Cal/OSHA Proposes Penalties Against Kink.com

May 6, 2016 2:12 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Cal/OSHA's proposed penalties of $146,600 announced this week against Kink.com for 13 violations of worker safety laws are the largest ever levied against an adult filmmaker.

It is the second time, Kink.com has faced proposed fines from Cal/OSHA. Both times were the result of complaints made by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president, Michael Weinstein, the proponent of a statewide mandatory condom ballot initiative in California.

In a previous citation issued in 2014, Kink faced proposed fines of $78,000 that were eventually reduced to $27,000 after a performer in August 2013 chose not to use a condom, among other alleged worker violations.

With the $146,600 in fines made against Kink.com on Monday, Cal/OSHA investigators said that Kink.com did not require performers to use condoms during production of at least five films, all in violation of California’s bloodborne pathogens standard.

The condom-related violations found in the Nov. 9, 2015, inspection are classified as willful serious” and carry the largest penalties, Cal/OSHA officials said.

A willful violation is cited when evidence shows the employer either knowingly violated the law or took no reasonable steps to address a known hazard.

Serious violations are cited when “there is a realistic possibility that death or serious physical harm could result from the actual hazard created by the violation, Cal/OSHA officials said.

Within the fines totaling $146,600, Cal/OSHA also cited Kink.com for 11 general safety violations.

Those violations included failure to guard the blades of a table saw on the premises and failure to ensure first aid materials on site were in usable condition, Cal/OSHA officials said.

Last Friday, a Kink.com official said that the “swatting” complaint filed by the AHF and Weinstein amounted to abusing the regulatory system in place to harass political opponents. 

Weinstein, who has advocated for condoms in adult film productions for more than a dozen years and was unsuccessful with a number of legislative attempts to get a porn-condom law passed into law in California, is chief proponent of the California Condoms in Pornographic Films ballot initiative that will be decided by voters in November.

“There were no injuries,” said Mike Stabile, spokesperson for Kink.com. “These were not complaints filed by anyone on set. They were filed by a man on a computer watching adult videos, looking for an opportunity to strike back against people who opposed a regressive condom mandate.”

Kink.com will appeal the fines, as it has similar citations in the past, Stabile said.

Industry attorney Larry Walters of Walters Law Group noted that the "amount of the fine is apparently based on the allegation that the offenses were willful, and constitute repeat violations."

"In the regulatory field, we often see agencies increase fines against repeat offenders," Walters, who does not represent Kink.com, told XBIZ. "Whether any offense actually occurred in this case remains to be seen."

Weinstein has filed more than 100 Cal/OSHA complaints against adult companies and performers in recent years.

The proposed $146,600 penalties against Kink is the highest amount ever handed down to an adult company by Cal/OSHA, second only to its earlier fine and another against James Deen Production earlier this year, which assessed proposed penalties of $77,875 for non-condom use.

Other Cal/OSHA adult filmmaking fines in the five digits included one against Factory Video, a studio that primarily produces gay bareback films, which was fined nearly $60,000 in 2013.

In 2014 Jake Cruise, operator of the namesake gay adult production company, was assessed $60,000 in fines.

And in 2004, Evasive Angels and TTBoy Productions, both owned by adult filmmaker Phil Rivera, were fined $61,120 for violating the state's bloodborne pathogen standard over condoms.

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