Porn Industry Threatens to Sue Over L.A. County Law Requiring Condoms

Voters want actors in adult films to wear condoms, but the industry is threatening to sue and shift production elsewhere.

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Voters want actors in adult films to wear condoms, but the industry is threatening to sue and shift production elsewhere.

Nearly 56% of Los Angeles County voters approved the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, which would require actors in pornographic films to wear condoms in order to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, but enforcing the ballot measure remains a hurdle.

Under the initiative, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, porn producers would have to obtain a public-health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in order to shoot adult films. A majority of the U.S. adult-film industry is in the San Fernando Valley in the county. Actors would be required to wear condoms during anal and vaginal sex scenes, and violators would be subject to civil fines, including potential criminal misdemeanor charges. The permit fee would pay for the enforcement, which ideally would involve nurses or others making routine inspections just as restaurants undergo routine health inspections, according to AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesperson Ged Kenslea.

(MORE: L.A. City Council Wants to Require Condoms on Porn Sets)

Kenslea said that Measure B, as the ballot initiative is known, is “fairly straightforward” and a “prudent” public-health measure, arguing its approval may be a message from people who watch porn. “The majority of voters who passed [this measure] into law are not only voters but also they are customers or they are potential customers.”

To justify the law, advocates for safer sex in the industry cite past HIV scares in 2004 and 2010 that temporarily halted adult-film production in L.A., as well as a syphilis outbreak in August 2012. A week before the election, a study of 168 adult-film actors conducted by public-health experts revealed that L.A. porn actors have a higher rate of STDs than Nevada prostitutes, who are required by state law to use condoms and get tested weekly for sexually transmitted diseases. Measure B has also received the endorsements of the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association.

The newly approved legislation essentially extends to the entire county the existing city ordinance that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed into law in January. In what may be a harbinger of conflict to come, however, the city has yet to enforce it. Eight months after the mayor’s decision, LA Weekly reported that “it will take 90 days to hire an inspector who would check out porn sets.” Following passage of Measure B, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement that it was “in the process” of determining how to regulate the countywide requirement.

Leading up to the vote, the Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board urged the county’s voters to reject the “unenforceable” law, arguing that it was “well intentioned” but that too many film companies would ignore the measure, and valuable county-government resources would be spent trying to track down elusive film shoots violating the policy:

Off-the-books shoots would continue, with producers naming their companies, hiring crew and performers, erecting sets, concluding filming and reorganizing for the next shoot under a new name long before county health officials learn of a production that needs a permit or a set that needs inspection.

Porn filmmakers claim that people will not pay to watch sex with condoms and insist they already have an effective system for protecting actors against STDs — regular testing for the diseases every 28 days. Industry medical consultants claimed to the New York Times that 350,000 sex scenes have been shot without condoms since 2004 without a single case of HIV transmission on set.

(MORE: L.A. Mayor Signs Law Requiring Condoms in Porn Films)

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult-film-industry trade association, says it will challenge Measure B in court as “unconstitutional,” a violation of the First Amendment, and would not hesitate to move the production companies out of Los Angeles county as soon as possible. Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine, echoed that idea to Bloomberg News: “We’ll simply shoot in Hawaii, Mexico or the desert. We’ll fly to Cabo for a week or 10 days. It’s not a big deal.”

In fact, it’s not the porn-production companies that are anxious so much as other businesses in L.A. that benefit from the filming that worry that Measure B will hurt the local economy. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the largest business-advocacy organization in the San Fernando Valley, where 90% of U.S. porn films are made, opposes the measure because adult films are worth more than $1 billion and employ roughly 10,000 people, meaning thousands of jobs may be lost as a result.

At an anti–Measure B rally in North Hollywood, veteran adult-film actress Amber Lynn told the Pasadena Star News, “The idea of allowing a government employee to come and examine our genitalia while we’re on set is atrocious.”

James Deen, a porn star and another opponent of Measure B, told the Huffington Post:

I am disappointed. Not particularly about the law but about my community of adult entertainers being continually bullied and used by others … Hopefully this measure passing will help us get more organized in the future and that, along with Los Angeles losing our business, will allow people in politics to start seeing us as an asset.

Steven Hirsch, founder of Vivid Entertainment, a major adult-film production company, vowed to the Los Angeles Times, “Pornography has been around since the time of the caveman. We’re not going anywhere.” And as awareness of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV continues to expand, it’s also likely that calls for protecting actors in the adult-film industry are here to stay as well, wherever the films are made.

MORE: Positive HIV Result Threatens Porn Industry Shutdown

17 comments
TimWoodman
TimWoodman

All we want is for the community at large to treat us as real people. It is so easy to denegrade adult performers to the category of second-class dirty citizens  with no rights or dignity. We are real people. We work in a real industry. We self-regulate, and despite the blatant lies spread by AHF, we work in a very safe environment with proven measures in place that protect us better than the general public. Whether you believe in condoms or not, please allow us the dignity of not trying to govern our affairs when you have no first-hand knowledge of our business. Believe it or not, we know what we're doing. We are well educated in our chosen field. We are aware of the risks, and take every reasonable step to be safe. Please trust us to do our jobs.

SarahAdams
SarahAdams

just wear condoms, its not that difficult and its a safety issue

RenoNoone
RenoNoone

It just goes to show you that if you put enough stupid measures up for voting, some of them are gonna get through; and if you keep putting up stupid measures year after year, a lot of them are gonna get through.  

Here, we passed this stupid act that will actually affect ... how many participants?   A hundred?   And to what end?   So that commercial porn will appear safe?   To be really safe, there oughtn't be any licking, sucking, fingering, and absolutely no exchange of bodily fluid of any kind.   Why stop at condoms?   Or is this just the first installment?

The people who rigged this piece of garbage should be placed in front of a firing squad and shot - for wasting our time and money so that they can benefit from its enforcement.   NEXT.

Steelsil
Steelsil

Worker safety laws are universal.  Stop whining, porn makers.  People who work on roofs get safety harnesses, waitresses don't have to breathe second hand smoke, and porn 'stars' get condoms.

Ultra_orange
Ultra_orange

Here is what the porn industry needs to realize. Most dude watching are looking to see another guys penis covered or bare. This is a freakout that is just pointless. It's sad that people in the sex industry are so adverse to safety precautions, its like a race car driver saying to hell with seat belts no one want to watch if there isn't a chance of me getting killed.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Romans 2:8-10..........8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

shockadow
shockadow

Save your fake, stupid Jesus speak & don't watch it if you don't like it.

We are talking about LAWS, not imaginary wizards.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

.....Revelation 9:21.....And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.....Revelation 16:9....And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.......Revelation 16:11.....They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.

zaglossus
zaglossus

The porn industry will leave L.A. Unlike mainstream, studio films they don't need the expensive infrastructure and workforce that Hollywood provides.

Steelsil
Steelsil

@PlumbLine  I'm sure that seemed relevant to you, but it escapes me just what the message was.  I don't get my health advice from bronze age myths and legends.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

@shockadow John 16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Steelsil
Steelsil

@PlumbLine When it comes to plagues, it's best to be blessed by the needle of St. Salk, well sterilized by the traditional rites of St. Autoclave.  

DawsonDarling
DawsonDarling

@PlumbLine Yeah when was the last time you saw any murderer or sorcerer or thief "scorched by great heat"...or did that practice just coincidently happen to stop as soon as mankind started keeping decent records?

Steelsil
Steelsil

@zaglossus Acapulco is nice, but there is a definite shortage of tall blondes there, and getting caught in the drug war crossfire is a problem.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

@DawsonDarling It will surely come.............depending how old you are, you only have to wait till you die............or if the great tribulation period comes during our Lord Jesus Christ to experience Gods forgiveness now............or is your heart so hardened you cannot here his voice.........

Ultra_orange
Ultra_orange

@PlumbLine I stopped hearing the voices when I started meds, maybe you want to borrow some of mine.