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James Lee and Michael Weinstein Debate a Second Time- The Only Complete and Accurate Report You’ll Read; James Lee Challenges Derrick Burts

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How Many Adult Performers Have Medical Coverage?

That was one of the issues brought up by AHF’s Michael Weinstein Thursday evening as Weinstein and Derrick Burts faced off against “No” on Measure B’s James Lee and adult performer Rebecca Bardoux.

The debate was broadcast on Which Way LA? and moderator Warren Olney proved extremely well versed on the subject.

On the issue of medical insurance, many porn performers are notorious for not having it. But, by the same token, Lee’s blown two opportunities in squaring off against Weinstein. They debated earlier this month. Now, and on that occasion, Lee has failed to direct questions to Weinstein about his alleged business affiliations with condom companies.

Then again, Weinstein could level the porn house of cards by proving that performers although they tout the benefits of testing are without adequate medical coverage. The industry certainly doesn’t provide a plan, although Diane Duke months ago on another Internet show claimed to have had one in the works.

Aside from that, Thursday night’s debate was more of the same old, same old. Weinstein again pointed out that there have been “thousands of” sexually transmitted diseases and STDs in the porn industry that could have been avoided with the use of condoms.

“Porn is the only legal industry in California that flagrantly refuses to adhere to the safety laws,” Weinsten added.

“It’s against the law in California to make an adult film without using condoms. It’s already state law. Performers in the industry deserve the same protection. They should not be endangered at work and Los Angeles County has the primary responsibility for public health which it enforces and issues 134 permits for.”

Weintein mentioned that “Yes” on Measure B was being supported by the LA County Medical Association, the STD Comptrollers, obstetricians and gynecologists as well as the Aids Healthcare Foundation.

Asked how the permit system would work, Weinstein said like any other permit.

“You would pay a fee and there would be spot inspections; if you were in violation of your permit then you would be asked to comply. If you refused to comply, then you would be fined or shut down.” [Measure B also provides for fines and jail.]

Weinstein said the goal was not so much to stop HIV.

“The primary issue is Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes. According to the Public Health Dept. of Los Angeles there have been 22 cases of HIV transmission in the industry over the last 8 years.”

Lee was quick point out that there was no rampant disease problem in the industry.

“The industry has, arguably, the best testing protocol in the country for any population or workforce. Every performer has to be tested every 14 and 28 days for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia and they have to pass that test in order to work.

“And the tests we use are far superior than what the people in the AHF provides for people in their one-minute testing.”

Lee said the industry relies on the far superior Aptima testing.

Lee also pointed that despite Weinstein’s set of numbers, there’s been no on-set contraction of HIV since 2004.

“All told, there’s only been six contractions in the industry since 1998.”

Whereas, Lee said there have been over 6,000 contractions of HIV cases in LA County and there are more serious health considerations than going after an industry that employs only 280 performers year-round.

“It’s an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars. It’s an enormous waste of taxpayer resources and at the end of the day it fixes nothing and only creates more problems.

“It’s going to ship off over 10,000 jobs and over a billion dollars in economic activity in the county and move across the border.”

Lee said you’ll see productions abate as well as the permit process because the vast number of production companies are mom & pop operations that won’t be able to afford the $3,000 or $10,000 permit fees.

“Once they do that they’ll drop out of the testing program. Or the bigger studios are simply going to pack up and move.”

Lee also pointed to the fact that Hollywood has a runaway production problem and this will add to the stream of companies moving out of town.
Olney acknowledged that New Hampshire is the only other state to legalize porn.

“Let’s understand something very quickly,” said Lee.

“Porn is shot everywhere in the country. You can go to Nevada, Florida and other states. It’s actively shot everywhere. In fact we have a large number of governors, economic development officials and mayors that have already come across the board and started soliciting these production companies to move with the offer of redevelopment funds to pay for the move.”

Weinstein replied, “Who are you going to believe, the pornographers or the LA County Dept. of Medical Health and the LA County Medical Association- all the people who support condoms. Testing is not prevention. You can be tested today, infected tomorrow and pass that infection the following day.”

Weinstein said the only way to prevent infection is by the use of condoms and if every hot dog stand, massage parlor and restaurant can deal with the issue of permits why can’t “pornographers” deal with it.

In delivering his message, Weinstein is now making heavy use of the word “pornographers” in the last days leading up to the ballot.

Lee said every time Weinstein uses the word “pornographers” he’s denigrating the entire industry.

“Last time I checked The LA Times wasn’t a pornographer because they’ve endorsed our position.”

Lee pointed out a number of other papers [8] as well who have taken an editorial position in favor of the industry.

“A lot of people think they’re pornographers, but the Republican party has endorsed our position,” Lee commented.

According to Lee, 44 Chambers of Commerce across LA County have also endorsed “No” on the ballot.

Weinstein said all health organizations as well as La Opinion, which came out with an endorsement yesterday, are backing him.

Weinstein also wondered why Lee was jumping on the word, pornographer.

“This is not a pejorative; it is a description of people who produce porn.”

Lee jumped in to say that not all people who work in porn are pornographers.

Weinstein clarified to say that pornographers are the producers and major funding for the initiative has come from Manwin “a foreign porn company,” Larry Flynt and Vivid.

“They’re using performers as a front for the industry but it is in fact the producers who are bankrolling this effort. They’re the ones employing Mr. Lee to run this campaign,” said Weinstein.

Lee was asked about the argument that condoms will ruin porn financially. Lee said go back in history to 1998 when condoms were proposed during an HIV outbreak.

“What happens? Sales go down 30%. Why? Because porn is available and produced all around the globe. You can get it in Eastern Europe. You can get it from Asian markets and so forth.”

Olney noted that performers are divided on the issue and put some questions to Derrick Burts who’s changed his story every fifteen minutes as to how he contracted HIV.

“The porn industry will have you believe I contracted it someplace else because they don’t want to take the blame for anything,” declared Burts.

Burts said he was only in the business for a short time and during that time got Chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.

“I never had an STD before. Most definitely these STDs do come frequently and often in the porn industry; ultimately in the end I unfortunately contracted HIV.”

Burts said the standard on testing was once a month.

“And you could work a month on a clean test.”

According to Burts, LA County health officials have confirmed and verified that he worked with two known positive performers.

“The porn industry likes to say there hasn’t been a case since 2004 completely ignoring my case in 2010. Back then they got their statistics from a clinic called AIM which I believe is no longer around; they’ve had several lawsuits filed against them [funded by Burt’s protectors, AHF].

“The information they’re getting from that clinic I’d say isn’t very accurate.”

Burts said LA County Health is a more believable source.

Rebecca Bardoux said she’s been in the industry for 20 years and doesn’t feel at risk.

“If anything I’m more aware of what’s going on with my body because of being tested once a month. Also condoms are not the answer. There are a lot of STDs that condoms do not protect against. There’s not a 100% guarantee that condoms protect against HIV.”

“I feel completely safe,” Bardoux repeated.

“I take very good care of myself; I trust the people that I’m with.”

Asked why she objected to the condom measure, Bardoux said, “It’s a matter of our rights. It’s our freedom of choice to choose if we want to use a condom or not which is now the way it is in the industry today.”

[With that comment Bardoux just lent credence to Aurora Snow’s controversial stance.]

“We’re in a competitive market all over the world and it’s going to cause a lot of problems and a lot of job losses and a lot of money loss for the United States porn industry.”

Bardoux also pointed out that she had a discussion with Burts on another occasion and asked him if he used condoms in his personal life. He told her “not all the time”.

Burts said it was a valid point.

“We have to remember. Porn performers don’t just have sex on set. We’re human beings too. We do have a personal, private life. We have relationships, girlfriends, things like that.”

Burts said it shows that a porn performer’s personal life does impact the public.

“That’s very important to know.”

Burts pointed out that his last negative test was on September 3rd, 2010. He tested positive October 6th, 2010.

“That gave me a time frame of a month where I could have worked on a clean test but in that time frame I contracted HIV and I could have easily gone on set and caused a huge spread.

“I believe a couple of months ago there was a huge outbreak of syphilis. I would like to know from James Lee where he’s getting his information that there’s hardly any outbreaks of STDs.”

Bardoux said she doesn’t have sex that often in her personal life.

“Right now I’m an old woman [that’s exactly what she said], and I’ve never been promiscuous outside of being on the set.”

Lee poo-poohed Burts’ previous comments and explained why.

“The veracity of what he’s said over the course of the past couple of years – on December 8th, 2010 he gives one statement as to how he contracted it. He gives a different statement December 15th, 2010 on how he contracted it.

“He gives a different statement in an interview in June, 2011 of how he contracted it. This guy has changed his opinion many, many times of how he contracted it. I also have a problem with anyone who comes to our side of the campaign and solicits $10,000 from us.”

“The idea here is if you have an irresponsible performer, the industry’s purpose is to kick out irresponsible performers because the testing program catches people that are infected and gets them out of the system. That’s the idea.”

Lee also said that testing procedures catch people trying to get into the business and weed them out.

Weinstein said it’s Lee and “the pornographers” who are attacking the performers when they’re the innocent victims. Weinstein also noted that in Nevada there have been no instances of HIV over the past 25 years after legal brothels made condoms mandatory.

Lee disputed that assertion.

“Talk to the Nevada state Dept. of Public Health, there is a lot of cases where they had sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infections of workers that came in,” said Lee.

“They were kicked out of the brothels. Here’s the key- testing works. It keeps disease out of the work force.”

Lee said that with all the protocols that would need to be implemented, there would be a cost of $300,000 to get the ball rolling.

Weinstein pointed out that all those fees would be paid by the industry not the taxpayer, and that the LA Times pointed out that the County doesn’t want to enforce the measure.

“Which I have to agree with them. There are 134 different permits in LA County. This would be the same as food handlers, barber shops, massage parlors. You would have a permit and there’d be spot inspections.”

Asked how this would be accomplished, Weinstein said there was a proposal to “job it out” to nursing agencies.

“Nurses are not squeamish and County has thousands of contracts with outside agencies including the Aids Healthcare Foundation so it would not be unusual.”

Lee hastened to point out that Measure B would criminalize permit evasion.

“You actually say as a sanction six months, county misdemeanor, jail time.”

Lee said in the context of that Measure, a married couple deciding to put one of their interludes on the Internet would fall under the consequences of the initiative.

“This is not what it says,” declared Weinstein.

“Open up your voted book and see what the County Counsel says about what this measure does and doesn’t do. We can have a difference of opinion but they’re making this stuff up.”

According to figures he claimed to have, Weinstein cited a Dept. of Public Health report that in a five year period there were 3200 cases of Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the porn industry.

“There are 8 ½ times more cases of STDs in this industry than in the general population,” Weinstein added.

“I would like to know,” Weinstein continued, “what is the acceptable number of HIV infections?

“None of these performers are given health insurance or workers comp in this industry. The burden falls on the public to take care of them. What are the acceptable number of cases of syphilis? What are the acceptable number of cases of Chlamydia and gonorrhea?”

Olney also brought up Aurora Snow’s stance on the issue and asked Bardoux if she’s worked for Wicked, the only porn company that requires condoms.

“Wicked is still in business,” said Bardoux noting that they’re the exception.

“Not everyone wants to see condoms in movies. That is the fact. If you talk to people outside the industry that watch the movies they will tell you they don’t want to see condoms. It’s a fantasy.”

Burts also pointed out that Wicked still makes a lot of money shooting condom porn.

“The producers would like you to believe that if condoms are required their sales are going to tank. Basically the producers are saying we don’t care about the health and safety of the performers. What we care about is our paycheck and our pocketbook.”

Lee pointed out that Steve Orenstein, who owns Wicked and was at the LA Times editorial board meeting, made a personal choice to use condoms.

“His particular production company doesn’t make as much money because there’s not the same size market.”


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