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September 28, 2016

L.A. Times Editorializes Against Prop 60

LOS ANGELES—For the second time this decade, the Los Angeles Times has sided with one of the city's largest industries, adult entertainment, in editorializing against the passage of Prop 60, the Michael Weinstein-sponsored so-called "Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act," which would mandate condoms and other "barrier protections" for adult performers, and allow any California citizen to bring legal action against them and anyone else who made any money from a barrierless adult video release. Though the Times Editorial Board, which also opposed the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Measure B in 2012, early on raises concerns about sexually transmitted diseases in the adult community, the editorial nonetheless recognized that the industry's current testing standards have "worked well; there hasn’t been a documented on-set transmission of HIV in more than a decade. But," the Board opined, "testing isn’t foolproof, and more can and should be done to protect performers from STDs." That's the last positive word the Board had to say about the proposition. Noting that the proposition "would, in effect, make every Californian a potential condom cop by both mandating condom use and creating a private right of action so that any resident who spots a violation in a pornographic film shot in the state could sue and collect cash from the producers and purveyors if they prevail in court," the Board had also noted that it had recognized that Measure B, if passed, "was unlikely to increase condom use but would instead drive the industry underground or out of town. And that is exactly what happened. ... It’s not clear how much of [adult] shooting has left the county or state, taking its sound, lighting, stage and other jobs and related economic benefits with it. But if Proposition 60 passes, it seems reasonable to expect the industry to go further underground or leave the state and become further fragmented." This would, in The Times' opinion, create further jeopardy for performers by "threaten[ing] the integrity of the voluntary—and effective—twice-a-month testing protocol which is credited with keeping HIV transmissions in check." The Board also recognized that it's not just production studios which would be targeted by unscrupulous citizens and attorneys looking to make a quick buck by examining adult content for condoms, even though their lack of use harmed no one: "It also extends the financial liability to, potentially, small-time performers who produce and distribute their own content (and who are unlikely to have been coerced into not wearing condoms). There’s also the possibility that some people might use the new law to harass adult-film performers. There’s also a concern this liability would extend to hotels, cable television and other private companies that provide adult films to customers." The bottom line? "We support rules that make performers in adult films as safe as possible. That’s why we reject Proposition 60 and urge voters to do so as well." With the Times on board, nearly every major newspaper in the state, from Sacramento to San Diego, has now come out against Prop 60—and the opposition just keeps growing. Those who are against the proposition have been using the hashtag #NoProp60 to indicate their opposition. The full L.A. Times editorial can be read here. 

 
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