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Porn producers threaten to flee LA over condom rule

Date: November 08 2012


Porn producers are threatening to quit filming in Los Angeles after voters approved a measure requiring adult-movie actors to wear condoms during shoots to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.

The industry asked the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to delay implementing Measure B, which also mandates that producers acquire public health permits. Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, an industry trade group, said it would challenge the initiative and trust the "calm, serious deliberations of the legal system" to prove it's unconstitutional.

In the meantime, the industry will explore moving production out of Los Angeles County "as quickly as possible," according to a statement from the trade group.

Measure B, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, "is going to have a dramatic effect on our economy," said Stuart Waldman, president of the Sherman Oaks, California-based Valley Industry and Commerce Association, which represents businesses in the San Fernando Valley, the part of Los Angeles where most adult-movies are made. "A lot of producers will fly to Las Vegas and spend the day shooting there and come back after a day's worth of work. It's easy. Today, you don't have to move truckloads of equipment."

Measure B won 56 percent of the vote, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder. It requires condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films, and was supported by groups including the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association.

'Little Benefit'

The Los Angeles Times, in its editorial pages, recommended voters reject the initiative, saying it may "stymie county government and bring little benefit to performers."

The newspaper said that the industry employs "thousands of sound, lighting, stage, technical and other crew members and post-production workers in between gigs in more-mainstream film and television productions."

The industry accounts for about $1 billion in revenue in the county, according to Valley Industry and Commerce Association. The condom mandate would "destroy the commercial value of the product," said Theo Sapoutzis, chief executive officer of the trade publication Adult Video News.

Supporters of the measure, called the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, said it would protect entertainers and the public at large.

"It isn't fair that people, and the community as a whole, are contracting infections, some of them life threatening and lifelong, in order to make a living," according to the argument in favor of Measure B in the county voter guide. "Pornographers should not be exempt from the basic safety rules that protect everyone else. Public health should not be sacrificed on the false claim that this is a free speech issue."

Amber Lynn, a porn actress who opposed the measure, said on Twitter that film producers should use flesh-toned condoms that would hide their presence.

"The adult industry will survive," she wrote. "It always has."

- BLOOMBERG

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