‘Eye Protection’? Porn Stars Say New California Regs Go Too Far

LOS ANGELES — Adult film performers in California could soon be required to wear condoms and goggles to prevent exposure to bodily fluids, and producers would have to pay for medical visits and Hepatitis B treatments, under a new set of safety procedures recently released by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA).

The 21-page proposal, released by the Board on Thursday, outlines new standards for ensuring that porn performers remain safe from sexually transmitted diseases and bloodborne pathogens.

The proposal would require producers to provide condoms and other “barrier protection,” like protective eye gear, to adult film stars.

But the porn industry and its supporters say the new regulations go too far.

“These are regulations designed for medical settings, and are unworkable on an adult film set – or even a Hollywood film set,” Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. “We’ve come to San Diego with ways to amend the regulations, with input from both performers and public health officials, in ways that protect adult film performers without stigmatizing and shutting down an entire industry.”

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the new regulations are the result of a campaign by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to ensure safety on adult film sets. In 2009, AHF President Michael Weinstein wrote a letter to Cal/OSHA complaining that California porn production companies were refusing to provide condoms on all adult film sets in California, elevating the risk of disease transmission. To underscore his point, Weinstein mailed 60 DVDs of California-shot porn films that did not use condoms to the regulatory agency along with the letter.

In 2012, AHF and Weinstein were instrumental in the passage of Measure B, regulation that requires condom use on all adult films shot in Los Angeles County. Efforts to pass a statewide condom law failed in an Assembly committee last year, but the organization is already working on measure to be placed on the 2016 ballot.

Five years after he mailed his letter, Weinstein told the Daily News he is “pleased” with the agency’s proposal.

“Getting to this point is a necessary part of the process, and we’re pleased that this has been completed,” he told the paper. “The process is designed to give everybody a say. I think it was conducted fairly.”

But porn industry executives and performers say existing regulations are already adequate to ensure performer safety. Actors and actresses are already required to be tested for STDs every 14 days, and are not allowed to work until receiving a clear report.

“There is already a code of honor between performers [to get tested], because you could kill someone,” actress Anya Ivy told Breitbart News at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Still others say that increasingly tough regulations in California could force the estimated $7-13 billion adult film industry out of California and into states like Nevada and Florida, where safety standards are more relaxed.

“From a sustainability standpoint, the industry has to move to Las Vegas,” PornCareerBuilder.com’s Michael Wondercub told Breitbart News. “In general, California has higher taxes and a higher cost of living… This is a safe industry if you play by the rules and Nevada just has less regulations.”

However, in the proposal, Cal/OSHA said it is “unlikely” the porn industry will leave California, especially as states like Nevada consider tighter regulations of their own.

“The regulated community has a unique legal status nationally, resulting in no states suitable to the relocation of the industry,” the Board wrote. “Certain portions of the regulated community have threatened to leave the state; however, this is unlikely because the regulated conduct is illegal in every state except New Hampshire.”

In January, several porn stars told Breitbart that “performer choice” is paramount when dealing with mandatory condom laws and safety restrictions. Courtney Trouble, an actress and member of the Adult Performers Advocacy Committee, said “moving is not a long-term solution” for the porn industry.

“Performers should be able to make their own choices,” Trouble said of mandatory condom laws being considered in Nevada.

“I’m neither for nor against [the laws], so long as they’re not infringing on the performers’ choice,” added Samantha Ryder, marketing director for Mindgeek, the largest owner and operator of online pornography in the world. “The majority prefer no condoms. We just want to make sure the girls are happy.”

Peter Melton, a spokesman for the Department of Industrial Relations, of which Cal/OSHA is a part, told the Daily News that the Board received about two dozen comments from both supporters and critics of the proposed regulations.

The Board will reportedly review the comments and determine whether more input is needed before finalizing new rules no later than March 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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