L.A. City Council Hesitant to Suspend Production Permits

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council was hesitant to suspend adult film production permits Friday after being challenged by officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The AHF has campaigned intensively in the past year over enforcement of condom use and safe-sex practices in porn, ramping up its voice after a porn performer tested positive for HIV earlier this week.

AHF officials called on City Council to direct Film L.A., the agency contracted by the city of Los Angeles to handle film permits, to suspend issuing permits.

“A requirement from L.A. City Council would send a powerful message that the public bodies think it’s an important public health issue,” AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea told the council. “We want to suspend porn production until this incident is sorted out.”

But Councilman Richard Alarcon, speaking to the Los Angeles Times, said that there could be a risk with lawsuits over civil rights violations and the AHF's call was not practical.

“To revoke a permit for an entire industry — where does it stop?” Alarcon said. “If a stuntman injures himself — and we know there are injuries to stuntmen all the time — are we going to pull all the permits for the industry? The answer is no.

"There are civil rights issues that this particular industry has been very strong on and, frankly, they have prevailed," he said, noting there could be “extensive litigation at great expense to the taxpayers.”

Alarcon said that the responsibility should be shouldered by Cal/OSHA, which regulates workplace safety.

“They have the workplace regulations, and it’s incumbent on them to target,” Alarcon said.

On Thursday, Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, told XBIZ that AHF's decision to appear at City Council amounted to the nonprofit's continual attempt to exploit the latest HIV scare for political gain.

"Rather than recognizing the industry for going above and beyond what is required, AHF is using this opportunity to continue its never-ending stream of grandstanding," she said.

As for the number of adult companies that apply for film permits, it is unknown.

Film L.A. spokesman Todd Lindgren told XBIZ that the agency does not track the specific content of each registered shoot, "just the genre, as in terms of drama or comedy."