Pornography

Are California Lawmakers Trying to Chase Out Porn Industry Entirely?

Given how a similar condom requirement worked in L.A. it seems California Assembly members want to drive the adult film industry out of state.

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When Los Angeles enacted a rule requiring condom-use in porn, the ostensible reason was to stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Nevermind that this isn't really a problem in the up-and-up adult film industry, which has voluntarily adopted strict STI-testing standards and boasts an on-set HIV transmission rate of zero over the past decade. The county was going to "protect" performers from condomless sex, whether anyone in porn wanted it or not. 

Since the measure's passage, in 2012, the number of porn stars utilizing condoms hasn't really risen, but the number of porn films made in L.A. has plummeted. According to Film L.A., the organization that issues local film production permits, there were around 480 adult films shot there in L.A. county in 2012, before the condom law went into effect; in 2013, there were about 40. 

"It's a safe bet to say that the world didn't lose its appetite for porn during that time," writes Los Angeles Times editor Jim Newton. "Instead, many of those who produce it are either moving outside the county … or filming without permits."

Newton spoke with Kayden Kross, a porn actress and director who moved filming from L.A. to Ventura County to skirt the condom law. But she may be forced out of the state of California entirely, if lawmakers in Sacramento have their way. State Assemblyman Isadore Hall is sponsoring AB 1576, a measure to take the condoms-in-porn requirement statewide, as well as implement new state-mandated testing and reporting requirements. It's under consideration by a Senate committee today. 

Given the way the condom law has played out in L.A., it's hard not to see this as a move by California legislators to unload it's porn-production hub status to places beyond state lines. At the least, it's a downright illogical and ineffective way to try and make porn safer, as Newton explains: 

At first blush, the requirement seems sensible. Who could oppose safe sex? But the effort to require condom use in adult films is misdirected — the porn business isn't the hub of AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, asking people to wear condoms is one thing; having the government order it and enforce it is another. And, most important, it doesn't work. Measure B is taking a fairly safe business and pushing it underground, outside Los Angeles and quite possibly into places that don't honor protocols put into place to protect adult film actors, which require that every performer be tested every two weeks for sexually transmitted diseases and cleared for work only if the test is negative.

"It's time to accept that Measure B's impact hasn't been to encourage condom use; it's been to encourage evasion and flight," Newton concluded. 

For more on Cali's quixotic campaign to solve a porn problem that doesn't exist, check out this 2012 video from Reason TV. For other avenues of neo-"war on porn" activism, check out Peter Suderman from the March 2014 issue of Reason.