Soapbox

Prop. 60 isn’t needed to protect porn actors

Proposition 60 would strengthen workplace safety rules requiring adult film performers to wear condoms.
Proposition 60 would strengthen workplace safety rules requiring adult film performers to wear condoms. Sacramento Bee file

There’s good reason Proposition 60 has been opposed by the editorial boards of seven of California’s largest newspapers, as well as the California Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties: It’s a badly written and dangerous initiative.

The proponents of Proposition 60 claim that it is a simple workplace safety measure that would protect adult performers.

Yet Proposition 60 would supersede Cal/OSHA, the regulatory agency that actually handles workplace safety and that is working with performers on updated regulations.

The proponents of Proposition 60, on the other hand, drafted it without the input of working performers, and have repeatedly refused to meet with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. It and other performer groups have vociferously opposed the measure, saying it opens them to harassment, extortion, privacy violations and profiteering.

In today’s adult film industry, performers increasingly control the means of production, and the vast majority either own their own content or share in the profits.

Proposition 60 puts targets on the backs of performers by giving any Californian the ability to sue an adult performer who works on a film without a visible condom. That means you, your neighbors, your friends or family, could file lawsuits and collect a cash bounty – becoming for-profit condom cops.

What’s more, Proposition 60 would install Michael Weinstein, the sole proponent and funder of the initiative, as a state porn czar and allow him to use taxpayer dollars to pay his attorneys.

The proponents want you to think that adult sets are dangerous places to work – a view that isn’t shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the state Department of Public Health. So they use scare tactics, bad data and performers who contracted HIV in their private lives to justify their campaign.

In reality, there hasn’t been a single transmission of HIV on a regulated California movie set since 2004 – a testament to how well current protocols work.

Some of the most respected voices in AIDS/HIV prevention – including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and AIDS Project L.A. – have come out strongly against the proposition. The adult=film industry is already governed by a host of state, local and federal regulations. Public health policy should not be overridden at the ballot box.

Weinstein has spent millions on this and other misguided measures over the past five years. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates Proposition 60 will cost the state millions of dollars a year. That’s money that could be going to real HIV prevention and treatment and workplace safety regulations – not one man’s misguided condom crusade.

Chanel Preston is chairwoman of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee and can be contacted at chanel@chanelpreston.com.

Jay Gladstein is an internal medicine/HIV specialist at UCLA School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai Medical and can be contacted at JGladstein@globalhealthcarela.com. They wrote this viewpoint on behalf of the No on Proposition 60 campaign.

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