The 2,000-person adult film industry is already required by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to ensure performers wear condoms during shoots to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
But supporters of Proposition 60 say the rule isn’t strongly enforced.
“The things that we want to achieve are clarifications in the law that give the law greater oomph when it comes to enforcement, because that's what's been lacking,” Rand Martin, a lobbyist for the group behind the measure said. “And so adult film producers who claim that this is a wholesale change in how regulation is adopted and enforced are mischaracterizing the situation.”
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its founder Michael Weinstein put Prop. 60 on the November ballot. Alone, AHF has already spent about $4.5 million on promoting the measure.
Opponents – with money coming from adult film production companies and the state’s Democratic Party – haven’t raised or spent anywhere near the amount AHF has. The California Republican Party also opposes Prop. 60, but it hasn’t donated money to either campaign.
This issue isn’t new. An attempt to get similar legislation through the Capitol failed in 2013.
The industry consults with infectious disease specialists and medical professionals to create a screening process to protect performers. Adult film performers say their concern isn’t the condoms. They take issue with the way in which Prop. 60 enforces the rule.
Strengthening enforcement of condom use includes allowing any state resident to bring a civil lawsuit against a production if Cal/OSHA does not, or chooses not to, take action itself. Meaning, if any California resident sees a recent adult film and does not see a condom, they can bring a lawsuit and gain access to the personal information of the film's producers through the court process.
“The condom aspect of this law is such a small part of it,” adult film entrepreneur ‘Ela Darling’ said. “The real aspect of Prop. 60 that makes it stand out is that it deputizes any California resident to sue an entire production.”
Martin said the primary focus of the measure is to make sure performers are protected. He said it’s the producers who would be taken to court and have their identifiable information made public if they choose to not obey the law.
Often times in the adult film industry, however, the line between producer and performer is blurred, says Darling.
“You don't really have a living just going to set, performing, taking a check and going home and calling it a day,” Darling said. “We are web cam performers. We are producers. We do content with each other where there is no other director or producer, it's just two performers showing up and shooting content that they agree upon – which they distribute independently.”
Darling said her group, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, asked for but were refused meetings with AHF to discuss their concerns with the measure.
She said the big issue with having adult film performers’ information made public is they are a marginalized population that experiences a lot of harassment.
“I get rape threats, I get death threats, I have people who threaten to kill my dog,” Darling said. “I have people who threaten to just do horrible things, and if those people could gain access to my home address I'm worried they might actually come through on those threats.”
Though proponents compare the measure to other worker safety rules, like wearing a hard hat at a construction site, there isn’t another industry in the state in which workers could become liable for not wearing protective gear.
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