COMPTON, Calif.—At 11:25 this morning, five adult actresses met with Assemblyman Isadore Hall III's district director, Heather Hutt, at the legislator's office on Artesia Boulevard in Compton. The women brought with them 650 signed petitions asking that Assemblyman Hall withdraw his "condoms in porn" bill, AB 1576.
Present at the meeting with Hutt were veteran actresses Nina Hartley, Alex Chance and Anikka Albrite, as well as newcomers Mia Li and Charli Piper. Also present was Michael Stabile, a publicist who has been working with Free Speech Coalition and Kink.com on the issue. The group talked with Hutt for 35 minutes, expressing their disappointment with the bill, and especially the fact that it had been created with no input at all from the adult industry.
"We really, really do want to work with legislators, if it comes to that, to regulate our industry and have our voices heard," said Alex Chance. "It's extremely important for this to be a collaboration rather than just being handed a bill and saying, 'This is what you have to follow now.' It's important to have a dialog when it affects us."
While AVN was not allowed to be in the conference room while the discussion with Ms. Hutt was taking place, the performers expressed their concerns calmly, and listened attentively to the points Ms. Hutt tried to make.
"She heard us out, and she asked some very tough questions about workplace safety and how it's not just about the industry, it's about the general community as well," Nina Hartley summarized. "I believe she listened respectfully. She took notes. She's going to pass on everything to Mr. Hall."
"We told her we have our own self-regulation," Chance added. "We told her we wanted to have our voices heard. They'd had no performer input on this. About condoms and chafing and micro-tears, it didn't seem like she really knew all the details of that. She compared it to a dentist being forced to wear gloves, and maybe it's a little uncomfortable. She didn't realize why we have to have sex from 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes longer, and why that was necessary. She didn't know that the dangers of it, like if the condom breaks, and that we could get more STI's with the micro-tears, and just the condoms in general: Swelling, yeast infections, things of that nature—she just had no idea."
"I think it was a really good meeting," Anikka Albrite opined. "I'm really glad that she agreed to sit down and speak with us about our concerns. She really seemed to make an effort to make notes so Isadore Hall can see them, and it seems like she didn't really know a lot about our industry and we were able to give her a better insight. We definitely educated her. And it was just—she wanted to know if we have anybody that helps to form our protocols, and we had to explain about how we have FSC, we have APAC, and they're groups that she was not aware of, and so hopefully now she knows about the existence of those groups."
"She also didn't know about the doctors with the FSC that help make the decisions," Chance added. "It's not just a couple of people in a building making decisions for the whole industry. They don't even make decisions on the moratoriums; a doctor does, and she had no idea about that and what the testing protocols—how the doctors work with them to make the most safe tests available; she had no idea."
Even actresses who are fairly new to the industry were there to express their concerns.
"She had expressed that their main concern was workplace safety and improving the safety and health standards of whatever industries' workplaces, how it affects civilian life, and that's our goal as well," said Mia Li, who's new to the industry this year.
The effect of industry practices on civilians was obviously something that concerned Ms. Hutt deeply, noting during the meeting that in the 2012 election, the most votes cast in any district in favor of passage of Measure B came from the 64th district, which Assemblyman Hall represents. However, she seemed unaware, until Hartley informed her, that although Measure B, not to mention AB 1576, were written by policy makers at AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AHF had yet to open a clinic in Compton, even though the district has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the entire county.
Even Charli Piper, who joined the industry while the conflicts over Measure B and AB 1576's predecessor, AB 640, were well under way, had some opinions on how she'd like to live her life as an adult actress.
"I pretty much came into the industry when all of this had already started, so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into," said Piper, who did her first adult movie just last year. "But I think the way the industry works now is definitely—it's something that should remain the way that it is, and I think using condoms is just going to destroy the industry and the people pushing this bill have no idea what they're actually doing with it. They're not on set, they don't see—it was very clear that she and everyone else that is wanting this bill to pass, they just don't understand what it's like for us. We're making movies, we're not having sex in real life, and we would just like it to be how we feel best on set and in the industry."
AB 1576 will be considered by the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee Wednesday morning at about 9:30 a.m. in Sacramento. The same 650 petitions which were presented to Ms. Hutt will also be presented to the Senate committee, and several of the same performers who met with Ms. Hutt today, as well as several dozen others, will voice their opposition to the bill at that time as well.
The text of the petition is as follows:
Dear Assemblymember HalI,
In delivering these petitions and letters, we ask that you respect the very real issues adult performers have with this bill and withdraw AB1576. You designed a bill that would radically transform our workplace without increasing our on the job safety. You never asked us what we thought, or how this bill might negatively affect us.
We have serious concerns about the ways in which this bill violates our privacy, strips us of our rights, and criminalizes our work without addressing any of our actual labor issues. This bill will in fact deteriorate the safety protections we now have in place.
We have a compelling interest in working to improve performer safety, health, choice and privacy. This bill accomplishes none of those things. We ask that you recognize the opposition of performers to this bill and withdraw AB 1576.
The Stop AB1576 Coalition
Pictured, l-r: Alex Chance, Mia Li, Anikka Albrite, Charli Piper and Nina Hartley.