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Larry Flynt, porn industry fighting proposed condom requirement

Yes on B
Larry Flynt and others in the porn industry are fighting a ballot measure that will appear before Los Angeles County voters requiring pornographic movie performers to wear condoms during filming.

Measure B will be on the countywide ballot Nov. 6. But both sides agree it will be tricky getting voters to even consider the point.

"Not only is it an issue that's not particularly important to voters, but it's way down the ballot," said Darry Sragow, a longtime political strategist and attorney unaffiliated with either side of the campaign. "Most voters may say, 'This is not an issue I care that strongly about, or this is an issue I don't know much about,' and they may take a pass."

On one side of the question is the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been a crusading advocate for protecting porn stars from HIV. They have cast the issue as one that protects worker safety — such as requiring construction workers to wear hard hats — and keeps the public safe from outbreaks of sexually transmitted disease.

Opposing Measure B is a lucrative adult film industry said to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales while providing jobs to thousands of actors, makeup artists, camera crews, caterers and the like.

If the measure passes, some producers suggest, the business could simply move outside the county.

The porn industry has raised $111,375 for its "No on Government Waste Committee."

Major funding has come from four porn producers: $75,000 from Manwin, a global adult entertainment company headquartered in Luxembourg and parent of Pornhub and Youporn, and $10,000 each from Vivid Entertainment of Los Angeles; Larry Flynt's Flynt Management Group of Beverly Hills; and PHE Inc. of North Carolina, which runs Adam & Eve, a leading erotic mail-order company and video production firm.

In mailers sent to voters, adult film producers have cast the issue as a "ridiculous waste of tax dollars," even though the measure is written to have enforcement paid by the filmmakers.

Backers of Measure B say the industry testing system has repeatedly failed. They note that performers can easily become infected between tests. Not only is the porn actor population at risk, said former adult film performer Derrick Burts, but members of the general public who have sex with them are at risk as well.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Derrick Burts, left, and Darren James, right, HIV-positive former adult film performers, appear with other proponents of Measure B. Credit: Joe Kohen / Associated Press

 
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