Some Big Players Are Against Safe Sex in Porn

An adult video set
An adult video set
Gustavo Turner/L.A. Weekly

In the fight over mandatory condoms in porn, the prophylactic contingent — led by Hollywood's always-professional AIDS Healthcare Foundation — is a class act that always seems to have its opposition against the ropes. Except when it comes to endorsements.

For whatever reason, those endorsing a no vote on Proposition 60, an initiative that would solidify California's mandatory condom rule for adult video, appear to outnumber and outclass the Yes on 60 proponents.

Groups against the measure, according to the No campaign, include the California Democratic Party, the California Republican Party, the California Libertarian Party, the San Francisco Democratic Party, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Transgender Law Center, Equality California, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the Erotic Service Providers Union, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee and, of course, the adult industry trade group, the Free Speech Coalition.

The Yes groups include the California State Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the California Academy of Preventive Medicine, the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, the American Sexual Health Association, Beyond AIDS and the California Communities United Institute, according to a spokesman for Yes on 60.

The initiative would "close loopholes in a California health and safety rule in effect since 1992," the Yes camp said in a statement. While state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) says condoms are already the law as a result of federal rules that protect workers from blood-borne pathogens, proponents of 60 say too many loopholes exist.

For example, adult filmmakers outside L.A. County (where voters passed a similar law spearheaded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation) can sidestep mandatory condom use if nobody files a specific complaint with the state about their particular productions.

The foundation has long said this is a matter of life or death for performers.

"It’s only fair that the young men and women in this business have the same workplace protections that employees in other industries now enjoy," said Rick Taylor, chief strategist for the Yes on 60 campaign. "They’ve been abused for too long. The adult industry’s producers and investors — who are bankrolling the fight against Proposition 60 — refuse to protect their performers’ health. Proposition 60 will change that."

The porn industry, on the other hand, says this is a solution in search of a problem, arguing that its twice-a-month STD testing protocol for performers works.

"As with so much anti–sex work legislation, Proposition 60 depends on emotional arguments and misinformation to pass," said No on 60 spokesman Mike Stabile. "We've had both major political parties come out in opposition, as well as performer groups, LGBT rights groups and AIDS/HIV organizations from across the state. ... We may not have the war chest of our opponents, but we have the voices and will of performers themselves and a strong coalition that will make 'No on 60' a rallying cry beyond the industry."

Endorsements might not be working in their favor so far, but the Yes camp is rolling out some porn-star power with a television ad in favor of the proposition airing this week. It will feature ex-performer Cameron Adams, who says she became HIV-positive after working briefly in porn.


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