LOS ANGELES—In a conference call held this morning, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation formally announced that it has filed the first complaint under the new Los Angeles County condoms in porn law. The complaint was filed March 17 with Jonathan Fielding, the county's director of public health.
An anonymous complaint sent to AHF prompted the organization to act, its president, Michael Weinstein, said today on a conference call with the press.
"We received a letter that they were operating without use of condoms and that they were streaming content on an ongoing basis," Weinstein said. "We went to their website and we identified the fact that they were operating without the health and safety measures that they are required to do."
AHF purports that Immoral Productions violated Section 39 of the LA County Health and Safety Code by not having its performers wear condoms in addition to failure to provide proof of successful completion of bloodborne pathogens training, failure to submit an exposure control plan, and failure to post proper signage on set that condoms are required for all acts of anal and vaginal penetration.
According to Weinstein, AHF received the tip and accompanying video footage by someone who had knowledge and access to the Immoral set, and that this person was not being paid by the non-profit.
"I just want to say because we always have representatives of either the porn press or our opposition on the line when we have these calls … this has exploded in the blogosphere this morning so let's be absolutely clear on one matter," Weinstein said. "This tip that AHF received on this, this anonymous letter which we received, is not someone paid, we don't know who it is. Somebody who is working with Immoral Productions felt strongly enough what was going on there that they let us know about it. So we can just end the speculation on that particular count.”
The fact that Immoral Productions obtained a provisional permit from LACDPH and still continued to violate the provisions of Measure B particularly rankled Weinstein.
"So there's no if ands or butts about the fact that Immoral Productions is flouting the law," Weinstein said. "Whatever reservations the county brass had about this law, they have a moral and legal obligation to enforce the will of the people. So that's really what today is all about. Beyond the specific issue of porn and public health, the county ought to be concerned about businesses that advertise that they're going to thumb their nose at county laws, particularly in areas having to do with health and safety."
AHF general counsel Tom Myers said that the organization filed the complaint to test whether or not the county would enforce the law.
"There's a reason why we filed this complaint and at the end of the day, this is going to be a test," Myers said. "Will the county government fulfill the wishes of the will of the citizens of Los Angeles county who voted for this law? … This will be the first obvious, direct test of this. There's a law on the books, it needs to be enforced, and we hope that the county will take it up. It's really that simple."
According to AHF research and policy analyst Mark McGrath, the county could either revoke Immoral's provisional permit, or it can impose a $1,000 fine and/or six months in county jail.
"There are a range of penalties that are potentially available," AHF's Myers said. "AHF is not interested in punishing people per se or maximum fines. Whatever allows the studios and the producers to comply with the law with the minimum necessary to make that happen, that's all we're interested in."
In his letter to Fielding, McGrath requested that AHF hear back from the county regarding the status of the violations; however, the county is not required to respond to the complaint.
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.