FSC Statement on AHF Protest of Cal-OSHA

November 5, 2014

Cal_OSHA_Sticker_weboptimizedMichael Weinstein and the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation have announced they will be protesting at Cal/OSHA offices in Los Angeles. While we’re not exactly sure what they’re protesting — Cal/OSHA is expected to release regulations early next year —we’ve put together a response statement to clarify some of the issues.

“Cal/OSHA is currently in the process of drafting regulations specific to the adult film industry. We expect a draft version of the regulations to be available in just a few months and that those regulations will take into account the input of the affected workers — in this case, adult film performers and performer groups — something Michael Weinstein and AHF have refused to do.

This is why performers, HIV outreach organizations, LGBT rights groups, public health departments, and civil rights organizations have consistently opposed Mr. Weinstein’s misguided attacks. We think that public policy should rest on science and data, rather than his personal moral objections to adult film.

For the record, adult film performers are tested for a full slate of STIs, including HIV, every two weeks, in a system that has successfully prevented any transmission of HIV on a regulated adult film set for over ten years. (Mr. Weinstein routinely employs performers who contracted the virus in their personal lives in his campaigns against the adult film industry.)

In generating a manufactured crisis, Mr. Weinstein not only wastes tax dollars, he wastes resources that should be used to educate and treat communities where HIV is a real issue. Railing against the adult industry brings Mr. Weinstein more press attention than opening clinics in poor, underserved communities, but from the standpoint of public health it’s cynical and shameful.

We understand that our industry is often misunderstood — something Mr. Weinstein capitalizes on time and again. For that reason, we’re happy to talk with anyone about the industry, its safety record and the rights of performers.”


2015 FSC Summit to be Held Jan 14-15

November 4, 2014

glitterati-private-toursThe FSC Summit has been scheduled for January 14–15, to be held in conjunction with the XBIZ 360 show. Both events will take place at the Andaz Hotel, on the world-famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA.

“We are very grateful to XBIZ organizers for hosting us and creating this opportunity for FSC to connect with industry members,” said FSC Membership Director Joanne Cachapero. “So often the behind-the-scenes work that FSC does must go unacknowledged; this is a platform for FSC to update its membership on the latest legal and business topics, as well as a chance for FSC members to share their thoughts, interests and expertise with other industry professionals.”

The Summit will include informative panel and roundtable discussions (the full schedule of topics and speakers are to-be-announced), addressing the legal issues and business challenges that face adult businesses today. All active FSC members are invited to join and participate.

The FSC Awards also will be presented during the Summit. The awards honor industry leaders and innovators for demonstrating excellence in business and community citizenship.

If you have any questions about the FSC Summit, or are in need of any other information, please contact Joanne@freespeechcoalition.com or (818) 348-9373.


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 24 – 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.

 


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