Wearing Raincoats on the Porn Set?

     Late last year, I wrote “AHF on the Attack” for Wyattevans.com, which centered on a ballot initiative that mandated the use of condoms in all porn productions throughout the entire state of California.  The part of the measure that  had the adult entertainment industry really up in arms—and panicky, to say the least—is the following:  that regular citizens could sue porn producers for creating condomless content, and receive financial incentive for doing so. 

     Well, that was then.  Now, the industry can let out a collective sigh of relief because just earlier this month, California workplace safety officials rejected that very initiative.  Julia Bernstein, spokeswoman for California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), stated that the division’s standards board killed the measure when only three members supported it.  Four “yes” votes from the seven-member board were required for passage. The vote was 3-2 in favor, with one board member absent and one position open.  Bernstein added that now, the board will start considering a new worker-safety measure for the porn industry.

     According to the Associated Press, “Board members appeared influenced by dozens of porn industry representatives who filed to the dais during a public hearing in Oakland, California, to argue forcefully but politely that adopting the condom measure would either destroy their multibillion-industry or force it underground.  Doing the latter, they said, could make it more dangerous to performers by eliminating safeguards such as the industry’s requirement that actors be tested every 14 days for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

     “’I know you guys work really hard and have our best interests at stake, but we need you to work with us to find a solution,’ said porn actress SiouxsieQ, who also reports on the industry for various publications.  ‘When you criminalize sex work in any way, you make it more dangerous’.”

     In 2012 however, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) was the driving force behind Measure B, a law passed in Los Angeles County that mandates the use of condoms in porn.   Although disappointed by the vote earlier this month, Ged Kenslea, foundation spokesman, said that his organization was “impressed that porn representatives said they recognize a need for some sort of regulation.”  He added that AHF would be interested in working with them to accomplish that objective.

     The Associated Press continued, “Under the 21-page proposal Cal/OSHA rejected, so-called engineering controls ‘such as condoms’ must be used by actors engaging in sex to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and other diseases.  Movie producers would also be required to pay for medical visits, treatments and other health-care costs for their performers.

     “The problem, several speakers said, is that a large segment of their audience loses interest in a film when they see actors with condoms.”

     But on the flip side, AHF has asserted for years that the condom requirement was long overdue.  The foundation also contends that while it might not prevent transmission of all STDs, it would be far more effective than the porn industry’s 14-day testing requirement.

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