State, Los Angeles County Officials Consider Enforcement Options Against Adult Entertainment Industry
Officials from the Division of Occupational Health and Safety's Cal/OSHA program this week plan to begin visits to adult film sets as state and Los Angeles County officials determine whether they have the authority to mandate condom usage on the sets, the Los Angeles Times reports (Richardson/Liu, Los Angeles Times, 4/20). The action follows the decision last week by several adult film companies to halt production for at least 60 days after actor Darren James last week tested positive for HIV. At least 45 performers who may have had unprotected sex with James or his sex partners agreed to a voluntary work quarantine. Actress Lara Roxx, who worked with James on at least one movie, also tested HIV-positive (California Healthline, 4/16). Preliminary test results on Friday showed that another actress who worked with James also may be HIV-positive, producer Jill Kelly said. About 1,200 adult film actors once a month undergo testing for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, and many production companies require performers to present test results before filming, according to the New York Times (Madigan, New York Times, 4/17). Only two of the approximately 200 adult film production companies in Southern California require their performers to use condoms, and about 17% of adult film actors use condoms regularly, according to industry executives.
Cal/OSHA plans to enforce in the adult entertainment industry regulations that require employers to have written policies on reducing workplace hazards and require the use of universal precautions for workers who may come into contact with bloodborne pathogens. In addition to the condom usage policy, enforcement of these regulations would make employers responsible for the costs of testing, vaccinations and medical care associated with the workplace, Peter Kerndt, director of the sexually transmitted disease program for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said. However, some industry executives question Cal/OSHA's legal authority in the matter and say that some production companies would relocate outside of California if the regulations are enforced. Cal/OSHA spokesperson Susan Gard said that the agency will have to "overcome arguments" by people in the adult entertainment industry that adult film performers are independent contractors rather than employees and therefore are not subject to Cal/OSHA regulations (Los Angeles Times, 4/20).
It is "amazing that an industry turning out thousands of X-rated films for an insatiable market" does not have more cases of HIV, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states. Although it may be "unrealistic" to ask adult filmmakers to "portray safe sex," individuals who purchase adult films "should be aware of the real-life risks that accompany such 'entertainment,'" the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/20).
NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday" reported on the adult film industry's work stoppage agreement. The segment includes comments from Mitchell, Vivid Co-CEO Steven Hirsch and Kat Sunlove, a lobbyist for the adult video industry (Safo, "Weekend Edition Saturday," NPR, 4/17). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. In addition, MPR's "Marketplace" on Friday also reported on the industry's decision. The segment includes comments from Jill Kelly Productions CEO Bob Friedland and Jason Seacrest, who produces a Web site about the porn industry (Napoli, "Marketplace," MPR, 4/16). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.