L.A. Times Weighs In on Calif. Condom Ballot Initiative

Nov 9, 2015 9:45 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Times has published a political commentary piece on the question of whether the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-sponsored California condom ballot initiative will force porn producers to decamp from the state.

The Times’ article said that if California voters pass the initiative during the general election in November 2016, porn producers say that the entire industry will move away and state and local tax revenue could drop by tens of millions of dollars.

“Since the passage of a countywide condom mandate in 2012, Los Angeles County has seen a 90 percent decline in applications for filming permits from porn producers, so the threat of a revenue slump is real,” said Times staffer David Horsey, who wrote the political commentary article and accompanying cartoon that will be included in tomorrow’s print edition.

Horsey takes the side of the majority in the porn biz — condoms are not what the porn audience pays to see — and that if the initiative becomes law, the industry “will pack up their cameras, lights, high heels, hair removers, handcuffs, vibrators, lubricants, strap-ons and other exotic paraphernalia and leave California.”

“And that means there is a big economic opportunity waiting for a more libertarian state. Texas? Wyoming? Oklahoma? Are you ready to be the new porn capital of the world?"

Passages from Horsey’s political commentary piece can be seen below:

Can condoms cause the hugely profitable California porn business to go limp? In November 2016, state voters may be asked to pass judgment on a ballot initiative that would require actors in adult films to wear condoms when they engage in onscreen sex acts. Supporters of the initiative say it will protect thrusting thespians from contracting diseases. Porn producers insist condoms would be a total buzz kill.

Pornographic filmmakers warn that, if the initiative becomes law, they will pack up their cameras, lights, high heels, hair removers, handcuffs, vibrators, lubricants, strap-ons and other exotic paraphernalia and leave California. On the plus side, that means residents from the San Fernando Valley to Ventura will be assured that the high-pitched yowling from the house next door is coming from a distressed cat, not from a porn actress in mid-performance. On the negative side, state and local tax revenue could drop by tens of millions of dollars.

Since the passage of a countywide condom mandate in 2012, Los Angeles County has seen a 90 percent decline in applications for filming permits from porn producers, so the threat of a revenue slump is real. Still, would dirty-picture impresarios and their merry troops of naked performers really decamp for Oregon or Arizona and leave the glitz of L.A. just because of condoms? Is this about art, health or money?

The pornography industry is layered, very much like Dante’s nine circles of Hell. The deeper you go, the darker and more perverse it becomes (and the more everyone seems to have an Eastern European accent).

The young women who perform in California-made porn do not seem blessed with great intellect or formidable acting skills, but they exhibit boundless enthusiasm for their work. 

These young women are the focal point of porn. They get all the screen time. The men in the movies almost do not count. Their faces are rarely shown, which is probably a good thing since a lot of porn performers look as if they are on work release from state prison. There is really only one reason the men are even there, only one thing they contribute to the artistic enterprise. And that one thing is usually inordinately large.

It is no wonder porn producers are upset about being forced to cloak that one thing with a prophylactic sheathe. It is as troubling for them as it would be if a regular Hollywood filmmaker were told his lead actor were required to put a bag over his head. 

Condoms are not what the porn audience pays to see, either, and the porn producers know it. If they have to leave California to keep their profits high, they just might do it. And that means there is a big economic opportunity waiting for a more libertarian state. Texas? Wyoming? Oklahoma? Are you ready to be the new porn capital of the world?

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