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Reason.Tv airs a piece on Measure B featuring Vivid’s Steve Hirsch, AHF’s Michael Weinstein and performer Alex Chance [pictured].
Weinstein who has pushed the condom initiative, says self regulation has failed miserably when it comes to the porn industry, whereas Hirsch says this isn’t the government’s place to come in and regulate an industry that’s doing a good job of policing itself.
“It’s clearly established that it’s against the law to make these films without a condom,” Weinstein states.
“We passed an initiative in the city of Los Angeles and we’re headed to the ballot in November.”
While a city ordinance hasn’t been enforced the County will be voting on a similar measure that opponents say will include expensive and controversial enforcement.
Hirsch says that over the last five years there have been over 300,000 adult scenes shot.
“There are several reasons that the industry is against condoms,” he goes on to say.
“It’s just not needed. The testing procedures that are in place work and work well. The performers are comfortable with the testing procedures and the companies are comfortable with the testing procedures.”
According to Hirsch, movies with condoms don’t sell as well.
“People don’t want to watch movies with condoms. When you watch an adult movie it’s more of a fantasy and they don’t care to see what happens in real life.”
Hirsch says another reason the industry is against condoms is because the measure would only pertain to movies shot in LA County.
“Movies are produced all over the country so it wouldn’t be fair to take one group of producers and make them follow one law while the rest of the producers don’t have to.”
Weinstein points out that the gay industry has been “overwhelmingly condom”.
“And people haven’t stopped buying the product.”
“What is the acceptable number of infections that people should be subjected to when they go to work?” Weinstein also asks.
Performer Alex Chance says if someone wants to use condoms that should be their choice.
“But I don’t think it’s something that should be mandatory.”
Chance further states, “As the industry stands right now, testing is the best measure. We go there, we get tested every month, every 14 to 30 days. Some companies require 14 day tests, some require 28, some require 30. It’s up to each individual company. I wish it was more standardized.”
Weinstein has a difference of opinion when he says, “Testing is not the best prevention. It’s screening to find disease. It doesn’t prevent diseases from being transmitted. You can take a test today, be infected tomorrow and work in a film the next day.”
“We are concerned about performers and we care for performers in our health care centers free of charge,” says Weinstein.
“But we are also concerned about the message that’s being sent by unsafe sex.”
Hirsch warns that if Measure B passes, “People may leave the state, take their jobs with them and off they’ll go to other states to produce.”
Hirsch also speculates that producers will go underground.
“Not only will they not use condoms they won’t get tested either because they’re totally going underground. And that could turn into a huge problem.”
Weinstein said he wouldn’t speculate on “negative, unintended consequences.” I take that to mean that Weinstein isn’t buying Hirsch’s arguments about skipping town.
“They sell their product to hotels,” Weinstein points out.
“They sell it to cable TV. They can’t go underground. Larry Flynt has a skyscraper on the corner of LaCienega and Wilshire. That is not going underground.”
Chase thinks that people tend to look out for their budgets.
“So if the company thinks they’re not going to make as much money shooting in Los Angeles because of this condom law, then I think they’ll move. People care more about their bottom line.”
While Hirsch says it’s reasonable to assume that someone might contract a sexually transmitted disease, it’s also important to note that the adult business has set a good example by the way it reacts to and deals with those instances.
“Look at the examples we’ve set and make your own decision.”
Hirsch further states that it isn’t the government’s place to regulate the industry.
“In a time where we have a huge budget deficit they’re going to take their time and energy to figure out how to police an industry that does a fine job of policing itself.”