Porn News

Conversations with Mike Ross

Porn Valley- Mike Ross is a former lobbyist for Free Speech, and why he isn’t lobbying for Free Speech now could fill a couple of pages on this website.

Suffice to say, Ross, who’s got more of a grip on issues facing the adult entertainment industry than most First Amendment attorneys, showed up in the news this week. Ross is working on behalf of consumers and the California Alliance for Consumer protection to push the Leslie Bill AB 2798 through Sacramento. But Ross is quick to point out that the story printed on AVN’s website about the tabling of the Leslie bill doesn’t even begin to give you an idea of what happened in Sacramento this week.

One of the things that’s always bothered Ross is the industry’s knack for self-censorship. “I read the [AVN] story and I chose not to comment,” he says. “It wasn’t worth commenting on. It was a hack job. When you want to do a real job, you do a real job. Talk to me about the real stuff I said.”

Ross said he was on record at the hearing on Tuesday of this week addressing the question why he was supporting the Leslie bill.

“The ultimate consumer protection is to stay alive,” said Ross. “Did that make it into the story? The second thing I said is I want everybody here to understand, we support the adult entertainment community. We want to make sure that there are entertainers who stay alive to entertain us. We want to ensue that the $8 billion industry stays in California. This was not to get at the community. This was done because the community brought it to my attention. There are people out there who do not support AIM and who do not support Kat Sunlove. And I do utterly love this industry. We’re all cut from the same cloth.”

Other legislators felt similar to Ross about the lack of adequate coverage, and his answer to them, was, make a choice- get the story out through the L.A. Times or AVN, who do you want.

Ross asks a very valid question. “In all fairness, you’ve been on movie sets, right? Could they improve the quality of the working conditions for their people who are acting?”

Ross said if you’re answer is yes, then that’s the bottom line of this bill. “And that’s what the story of this bill is,” he says. “About a month ago I had a friend who’s a lobbyist stop me in the hall. Mike, did you see the bill? I said No. Leslie has a bill that’s going to affect your friends. And he started to run the story down. I checked into it. I asked Leslie what’s the story and he gave me a laundry list. This guy wanted to change the bed sheets. They wanted someone being on the set checking condoms. When you read the thing it was so outrageous it was unbelievable. I had a couple of conversations over a couple of days asking him what is it that you’re really after here? I said it sounds to me like you’re number one category here is you’re concerned about the working environment these people are in. You can’t do everything with A bill. It may take a couple of different bills.

“But is it true to say that you’re concerned about the testing, and, thus, the people who are tested? They said yes. I made it very clear to them that I’m not into having Cal-OSHA turn around and stand on the set checking condoms every time they go into someone’s anal activity. But what I am interested in is increasing the tort law so that some of these people can fight back. And some of these people can. If you’re a Ron Jeremy you have power over the market.

“If you’re somebody fresh off the bus you have no way to fight back,” Ross goes on to say. “The reality is, the level of confidence in what AIM is doing is not very high. I’ve heard this from the industry, the political sector and the people supposedly having oversight. They do not have confidence in AIM. I know where AIM was when it started. I know where they are now. AIM needs to do two things.

“They need to enhance its reputation in Los Angeles. And here’s the thing I stressed at the hearing- in rough numbers there’s a 1,000 people who are part of the adult scene in Los Angeles- testing people in Los Angeles is fantastic. But it has no impact or anyone in San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento- because none of those places have tests. The adult entertainment industry is not just located in Porn Valley. It’s now located everywhere up and down this state- anywhere a guy can get a $500 camera, start a website and have three people who want to have sex. My concern is the people in all the other cities who come into contact with all these other places.”

Ross alludes to an article he read about what it’s like to be on the set of an adult movie and how “dirty, gross and disgusting it is- especially if you’re a towel boy.” Ross, who’s been on sets, was inclined to agree with that assessment.

“The average person doesn’t know what goes into making a porn flick,” he says. “If they knew, a lot of them would be grossed out. It’s not the nicest, cleanest, safest, friendliest environment. You’ve got to say what’s going on with these people? Who’s checking the tests? Who’s making sure the employer who hires the independent contractor stands up and does what’s supposed to be done?”

I asked Ross what happens now that the bill has been tabled for the time being. Ross said it was their belief that they would get an interim hearing. “It’s an investigation by an official legislative body into the practices that are called for in a particular bill,” he explains. In this case it’s STD testing in the adult entertainment industry.

Ross believes something is going to happen sometime this summer, that there’s going to be an official investigation that will raise questions, answer them, then before the end of the legislative session in September, attempt to take care of those questions based on some kind of legislation.

“The solutions may not be as simple as having a hearing,” Ross says. “The hearing will present questions and everyone’s going to get to present their view, their point, their concepts.”

Ross says it’s very clear to him that there’s been tremendous growth in the industry.

“I’m very proud of what I believe I accomplished when I was in the adult business, even though I got a raw deal,” he tells me. “Now I see other things come up and we’ve raised the question of safety in the industry. Something’s going to have to happen. I don’t know what the specific answers are but I do know this. Talent will be able to testify. There’s going to be talent like Mary Carey. And there’s going to be talent who have contacted me and said we don’t trust, we don’t like, we want changes. We’re going to see all that stuff put on a table. Then all the pros are going to be able to sit down and start sorting this stuff out to see if it’s something we can take care of in a real quick basis versus a long term.”

The good news, Ross points out, is that once you afford an industry consumer protection, you can never be eliminated as an industry.

“I’ve never seen a product or a service ever eliminated that actually provided consumer protection to a group,” he says. “Consumers have a right to know that this industry is going to exist. Consumers have a right to know that the people who are in these films were treated properly. Consumers have a right to have the highest quality film produced. Consumers have the right to ensure that this industry survives in our state and I’m very adamant about that.

“In fact, Tim and I- Mr. Leslie- have a complete disagreement on a couple of those factors. But the thing we agree on is that these people are owed a higher level of working conditions. The issue here is STDs in adult entertainment. It’s one thing to be tested for HIV. It’s one thing to be tested for chlamydia. It’s another thing to be tested for all those things that were announced in that bill. I know AIM is scrambling in a positive way to met the demands that are going to be thrust upon it or in it. The reality comes down that maybe what’s going to happen is AIM is going to change their policies. For instance Kat Sunlove admitted this: they learned that the first HIV outbreak came from a guy who went out of the country and then came back. This is what was said and Ron Jeremy told me this.


Related Posts

New Mexico AG: Pornhub, OnlyFans Safer Than Facebook, Instagram

SANTA FE — The office of New Mexico’s Attorney General Raúl Torrez admitted in a statement announcing the state’s lawsuit against Meta that some instances of CSAM are ten times “more prevalent” on Facebook and Instagram than on Pornhub and OnlyFans.…

Eldorado Raises Funds for Colorado Food Share Nonprofit

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Eldorado Trading Company raised thousands of dollars with its 15th annual Thanksgiving fundraising campaign, which collected donations of food and money for Community Food Share, a Colorado nonprofit that provides food to hundreds of local families and…

Girlfriends Films Unveils Eighth ‘Lesbian Obsessions’

Girlfriends Films has announced the release of "'Lesbian Obsessions 8."'

Xgen Products Expands ‘Envy’ Collection With 6 New Releases

HORSHAM, Pa. — Xgen Products is now shipping six new releases from the Envy Toys collection of male-focused pleasure products. CEO Andy Green said, “We’re excited to add some new items to the Envy Toys collection. The original release was…

Leana Lovings Becomes Adult Time Brand Ambassador

AVN Award winner Leana Lovings has stepped into the role of the newest brand ambassador for streaming platform Adult Time. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.