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Porn Condom Ballot Measure For L.A. County Sees Campaign Kickoff

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Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:09 AM
click to enlarge Pornfolk at the AVN Awards. - MICHAEL DORAUSCH / FLICKR
  • Michael Dorausch / Flickr
  • Pornfolk at the AVN Awards.

The folks behind a ballot measure that asks you, the L.A. County voter, to make condoms mandatory in porn, officially kicked off their campaign this week.

Measure B will be on the November ballot, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been pushing for mandatory condoms in adult video for years, wants you to vote yes.

Here's their pitch:

The 'Vote Yes on B' ballot measure, spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and members of FAIR ('For Adult Industry Responsibility'), comes after at least nine HIV infections believed to be industry-related were reported in two outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004, and amidst thousands of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occurring annually among adult performers. The ballot measure also comes at a time when an outbreak of syphilis, a highly contagious, but curable STI, is roiling L.A.'s adult film industry and shut down the entire industry for several weeks earlier this summer.

The pro-B advertisement, above, will run on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in Los Angeles, according to the AHF. There will also be direct mail post cards, a second TV "spot," and more.

The city of L.A. already requires condoms for on-location shoots in town, but it has yet to work out enforcement.

Likewise for the entire state of California, whose workplace health officials have said federal law requires condom use on all porn sets. The problem there has been enforcement as well.

The AHF, in fact, has told us it is not literally pushing for mandatory condom use but rather enforcement of existing law.

Michael Weinstein, president the AHF:

We are pleased to formally launch our 'Vote Yes on B' election campaign for the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. This is a prudent public health and safety measure that will require adult film producers operating in the County to obtain public health permits as a condition of doing business here in Los Angeles. In order to do so, producers will have to comply with existing health and safety laws--including condom use in the films they produce--and there will be NO cost to taxpayers, as enforcement will be covered by permit fees paid by the producers ...

The initiative is modeled after existing county rules covering massage parlors, bath houses, tattoo businesses and more. Those spots require permits or licenses from the county.

The porn industry, meanwhile, has launched its own campaign, this one against B. The adult business lobbying group known as the Free Speech Coalition says it has hired a handful of high-power political strategists, including James Lee who, according to the FSC, has worked "for several conservative candidates and organizations including President George H.W. Bush and Governor Pete Wilson."

Really.

click to enlarge Porn's Natasha Nice. - MICHAEL DORAUSCH / FLICKR
  • Michael Dorausch / Flickr
  • Porn's Natasha Nice.

In any case, the porn industry says you, the consumer, won't buy condom porn. And, it argues, its monthly testing protocol works and triggers production moratoriums when a performer turns up positive for HIV.

Porn leaders have also said there's a right to freedom of speech and reproductive choice here. One key question has been that if a married couple wants to have sex on camera, will they be forced to use such birth control?

We'll give the AHF's Weinstein the last word on this one:

We are confident that L.A. County voters will see through the false arguments the opposition will likely mount claiming free speech and potential taxpayer expense. As to free speech infringement: there is none--when an actor is paid to perform, he or she is covered by health and safety laws, which include condom use. With regard to potential cost to taxpayers, again, none: the expense of enforcement will be covered by permit fees paid by the adult producers.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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