At this point you probably already know that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is ramping up their attack on adult film production in California. That is nothing new, but just in case you missed some of the details, we want to go over key points about a new initiative that the AHF has been campaigning for called the “California Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative (#15-0004).” This Monday (September 14th), they submitted enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot in November of 2016. Provided these signatures are approved by the Secretary of State, this means that everyone in California will have the option to vote in support or against the issue next November. If it passes, all pornographers will be required to comply with the proposed measures by January 1, 2018.
But first, let’s recap. At this point, most of us know a little (or a lot!) about Measure B, which was voted on and passed in November 2012. Over the past few years, many performers have criticized Measure B for many reasons, including the following:
- Violation of Individual Rights. Requiring performers to wear condoms is a violation of our First Amendment (freedom of speech) rights; many of us in the industry believe that performers should have the right to choose (but not be forced) to wear condoms.
- Ignores Existing Testing Protocols. Making condoms mandatory doesn’t take into consideration the existing health and safety measures (such as testing) that many industry performers comply with. Experts agree that our testing protocols provide as much safety as using a condom with no test.
- Introduces New Health Complications. Using condoms during an entire shoot can create new health complications – such as micro-tears in the vaginal and anal area, which can actually increase the chance of other infections.
The new initiative is similar to Measure B (in the sense that requires condoms), but introduces a lot of new changes, especially in terms of enforcement. We want to encourage everyone to read the entire initiative (you can read it HERE) – but in case you just find it too long, or too boring – here’s a summary of some points you should know about:
- California-Wide. The new initiative will affect all porn produced in California…not just LA County.
- New Definitions and Liabilities for “Producers.” First off – the initiative defines adult film “producers” as anyone who makes, produces, finances and sells adult film. But it also has a provision that mentions anyone who is a performer or independent contractor won’t be considered a “producer.” Basically, it is unclear what the impact will be for performers who produce and distributes their own content – although if a performer is producing their own content it appears they will be held just as liable.
- New Responsibilities for Producers. Producers will be required to pay for performer testing, treat STIs or HIV when acquired on set, and there are provisions for taking legal action against producers if these conditions aren’t met. Keep in mind that APAC, FSC, along with LATATA have been working on a structure in which performers will not be required to pay for testing. We stand behind the idea that performers should not be accountable for testing costs, but do not feel that state regulation is necessary.
- New Enforcements. *IMPORTANT!!* The new initiative will allow “whistle-blowers” and private citizens to enforce this new provision. What this means is that anyone who witnesses a violation (i.e. sees porn without condoms, or observes a lack of enforcement on set) can file a complaint with the state. If the state rules that the complaint is legit, whoever files a suit gets 25% of the fine. There are MANY problems with this:
- There will be financial incentives for filing complaints, mobilizing a witch-hunt for non-compliers.
- Zealous fans could use this as a tactic to potentially gain access to performers through the litigation process, and anti-porn groups could easily use this as a way to shut down those who do not comply.
- The AHF, alone, could file dozens or hundreds of complaints.
- AHF Could Gain Massive Control Over the Porn Industry. There is a provision to this bill which states that if the Attorney General either (a) doesn’t take action, or (b) doesn’t make a constitutionally reasonable judgment regarding a complaint, then Michael Weinstein (the president of AHF) can step into defend the Act! The problems with this should be obvious. Not only has Weinstein been lobbying an attack on the adult industry for years – he is neither a lawyer nor a politician! He can not be granted the authority or power to rule on these issues!
Just to sum it all up: Rather than making the industry safer, this initiative will continue to drive the industry further underground and create less safe conditions for many performers. We will risk being targeted by citizens for not wearing condoms, which could impact our personal and professional lives. What’s more, someone who has very little understanding of how the industry works could be granted power over how it (and we) are regulated.
APAC will continue to keep everyone informed about how things are developing, and let you know about some of the next steps. As always, please feel to email us if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts on this!