No Bareback Porn? L.A. County Voters May Require Condoms
A measure that asks Los Angeles County voters if adult film stars should be forced to wear a condom during filming has received enough signatures to appear on the ballot in November, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched the proposed law. The local organization's president, Michael Weinstein, says they collected 371,000 signatures in five months, which surpasses the required amount of 232,000 signatures, Medical Daily noted. AIDS activists and supporters of the measure say that porn stars are at a high risk of contracting HIV and other STDs.
"The lives of these performers are not disposable," Weinstein said Wednesday. "This industry is sending out the wrong message about safer sex."
Those against the proposed law (many being adult film producers) claim that porn actors should have the right to choose if they want to wear a condom. Diane Duke of the adult film lobby group Free Speech Coalition has stated that the initiative is "government overreach into the way we make movies."
Some porn superstars, including Steven Hirsch, co-founder and co-chairman of Los Angeles-based Vivid (one of the biggest porn producing companies), suggested that producers would move to other areas to film porn.
"Ultimately I think what they will find is people will just stop shooting in the City of Los Angeles," Hirsch said. "That's a given."
For several years into the AIDS epidemic, condoms were routinely used when making gay porn videos. In recent years, barebacking studios such as Treasure Island have sprung up, and some of the "mainstream" studios include some barebacking.
Condoms have never been standard in straight porn, which has had a few well-publicized scares, such as the male actor who was infected while shooting in Brazil in 2004 and then had unprotected sex in several scenes shot in California.
In January the mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, signed a law that required adult actors to wear protection for any porn shot within the city limits. The ordinance was implemented in the city in March but it was unclear how the law would be enforced. The Associated Press notes that it is possible health officials or police would attend shoots to make sure actors were wearing condoms.
If voters pass the measure, adult film producers will have to pay a fee and get a permit from the Department of Public Health. Actors are then required to wear a condom when performing vaginal and anal sex. If the law is violated, county officials can suspend or revoke the permit and could slam producers with civil fines or misdemeanor criminal charges, the L.A. Times notes.
Weinstein believes that the bill will pass as a recent poll showed that 63 percent of voters backed the measure.
"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."
The vote will not only impact L.A., where an estimated 90 percent of the nation's porn is made AP points out, but also 85 of L.A. County's 88 cities, including Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon. The San Fernando Valley, a sprawling area that includes much of the City of Los Angeles and several suburbs, is considered the porn capital of the country (if not the world).