AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s latest billboard attack on the adult industry appears to be Michael Weinstein’s attempt at irony, but actually betrays his campaign’s real purpose – to attack adult entertainment, under the guise of “protecting performers.” Using the No ON Measure B logo may seem like a provocative strategy on AHF’s part, but what it really shows is AHF’s total lack of knowledge around the adult industry.
Because if Weinstein and his AHF cronies had any real contacts within the adult industry – not just disgruntled, paid former performers, but actual working members of the industry – he would know that many of the “pornographers” he is vilifying with his efforts are also performers themselves, or started in the industry as performers.
The people that Weinstein is denigrating with his message are the same people he professes to “protecting” with his third party, big money, special interest campaign to drive the adult industry out of Los Angeles County. Behind AHF’s misguided rhetoric, there is a presumption that, somehow, “pornographers” are coercive, dishonest and law-breakers.
But the real truth is that the adult entertainment industry in California is the most scrutinized, most regulated sector of the adult industry in the world. In fact, adult film producers are as compliant and law-abiding as possible – not only because they are honest business people – but also for fear of becoming the easy target of ultra-conservative, anti-adult activists that push their moral agenda by bashing porn.
AHF spreads misinformation and skewed statistics about the rates of STIs in the adult industry when, in fact, if a single performer contracts HIV, it makes headlines from Los Angeles to Mumbai overnight. Any STI exposure incident that threatens the performer population causes an immediate halt of production, until the situation is contained and addressed by appropriate medical providers.
AHF would like you to believe that condoms – which are NOT 100% effective against STIs – are much more effective than the regular performer testing protocols that has been in place since 1998. In fact, since 2008, there have been nearly 7,000 new HIV cases reported in L.A. County – but only two of those were adult performers, both of which reportedly contracted the virus off of a production set.
The Centers for Disease Control have reported that most HIV infections are the result of people that don’t know they’re infected. Nearly a quarter of those that have HIV never test, so they don’t know they’re infected. In that context, you’re much better off having a fling with an adult performer, than with someone you meet in a bar on Saturday night. Because performers test every 14-28 days – they KNOW they’re status, and if they aren’t healthy, they can’t work. The industry has successfully implemented mandatory testing since 1998.
In fact, former performer Derrick Burts – now AHF’s favorite posterboy – says that he contracted HIV on a CONDOM-ONLY gay production set. Burts also says that he managed to contract chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes during his THREE months as a performer – but he doesn’t say that he advertised on a gay escorting site, or that he has been paid $7,000 to appear in commercials for the Yes on Measure B campaign.
Contrast that with current performer Steven St. Croix, who has been in the industry since 1992, performed in nearly 2,000 scenes and says that in his career, he contracted chlamydia ONCE.
The truth is that if Los Angeles voters approve this seriously flawed, unenforceable initiative into law, it will result in millions of dollars in litigation, with both the adult industry and AHF likely to take action against the County of Los Angeles. It also will cost the area thousands of jobs and up to $1B in economic activity.
It will result in a new bureaucracy to send “condom police” to hunt down adult production sets that will have no choice but to flee underground or to other areas – while programs that need funding are slashed to bare bones.
And it will endanger performers by forcing them to areas where there is less or no regulation, in order to compete with content producers and performers from Europe, Asia and other locations worldwide.
Lastly, if Measure B is approved by voters, it won’t stop or even slow the spread of HIV and other STIs. The only thing that will do that is adequate education, resources and outreach to the most affected, under-served populations where STI rates are spiking – and that’s NOT in the adult industry community in Los Angeles County.
That’s the truth. If you plan to vote on the L.A. County ballot on Nov. 6, we encourage you to consider what’s really at stake here, and to not be fooled by AHF’s secret agenda.
And now, some campaign spots – each of which were produced voluntarily, without paid actors, by actual members of the adult industry that feel that their jobs, livelihoods and rights are threatened by Measure B: