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Porn industry uses Tax Day to support Measure B protest

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from www.pasadenastarnews.com – While many Southern Californians on Monday rushed to their local accountant or indulged in traditional sales, the Los Angeles adult entertainment industry offered a different kind of Tax Day activity.

One hundred of L.A.’s adult entertainment production studios, including Vivid Entertainment, Wicked Pictures and Girlfriend Films, opted to donate their Tax Day sales revenue to support the Free Speech Coalition’s legal battle against L.A. County’s newly-imposed condom law.

Adult entertainment movie streaming site HotMovies.com organized the “Freedom Streams” event. All proceeds from the site today will be donated to the cause, and HotMovies will match that amount. HotMovies.com Licensing Manager Jesse Phelps said the company’s goal is to contribute $20,000.

“It’s an important event,” Phelps said. “People need to stand up for what they believe in and obviously they can have a lot of fun doing that today as well. ”

A majority of Los Angeles County voters passed Measure B, known as the Safer Sex Initiative, in November, requiring adult film actors to wear condoms on explicit shoots. The law also requires adult film studios to apply for public health permits and for the county Department of Public Health to lead inspection and enforcement efforts.

The measure was proposed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and supported
by the Los Angeles County Medical Association and other health organizations.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation representatives did not return calls for comment Monday.

But the adult film industry says the restrictions are unnecessary, and restrict free speech. The Free Speech Coalition, a trade organization for the porn industry, is directing much of its energy toward supporting a lawsuit filed by Vivid Entertainment against the county calling Measure B unconstitutional.

Well-known adult film star James Deen, who recently spoke at Pasadena City College, said he thinks that safe sex is important, and he is glad that voters in L.A. County understand that. But, he said, he campaigned against the measure and supports the lawsuit to defend porn actors’ rights.

“No one can tell anyone what they can say or do or how to express themselves in their movie or art or content,” Deen said. “You have the right to create whatever you want. It’s the First Amendment. ”

Deen said the law has already had an effect on the adult industry, causing many companies to move production outside of L.A. County or even outside of California. Since the law passed, he said, he has had to travel constantly for work.

Even Wicked Pictures, which is the only studio that requires condoms on its porn shoots, said the law also has the potential to hurt Southern California economically.

“Whether you support the industry or totally oppose the industry or anywhere in between, you will be affected down the road one way or another,” said Wicked Pictures President Steve Orenstein [pictured].

“Ultimately when the other studios decide to pick up and shoot somewhere else, it will absolutely have an effect on people’s jobs and on tax dollars.”

Joanne Cachapero, membership director at the Free Speech Coalition, said the organization plans to use the money to fight Measure B, but also other regulatory initiatives on the table such as Assembly Bill 332, which would extend the condom law statewide. He said Monday’s fundraiser was an important way to garner funds, since the organization is funded solely by membership dues and donations.

If nothing else, Cachapero said, the event gives people a way to cheer up on Tax Day.

“If you are bummed out about your taxes,” Cachapero said, “maybe go to HotMovies and treat yourself to a little content.”

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