Interesting News (7/5/12) – LA condom inititative

From the LA Times, July 5, 2012 at 3:40 AM (I assume PST):

Porn condom measure qualifies for ballot

Voters will decide whether to require actors to wear condoms during filming. AIDS activists praise the initiative, which is opposed by much of the adult film industry.

An ordinance tentatively approved Tuesday [7/4/12] would mandate that those seeking permits to film adult movies in Los Angeles require the use of condoms on set and impose a fee to cover the costs of enforcement.

A ballot measure asking Los Angeles County voters whether porn actors should be required to wear condoms during filming has received enough signatures to qualify for the November election, a county elections official said.

The initiative, one of the most explicit ever seen on a ballot, will be decided by voters in a county that is the nation’s most populous and headquarters of the U.S. porn industry.

Los Angeles AIDS activists and other supporters say porn performers are at constant risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

‘The lives of these performers are not disposable,’ AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said Wednesday. ‘This industry is sending out the wrong message about safer sex.’

Many adult film producers oppose the initiative, saying that actors and actresses should be able to choose whether to use condoms.

Diane Duke of the adult film lobby group Free Speech Coalition could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. She has said previously that the measure was ‘government overreach into the way we make movies.’ Porn producers have said they tried using condoms in the late 1990s following an HIV scare, but consumers were not interested in spending money on porn with condoms.

Weinstein said his group collected 371,000 signatures in five months, far exceeding the 232,000 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot. The county Board of Supervisors must take the final step of placing the measure on the ballot.

If approved by voters, the measure will require adult film producers to pay a fee and obtain a permit from the county Department of Public Health. Actors will then be required to use condoms for acts of anal and vaginal sex. County officials will have the authority to suspend or revoke the permit for violations, and could follow up with civil fines or misdemeanor criminal charges, according to the AIDS group’s petition.

Weinstein said he was confident of success. The AIDS group released the results of a March poll of more than 1,000 likely voters, which said that 63% would vote yes.

‘The people are ahead of the politicians on this issue,’ Weinstein said. ‘There’s never been something on the ballot as sexually explicit as this, so it’s going to be excellent education for people.’

The requirement would apply to filming in unincorporated areas of the county and 85 of its 88 cities, including Los Angeles. The cities of Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon have their own public health departments.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a city ordinance into law in January ordering porn performers to wear condoms while acting in films made under city permits. The City Council approved the ordinance after the AIDS group gathered enough signatures to take the issue to voters. Believing voters would approve the requirement, council members adopted the requirement rather than spending $4 million on a special election.

The ordinance became effective in March, but the city is still studying how to enforce it, said AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesman Ged Kenslea.

The controversy over a condom requirement in porn has flared up on and off for more than a decade as the porn industry, centered in the San Fernando Valley, flourished after the California Supreme Court ruled in 1988 that adult film producers cannot be prosecuted under anti-prostitution laws.

But the industry has been marred by the announcement of HIV infections in porn performers, such as Darren James in 2004 and Derrick Burts in 2010, and infection scares have suspended porn filming at various times.

Porn industry leaders have said they are considering plans to fight back in court or by moving filming out of town. But there may be a legal obstacle to pulling up stakes entirely: New Hampshire is the only other state whose courts have ruled that adult film producers cannot be prosecuted under anti-prostitution laws.

Weinstein said he did not worry about the porn industry’s threat to move away.

‘This is a principled question,’ Weinstein said. ‘Do we have slave labor or child labor in California because they do it in some country abroad?'” (originally here)

My head is going to explode.

Adult performers’ lives and health are not disposable. Neither are the lives and health of porn producers and the thousands of other individuals who work in the adult business. And neither are civil rights and liberties – my civil rights, your civil rights, porn’s civil rights, and the civil rights of every person in the US.

This mission on the behalf of Michael Weinstein and AIDS Healthcare Foundation is using sensationalism, lack of available information, and a general cultural discomfort with sex to manipulate a situation in any number of ways.

Adult performers deserve a real and authentic choice regarding what does/not get inserted into and/or is placed over their genitals (and in/over their mouths and eyes and hands and feet…) in their workplace. And every member of the adult industry involved in legal professional content production – from performers to producers – should be able to compete in manner that they feel comfortable with in the global marketplace. And neither Michael Weinstein nor the voters of California should get to make choices about these issues on the (supposed) basis of nanny-like “good advice.”

Many dimensions and aspects of the adult industry are certainly flawed… but AHF’s mission is not the answer. As commenter “4LadyJesus” said:

“Mr Weinstein is an opportunist who has turned his AIDS Healthcare Foundation into a hugely profitable business. His ‘condoms in porn’ campaign is just another clever marketing ploy.” (here)

Adult industry, you need to get organized NOW. You need to stop in-fighting and start getting pro-active. Performers, you need to get off your asses and make your voices, needs, and experiences heard. Producers, so do you!! No one else can care about this for you.

A No!! campaign against this ordinance does not mean “no condoms” – it means “yes to choice and civil liberty.” It is an individuals’ responsibility to ensure their own rights and autonomy… that or AIDS Healthcare Foundation is going to ensure that you get their version of it.

California voters, take a moment to reflect on what this can do to every other civil liberty related to freedom of expression out there… seriously, take a moment to think about it.

Excellent further commentary from AVN here.

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Interesting News – news that’s interesting!!

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