Assembly Committee Hearing Addresses Possible Regulation of Adult Film Industry
The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on Friday held a hearing to discuss possible regulations for the Southern California-based adult film industry, following a recent HIV outbreak among adult film actors, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/5). Five adult film actors in April and May tested HIV-positive, and four of the cases have been linked. Following the detection of the first two cases, 53 workers who may have had unprotected sex with one of the actors or one of their onscreen partners agreed to a voluntary work quarantine. About 12 companies agreed to a 60-day production moratorium until HIV testing of the actors was completed, according to industry experts (California Healthline, 5/3). No new cases have been reported since then, and industry officials say the outbreak has been contained, according to the Daily News (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/5). Committee Chair Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) scheduled the hearing after the Assembly Health Committee last month set aside for further study a bill (AB 2798) that would have required adult film actors to undergo routine HIV testing and wear condoms during sex scenes. Koretz plans to use testimony from the hearings to propose regulations for the industry, the Los Angeles Times reports (Liu, Los Angeles Times, 6/5).
At the hearing, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding said that the Legislature should pass bills that require condom usage, hepatitis B vaccinations for all performers, routine sexually transmitted disease testing and STD educational videos for performers. "Just as we would not allow a construction worker to be on a job site without a hard hat, we should not allow adult film workers to work without condoms," Fielding said. Peter Kerndt, director of the STD program at the county health department, said that the industry should consider the use of special effects, including flesh tone condoms, lighting and camera angles in order to "protect the worker while maintaining the market value of the films" (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/5). However, some industry executives and actors warned that increased regulation would drive production out of California. Adult film actress Nina Hartley said that a mandatory condom use policy would be "unenforceable" and performers who wish to use condoms can choose not to appear in films requiring unprotected sex.
According to the Times, the Division of Occupational Health and Safety's Cal/OSHA program might have jurisdiction over the adult film industry. Current Cal/OSHA rules require employers to provide "barrier protection" for employees whose skin, eyes, or other mucus membranes may come in contact with blood or other bodily fluids that can carry pathogens, the Times reports. Vicky Heza, deputy chief of enforcement for Cal/OSHA, said, "If we find violations ... citations will be issued." However, Cal/OSHA would have jurisdiction only if adult film performers are considered employees rather than independent contractors, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 6/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.