June 19, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Prospects Improve For Condoms-In-Porn Initiative:

For years, the loudest arguments against expanding a landmark Los Angeles law requiring condom use by adult film actors in sex scenes to the rest of California were financial and geographic:

The pornography industry argued any locale requiring safety in filmed sex would see a production exodus and a big loss in revenue. The most likely place for porn producers to go was Las Vegas.

That city embraced the possibility of immigration by pornographers, its mayor even issuing a supportive statement. And some production quickly moved there.

Well, as the advertising slogan goes, what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but its effects are not necessarily static.

Just one case of AIDS has changed a lot. It was diagnosed in an adult performer with a role in a movie that actually migrated there from the porn industry’s longtime capital in the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles.

This case may have terrible effects on the infected actor, or not, but it will definitely help the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its campaign committee as they work to qualify and pass a statewide condoms-in-porn initiative for the fall 2016 ballot.

The foundation would have liked to see such a law pass legislatively, but had no success with that, just as it could not push the Los Angeles law through the City Council there, but had to take it to voters as the 2012 Measure B, which passed with about 56 percent of the vote.

The single AIDS infection in Las Vegas last fall may have a large effect in California because of the response it drew in Nevada, a state which carefully regulates legal prostitution in rural county brothels within easy reach of places like Las Vegas, Carson City and Reno.

As soon as reports of the porn actor’s infection became public late last fall, Nevada officials announced they will probably apply their brothel rules to film production sites. Legal prostitutes in Nevada get regular blood tests and health exams; male customers are required to use condoms for any interpersonal contact involving even one person’s genitalia. Since 1988, when those rules took effect, not one AIDS case has been tied to a legal Nevada brothel.

Meanwhile, when porn actors’ health was monitored voluntarily by California producers, more than 25 cases were linked to porn shoots.

If, as now seems likely, Nevada imposes its brothel rules on adult film shoots, there will be no reason for pornographers to migrate there. Films made there would show the same condoms the producers want to avoid.

And where might they head if there’s no point going to Las Vegas? To the blue-nosed likes of Idaho, Texas or Utah, where state officials fight against same-sex marriage? To the even more stultified likes of Louisiana or Georgia? To New York, where polling has shown support for condoms in porn filming?

No, the likelihood is that a California-wide law essentially adopting the Los Angeles rules will end the migration of pornography that has seen adult filming permits drop by about 90 percent in L.A. over the last two years. Many shoots moved to nearby counties, where it’s tougher for producers to find performers, but condoms are not required.

Others went underground in L.A., not applying for permits and refusing to comply with the condom mandate.

A statewide law likely would not stop those scofflaws, but they would continue to find insurance hard to get, at the same time exposing themselves to lawsuits from actors who become infected or otherwise injured on site.

One thing for sure: Because the Los Angeles law has been challenged in federal court and found not to infringe on constitutional free expression, the path will be smoother for the statewide initiative, if it passes.

And chances are it will pass, once qualified. A poll of more than 1,100 likely voters last fall found 71 percent support. If voters are informed that opposition ads are funded by pornographers, as likely will happen, that initial support won’t erode much.

The bottom line: One AIDS case in Las Vegas has largely removed the arguments that such a measure would lead both to financial loss for California and continued use of unsafe sex in adult films. So this is one initiative that will likely qualify easily for the ballot, and then pass late next year.

in Opinion
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