stripper before she got into adult films. And Leue told Langan that while he has “never been a performer,” he has really enjoyed being an advocate for the adult industry.
Langan maintained a friendly tone throughout the interview and said of the adult industry, “They bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.”
“Obviously, you didn’t grow up with shame and loathing like I did in my Irish-Catholic family,” Langan told her guests.
When Langan asked Leue where people who are not in the adult industry can learn more about it, he recommended visiting the Free Speech Coalition’s website.
Leue told Langan that support for Prop 60 has been declining, according to recent polls.
Only 40 percent of the California residents surveyed in a Capitol Weekly poll released last week supported the measure compared to 53 percent in a Los Angeles Times poll released in early September.
Preston, Darling and Leue were vocal critics of Prop 60 well before their appearance on “The Maureen Langan Show” Sunday night.
In an October 12 commentary for the Sacramento Bee, Preston and Jay Gladstein — an internal medicine/HIV specialist — expressed their opposition to Prop 60, describing it as a “badly written and dangerous initiative.”
Preston and Gladstein, in the commentary, complained that Prop 60 was drafted without any input from working adult performers and that its supporters “have repeatedly refused to meet with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.”
In their commentary, Preston and Gladstein said that the adult industry’s screening process for sexually transmitted diseases has been effective.
“In reality, there hasn’t been a single transmission of HIV on a regulated California movie set since 2004 — a testament to how well current protocols work,” Chanel and Gladstein wrote.
Preston appeared at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) on Friday as a part of a panel discussion on Prop 60. The panel also featured Prof. Tom Hogan-Esch from CSUN’s department of political science and Dr. Adam Cohen, Prop 60 supporter and director of advocacy and policy research for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Sunday night, Langan asked her guests what steps the adult industry will take if Prop 60 passes.
“If Prop 60 passes, we will challenge it in court, of course,” Leue said, adding that it would be “found unconstitutional.”