L.A. County Officials Won’t Require Condoms for Adult Performers

LOS ANGELES — Too many adult production companies, too many porn actors, and too tough to police.

That’s what Los Angeles County’s public health chief told three AIDS Healthcare Foundation members who showed up at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting demanding to know why the county won’t require performers in porn films to wear condoms.

The three foundation members “hijacked” the meeting when another healthcare line-item issue came up, AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesman Ged Kenslea told XBIZ, because the county hasn’t answered the group’s questions it posed to the board in September.

The issues of condoms and porn weren’t even on Tuesday’s Supervisors Board meeting agenda.

But county officials reacted to the group and told them that they should be “realistic” to the situation.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health chief, told the foundation members that regulating the porn biz “is very, very difficult to implement.”

“There are roughly 200 production companies with about 1,200 actors,” he said. “All you need is a room and a camera and a bed, basically, to do this kind of shoot, and we have no ability to police this.”

Fielding said that it would be difficult for public health officials to prove if the porn videos were shot in L.A. County or elsewhere, because producers often do not apply for filming licenses.

"We worked closely with county counsel trying to see if there’s some other way that we could effectively do this under existing authority, and what we’ve come up with is, basically, we’re unlikely to to have an effective approach to prevent them from acquiring preventable STDs,” Fielding said. “It’s very disturbing to come to that conclusion, but we also have to be realistic.”

Fielding said the California Legislature would need to green light legislation that would require condom use for porn shoots. He noted his department testified to lawmakers in 2004, asking the Legislature to approve a law that would regulate the porn biz.

That proposal would have required condom use during filming, implement STD-screening requirements paid by the industry and have studios pay for the local cost of monitoring compliance.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who noted that no California lawmaker has been willing to sponsor such legislation, said state’s legislators need to act — not the county.

“I think the only answer to this at the end of the day is a statewide approach to this, which would also empower law enforcement, and you run sting operations,” he said. “All you’ve got to do is make one or two arrests and the rest of the ... industry will understand pretty quickly that there’s a risk."

Kenslea, of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, later blasted the county’s stance on the matter.

“Well this seems like the kick-the-can approach,” Kenslea told XBIZ. “Why the heck does the county think they can grade restaurants on the health aspects and then they can’t deal with a simple matter of using condoms. It doesn’t seem like a prudent approach.”