Interesting News – something to listen to: “should condom use in porn be regulated by the city or the state?”

I have written a lot about health and safety in adult production over the past couple of years (including my forthcoming scholarly article “‘Anything that forces itself into my vagina is by definition raping me…’ – Adult Performers and Occupational Safety and Health,” coming soon to Stanford Law and Policy Review), and the battle over condom use in porn continues to rage in 2012.

There are many “sides” and perspectives feeding this issue. Some of the more forefront questions, in a suuuper abbreviated nutshell, amount to…

1. What sorts of government mandated health and safety regulations should be in place on adult production sets?

2. Who is responsible for determining the specifics of these regulations? Who is responsible for enforcing them?

Links to several pieces breaking down these questions and issues and recaps of some of the CalOSHA-related meetings I have attended over the years are here for your catch-up enjoyment… :)

Anyway, issues surrounding the “condom debate” (as it’s often referred) have been changing shape on a month-by-month basis as of late, with some developments being more significant than others. One recent big development is centered around AIDS Healthcare Foundation‘s efforts to get a condom mandate initiative on California’s June ballot.

I recently came across this bit, “Should condom use in pornography be regulated by the city or the state?” It serves as an interesting update.

“Everybody knows that using condoms during sexual intercourse is safer than not using them, but what the City of Los Angeles appears to be uncertain about is who is responsible for regulating this safety precaution within the adult film industry. A proposed ballot measure that would require porn actors to wear condoms while filming in the city of Los Angeles has qualified for the June ballot. However, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has filed court papers earlier this month arguing that Los Angeles voters would have no legal authority to adopt the proposed measure even if it were listed on a ballot.

Trutanich asserted that only the state — not the city — could legally implement rules requiring the use of condoms on porn sets and charge inspection fees. However, Ellen Widess, the head of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health that regulates workplace safety, claims the city could legally impose the actions necessary to uphold the proposed ballot measure. ‘We believe the city can use its authority to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among people involved in the adult film industry’ said Widess in a recent interview. County health officials have repeatedly stated it would be difficult to regulate the porn industry through the Department of Public Health and the county’s public health chief has said that the issue is a matter for the California Legislature.

How appropriate is it for any government, city or state, to require adult film actors to wear condoms? Who should pay for enforcing the use of condoms? What are the consequences when cities and states place legal culpability on each other?”

KPCC‘s Patt Morrison* recently heard from AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein and Free Speech Coalition (FSC) Chairman and criminal defense and First Amendment attorney Jeffrey Douglas. Both individuals weighed in on the upcoming initiative. This little podcast is just over 13 minutes long and is definitely worth a listen.



What do you think? (quoted text and podcast originally posted here on 12/27/11)

*Morrison’s live, week-daily, two-hour public affairs program is known for its discussion of local politics and culture and presentation of national and world news as it affects Southern California.

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