FREMONT, Calif.—Adnan Shahab, a former DJ for Top 40 radio station KOHL 89.3, is running for the California Assembly seat soon to be vacated by termed-out Democrat Albert Torrico—and in a surprising press release today has announced his opposition to any legislation which would require adult performers to use condoms in their sex scenes.
"After speaking with people closely involved in the adult film business, Shahab believes that any move to require the use of condoms on the sets of adult films could lead to a decline in the profitability of the industry," Shahab's press release says. "Many consumers who enjoy viewing adult films do not want to watch performers who are using condoms. Any policy that would require the use on condoms in adult films could lead to a significant decline in consumers."
Indeed, industry insiders well remember how sales of adult videos dropped when several prominent companies went "condom only" after the 1998 HIV outbreak that left five actresses infected. However, in the nearly 11 years since that incident, monthly STD testing by PCR-DNA from AIM Healthcare has decreased STD infections throughout the adult community to the point that it is nearly equal to the infection rate of the general public. And except for one incident in 2004 when a performer returned HIV-positive after having worked in South America and spread the disease to three other actresses, there are been no HIV infections attributable to (hetero) adult movie-making.
Several prominent sex-positive activists have set out reasons why a forced-condom-use policy would be bad for the industry, including the fact that during prolonged fucking, actresses may develop micro-tearing of their vaginal walls due to the condom's contact with the area, even if that contact is well-lubricated. Such tearing puts them at significantly more risk of STD/HIV infection. Moreover, AIM founder Dr. Sharon Mitchell has expressed fears that if condom use is made mandatory, some companies might return to "underground" filmmaking in an attempt to thwart the law, resulting in their using untested performers who might spread STDs to the entire adult acting community.
Shahab's focus, however, has been mainly economic, noting, "The economy is already bad enough. My concern is that additional regulation of the adult industry could put the livelihoods of countless people in jeopardy. It is my belief that the industry will persevere to come up with 'best practices' for worker safety in a nontraditional workplace that will also allow them to continue putting out a product that consumers want... Many industries have already seen a migration of jobs out of state. California does not need to see yet another industry pack up and leave just to avoid unnecessary regulations."
Shahab has a tough fight ahead of him. As reporter Matthew Artz noted recently in the Oakland Tribune, the last Republican candidate to challenge Torrico received just 28.6 percent of the vote in 2008, and the 20th District, which encompasses the East Bay cities of Fremont, Newark, Union City and Milpitas, remains largely Democratic.
Beyond the current announcement, Shahab's political philosophy is a mixed bag. Raised Catholic, Shahab says he's not very religious, and according to Artz, who's written most of the press coverage Shahab has received, "He hates taxes, is pro-choice, adores [Michael J. Fox's "Family Ties" character] Alex P. Keaton, supports concealed weapons laws, is anti-gay marriage, but pro-civil union, and anti-illegal immigration." Though he served for four years as a DJ at KOHL, Shahab's current job is as a security officer for a company that supplies cash to casino card rooms in the San Jose area. His online biography also notes that the 31-year-old is "still searching for a wonderful woman with good morals and a good head on her shoulders." He has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
Somewhat troubling is Shahab's apparent opposition to universal healthcare, since he signed the "10-4" pledge being promoted by the (Canadian-based) Tenth Amendment Center, and several healthcare opponents have cited the Tenth Amendment as a constitutional basis for voting against healthcare legislation.
Shahab's own website, in its "Issues" section, indicates that the candidate believes that "California is currently one of the most unfriendly states in the nation toward businesses," and the current press release expresses his worries that if condom use becomes mandatory, the adult industry might "relocat[e] out of California," causing the state to lose out on property taxes, corporate income taxes, and sales tax revenue... and jobs. He also takes the current legislature to task for being "fiscally irresponsible," stating that "A leaner and more efficient state government will leave more money in the hands of individuals, which is where it belongs." However, he's for increased staffing at police and fire departments across the state, a "first-class public infrastructure system," and "basic structural changes" to California's educational system, since "too much money is being wasted on administrative costs." He also believes that "parents should be given greater choice in determining where their students go to get an education"—better known as school vouchers.
Bottom line: Supporting Shahab would seem to be a mixed bag—but then again, how often does ANY politician running for office in the state that hosts the Porn Capital of the World come out publicly to endorse the economic viability of the porn industry?
More info on Shahab can be found here.