STUDIO CITY—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) held a joint press conference on August 20, with its new partner—Shelley Lubben's conservative religious Pink Cross Foundation—in the fight to force adult companies to go "condom only. The message was, no matter what the adult industry may demonstrate about the success of its safety practices, AHF will continue to press for government intervention in performers' healthcare decisions.
AHF president Michael Weinstein made his points at a press conference held in the Starview Room of the Sheraton Universal Hotel this morning, called, in large part, to follow up on a Los Angeles Times article, which announced that AHF would be filing complaints with both the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) and the Los Angeles Department of Health against 16 adult production companies including Vivid Entertainment, Hustler Video, Heatwave, Legend and Sin City Video. In the complaints, AHF charged simply that the performers did not use condoms during sex scenes, and that therefore, the movies "demonstrate unsafe—potentially life-threatening—behavior in a California workplace" since the videos "depict the unprotected exchange of bodily fluids."
AHF seemed to have a particular hard-on for Critical X, listing 14 of its movies as allegedly violating workplace safety regulations, as well as seven from Raw Flesh, three from Club Jenna/Vivid, two from Maverick Entertainment, three from Blue Pictures, five from Anarchy Films, three from Back End Productions, two from Latin Media, and also singled out All Media Play/Hustler's NOT The Bradys XXX, perhaps because, as AHF's complaint notes, it was the "#1 seller, 2008 AVN award winner." (The comments accompanying three of the Legend complaints noted, "African American performers.") Also targeted were one movie each from Immoral Productions, Privado Productions, Top Dog/Magnum, Mayhem and Addicted/Juicy.
Weinstein even went so far as to compare porn movie sets to Indonesian sweat shops, claiming that since "we don't feel it's okay for 8-year-olds to toil in a sweat shop in Indonesia so that we have cheap goods to buy at Walmart... I don't see why, in our own community it's all right for young people to be victimized and exposed to disease."
"We have a special responsibility, as the international capital of pornography... [people] need to understand that this is not something happening in a far away place out of our control; this is something that's happening in the ZIP code where they live," Weinstein continued. "They're driving past the Vivid headquarters all the time. People who are being affected by these practices live next door. And so the people of Los Angeles County, the people of the state of California have a moral responsibility, just as they do about sweat shops, to take a stand, so we're calling upon them to contact their legislators and tell them that we need to address—because there has not been one elected official in the state of California or Los Angeles who has spoken out in a public statement on this issue. And my message to them and to the industry is, if you think it's going to go away, that you can just put your head down and wait us out, it's not going to happen."
Also appearing at the conference were Pink Cross founder Lubben, and one of her newest converts, former performer Elizabeth Rollings, under her real name Jan (Meza) Merritt, as well as AHF's Brian Chase and Whitney Engeran-Cordova.
Check back to this site later for more of what went on at this important industry event.