Reuters NewMedia - January 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Porn actors in Los Angeles will have to
use condoms on the set as a condition of obtaining a film permit
under a first-in-the-nation requirement quietly signed into law
by the mayor, and a nearby community was considering a similar
Officials in Simi Valley said on Tuesday they were mulling their
own condom ordinance out of a concern adult film producers could
move shop to their more suburban community, fleeing the condom
requirement that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed
into law on Monday.
The vast majority of U.S. porn productions are based in Los
Angeles. The condom requirement, aimed at preventing the spread
of sexually transmitted diseases, is perhaps the city's most
forceful attempt to change the way the industry operates.
Villaraigosa signed the measure, which was approved by the City
Council in a highly-watched move earlier this month, on Monday,
his spokesman Peter Sanders said. It goes into effect in about 40
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an advocacy group and healthcare
provider that pushed Los Angeles officials to adopt the
requirement, said it was the first law of its kind passed by any
city in the United States.
"The tide of history here is pretty clear, and we're not going to
stop," AIDS Healthcare president Michael Weinstein said.
The Los Angeles City Council earlier this month voted to approve
the condom requirement, after AIDS Healthcare qualified an
initiative for the ballot that would have put that question
before city voters in June. City officials said that by simply
adopting the ordinance themselves, they avoided having to spend
$4 million to hold the vote.
The city's condom requirement only applies to porn productions
that approach the city for a permit, but officials said a permit
was not required when filming in a soundstage.
A majority of porn shoots in the city are actually done in
soundstages, said Diane Duke, executive director of industry
trade group the Free Speech Coalition.
"The significance of this is it's government reaching into areas
it doesn't belong. It's government telling us how to produce
films, and it's government regulating sexual behavior between
consenting adults," Duke said.
AIDS Healthcare is gathering signatures for a ballot measure that
would go before Los Angeles County voters and, if approved, force
porn companies to obtain health permits, which the group said
would be similar to what barber shops obtain.
If that happens, it would increase the burden on porn companies,
wherever they shoot in Los Angeles County, to comply with
existing California workplace laws that mandate the use of
condoms by porn performers, AIDS Healthcare officials said. The
state law is not specifically aimed at the porn industry and is
widely violated, the group has said.
Meanwhile, the industry was exploring moving productions to other
localities outside of Los Angeles.
Duke said Florida and Nevada were particularly well suited to the
needs of her industry, given that they have warm weather and
abundant production facilities.
There are at least 1,000 porn performers in the Los Angeles area,
Duke said. "I think there are many folks out there who would
welcome the revenues that come with the adult entertainment
industry," she said.
But Simi Valley, 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura
County, may not be one of those areas. Next Monday, the Simi
Valley City Council will vote on a proposal modeled after the Los
Angeles initiative that would require condoms in porn.
"There's a very real concern in this community that industry
looks toward Simi Valley as an adjacent area that may not have
the same restrictions that L.A. has," Simi Valley city manager
Mike Sedell said.
He added that prostitution tied to the porn industry is one of
Simi Valley's concerns.