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Darren James’ Lawyer Speaks at Condom Panel

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AVN’s Mark Kernes filed a stellar report this past week from UCLA Law School which had us somewhat intrigued.

It was a 90-minute panel discussion on condom use in the adult film industry. Participating were industry attorney Paul Cambria; Mark Roy McGrath, a healthcare professional currently “consulting” with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Bob McCulloch [pictured], who had represented HIV-positive performer Darren James in a lawsuit against AIM back in 2004-5.

Considering that it was James’ lawsuit that was the beginning of the end both for Sharon Mitchell and AIM, we were curious as to what McCulloch would have to say.

McGrath went into AHF’s involvement in the issue noting that new regulations would require adult producers seeking permits to agree only to shoot sex scenes with condoms, and to pay an $85 fee per permit to fund inspectors to visit sets to make sure that condoms were in fact being used.

Cambria noted that the L.A. Department of Public Health’s statistics on STD among performers was “flawed,” and that not every adult movie is produced in Los Angeles.

Porn movies, said Cambria, are produced in all countries across the world, and these countries cannot be controlled either by the city of Los Angeles or OSHA, and so they will produce movies without condoms and send them into this market.”

“Right now, you [‘ve] had a system with testing, and you had very few incidents of HIV over many, many years. Well, once they move to Mexico, Europe, Canada or one of the other states and have no protections whatsoever in the filming…. they will be making these movies and they’ll be making them in a place where there are no rules and there’s no protection.”

Cambria made the claim that some studios have decided they’re going to Europe and are going to take a troupe of actors and make 10 movies at a time. Then they’re going to come back and distribute them.

“And they’ll have no protections over there,” he predicted.

“Or they’re going to go to Mexico and do the same thing, so that’s what’s happening.”

Cambria also predicted that some in the industry would file a lawsuit to overturn the newly passed ordinance, while others would simply go underground, thus giving performers “zero protections.”

Speaking of lawsuits, McCulloch, a highly touted medical malpractice attorney, noted that he represented Darren James in 2004, and claimed that “various efforts were made [by the industry] to contact my client, turn him, promise him things so the statute of limitations would run so he wouldn’t sue.”

McCulloch called industry testing the “the gold standard.”

“It’s fool’s gold,” he added sarcastically, insisting that testing is “not a strategy of prevention as a public health matter, it’s a strategy of containment.”

McCulloch’s of the belief that the industry’s system of testing is going to fail and has to fail.

“There are going to be people like my guy who went in, got tested, showed up for work and by the time he actually showed up positive, he had sex with 13 individual actresses; three of those individuals contracted HIV.

“They were never able to determine where he got that,” McCulloch continued.

“But he had come from a shoot out of country where they don’t have those rules in terms of the same standards.”

[Where exactly Lara Roxx fits into this scenario has never been made clear. I’ve always been of the opinion that it was Roxx who gave James HIV and not the other way around.]

Added McCulloch: “Back then, in 2004, basically until this [condom] law was passed, cockroaches on the film set of Mimic, Guillermo del Toro’s science-fiction horror movie, had more rights and more protection than human beings on a similarly situated film set for an adult movie.”

“The cockroaches had to have cockroach wranglers to make sure they weren’t worked to hard; they had to make sure they weren’t worked too hard; they had to make sure they were fed appropriately and they weren’t subjected to any kind of dangerous situations that would put their cockroach lives at risk, because that would be animal cruelty.

“So cockroaches in the city of Los Angeles had more rights than adult industry performers. We knew that when they’re making these films, it’s just a matter of time before some of these individuals are going to come up HIV; there’s no way around it.”

According to the Kernes report, McCulloch was in error stating that California is the only state where adult movies can legally be made. Courts in both New Hampshire and New York City have legalized such filmmaking.

McCulloch also painted the industry as callous and uncaring about the health of its performers, claiming that, “What the industry always says is, ‘Gosh, you know, Bob, those three, four people that have HIV, you know, the gold standard test that didn’t work for them? Casualties of the industry, you know; people go down.’ Or the several people since that time that are HIV, ‘Well, you know, the gold standard worked pretty darn good.’ ‘So, what about those workers?’ ‘Well, you know, risk of doing business.'”

McCulloch went on to say that the industry is set up to basically use its resources to squelch the rights of these individuals who don’t have the ability to have lawyers represent them.”

McCulloch also implied that Dr. Sharon Mitchell was unqualified for her job as head of AIM.

He might not get an argument there.

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