Porn Industry Reacts to Mandatory Condom Vote
LOS ANGELES — Adult producers reacted with strong feelings to the news that the L.A. City Council voted Tuesday to make condoms mandatory while filming within city limits.
The ordinance, when it goes into effect, will allow the LAPD to perform spot checks on any set once a film permit is issued.
As a result of the vote, officials from LAPD, Cal/OSHA and the city attorney’s office will make recommendations on how to implement the ordinance. The process of enforcement remains unclear.
Many studio executives contacted by XBIZ after the vote declined comment, however several others weighed in.
Steven Hirsch, founder/co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, told XBIZ Wednesday, “History has shown that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults doesn’t work. Testing procedures are already in place and have worked well for years. Vivid is a condom optional company and we leave it up to the performers to decide, without repercussion, whether or not they want to use condoms.”
Hirsch continued, “We don’t believe that trying to police thousands of movie sets a year is the best use of taxpayer money. Public funds should be spent on things that matter. We do not believe that this is a public safety or health issue, but rather an attempt to regulate an industry that is already operating quite well with self-regulation. We will look into our options.”
The City Council vote was a second procedural vote on the ordinance and required only a simple majority of the council to give final approval. The Free Speech Coalition said that it is in discussions with industry leaders and also considering options for next steps.
“The council’s decision is yet another example of government overreach and intrusion,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said on the organization’s blog. “The regulations imposed are without any input from the stakeholders most impacted — adult performers and producers. Mandatory condom regulation will not increase performer safety, it will diminish the successful standards and protocols already in place and compromise performer health.
“Government regulation of sexual behavior between consenting adults is, and has always been, a bad idea. The government has no business in our bedrooms — real or fantasy.”
Allison Vivas, president of Pink Visual Productions, echoed Duke’s sentiments.
“This decision is yet another example of policy being made without engaging with the parties affected,” Vivas said. “We feel that real engagement with the adult industry on the topic would have created a more realistic solution. As a company we will respect this decision, however, we foresee more companies choosing to move outside city limits, shoot without permits, or performers moving to be tested less.
“Pink Visual will continue to require recent test results and continue covering the costs of those tests through APHSS for its performers.”
Jorge Sandoval, marketing director for West Coast Productions, an industry leader in ethnic porn, addressed what many are thinking in terms of the logistics of enforcement.
“It's going to be interesting to see how in fact they do try to enforce it and who’s going to fund it and all of the time and effort they're going to spend, and who will be paying all these LAPD to go to each set and check and make sure all actors are using condoms,” Sandoval said.
XBIZ Research in 2011 conducted a poll about the subject of mandatory condom enforcement. The results of the poll were that if California eventually starts to enforce mandatory condom use on porn sets, then the majority of producers would simply go elsewhere to shoot.
Most in the industry said that mandating condom use for adult films is “unrealistic,” the poll found. The results were based on opinions of members of XBIZ.net, the adult entertainment industry’s top social network.
XBIZ asked community members, “What do you think of the ‘mandatory condoms in porn’ proposition in California?
XBIZ found that 64.7 percent of respondents said, “Unrealistic, productions will just move outside of California.” Another 21.7 percent said, “Good idea, it will significantly improve performer health and safety,” and 13.6 percent said, “Bad idea, it will not improve performer health and safety significantly.”
Producer/director Miles Long, who regularly shoots for Third Degree and Zero Tolerance, told XBIZ the condom issue has become a political volleyball.
“It seems as though we are no longer in a democracy in Los Angeles County, but rather an oligarchy where politicians are bought and owned by special interest groups who have their own agendas,” Long said. “These special interests would rather force their ideas and procedures upon everyone without their approval or consent and have their own interests rather than the health of the area's economy, let alone the workers in it, at heart.”
Long continued, “It will be interesting to see how long this takes for this ordinance to be signed into law, and how long it takes for an injunction to be filed against it, and a legal battle to start over it. It will also be interesting to see how these politicians fare in their bids for re-election.
“If we have learned nothing from previous heavy-handed politicians who have their own (or a special interest's) agendas and do not care about the people they serve, (as in Wisconsin where a Governor thought he could also attack working people and their livelihoods with impunity), those politicians do so at their own peril.”
Attorney Michael Fattorosi, who represents numerous adult industry clients, said the ruling raises the possibility that a designated vice squad could be reassembled to investigate adult shoots.
“I fear that LAPD may be directed to resurrect a dormant unit of the Valley Vice Squad,” Fattorosi said. “Several years ago LAPD Vice had a unit devoted to investigating non-permitted adult film shoots. Many of the more popular shoot locations were well known to the unit. The undercover officers would often gain entry to sets posing as a driver and female talent by knocking and stating at the door they were there for the next scene.
“They were often let into the set by one of the crew or other performers not realizing they were undercover officers. On rare occasions, uniformed officers would even jump fences and enter the shoot location through unlocked rear doors. Once in, they showed their badges and started to take the names of everyone on set and even confiscate tapes and hard drives as evidence.”
Rhett Pardon contributed to this story.