LOS ANGELES—Steven Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of leading adult studio Vivid Entertainment, says Los Angeles voters were duped when they were urged to pass Measure B, which makes it mandatory for performers to wear condoms while shooting adult movies.
"In reality, the voters were conned and nobody's any safer; not the performers and certainly not the taxpayers," Hirsch stated in a Huffington Post blog. "First of all, it's not just condoms that are now mandatory on adult sets. Actors may now be required to wear a virtual hazmat suit: goggles, gloves, lab coats, dental dams and facial protective gear. Movie sets will look more like a hospital ER. This is sex, not surgery!"
Hirsch said the adult industry and the Free Speech Coalition are already preparing to challenge the new law in court, "and we are confident that we will win. But we could also lose; and if we do, the adult industry will most definitely leave the state. But win or lose, taxpayer money will be spent defending this lawsuit, and taxpayer money will also pay to prosecute the next suit... the one that will surely come from the measure's sponsor, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, if we win."
"The penalties for violators of the new law are hard to imagine—up to six months in prison for each infraction," Hirsch continued. "If there's more than one infraction on one set, years of imprisonment could be levied over a single movie. As if this weren't draconian enough, the new law also opens the door to harassing civil lawsuits by any industry opponent. This means that any self-appointed morality 'monitor' who feels that a studio has not lived up to the letter of Measure B can file suit and claim monetary damages.
"AHF, the sponsor of the bill, carefully hid everything but the condom part when arguing for passage of Measure B," Hirsch charged. "And they misled voters when they argued that the cost of inspections would be paid for by permit fees charged to the studios before shooting a sex scene, because adult films simply won't be shot in Los Angeles County anymore. Virtually every major adult studio is actively planning their out-of-town shooting strategy."
Hirsch cited reports that Los Angeles taxpayers will have to pay an estimated $582,000 over a two-year period to construct a plan for implementing the law.
"That's right," Hirsch affirmed. "Not to actually implement it, but to figure out how to implement it. And as we plan our shoots outside the county, we can't help but feel for the estimated 10,000 professionals whose jobs will also leave, an unintended consequence well beyond the loss of fees, permits and income to L.A."
"And all of this for what purpose?" he asked. "The adult industry never had a sexually transmitted disease problem in the first place. In fact, our industry has an amazingly good health record—far better than the general public—because we test rigorously and frequently. Sometimes the best of intentions yield the worst of results. This will likely be the legacy of Measure B: a misguided case for condoms that deserves only condemnation."