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AHF: Fair Political Practices Commission Rejects Free Speech’s False Claims on TV Spot for Condoms in Porn Ballot Measure

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From Michael Weinstein central comes this:

LOS ANGELES–The Enforcement Division of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has rejected opponents’ false claims about a campaign television commercial supporting Ballot Measure B.

Measure B is the so-called ‘condoms in porn’ measure formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. If passed the measure will require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and pay a permit fee sufficient for necessary enforcement.

In mid-September, adult film producers and other opponents of the ballot measure filed a complaint with the FPPC about a ‘Yes on B’ television spot produced by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a major funder and backer of the ballot measure. It alleged potential violations of several California government code sections pertaining to proper disclosures of paid spokespersons and use of disclaimers.

“We thank FPPC officials for their swift dismissal of our opponents’ false claims regarding our television spot for this important public health measure intended to protect the health and safety of adult film performers”

On October 2nd, Gary S. Winuk [pictured], Chief of the Enforcement Division for California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, sent a letter to ‘No on B’ campaign consultant Susan Burnside rejecting the opponents’ claims, stating, “we found no violation of the Political Reform Act.”

“We thank FPPC officials for their swift dismissal of our opponents’ false claims regarding our television spot for this important public health measure intended to protect the health and safety of adult film performers,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative.

“Prior to running this television spot on TV and cable stations in Los Angeles, we carefully vetted it with our ‘Yes on B’ campaign’s legal advisors to ensure full compliance with all applicable state and local campaign laws, including all disclaimer and disclosure requirements.

Our opponents’ entire campaign seems to be based on falsehoods: that enforcement of the condom measure will cost taxpayers money, that condom use in the films infringe upon the free speech rights of the actors and that all the players will simply leave California when the measure passes. It follows that they would make false claims about our television spots rather than campaign on the merits of the real issues at hand.”

Condom use in the production of adult films in California, (one of only two states, along with New Hampshire, where porn production is legal) is already required under state and federal OSHA statutes; however, OSHA’s enforcement is primarily a complaint driven process. Ballot Measure B will:

Enhance enforcement of existing health and safety laws by requiring producers to obtain public health permits (similar to 134 other businesses and services including tattoo parlors, nail & hair salons and barber shops) as a condition of doing business in the County,
Force producers to accordingly follow all laws, including condom use and availability on set, and
Collect film permit fees from the adult producers that will pay the enforcement costs of the measure.

Ballot Measure B is being spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and members of the advocacy group, FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’), after as many as 22 HIV infections believed to be industry-related were reported in several outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004, and amidst thousands of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occurring annually among adult performers.

The ballot measure also comes at a time when an outbreak of syphilis, a highly contagious, but curable STD, is roiling L.A.’s adult film industry and shut down the entire industry for several weeks earlier this summer.

Health Associations Supporting Condom Use in Adult Films:

The Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) and The California STD Controllers Association (CSTDCA) are two major health groups that specifically endorsed Los Angeles County Ballot Measure B. However, the Executive Board of CSTDCA, and several other groups and associations previously expressed support for condom use in adult films including the American Medical Association, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, American Public Health Association, American Association of STD Controllers, American Public Health Association, the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and UCLA in calling for improved adult film worker safety and enforcement of condom use requirements in adult films. Backers of Measure B are also now seeking formal endorsements of Measure B from many of these other health organizations.

“This is not just about one industry, but about our entire community, as the spread of disease among adult film performers endangers themselves as well as their sexual partners in and outside the industry,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “This is why we are bringing the question directly to voters here in Los Angeles.”

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