AHF Launches 'Yes on Measure B' Condoms in Porn Campaign
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) on Monday officially began its “Vote Yes on B” November election campaign, which would require condoms to be mandatory in adult films, announcing its position at a press conference at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.
Also known as the “County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act,” Measure B would “require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health…and pay a permit fee…sufficient for necessary enforcement.”
AHF president Michael Weinstein maintained that Measure B will mandate producers to “comply with existing health and safety laws including condom use in the films they produce — and there will be no cost to taxpayers, as enforcement will be covered by permit fees paid by the producers.”
“Our initial polling has shown strong support for condom use in these films and we are confident that a majority of voters will see this as the straightforward health and safety measure it is,” he said.
On Sept. 6, a coalition of business organizations, entertainment companies, community activists and healthcare advocates announced the launch of a campaign aimed at defeating Measure B.
In addition to Weinstein, Monday’s press conference also was attended by former adult performers Darren James and Derrick Burts, both of whom said they became infected with HIV while working in the adult industry; Shilpa Sayana, M.D. MPH, director of global quality management/HIV care provider for AHF; Whitney Engeran-Cordova, director, public health division for AHF; and Miki Jackson, AHF consultant.
AHF started the conference by premiering two “Yes on B” TV commercials. The first, titled “Darren and Derrick,” showed James and Burts advocating the measure. That spot will start running on three stations (CNN, MSNBC and FOX) in greater Los Angeles in various day parts with an initial run of more 400 ad placements, according to AHF.
In addition, the campaign will include “Vote Yes on B” billboards, which will start going up today; direct mail post cards targeting specific voting constituencies, a “Vote Yes on B” website and other elements. A second “Yes on B” TV spot, titled, “134 Permits,” was shown during the press conference. AHF said placement of this TV ad will occur later in the campaign.
Weinstein said that Measure B is modeled on L.A. County’s health permit process for businesses such as nail salons, barbershops, tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses. According to AHF, currently there are 134 other categories of businesses or services that require a permit or license from L.A. County, and advocates from AHF and For Adult Industry Responsibility (FAIR) say that “it is not burdensome to require the adult film industry to get similar health permits.”
Weinstein’s opening remarks included references to a “global syphilis outbreak in the adult film industry.” He also said there have been “thousands” of documented cases of STDs during the last five years, according to County of Public Health records.
He called James’ and Burts’ presence “an extraordinary act of courage for these two men to put themselves out there the way that they are.”
“The industry has deep scorn for anyone who dares to speak out,” Weinstein said.
James, who contracted HIV in 2004, spoke about “raising awareness” and wanting to prevent other performers from becoming infected with HIV.
Burts, who was diagnosed in 2010, said a lot of adult performers “feel stuck” in the industry.
“A lot of performers I think they want condom use, but they’re just afraid to speak out because they think they’ll lose their paycheck,” Burts said.
AHF also introduced former adult performer Hayden Winters, who was in the industry for about a year and claimed her agent told her that "STDs came with the job and you’re almost guaranteed to test for something.”
“That was a little scary,” Winters said. “… Everyone else in other industries have some form of protection, why not the adult industry?”
The other measure proponents suggested that Measure B was about “common sense.”
Industry attorney Michael Fattorosi, who attended the meeting, asked Weinstein why a similar measure was not being campaigned for in San Francisco, the hub of gay porn shooting. Weinstein said that L.A. is where AHF is starting because the majority of porn is shot here, and added “the majority of gay porn is made with condoms.” Weinstein also noted that AHF has filed complaints in Florida.