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California Rejects Measure To Require Condoms In Porn

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Photo by Yeko Photo Studio via Shutterstock
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A measure that would have required condoms to be used in all porn shot in California failed to pass on Thursday.In a hearing in Oakland that lasted five hours, according to NBC L.A., dozens of porn actors, directors and producers testified in front of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health's (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board, saying that such a measure would hurt the industry, and put their jobs in jeopardy.

This video, taken from the end of the hearing by Mike Stabile of the Free Speech Coalition, shows the audience (allegedly made up of mainly porn actors) positively reacting to the decision:

"I ask you not to approve this policy that will endanger me and my colleagues," porn actress Maxine Holloway said during the hearing.

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Another speaker, who identified herself as a sex worker, echoed the sentiments of others who got up to speak, by saying that much of their audience just isn't into porn that shows actors with condoms. "Like it or not, there's a very real market demand for condomless sex," she said.

One of the arguments against using condoms is porn is that the measure would force the industry to operate "underground," which would make it inherently less safer than it is now. Many suggested that the requirement to wear condoms would in a sense nullify the porn industry's own requirement that actors be tested for STDs every 14 days.

According to the L.A. Times, one porn actress named SiouxsieQ made those points, saying, "I know you guys work really hard and have our best interests at stake, but we need you to work with us to find a solution... When you criminalize sex work in any way, you make it more dangerous."

Only three members of the Cal/OSHA board voted in favor of the measure; four votes were required for it to pass. The 21-page proposal called for controls "such as condoms" to be used by actors in porn to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The proposal also would require producers to pay for their performers' medical visits, treatments and other health-care costs.

Spokeswoman Julia Bernstein said that now the board would be working on alternatives to make the workplace safer.

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Those opposed to the measure applied a slippery-slope argument, saying that the enforcement of condoms would lead to the requirement of dental dams and safety goggles—decidedly un-sexy protective equipment.

But Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (which has lobbied Cal/OSHA for years) said this was "pure fantasy."

Weinstein expressed his disappointment in a statement, saying the measure "would have resulted in improved worker safety for adult film workers in California."

Weinstein also noted that condoms are already required for films made in L.A. County, thanks to the ordinance Measure B, which was adopted in 2012.

"To be clear, condom use in adult film production in California—one of only two states in which adult film production is legal—already is required under California’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard," Weinstein continued. "We are announcing today that we will immediately file a new petition with Cal/OSHA on this important health measure."

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"People have suffered serious consequences due to lack of regulation in this industry," said Weinstein. The bi-weekly STD tests are apparently not enough: former porn actor, Derrick Burts claims he was infected with HIV while shooting porn, despite complying with the testing protocol.