Calif. Condom Ballot Measure Has New Adversary

Apr 27, 2016 8:41 AM PST

SACRAMENTO — Opponents of the upcoming statewide condom ballot initiative have announced the launch of a political action committee to help fight it, particularly because the measure as written would allow private citizens to “harass and sue adult workers.”

The Californians Against Worker Harassment ballot measure committee is sponsored by the Free Speech Coalition and funded by a group of performers, businesses and public health advocates.

The campaign will be chaired by Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Canoga Park-based FSC.

Mike Stabile, a spokesperson for Californians Against Worker Harassment and the FSC, said the proposed law would set a precedent in California law, creating “a dangerous culture of harassment and fear in the adult film industry.”

“This initiative would grant any private citizen of California the power to sue a worker, even an injured worker, in the adult entertainment industry, simply because they don’t agree with how that worker does their job,” Stabile said. “It opens up the door to extortion and harassment of a predominantly female performer base and small business owners by those outside the industry.”

The new committee noted that the proposed law would mandate that use of condoms be verifiable in all adult films across all technology platforms, including unrated independent films. If the condom is not visible a performer could be sued by any California citizen.

Performer safety is currently regulated by Cal-OSHA, and performers are tested every 14 days for a full slate of STIs, a protocol which has prevented on-set transmission of HIV in California for over a decade, the committee said.

“Adult workers have been vocal in their opposition to the law, which would remove their own ability to choose a condom, and open the door to stalkers and serial harassers, a serious issue for many performers," the committee said. "Many also fear that the initiative will further drive a legal industry underground, leaving them less protected.”

Stabile said California’s Attorney General estimates the California Condoms in Pornographic Films ballot initiative will cost tens of millions annually in lost tax revenue and administration costs. A similar bill in Los Angeles in 2012 resulted in a 95 percent drop in permits for adult production in Los Angeles County, before being ruled unenforceable.

“This initiative is dangerous to adult performers, sets a precedent for other workers to be sued, and will force tax revenues and jobs out of state,” Stabile said. “We should not allow adult performers to be harassed simply because someone doesn't like what they do. California law should protect workers from harassment, not sanction it.”

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