County Approves Permitting Fees For Porn Shoots, Industry Worries They'll Hurt Smaller Webcam Operations

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a new permitting structure for the adult film industry. Tuesday's decision stems from the 2012 passage of Measure B, which required condom usage throughout the county for porn shoots.

The new permit was recommended by the county Department of Public Health to require adult film producers to obtain a $1,671.82 permit before beginning production on adult films. The permit would last for two years and require a $982.12 renewal. The new permit will also require county-approved sexual health education for all employees (i.e. performers), and condom usage for any act of vaginal and/or anal penetration. Failure to comply with the permit can result in a $1000 fine, and up to six months in jail.

The board meeting was attended by performers and advocates for the adult film industry, members of the public, and representatives of the AIDS Health Foundation, which has been a major proponent of Measure B and condom usage in the industry.

Representatives of the adult industry argued that the new permitting structure would drive the industry underground and impose a devastating financial burden on adult performers who run smaller operations like in-home "cam" performances.

“Who would be expected to pull these permits?" the Free Speech Coalition, which advocates for the adult film industry, wrote in a letter to the County Board in July, notes XBiz. "Most shoots in L.A. County are now webcam based, and performer-owned and produced, as most large studios moved production outside the county or state. ...Would single webcam performers, or married couples, be expected to pay for a permit?"

Janice Griffith, an adult film performer, tweeted that the Board's new permits would target the wrong people.

Tuesday's decision is seen as a defeat for an industry that has found several victories in the wake of Measure B; Proposition 60, which sought to further regulate condom usage in the adult film industry, was defeated by voters in 2016, four years after voters approved Measure B.

“Despite today’s vote, we will continue to fight for the rights of performers,” Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, said of Tuesday's ruling in a statement emailed to LAist. “This was one battle in an ongoing struggle for science over stigma, and facts over fear. We will continue to fight for solutions that increase, not decrease workplace safety for adult performers.”

The four years following the passage of Measure B saw a 95% drop in porn permits for Los Angeles, notes the Times. The $5 billion-a-year adult film industry had employed over 10,000 people a decade ago, but now employs around 2,000.