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February 22, 2016

Readers Take NY Times' Article to Task On Its Fashion Obsession

NEW YORK CITY—The New York Times claims to cover "All the News That's Fit to Print," but journalist Thomas Fuller seemed to feel that the mere fact that the attendees at last Thursday's CalOSHA Standards Board meeting were "fully dressed, and some colorfully so" was worth reporting—as if anyone outside of Family Research Council would expect adult performers to attend a public hearing nude or scantily clad—not to mention his descriptions of "Jessy Dubai, an actress wearing a form-fitting beige dress..." who "sashayed past the board in stiletto heels."  In any case, a fair number of commenters on the article did take issue with Fuller's fashion remarks—but an even greater number took on the question of whether having the state mandate the use of condoms, rubber gloves, dental dams and goggles during sex scenes was a good idea. Below are selections from some of their comments, fashion-oriented and otherwise, anonymized unless the commenter was obviously a member of the adult industry community: • "These regulations might have made sense 20 years ago when HIV was a terminal illness, but with frequent screening and early identification and treatment of cases, the risk of any porn actor getting dying of HIV/AIDS or any other sexually transmitted infection these days is negligible. In fact, HIV+ people with undetectable viral loads are, as far as we know, completely incapable of spreading infection to others. If the State of California is truly concerned for the HIV status of actors in the porn industry, then they should provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (Truvada), which is more effective than condoms," said one, adding that, "I would argue that professional football and hockey players are at much higher risk of permanent, disabling injury from their professions. Strangely, I don't see the State of California kicking out its pro football teams any time soon." • "I am completely disgusted with the sexist, demeaning, fashion-focused tone of your article. Consider the fact that this hearing's attendees were small business owners who are fighting for the survival of their livelihood, and creative people who are fighting for the work that they love," wrote Dee Severe, owner of production house Severe Sex. "My husband/business partner and I both spoke at the hearing. We got up at 3AM to take a 6AM flight to Oakland because our production company is everything to us," she added. "We are both refugees from mainstream indie film. Got into porn by accident but once we saw what a creative, fun environment it was, an how much of a community it was, we never left. Shame on you for snickering at an event that could have caused the loss of thousands of jobs and dozens of businesses. You're supposed to be intelligent, progressive media, not a supermarket tabloid." • "It's not simply 'A Proposal that enforce safety laws' as the author suggests ... it's a proposal to get rid of the existing safety protocols that the industry is already using to replace them with a different set of safety rules that actually leave them LESS safe," wrote another insightful commenter from Seattle. "And the dismissive and way the author of this piece talks about the adult film performers is patently sexist. If these were iron workers testifying to express their concerns about new 'Safety' regulations making them less safe... the author would not comment on what the workers were wearing. Dismissing what they had to say to focus on how they look." "People like this author, and the supporters of this legislation claim to care about the health of adult film performs but can HARDLY disguise their low opinion of them," the commenter continued. "I don't believe you can honestly say you want to help a group of people that you so CLEARLY have contempt for. It's disgusting... Do you ever notice that there is NOT a parade of sick former performers standing next to these people? That's because the safety protocols these men & women helped crafted work very well. The real goal of this effort is to push performers out of California plain & simple." He also suggested that readers check out "the open letter response to this article by Industry Performer Lorelei Lee. https://goo.gl/IR1sEG" • "The 'public health' facade is what we in the Army several decades ago called 'eyewash'," stated a commenter based in Illinois. "'Public health' is the smokescreen that hides the real purpose here... which is to drive the porn industry out of California. It is censorship masquerading as enforcing public health laws. Clearly the right-wing super moralists came up with a new angle to force the population to their repressed world view. OK - pass the stupid law... and you'll enrich Nevada with millions upon millions of new tax revenue. Or, just as likely, the industry will move to Mexico. Just imagine if the cartels get control over porn - there's a nightmare for you." • "Isn't video porn weird enough without making everyone in it dress up like Hannibal Lecter?" asked one New Yorker. "This isn't Germany, you know." • "When they nab the food handler who gave me norovirus, they can spend all the time they want on this non-issue," wrote someone from the opposite side of the country. • "Let me ask you a question... Where did these STDs originate?" asked veteran actor Derrick Pierce. "Did the porn industry create them in a lab, then introduce themselves to it? I think not. It is the population who is NOT RIGOROUSLY TESTED that infects the performers.... Please, let's not make this a witch hunt, as you have no dog in this fight. The industry is trying to protect itself from the general population, not from each other." • "What is a government board doing telling filmmakers what they have to do in films?" asked another Left Coaster. "Do we have a Constitution that provides freedom of expression or not? "This whole political juggernaut has the smell of propaganda: 'Lets make a lot of noise about films showing sex in the politically correct manner, so that we don't have to admit how aids gets transmitted in most cases.' (Hint: in most cases it ain't being transmitted via film production and in most cases it is transmitted via use of a needle or the rear end of a male. Note that I said 'most cases.') The hint has to be suppressed, to the politically correct mind." • "Don't think the industry will not leave California," warned an Angeleno. "Just like so many over-regulated businesses before it, the adult film industry will promptly depart California and take it's billions in tax revenue elsewhere." • "It seems obvious to me that the new 'regulations' are *intended* to undermine, if not destroy the porn industry and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is really just an anti porn lobbying group in disguise," wrote one Nebraskan. "Think what you will about pornography, but it's unlikely to go away. Apparently California's neighboring states are willing to accept the industry if California doesn't want it, and then there's always the black market.  "I actually find it hard to believe the California voters are being asked to vote on legislation regarding 'Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry'," the person added. "It's one thing for the legislature to enact workplace safety rules, but entirely another to piecemeal laws specific to the pornography industry on a referendum basis where voter turnout is in play. It's clear this is about controlling peoples' sex lives and nothing more. The U.S. has a strange obsession with sex." • "No one ogles porn stars with goggles," one Virginian succinctly put it. • "Maybe the actors and actresses can dress head to toe in protective latex rubber suits," wrote a Vermonter. "In which case, the productions will cater primarily to those with rubber fetishes." Many more, and more recent comments, can be found here.

 
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