That hardcore stuff you watch when your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend isn't looking? It's actually permitted by the city of Los Angeles. You hear that right: What would be prostitution if the cameras and lights weren't on is actually a municipally sanctioned sport.
And, in the wake of the recent HIV-positive report for one adult performer, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants the city to stop, er, rubber-stamping porn production (and remember that word "rubber" -- it'll come in handy later in this story).
The AHF has been lobbying for the better part of a year to have the state require condom use on porn sets.The adult industry, largely based in the San Fernando Valley, has resisted, saying that consumers won't go for it (will you?).
After this week's HIV report, one of a few outbreaks in the industry in the last decade, the foundation says it's time for the city to pull the plug on sanctioning porn shoots:
"AHF calls on Film L.A. and the city of Los Angeles to temporarily suspend all filming permits for porn production until it is known who has been exposed and until that information has been disclosed to public health authorities," said Michael Weinstein, AHF's president. "In a public health emergency such as this, it is incumbent upon local government officials to protect its citizens and minimize the damage that could be inflicted in the workplace and beyond. If this were any other industry and a potentially life-threatening infection was being transmitted and remained uncontained, you can be sure regulatory agencies would have stepped in by now, not leaving it up to the businesses themselves to decide if it is safe for their employees to work or not."
Some of the larger porn studios, including Vivid, Wicked and Hustler, have already voluntarily pulled the plug, which would be expected: The industry's AIM Healthcare Foundation has said there's a "quarantine" on production, whatever that means.
But here's the deal: The Los Angeles City Council might very well feel political pressure to pull out, so to speak, when it comes to adult video permits. But that doesn't mean the one-toothed meth-head down the street is going to stop making home video with his Flip.
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And therein lies the real dilemma: Even if the city gets all interruptus on porn, and even if the state says yes, just as construction workers have to wear hard hats male porn stars shall have to wear Jim hats, there's not much that can stop lower-level amateur porn makers do what they do.
And AIM has argued that things work in the industry: Porn actors submit to regular, voluntary testing, and when someone gets HIV, like this week's case, it's caught right away.
The flip side? Porn leaves the Valley -- leaves the state -- and ends up in trailer parks across the land, depriving us not only of the industry's awesome production value, but also increasing STDs and robbing L.A. and California of jobs and tax dollars.
Is it worth it? What do you think?