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Adult Film: Formal Protest Filed over Condoms, ‘Porn Goggles’

Trade groups representing the adult film industry filed a formal protest on Tuesday against new regulations being considered by California health officials that would mandate the use of protective eyewear and condoms on all pornography productions filmed in the state.

In a letter to California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) and the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) trade groups voiced their “shock and disappointment” at the new safety standards, which were introduced earlier this year.

“The modifications wholly ignore the clear and convincing evidence presented to the Board and no rational basis exists for the proposed regulations,” the groups wrote in their letter to Dave Thomas, chair of the Department of Industrial Relations at Cal/OSHA.

The letter comes in response to new safety standards introduced by Cal/OSHA in May. In addition to mandating the use of protective eyewear and condoms on all adult films produced in California, the new standards would require producers to pay for medical visits and Hepatitis B treatments for their actors. The regulations must still be approved the Cal/OSHA’s Office of Administrative Law, and would then be sent to the Secretary of State’s office for implementation in July 2016.

The updated standards are part of a campaign by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and its president, Michael Weinstein, to ensure the safety of adult film productions in California. The group was instrumental in the passage of Measure B in 2012, which mandates condom use on all adult films produced in Los Angeles County.

But the trade groups representing the industry say that the expanded statewide regulations could interfere with the industry’s multi-billion dollar success in California.

“This has been a disappointing and surreal process,” APAC president Chanel Preston said in a statement. “In hearing after hearing, Cal/OSHA disregarded the real concerns of performers, producers and infectious disease specialists. As a result, we have irrational regulations based in fear and stigma about adult film work that make no sense on an adult film set. If Weinstein’s goal was to force the industry out of California, he’s succeeded. There’s no way to comply with these measures.”

Industry advocates say existing safety regulations are adequate to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Performers are generally tested every 14 days and are forbidden from working without first receiving a clean bill of health.

In their letter, the trade groups accused Cal/OSHA of conducting an “uneven regulatory process,” and said testimony presented by a former industry hygienist was tainted by anti-pornography bias.

“This was a healthcare discussion that devolved into discussion of sexual morality, and it never should have happened,” Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. “We have a performer population which is tested every fourteen days for a full slate of STIs, and we’ve successfully prevented HIV transmissions on regulated sets for over a decade. But because of one man’s well-funded moral crusade, we’re now talking about goggles and gloves for adult film, and porn stars being sued if they don’t use a condom. I suspect even Weinstein knows this isn’t reasonable. This isn’t about regulation, it’s about suppression.”

Trade groups and performers have warned that the adult film industry could move out of California and into states with more lax regulation, like Nevada or Florida. But in its proposal, Cal/OSHA noted that those states are already considering tougher regulations of their own.

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