Calif. Voters Reject Prop 60

Nov 9, 2016 2:57 AM PST

UPDATE: With 100 percent of precincts tallied at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, No on Prop 60 received 53.9 percent of the vote (4,553,833).Yes on Prop 60 tallied 46.1 percent of the vote (3,888,895). 

SACRAMENTO — California voters have rejected Proposition 60, the ballot measure that would have imposed draconian rules on stakeholders of the adult film industry and likely would have chased production out of state if it had passed.

With 83 percent of votes counted early Wednesday, Prop 60 was losing by more than 600,000 votes and by more than an eight-point margin.

With a big smile, Eric Paul Leue, the Free Speech Coalition, told XBIZ that the adult trade group would release a statement on the victory later today.

Early Wednesday morning, adult industry stakeholders were elated about the hard-fought win on Twitter.

Industry attorney Karen Tynan, who was an active player in helping defeat Prop 60, tweeted: “My mom taught me not to gloat, so I won’t. Let’s just say the FSC, APAC, performers and producers did what many thought impossible.”

Performer Brock Doom, who has been vocal about the measure, tweeted: “One thing is for sure, I am thrilled that we defeated Prop 60. Our solidarity and hard work paid off.”

If passed, Prop 60, formally titled “The California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act,” would have required producers to mandate use of barrier controls such as condoms on shoots.

If condoms weren’t visible, legal claims could have been made, according to language in the measure that was sponsored and funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Prop 60 also would have required producers to obtain state health license and to post condom requirement at film sites. Producers also would have had to pay for performer vaccinations, testing and medical examinations related to STIs. 

But it didn’t stop there. Prop 60 would have imposed liability on producers for violations, on certain distributors, on performers if they had a financial interest in the film involved and on talent agents who knowingly refer performers to noncomplying producers.

To complicate matters, Prop 60 permitted any state resident to enforce violations through private attorney general claims, including the measure’s sponsor, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. 

Further, Prop 60 would have forced performers to publicly disclose personal information, including legal names and home addresses, enabling crazed fans to stalk stars.

State officials said that Prop 60 would have cost about $1 million annually to regulate but that the state also would have lost out on an untold amount of tax revenue because many studios would have bolted to other states for shoots.

The state Legislative Analyst’s office, in a notation on the measure this past summer, said that if passed, “adult film wages and business income in California would likely decline and, as a result, the measure would likely reduce state and local tax revenues by several million dollars per year.” 

Initially, the big difference between the two adversarial camps — the adult entertainment community and AHF — was simply about money. But, apparently, that didn’t matter.

As of Sunday, the Yes on Prop 60 campaign had $4.6 million in reported contributions, as opposed to the No on Prop 60 committee, which had $543,000 in reported contributions.

Flush with cash, the Yes on Prop 60 campaign flooded TV channels for weeks with 30-second spots throughout California featuring former adult performers Cameron Bay and Derrick Burts, who both claim that they were infected with HIV during porn shoots.

The No on Prop 60 campaign, however, couldn’t afford TV spots and relied heavily on a grassroots campaign, which included taking its message to organized groups and editorial boards.

And to the surprise of many, the No on Prop 60 campaign was successful.

Prop 60 was opposed by more than 50 local and issue-based political clubs and more than 55 newspapers, including 10 of the state’s largest papers.

The papers’ editorial boards summarily dismissed the proposal. The San Francisco Chronicle said that the measure “doesn’t make sense” and that it “invites legal bounty hunting.”  Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times said the measure was an “extreme approach and demonstrably counterproductive.”

Prop 60 also was opposed by more than 100 HIV/AIDS organizations, doctors and civil rights advocates and the performers’ groups APAC and APAG, along with the FSC.

And over the past several months, hundreds of adult performers actively campaigned against Prop 60 by speaking out at university campuses, farmers markets and on social media, as well as leading political rallies and protests — all in an attempt to help clinch the big win it received on Election Day.

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