AHF Critiques Porn Industry, Cal/OSHA at Conference to Discuss Ballot Initiative
LOS ANGELES — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation held a teleconference today at 10 a.m. to discuss its decision to launch a statewide ballot initiative to mandate condom-use on all sets in California.
The conference also served to kick off FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility), a campaign to gather signatures for the ballot initiative process, with the aim to have the measure appear on the 2016 Presidential election California ballot.
Fraught by technical difficulties, it was difficult to hear much of the latter part of the conference.
However, AHF President Michael Weinstein opened the conference loud and clear, reiterating the message that he’s been driving home in California and across the country for the last 10 years — that despite being defeated in 2014 and 2013 at the state legislature, he is going to continue to fight to require condom use on all porn sets in the nation.
“We are unabashedly an advocacy organization,” Weinstein explained.
Detailing his rationale, he accused the adult film industry, which has vehemently opposed his legislation time and again, of employing a “big lie technique.”
Weinstein asserted that, according to the blood borne pathogen standards already set forth by Cal/OSHA, condom use is de facto required on all porn sets, in California and across the U.S.
He said that the porn industry ignores this truth by substituting their “big lie” that, “if you say the same line over and over again, it become truth.” In this case, the lie is that condom use is currently not required by law.
AHF reported in press release distributed before the conference that initial online polling of 1,158 California voters in mid-September 2014 showed support for the proposed law — 71-percent answered "yes" — when asked how they would vote on such a measure were the election held today.
In the conference Weinstein tempered the results, saying “we’re not claiming this is a scientific poll,” given that the poll was conducted online and involved a small sample size.
Expressing empathy for Cal/OSHA as “a very overtaxed agency [with a] small staff, small budget,” Weistein still voiced his dissatisfaction with its so-called bureaucratic sluggishness.
He reports that the AHF filed a request to the agency five years ago asking it to update its blood borner pathogen standards, and was dismayed when he learned of the decision this fall to once again push back the deadline to March of 2015
A lawyer for FAIR also spoke at the conference. In a more conciliatory tone, he explained the legislative details of the year-and-a-half process that AHF is embarking on to bring the initiative to the ballot, which includes gathering half a million signatures.
Calling the method “direct democracy,” he underscored that the legislature and the public would be able to comment on the initiative during the process and inspire minor changes without AHF having to scrap the bill in its entirety.
Former adult performers Cameron Bay, Darren James, Rod Daily, Sofia Delgado and Derrick Burts gave their testimony at the press conference as well, describing their experiences contracting HIV and announcing their endorsement of a statewide condom law.
“Cal/OSHA and the state senate refuse to protect us; It’s time we made them,” Bay said.
The FSC has issued a statement concerning the AHF’s ballot initiative, which can be read here.
Diane Duke, head of the FSC, said in the statement, “Weinstein is resorting to the ballot initiative process because he can’t get it done any other way. His campaign has failed multiple times in the legislature, it has been opposed by HIV outreach and LGBT groups, it’s been opposed by civil rights groups, it’s been opposed by newspaper editorial boards and, most importantly, it’s been opposed by performers. Why? Because the bill not only takes away performers’ control over their own bodies, it pushes the industry out of California and underground, making performers ultimately less safe.”