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February 18, 2016

Large Performer Turnout Sways CalOSHA Standards Board Members

OAKLAND, Calif.—With more than 100 adult industry performers, directors, videographers, editors and company heads, as well as an assortment of health care professionals and legal strategists, expressing their concerns over the imminent adoption of new section 5193.1 to the California Health Code, it appears that their multitude of comments swayed at least two CalOSHA Standards Board members, which led to a 3-2 vote to adopt the new section. However, under CalOSHA Standards Board rules, four "yes" votes are needed to adopt a new rule, and with the measure garnering only three approvals, the new section was not adopted. Board member Dave Harrison expressed it best when he noted that over the course of the nearly four hours of public comment, he had heard three different recommendations to the Board: Either vote the new section in, vote it down, or send it back to the CalOSHA staff for further revisions. "I'm actually more torn over this than I can ever explain," Harrison told the crowd, adding that one thing he favored in the new section was the requirement that companies rather than performers pay for STD testing, plus he lauded the fact that using barrier protections during filming would save the taxpayers money due to fewer work-related illnesses. "I'm going through similar mental gyrations over this," added board member Dr. Robert Blink, who was also concerned that the new section would only mandate testing every three months, and that it might have implications for performers' medical privacy that he would like "more time to think about." In the end, it was Harrison and Blink who provided the two "no" votes that sank the new section's adoption into the health code. Board member Patty Quinlan then moved that the issue be returned to CalOSHA management for reconsideration "with more input from the affected industry." But to say the least, it was a very long period of discussion that led to that result, and almost every member of the industry who appeared at the Board meeting had something to say on the subject. A partial list of those industry members attending the meeting includes (in no particular order)  Brad Armstrong, Jessica Drake, Steve Orenstein, Dan O'Connell, Moose, John Stagliano, Ela Darling, Harry Sparks, Alex Chance, Mo Reese, Nina Hartley, April Flores, Kelsey Obsession, Lorelei Lee, Abella Danger, Julia Ann, Michael Stabile, Eric John, Eric Paul Leue, Karen Tynan, Lily Cade, Chanel Preston, James Bartholet, Mark Schechter and wife, Joanna Angel, Holly Randall, Simone Sonay, Maxine Holloway, Dee Michelle, Lotus, Dennis Burden, Stefan Ferris, Siouxsie Q, Mickey Mod, Jiz Lee, Jessy Dubai, Derrick Pierce, Tim Woodman, Jodi Taylor, Brendon Phillips, Zach Smith, Stefani Special, Marcello, Ramsey Abed, Ariel X, Dan Beutler, Savannah and Mr. Fox, Layla Price, Kevin Kotero, Aiden Starr, Ella Nova, Sebastian Keyes, Moe "The Monster" Johnson, Lylith, Jazz Pristone, Dee Severe, Joe Philiponi, Kitty Stryker, James Bartholet, Trenton Ducati, Vanessa Veracruz, Owen Gray, Bill Bailey, Justin and Alissa (known professionally as simply J & A), Fivestar, Rebecca Riley, August Sanchez, Mona Wells, Sheena Ryder and Veruca James. Also testifying in support of the industry and against the bill were Dr. Joseph Smyser, lobbyist Kevin Bland, Prof. David Holland, Dr. Hernando Chavez, ACLU's Mike Chase, and Prof. Constance Penley, whose Adult Film course has had many performers and studio heads as guest lecturers over the years. Themes mentioned by several of the speakers included the fear that the adult industry, if forced to use condoms, dental dams, rubber gloves, and goggles during sex scenes, would either leave California for less repressive climes, or go underground, an idea which several performers predicted would lead to greater disease transmission due to the breakdown in commonly accepted industry protocols like regular testing. Several others expressed fears that their medical records, and even their entire off-screen identities, would become public knowledge due to the fact that production company staffs had no experience in keeping such information private, and that the companies would be forced to keep such identity-linked documents for up to 30 years. The board also heard from the "usual suspects" Cameron Bay, Rod Daily, Derrick Burts, Sofia Delgado, Vanessa Blake and Rachel Bernard (of Hot Girls Wanted fame), as well as AIDS Healthcare Foundation employees Ged Kenslea, Whitney Engeran-Cordova and Adam Cohen. And while the former performers had very little to say beyond their embrace of the new regulations, Kenslea created something of a stir by misquoting something Leue had said during an interview with Vice News which had aired late last night, while Cohen concentrated on the report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control, which he said torpedoed the industry claim that there had not been an on-set HIV transmission in over 10 years. Leue later corrected that claim by noting that the shoot in question where the infection had occurred was a "rogue shoot" that did not follow industry protocols, and had taken place in Nevada. Gay performer Trenton Ducati also stated that while in the industry, Daily had also been an escort and a "meth head," which might account for his HIV status—but Board Chair Dave Thomas cut him off before he could continue. Coverage will be augmented tomorrow with quotes from some of the participants.

 
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