LOS ANGELES — It was high noon, and Michael Weinstein, the chief proponent of the California ballot initiative that could highly regulate the adult filmmaking industry in the state, hadn't shown up.
Invited last week, Weinstein, who leads the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, was asked to attend and debate in front of the mainstream media his latest proposal targeting the adult biz — the Safer Sex in Adult Film Act, a ballot initiative that has been labeled as “flawed” by much of the adult entertainment industry.
Weinstein last week also was asked by officials from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) and the Californians Against Worker Harassment campaign to pull the proposal before its upcoming Thursday deadline to remove it from the November ballot.
Instead, officials from the groups, along with numerous adult performers, focused on the empty chair where Weinstein could have explained his proposal at the Andaz hotel in West Hollywood, Calif.
The two groups representing the California-centric adult filmmaking industry are particularly incensed that, if passed, private individuals and groups could sue producers, talent agents and performers when a condom isn’t visible in an erotic film production. Privacy issues also are a big concern, the organizations said.
Just past noon, Eric Paul Leue, who leads the Californians Against Worker Harassment campaign, as well as the Free Speech Coalition as executive director, proceeded the press conference without Weinstein.
Leue was joined at his side in front of the media by performer Ela Darling, who represented APAC, and adult star and producer Venus Lux.
“I personally feel very disappointed the proponent of the initiative who purportedly cares for worker safety isn’t here to listen to worker concerns,” said Leue, who was resigned to the fact Weinstein wasn’t showing.
“For Michael Weinstein and the AHF to refuse to speak [to adult performers] is appalling. This initiative isn’t about sexual health,” Leue said. “Voters are being tricked into believing that it is. They are being misled with their votes, thinking they will be doing something good for this industry.
“But [if voters pass the initiative] what they will create is an unprecedented lawsuit model that will allow the bigots and rightwing activists in this state to hunt down our workers because of who they are and what they do for a living. And I feel that is frightening.”
Darling, in her turn, said she was outraged at the proposal and said that if the bill passes performers would be at risk.
“Performers are stakeholders in these films, and would be punished and we would be liable [for violations],” Darling said. “There are several aspects of this initiative that some may find not so terrible. And there are some aspects that merit further discussion.
“But with this initiative, we can’t cherry-pick the things that sound good or seem like a good idea,” she said. “It’s all or nothing.”
Other adult entertainment figures took turns explaining what the proposed condom initiative would do to their profession, as well.
Adult stars Julia Ann, Stefani Special, Tim Woodman, Ela Nova, Brock Doom, Katt Lowden and Siouxsie Q, who also is policy director for the FSC, all gave their takes over the proposal in front of the media who attended the event.
In related news, prior to the media event at the Andaz, XBIZ learned that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has tapped Dakota Communications to handle publicity for its Safer Sex in Adult Film Act campaign. Los Angeles-based Dakota Communications worked on the successful Measure B condom campaign in Los Angeles County in 2012.
Pictured: From left, Julia Ann, Eric Paul Leue, Venus Lux and Ela Darling