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Porn firms consider leaving L.A. after condom vote

January 18, 2012 |  2:25 pm

  Video editing at Vivid
Condoms in porn in L.A.: Proposed ordinance Porn producers said they would consider leaving Los Angeles after a City Council vote mandating condoms be used on film shoots requiring a permit.

"If we're not shooting in the city of Los Angeles, we won't need those permits and that will be even less money the city stands to generate as a result of our industry," Steven Hirsch, founder of the adult film company Vivid Entertainment Group, said in an interview with The Times.

"The industry isn't going anywhere in terms of shooting movies, but if we need to move out of the city or the state, those jobs will go along with it," he said.

Hirsch said porn firms featuring condoms don't sell as well, because people who watch adult films "are interested in the fantasy aspect of it, so I think they'd rather watch films without condoms." Hirsch said Vivid lets performers choose whether they want to wear condoms.

Hirsch said Vivid had not made any immediate plans to begin moving filming shoots outside the city. "The vote was just as of yesterday. We'll be making decisions accordingly," Hirsch said Wednesday.

If the city puts "condom police together ready to go at a moment's notice, people will just stop shooting here," Hirsch said. L.A.'s San Fernando Valley is the headquarters of the multibillion-dollar adult film industry.

How the city will enforce the new ordinance, if it signed by the mayor's office, is still to be determined by a committee of city officials, occupational health and safety authorities and the Los Angeles Police Department, among other groups.

The ordinance, if signed by the mayor, would require adult film performers to wear condoms as a condition for filming companies obtaining a film permit. That would require condoms to be used when filming in homes and backyards, which are commonly used as shooting sites for adult films and require city film permits. However, city film permits are not needed on certified sound stages.

Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has championed mandatory condom use in adult films, said state occupational health and safety rules already require adult film performers to wear condoms. The city's proposed new ordinance, Kenslea said, "is just an enhanced enforcement mechanism."

"If they go to Ventura County, we will follow them there," Kenslea said.

The AIDS group is also gathering signatures to ask voters to require adult film producers to seek a public health permit requiring condom use if they want to film in Los Angeles County.

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--- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: An editor in 2007 works on a video at Vivid headquarters.

Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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