Election 2016

Porn-Regulating Prop 60 Faces Final Showdown Tonight in California

Condoms-in-porn measure pits adult-film industry and public-health groups against public hysteria and a would-be porn czar



Today Californians vote on Proposition 60, a ballot measure sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) that would require condom usage in adult films; empower a full-time state porn czar to monitor said films for violations (and impose steep fines); establish a licensing scheme for porn-production companies; and allow California residents to bring civil suits against porn producers or anyone with financial interests in a sex scene sans prophylactics (which could, in turn, expose porn performers real names and addresses to the public).

AHF President Michael Weinstein, the main driver behind Prop 60—and the man who would be the state's first porn czar—has also repeatedly petitioned the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to make condoms in porn a requirement of state workplace-safety regulations; Cal/OSHA voted against such a rule again last February. And he's the genesis of a 2012 Los Angeles County law requiring condoms in porn filmed in Los Angeles County. "He wants to be the sheriff of porn town," said Karen Fuller Tynan, a California lawyer who specializes in adult-industry case, at an AVN panel in Las Vegas in January. "He really wants to get rid of us, and wants to rule us." Weinstein, however, maintains that he's interested in stopping the spread of HIV.

The porn industry, including the performers Prop 60 is ostensibly meant to protect, has been vocally opposed to the measure, as have HIV/AIDS organizations and the state Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties. A partial list of opponents includes adult-industry trade association the Free Speech Coalition, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the St. James Infirmary, Equality California, all seven of California's largest newspapers (the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Orange County Register, the East Bay Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune) and dozens of other papers.

According to Prop 60 opponents, the measure presents too much of a risk to performer privacy, giving California residents "the ability to out porn performers and get paid for it," as Violet Blue put it at Engadget. ("You're incentivizing the viewer to sue us," adult actor Tommy Gunn told the Hollywood Reporter.) They also worry the law could end up ensnaring individuals who do private webcam shows from their own homes (a rising part of the porn industry) or make amateur adult-films involving real-life a lover, spouse, or friend; California couples with an exhibitionist streak could find themselves facing tens of thousands in fines. But most importantly, it's completely unnecessary—the adult-film industry is self-policing, performers are tested every 14 days, and there hasn't been a single case of on-set HIV transmission in porn since 2004, they say.

Vice News Tonight reporter (and Reason alum) Michael Moynihan talked to Yes On 60 campaign manager Rick Taylor on the show's season debut Monday and asked him about his group's claims that the porn industry lies about HIV transmissions. Taylor defended the claim by saying that "none of us know, truthfully, and they don't know and I'm not gonna tell you I know. What I do know is that STDs on a daily basis gets transmitted." Here's a bit more of the exchange:

Moynihan: STDs? But if this is the concern, why do the ads you guys run have three people that stated they have contracted HIV on an adult set? They're saying that in the ad. They're saying 'we contracted this on a set,' but you're saying you don't know?

Taylor: I'm saying that I believe they did. I'm saying I believe they did.

Porn performer Chanel Preston explained to Moynihan later in the segment how condoms could actually increase performers' risk of contracting infections. "In your personal life if you have intercourse, generally condoms are fine, whereas we're having intercourse anywhere from 30 minutes at least to hour," said Preston. "And so when we use condoms, it's very, very different, especially for women, and just basically causes a rash, like micro-tears that actually makes us more susceptible to other infections and so it doesn't keep us more safe necessarily."

But as Violet Blue pointed out, "to the ordinary voter, [requiring condoms in porn] seems like a no-brainer: Of course we want these people to have safer sex." With Weinstein and Prop 60 proponents pushing it as a way to stop the spread of AIDS and protect vulnerable porn performers from exploitation, and given people's general willingness to believe the worst about the sex industry, the fate of Prop 60 on the eve of Election 2016 is anything but clear.

According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, the passage of Propostition 60 would lead to a "likely reduction of state and local tax revenues of several million dollars annually" due to the fleeing of porn-production companies, with "increased state spending that could exceed $1 million annually on regulation." A September survey from the Los Angeles Times found 55 percent of people supported the measure.

NEXT: A Walt Whitman Poem for Election 2016

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ha! That was one of my many “no” votes today.

    1. One of my many “no” votes, today, as well.

      1. Funny how proggies used to claim to want to keep out of other peoples’ bedrooms.

        1. They didn’t say anything about keeping out of rented McMansions, hotel rooms with blackout curtains, yachts, minivans, stairwells, public bathrooms, abandoned strip malls, or fake casting offices.

          1. Just the tip…

  2. Why not just outlaw the production of porn?

    1. If it passes, they pretty much did.

    2. Because some sleazebag lawyer from the ACLU would sue the state claiming cornstitution something-or-other and then those diseased perverts would be right back in business.

      But if you let them make all the sicko pornography they want so long as they comply with a phonebook full of health and safety codes, well then you get the same result without having to book a hotel room near the Orange Line for a Supreme Court hearing.

  3. Porn vs Prophylactic is the Munson vs McCracken of our time.

    Go get ’em, Big Ern!

  4. “And so when we use condoms, it’s very, very different, especially for women, and just basically causes a rash, like micro-tears that actually makes us more susceptible to other infections and so it doesn’t keep us more safe necessarily.”


    1. Right, but unlike you they don’t use wool ankle socks as condoms.

  5. So there hasn’t been an on set incident in over 10 years, yet WE NEED A LAW!

    Fuck these fucking fuckers. Evidence be damned, I want to control everything!

  6. These people act like the industry couldn’t just pack up their tents and fuck on camera in another state. It’s not like there’s alot of overhead in the production.

    1. LA is a convenient source of young, desperate wanna-be actresses from across the world. That provides a strong competitive advantage.

      1. Luckily, Tijuana is not far.

        1. Nor is Las Vegas…

  7. Related are the FDA’s condom regulations, which are supposedly easing, but it’s not like there is a wide-range of condom choices for the more well-endowed porn actors. The industry would have to move.

    1. It’s all a scam perpetrated by Big Rubber.

    2. Who really needs 23 different choices of condoms?

  8. How can Californians say ‘no’ to tireless AIDS activism?

  9. The porn industry is already well on its way to migrating to Las Vegas.

    The best BBQ place in Las Vegas is a place called Rolling Smoke BBQ. It started out, like most big city, great, old BBQ places, in the middle of the industrial part of town to cater to truck drivers, warehouse workers, factory people, etc., but the industrial part of town is where the city usually wants to relegate strip clubs, too. That BBQ joint is about the only place left in that industrial center that hasn’t been overwhelmed and taken over by the sex worker industry.

    They have strip clubs, and then there are places that cater to the strippers that built up around it. They have nail places, hair places, warehouses that sell nothing but trashy lingerie. They have a sex museum. They have fitness centers that are female only. They have mini-hospitals that do nothing but plastic surgery. And now they have whole warehouses that have been converted into porn studios. It’s an entire series of industrial parks devoted to nothing buy sex workers and BBQ.

    The flight from LAX or John Wayne is 45 minutes, and they leave every hour.

    And Nevada doesn’t have a corporate income tax.

    The AIDS foundation isn’t going to accomplish anything with this but drive revenue out of California.

    The government can never get big enough to stop the money shot.


    1. They have fitness centers that are female only.

      How is this constitutional?

      1. They probably do it the same way they protect the dancers in strip clubs: They employ a security staff full of giant African-Americans and stick a couple of them at the door.

    2. The AIDS foundation isn’t going to accomplish anything with this but drive revenue out of California.

      I don’t think this calculation plays in the minds of activists. I really don’t.

      1. You fool! They do this on purpose!

        When a state reaches certain level of progdom (say 69%) it is well worth their time to now start making life somewhat miserable, so people will start moving to different states. Once there, for a few weeks they’ll relish the freedom. Then, they’ll start missing the sensible little progressive features of their former home

        Then, ten years later, you get a strong prog state.


        1. 69 dude!

  10. “He wants to be the sheriff of porn town”

    Is… is this a thing? And what does it pay?

    1. The pay isn’t great, but the benefits are pretty sweet. And no matter how horribly you behave, the union makes sure that the worst that can happen is you get extra paid vacation.

  11. Progs are prudes. That’s why they support Proposition 60 and Prohibition of Alcohol.

  12. Who ran the cleanest CamPain ?
    Trump. or Hillary ?
    Does running an honest CamPain even matter anymore ?
    This is the question Reason should be writing about.

  13. Modern Puritanism never went away. It just flipped from the Moral Majority to SJWs and anti-sex feminists.

  14. Op-Ed: 10 Worst Offenses of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Michael Weinstein

    In a recent hearing in front of the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board, 19 organizations, numerous performers, and unaffiliated medical professionals all opposed AHFs proposal, which Weinstein is now trying to push through in form of a state-ballot initiative. Many are appalled by AHFs proposal to ignore highly efficacious and proven prevention options such as PrEP and specific industry-developed testing protocols, all-the-while removing performer’s rights for personal choice to access and control. ? Eric Paul Leue, HIV activist and director of sexual health and education at Kink.com

    Dude sounds like a piece of work.

  15. AHF is so uptight their IT staff wear suits.

  16. “In your personal life if you have intercourse, generally condoms are fine, whereas we’re having intercourse anywhere from 30 minutes at least to hour”

    I don’t appreciate the implication here.

    1. Yeah, when I read that, I was trying to figure out why if would be fine for periods longer than that. 😉

  17. Never has this statement been more appropriate, quite literally:

    “Dear Government, could you please just treat us like fucking adults?!”

  18. Never has this statement been more appropriate, quite literally:

    “Dear Government, could you please just treat us like fucking adults?!”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.