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Condoms in porn: Government should not intrude, group says

January 18, 2012 |  8:50 am

Porn industry group says government should stay out of condom debate

A porn industry representative said Tuesday she opposed Los Angeles City Hall's efforts to require condoms on porn performers, calling it an unnecessary intrusion. The group did not rule out lawsuits or other measures to fight the measure.

"We're looking at all of our options and talking to the industry heads," said Diane Duke, of the San Fernando Valley-based Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry lobbying group. "The government is intruding into the sexual behavior of consenting adults."

The porn industry has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years with the HIV infection of several porn performers, which has caused temporary suspensions in filming. Two of those who have been infected, Darren James and Derrick Burts, have since come out to support the use of condoms during porn filming.

Duke said City Hall's measure could push some porn companies to go underground or leave Los Angeles. The multibillion dollar porn industry is centered in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley.

Some porn industry representatives have previously said porn filmed with condoms doesn't sell as well.

Duke said Tuesday that another reason is that some porn performers prefer to not use condoms, saying "it's really hard on their bodies" during lengthy, grueling shooting schedules. "It's very different on a set … We're in favor of choice for performers." AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said there are many performers who do want mandatory condoms, such as Jenna Jameson, and that condoms are consistently used in gay porn.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted 9 to 1 to require porn performers to wear condoms during filming and to pay a fee to fund surprise inspections of film permits. The move came after the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation collected enough signatures to force a vote on the proposed ordinance in June. Rather than take the ordinance to the ballot box, the City Council decided to adopt the AIDS group's ordinance.

L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz said he believed the public would have passed the ordinance if it came on the ballot. "We see the handwriting on the wall," Koretz said. A special election in June would have cost the city more than $4 million.

Koretz said he expected the mainstream porn firms would not go underground "and will comply with the law."

Some public health experts have suggested that porn producers could use video editing equipment to edit out condom images from the final film product, if that is what producers desire. Producers, however, have said that would dramatically increase production costs, and could send the industry underground or out of the state.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesman Ged Kenslea said he didn't believe the porn industry would leave the L.A. area, given that adult film talent, camera operators and lighting technicians are so entrenched in Southern California.

"When the industry says we'll go to Nevada, we vowed we will follow them," Kenslea said.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president, addresses a small crowd outside a Cal-OSHA meeting in March 2010 about mandating condoms in porn filming. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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