LOS ANGELES—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) doesn't know if an unnamed adult performer in Florida is actually HIV-positive, doesn't know what confirmatory tests may have been done on the person, nor whether Free Speech Coalition has had access to the results of such tests, doesn't know how many performers the alleged HIV-positive performer may have worked with or whether any of them have been tested for the disease... but that didn't stop AHF president Michael Weinstein from accusing Free Speech of a "cover-up."
"To put it in context, a full-scale cover-up is now under way," Weinstein charged, after announcing that AHF had filed complaints with both the Florida Surgeon General and federal OSHA. "The results of any confirmatory tests should already be available and yet there has been no announcement. Part of the purpose in what we're trying to do today is to smoke out the facts. We don't know whether Brazzers is the source of this infection. That is being reported in some quarters... Another area of grave concern to us is that the Free Speech Coalition, which is an advocacy group, and is not qualified to investigate a public health outbreak of this kind, which should be done by epidemiologists and public health officials, is refusing to cooperate with Los Angeles County, and thereby continuing a pattern that existed previously of non-cooperation."
Of course, Free Speech Coalition is not a medical agency by any stretch of the imagination, and therefore has no legal responsibility to "cooperate" with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health absent a subpoena. Moreover, FSC executive director Diane Duke categorically stated in a press release shortly after the press conference that, "FSC has received no contact from LACPH [LA County Public Health], out-of-state health officials, or AHF... It should also be made clear that at this time FSC does not have authorized information confirming that a performer or any performers have tested positive for HIV."
“This is another prime example of AHF and its president Michael Weinstein’s outrageous grandstanding, which is completely false and baseless,” Duke continued. “AHF has a history of spreading misinformation in order to further their agenda to force government regulation of sexual behavior. Apparently, Mr. Weinstein will stop at nothing, including spreading false information, in order to call attention to AHF’s agenda.”
Duke has issued a demand for an immediate retraction of Weinstein's lies by AHF.
As the adult entertainment community is acutely aware, ever since the lawsuit filed by 2009's "Patient Zero" against the illegal actions of CalOSHA, as well as the frivilous one filed by former performer Diana Grandmason (who's being represented gratis by AHF staff attorney Brian Chase), drove AIM Medical Associates into bankruptcy, Free Speech has been scrambling to put an AIM-like replacement system for testing adult performers in place.
"AIM was closed in May, largely due to financial pressure brought on by relentless litigation waged against them by AHF," FSC's press release states. "FSC administers the APHSS.org program, which was launched on August 1, and still in the process of organizing producers, agents and performers for participation in the program."
But while the Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS) organization is still in its infancy, it has fallen to Free Speech to coordinate, to the extent it is capable of doing so, the information available regarding the alleged Florida HIV case, separating fact from rumor—and so of course, AHF wants Free Speech to immediately disclose whatever unverified information it already has.
The press conference, which began at 2 p.m. today, was relatively short and fact-free, with Weinstein and Chase admitting that the so-called "outbreak" has so far consisted of, at most, one performer, though Weinstein implied (again, with no facts to back it up) that the person was infected by another performer; that they have no idea how many other performers the alleged positive person had worked with or if any of them had migrated to California; and although the alleged infection happened in Florida, that nonetheless, with no legal basis to back it up, "since the majority of [adult] filming takes place in California, and since the industry has suspended operations here, this represents a significant public health event in California and as such, Los Angeles County has jurisdiction" over the investigation.
Duke, however, called Weinstein on his lies.
"To FSC’s knowledge, there is no investigation being conducted by LACPH at this time," the FSC press release states. "It is impossible for FSC to obstruct an investigation that, evidently, does not exist. In the event that FSC were to be contacted by authorities from LACPH or elswehere, it would endeavor to cooperate fully, while still protecting the rights of any individuals to medical privacy."
Indeed, the press conference served mostly as yet another forum for Weinstein to promote his agenda of requiring all adult performers to wear condoms during the filming of adult content. Weinstein bolstered his claim by reiterating his position that "there have been 10 people who have tested positive in Los Angeles since 2005. That's disputed by the porn press, but that is the number that LA County say tested positive within the industry in Los Angeles since 2005." However, records from AIM, which tested the vast majority of adult performers during that period, have consistently shown that just two performers tested positive, and that at least one of those definitely did not contract the infection on an adult movie set.
But based on that bogus statistic, Weinstein went on to claim, "[T]here's always another excuse for why somebody has gotten infected. It happened out of the country; it happened out of the state; it happened because they were escorting; it happened, you know, because they're crossover, you know, which is just code for gay. So I guess the question I would have to the industry is, how are you going to interview people to determine how to exclude all these dangers? Wouldn't it just be easier to use a little piece of latex?"
However, as the FSC press release points out, the Florida performer in question was tested at a facility not approved under the APHSS system, "and therefore outside of the authority of FSC to implement industry exposure protocols."
“AHF’s campaign for mandatory condoms has done nothing but create controversy and, with the closure of AIM, has deprived the adult industry of an important health and safety resource,” Duke stated. “The industry has successfully self-regulated since 1998, due to AIM and the cooperation of the content production industry nationwide."
The entire Free Speech Coalition press release can be read here—but really, what should the industry expect from a guy who said on Nightline last night that adult producers "would also like to use 16-year-old girls" in adult movies?