Nomination Period for FSC Board of Directors Election Opens

October 29, 2014

participateFree Speech Coalition (FSC), the adult industry trade association, has opened its call for nominations for the 2015 Board of Directors. There are eight board positions up for election, out of 13 board seats.

You must be an active FSC member to make a nomination. Active FSC members will receive an email form that allows them to nominate candidates for election. Any member making a nomination must supply contact information for each candidate.

Candidates must be active FSC members. Any industry members that would like to participate in the 2015 FSC Board of Directors election must be an active FSC member by no later than Nov 14.

The FSC 2015 Board Elections Schedule is as follows:

  • October 27 – Call for nominations
  • November 14 – Nominations close and record date (individuals must be members by this date in order to be eligible to vote in the election)
  • November 21 – Slate of nominees announced, election opens, ballots sent
  • December 12 – Election closes
  • December 16 – Results announced

“This is a great opportunity for FSC members to take ownership in their trade association by nominating and voting for Board Members,” said Diane Duke Free Speech Coalition CEO. “It is the Board of Directors that sets the policy, direction and tone for the organization and member participation in the election is not only welcome, but also greatly appreciated.”

For more information about the election process or to join FSC, contact (818) 348-9373, or diane@freespeechcoalition.com.


Production Hold Lifted

October 20, 2014

OCTOBER 20, 2014

Minduka_AlertThe current production hold has been lifted. FSC’s statement is as follows:

The Free Speech Coalition announces that the production hold from last week has been lifted, and production can continue effective immediately. A production hold was called when it was determined that a performer in the PASS database might have been exposed to HIV in late September, after off-set contact with a performer from an out-of-state set that was not observing PASS protocols. We called a production hold while we conducted precautionary testing with that performer and anyone he or she performed with. All precautionary testing has been completed and there is a medical determination that the performer pool has not been compromised.

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, thanked producers and performers for honoring the hold over the weekend.

“We know that production holds and moratoriums are difficult for performers and producers, but they are integral to the safety of the PASS performer pool. We also realize that the lack of information in these situations can also be frustrating; however, it’s crucial that we maintain medical privacy for the performers involved.”

“The PASS database and protocols are crucial to protecting performers. This is why we are working so doggedly on regulations that will encourage full compliance with PASS no matter where they shoot.  All indications are that full compliance with the PASS system continues to protect performers and prevent on-set transmissions. In addition, our moratorium protocols effectively provided testing and prevented any compromise to the performer pool.”


UPDATE: Production Hold Extended

October 17, 2014
FREE SPEECH COALITION EXTENDS PRODUCTION HOLD THROUGH MONDAY
The Free Speech Coalition is asking that all producers extend the current production hold through Monday until all tests for possibly affected performers are conclusive.
Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition:
“We understand that production delays are difficult for performers as well as producers. However, as always, for the safety and intergrity of the performer pool, we need to err on the side of caution. We will continue to work with producers, performers and the health department to investigate, and determine when production can safely continue.”

Member’s Spotlight: Pepper’s Parties, Too

September 26, 2014

Peppers_Parties_TooMeet Kathi Sherman and James Hubbard of Pepper’s Parties Too, located in Hattiesburg, MS. Like many pleasure products retailers, Kathi and James have had a hand in a little bit of everything, including home parties and sexuality seminars – until finally, demand for product and education inspired them to open a brick-n-mortar store in January, 2012.

And though the South has a reputation for being a somewhat difficult region in which to build an adult-oriented business, they have found their success being supported by customers, as well as local city officials.

How’d they do that?

“Pepper’s Parties Too is bright and educationally entertaining, and is promoted as a ‘Couples Boutique’ instead of a sex shop and the locals and out-of-towners embrace it,” said Kathi.

“We’ve done several types of events in our store – but our latest venture is Sexy Secrets Seminars where we have the opportunity to do some real adult education. Our first topic was ‘Keeping the Spice in Your Relationship’ and it went so well, we had to do a Part 2 encore. This week, we discussed the basics of restraint and fantasy play,” Kathi added. “I feel an obligation to discuss safety techniques and educate the consumer so they have a positive experience. Future seminars include ‘Finding the Mysterious G-spot,’ ‘Pelvic Floor Muscles,’ ‘Rope Tying,’ ‘Are Hormones the Problem,’ ‘Getting the Most out of Your Pleasure Products,’ and ‘Sex After 30-40.’”

Prior to opening the shop, Kathi and James operated out of their own home, with the goal to bring grown-up sexuality education to Southern Mississippi. Kathi tells a funny story of one neighbor that decided she’d better report them for having so much foot traffic in-and-out of the house.

“One lady (very religious Pentecostal lady in her late 60’s) decided she’d had enough and called the local police department. She told them we were probably selling drugs because people came and went all day long. They informed her that we didn’t sell drugs, but we did have things that can give you a buzz! Without even notifying us about it, our local PD would stand up for us during City Council meetings telling the town that we weren’t doing anything wrong or illegal. The fact that we worked by appointments and didn’t have a flashing neon sign was our saving grace, too. James later became a reserve officer and Taser instructor for a few years as a way of giving back to our community!”

With backgrounds in psychology, both Kathi and James know the value of community building. By reaching out and being open to interaction with local authorities and consumers, they seem to have avoided many pitfalls that can be encountered when opening an adult boutique.

James also is an early proponent of the FSC’s Code of Ethics program. The program encourages all FSC members to place a COE emblem in stores or on packaging, content clips and websites, as a visual cue to customers that they are dealing with a business that upholds high business standards and ethics.

“I see COE endorsement as an avenue to community participation, and provides a huge business opportunity. Because we can now go the professional community and give them a concrete endorsement from our industry that says “Pepper’s Parties Too’s Sexual Health & Wellness Center meets certain standards. We can more easily extend our community integration to doctors, clinics, alternative health providers, and many more targeted community groups,” James said.

“In today’s economy being able to tap the side of the economy that has disposable income is a critical business development path,” he added. “COE is a tool to building relationships in our community and in the long run, increased revenue!”

We really couldn’t have said it better ourselves – COE can be used as a valuable business tool for any FSC vendor business. It tells potential customers and the public that you care about an ethical, responsible approach to doing business.Kathi_and_James

Speaking of ethical and responsible, Kathi and James make sure to participate in their community through local business and entrepreneurial groups, and also as Indy car race officials.

“We inspect the cars pre- and post-race for safety and technical compliance. We are also on pit lane during the race in fire suits and helmets, as pit techs, monitoring pit stops and race activities. This season, we put our race activities on hold and focus only on our business. But can’t wait ‘til next season,” James said.

And we can’t wait to see Pepper’s Parties Too succeed in bringing Southern Mississippi some great educational and pleasure product resources. Both Kathi and James are – pardon the pun – off to the races!


FSC Sponsors Membership Scavenger Hunt at ILS

September 11, 2014

zb4s04gAttendees at the upcoming International Lingerie Show can win a year’s free membership [valued up to $300] in Free Speech Coalition (FSC) when they participate in a promotional scavenger hunt that highlights FSC member businesses.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for buyers and other attendees to get familiar with FSC and our FSC member businesses at the show,” FSC Membership Director Joanne Cachapero said. “Attendees can come by the booth and get a card with a list of our FSC member exhibitors. If they go to the different booths listed and collect special stamps, once the card is complete, they bring it back to FSC and we give them a free year membership.”

FSC member businesses that are taking part in the scavenger hunt include ElDorado Trading Co., Paradise Marketing, Holiday Products, Honey’s Place, Vibratex, Pleasure Works, Evolved Novelties, Nalpac, BuildTheStore.com, and several others.

“We’re putting the ‘free’ in Free Speech Coalition,” Cachapero added. “So some folks will get to give FSC a try, as well as become acquainted with FSC businesses. This is all part of our campaign to introduce the Code of Ethics program, so make sure to look for vendors displaying the COE emblem at their booths.”

The FSC booth is No. 708, in the Pavilion area of the ILS show. Held twice yearly at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, the show is set to take place Sept 15-17.

For questions on the scavenger hunt or any other information, please contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com or (818) 348-9373.

 


Moratorium Lifted After Test Proves to be False Positive

August 29, 2014

First generation tests have been returned cleared; production may resume

Yesterday’s potentially positive HIV test by adult performer was a false positive. The performer does not have HIV.  Additionally, the first generation performers who were tested proactively have also come back negative. Production on adult film can resume safely.

We understand that a moratorium is nerve-wracking for performers and difficult for producers. However, it’s essential that when it comes to performer safety, we err on the side of caution. We thank the producers, performers, agents and doctors who worked together during this difficult time for maintaining the moratorium, and for quickly helping establish a list of first generation contacts. While this was a false positive, it is always essential that we remain vigilant in concern to performer health.

The moratorium and testing system has enabled us to prevent any transmission of HIV on an adult film set for over ten years. While opponents of the industry often use our periodic moratoriums as evidence that adult sets are not safe, quite the opposite is true. Moratoriums have and continue to enable us to prevent HIV from being transmitted between adult performers.

Again, we thank everyone who worked so diligently and concertedly to protect performers during this current moratorium.


Moratorium FAQs

August 28, 2014

How are moratoriums called? Walk me through the steps.

  • If a current active performer tests positive for HIV, the doctor from the testing facility in which the performer tested contacts Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition’s CEO.
  • The doctor determines if a moratorium is warranted and tells Diane to call the moratorium.
  • A moratorium is warranted if the performer worked with anyone from two weeks prior to his or her last negative HIV test to the date his or her positive result came back.
  • If a moratorium is warranted, FSC/PASS sends out a press release and emails all performers, producers directors and agents about the moratorium.

 

How is the decision made to lift the moratorium? What factors are in play?

  • All performers who have worked with and /or had sexual contact with the performer 14 days prior to the positive performer’s last negative HIV test to present are retested.
  • Performers must wait 14 days from the last sexual contact with the positive performer before retesting.
  • In cases where the performers have to wait more than 4 or 5 days to retest, 2nd generation partners of those performers are retested as well.
  • Once all performers who the positive performer worked with or had sexual contact with test negative, the moratorium is lifted with the provision that all performers must retest—14 days after the date the positive performer received his/her positive results or the date of the positive performer’s last sexual encounter with a performer.

 

What about this 14 day testing window used in the moratorium?

  • The HIV RNA Aptima test used by PASS has a 7-10 day window. At 14 days, the accuracy goes from the 75% accuracy to the upper 90’s.

 

How accurate are the tests? Isn’t it possible that someone could be positive but the test wouldn’t pick it up?

  • The HIV RNA Aptima test is the most accurate test available. Because of its specificity and sensitivity a false positive will occur from time to time. We have never encountered a false negative and understand the incidents of false negatives to be exceedingly rare.

 

You say their hasn’t been an on-screen transmission of the virus, but I’ve read about several in the past few years. 

AHF reports numbers to the media that includes people who want to perform in the industry but have been stopped at the door because they have tested positive for HIV. It is unfortunate for these individuals, but the good news is that they get the information much earlier which helps in the provision of treatment and keeps them from transmitting HIV to others.

 

How do you prove definitively that there wasn’t on-screen transmission?

  • All performers who have worked with the performer who tested positive two weeks prior to the positive performer’s last NEGATIVE HIV test are tested. This time period covers the window period when the performer would have contracted HIV. If they all test negative, then the positive performer could not have contracted HIV from any of those performers thus proving that he or she did not contract HIV on set.
  • All performers who worked with the performer who tested positive are retested two weeks after their last exposure to the positive performer. All of those individuals have tested negative proving that no transmission of HIV happened on set.

 

What about oral sex? Shouldn’t that count?

  • While it is extremely rare to contract HIV through oral sex, the beauty of the testing protocols means your partner tested negative for HIV no matter what type of sex you have.

 

Isn’t even one transmission one transmission too many?

  • Yes and while 5.15 people in LA County alone contract HIV There hasn’t been an on set transmission of HIV in the industry—nationwide—in 9 years. One is too much which is why our testing protocols are in place…they work!

 

What about Hep C. I heard the industry doesn’t test for Hep C.

  • PASS does test for Hep C

 

What about other STIs? Shouldn’t these workers not be exposed to anything? PASS has an extremely rigorous testing protocol designed to reduce the risk of STIs

Performers test every 14 days for:

  • HIV (by “PCR RNA Aptima”)**
  • Syphilis (an “RPR” and Trep-Sure test)**
  • Hepatitis B & C.

 

Urine test for:

  • Gonorrhea (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)**
  • Chlamydia (by “ultra-sensitive DNA amplification”)**
  • Trichomonias

 

If performers really don’t want to use condoms, why don’t producers give them the choice?

PASS supports condom optional sets. However producers can mand ate condoms at their discretion.

 


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