Prop 60 Is in Rearview Mirror at All-Industry Meeting

Prop 60 Is in Rearview Mirror at All-Industry Meeting
Rhett Pardon

STUDIO CITY, Calif. — There was a Plan B if Proposition 60 had passed.

Vivid Entertainment co-founder Steve Hirsch, at a Free Speech Coalition meeting for members of the adult industry this evening, said, “We were ready to pull the trigger.”

Hirsch told attendees that if the state measure had passed, the initiative likely would have gone straight to a courtroom.

He revealed that a concerted litigation effort, months in the making, had been financed by Evil Angel founder John Stagliano.

As it was told this evening, the litigation plan was so far along that adult industry stakeholder plaintiffs had been lined up.

“It is important for everyone to know that we weren’t just hoping it didn’t go our way,” Hirsch said. “We were ready to continue to fight and fight them harder.”

Prop 60, now a smoggy memory in Porn Valley, was a state initiative that called for enforcing condom use during all adult film production sites across California.

Last week, about 54 percent of the electorate voted against Prop 60, which would have made producers prove that condoms were used, pay for performers’ workplace-related medical examinations and vaccines and be licensed by Cal/OSHA every two years. They would also have been subjected to stiff fines if condoms weren’t used.

This evening, more than 50 adult entertainment stakeholders journeyed to the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, Calif., to listen to Hirsch, Stagliano, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Eric Paul Leau and attorney Karen Tynan, along with FSC Communications Director Mike Stabile and Siouxsie Q, the FSC’s director of policy and industry relation, discuss the industry’s next fight, as well as to celebrate.

Stakeholders attending included adult entertainment luminaries Julia Ann, Kelly Holland, James Deen, Chanel Preston, Jeff Mullen, Mark Spiegler, Brock Doom and so many others.

Of course, the industry, past the stage of walking on eggshells, is lining up for future existential attacks after now-defeated Prop 60. And it appears the FSC is aware of and ready for any veiled or unveiled attempts.

The gregarious but cautious Leue stressed that the industry should next closely focus on the Cal/OSHA petitions that will be weighed at the beginning of the year.

Cal/OSHA plans on evaluating two petitions — Petition 560, which was filed by the FSC, and Petition 557, filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Both request new regulatory language for § 5193 to address occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens. The next meeting between stakeholders and Cal/OSHA is slated for Jan. 31 in Oakland, Calif.

Leue, who called AHF’s president, Michael Weinstein, a “nuisance” to the adult industry, said the biz should rise above and look to build new relationships with allies, and even state regulators.

“AHF lobbied the Cal/OSHA Standards Board for seven continuous years,” he said. “On Feb. 19, over 100 of us showed up and said this was screwed up, and who did the board stand up with — us.”

Hirsch agreed, saying that the adult entertainment biz’s next big focus should be in Oakland, where the Standards Board tabled new regulations this past February over the AHF-sponsored § 5193.1, which would have greatly expanded barrier protection for porn performers.

“The fight really moves over to Cal/OSHA, and it’s really about supporting our efforts for that,” Hirsch said. “If we can come up with an agreement with that … it will be positive for our industry and something we all should stand for.”

Moving beyond state requirements, Leue noted that he’s leading a new effort to help bring discussion with the Los Angeles County Health Department for forward-thinking dialogue over Measure B, an ordinance that mandates condoms in Los Angeles County but is effectively unenforceable.

One of the poignant points of the meeting was funding. While the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-funded Prop 60 had a war chest of $4.6 million, the No on Prop 60 group had only $543,000 to its name.

Hirsch told attendees that there will be “necessary funding” going forward from those besides the core funders of adult entertainment legal battles. He noted that five of the top funders wrote checks totaling $250,000 to support No on Prop 60 efforts.

“These things cost money, and this fight continues on,” he said. “This is sort of a victory party, and it is nice to get together to celebrate something good. We were underdogs, but everyone wasn’t coming together.

“When we take a look at who really supported this and who didn’t, I think it is important to recognize that some of the major, major people [in the biz] let us down.”

Ann, in an emotional end to the evening, said that the No on Prop 60 effort in the past few months meant something "very special" for the adult performing community, particularly for those who got involved and dramatically bolstered the FSC’s efforts to get the word out.

“We have new blood, and the FSC is going to fight for us,” she said. “We would have lost it if it had just been left up to just a few people.”

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