By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER Associated Press
Los Angeles voters could cast ballots deciding whether porn producers have to require use of condoms on shoots as a condition of getting a filming permit if a health advocacy group succeeds in a new ballot initiative.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein announced Tuesday that his group needs 41,138 valid city voter signatures in the next four months to get the issue on the June 2012 ballot.
“As a citizen of Los Angeles, I have a responsibility in my own hometown to make sure we limit the spread of disease, but also to ensure the safety of performers in this industry,” said Weinstein, who says his group has hired a firm to gather the signatures.
The proposed ordinance would apply to commercial filming of adult films, and would call on the city to charge adult film producers a “fee sufficient to pay for periodic inspections” for enforcement.
The ballot box query is the latest move in the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s longstanding campaign to require safe sex in pornography.
The group has had three unsuccessful attempts to find a lawmaker to back statewide legislation to mandate condoms in porn. A lawsuit asking a judge to mandate local health officials to crack down on unprotected sex was also unsuccessful.
Acting in response to an AHF complaint, state workplace safety officials are already working to clarify an existing regulation, which directs nurses and medical professionals to wear gloves at work, to specify condom use in porn, too.
The exact number of productions that occur without permits is subject to speculation, but about 200 permits a month are issued to the adult film industry, according to Weinstein.
In Los Angeles, county and city officials have largely resisted enforcing or strengthening any safe sex mandates on the porn industry.
Last year, Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding said regulating condom use on porn sets is nearly impossible, saying porn shoots are typically clandestine operations that require little more than a bed and a camera.
Any success with the ballot initiative would likely drive more of the industry underground, said Christian Mann, general manager of porn production company Evil Angel and a board member of the Free Speech Coalition, the industry’s trade association.
“AHF’s end-run around Los Angeles County’s previously stated position that they won’t put themselves in a enforcement capacity, to do it as a ballot initiative system, will probably do what so many regulatory schemes do: fail to achieve the ambition but instead create a new problem,” said Mann.
About a third of Evil Angel’s productions are shot in Europe, and Mann, an industry veteran, says the initiative would make Los Angeles the only city he knows of in the world to require condoms in porn.
Consumers demand porn without condoms, and the market would force Los Angeles producers to respond, Mann said. (Is this true?? You are the consumer. Do you demand no condoms in porn?? Absolutely not!! I’ve never spoken to a consumer who demanded porn with no condoms. THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO I’VE HEARD SAY THAT IS PORN INDUSTRY PEOPLE AND THEIR POSERS. Even when posted online, it is almost always identifiable as a porn troll using one of their aliases to spread their propaganda). ABC learn your facts instead of just being the porn industry’s mouthpiece. Who’s getting to use some pornstar in exchange for publishing these one sided porn propaganda pieces??).
Mann believes porn producers who stay in Los Angeles will be less likely to draw permits, forcing them to go underground and shoot scenes without condoms.
“At the end of the day, it winds up hurting business and driving business out of Los Angeles,” said Mann. That makes it “more difficult for us to maintain an environment that we think is the safest possible environment for these performers that still makes it possible for saleable productions to be created.” (No where here does ABC or Mann even acknowledge the performers risks to their health and lives and the fact that the producers are more interested in profit than the performers who sustain them. Where is that side of this story??).
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer can be reached at http://twitter.com/APShaya