Porn News

Calling for Reform of Adult Industry

Porn Valley – It’s comin’. Read the signs. Florida shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge just got booted off the airwaves for taking some cavalier risks with good taste. Howard Stern’s now predicting on his show that it’s just a matter of time before he gets fired. George Bush wants same-sex marriages banned. But a story that’s just kind of slipped through the cracks are recent remarks made by the former Surgeon General C. Everett “Chicken” Koop on ABC news. Koop is calling for Congressional reform of the adult industry.

Koop rails against certain adult industry sex practices with the ABC report noting that “[adult industry] producers hire, men and women as young as 18, for sex that is often unprotected.”

“We have an industry that is making billions of dollars a year, is spreading to cable television and to the Internet, and yet their employees are considered to be throwaway people,” Koop told ABC.

The report goes on to say that “only a handful of ‘high end’ production companies require condoms, leaving the majority of performers vulnerable to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. While some companies require performers to take HIV tests, there is no government regulation mandating tests across the industry.

Koop – noting that performers’ sexual activity off the set, with spouses or lovers, can spread disease beyond the industry – says America’s big corporations which profit from porn via hotel and cable revenues are also complicit in a public health hazard: They want the profits from pornography but “they don’t want to get involved.”

Nor do the fans, according to Koop. “Even the people who enjoy looking at pornography really despise the people they’re watching, and they have no sense of protection for them,” he said.

According to the ABC report, few of the adult companies provide health insurance, and most performers find they must work without condoms if they want to keep getting jobs. “The fans don’t like to see condoms,” said performer Belladonna, reflecting a belief that is widely held in the industry. Like many other performers, Belladonna started in the business when she was 18, the legal minimum.

According to Koop, many producers and distributors argue that performers are independent contractors, not their employees, so they don’t have any responsibility for them. But Koop calls that a “copout.”

“These youngsters are not unionized, they don’t know how to do anything for themselves, and they’re really stuck,” he said.

AIM’s Sharon Mitchell believes that the producers have an obligation to care for the performers in their films. “This is not a moral issue. It’s an issue about disease, about HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, young men and women entering an issue that they often don’t know enough about.”

Bill Margold, a veteran porn star who now counsels young people entering the business, says 18-year-olds are too young to make the potentially life-altering decision to go into porn.

“I get 18-, 19-year-old girls who just don’t understand that once you do this, you are sociologically damned forever,” he said.

Koop believes that to prompt reform, Congress should hold hearings on regulating the industry and “subpoena some of the people who run these shows.”


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