Politics

Condoms in porn: Adult actors weigh Measure B

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Voters in Los Angeles County on Nov. 6 will decide whether actors in pornographic movies filmed locally must wear condoms when they shoot a sex scene.

Darren James was an adult film actor until he was diagnosed with HIV in 2004. For him, Measure B is about saving lives.

"In this industry, you thought you're invincible and protected - we weren't," James said. "It took for me getting infected to speak up for other actors that are still working, because they still have to make their income."

When Derrick Burts, another actor, tested positive for HIV in 2010, the industry shut down production for several weeks. There have been no confirmed cases since then.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been out in the streets giving away condoms to get people's attention. They said Measure B is about ensuring workplace safety.

"It's like not wearing a seat belt or a dentist not providing gloves to his staff," said Marco Benjamin of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

But opponents said they are already protected. They said the industry regulates itself, works with Cal/OSHA on workplace safety and has a strict testing system.

Kylie Ireland, an adult film actress, said Measure B may have the opposite effect of what supporters want.

"We get tested for a full panel of HIV and STDs every 14 to 28 days," she said. "You aren't going to find that anywhere else in the world."

"The industry will go underground and they'll just do it on the sly and avoid the permits and they will avoid testing in a proper way," Ireland added.

Ireland said the industry could leave Southern California all together. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association said that's 10,000 jobs and $1 billion to the local economy.

"These are jobs of people in the entertainment industry, they're people who are gaffers and grips," said Stuart Waldman of the VICA. "It doesn't matter what they're doing. One day they're working on one set, another day they're working on another set. They're across the board and they're all throughout the San Fernando Valley."

It will be up to Los Angeles County voters to decide on this unusual and controversial issue.

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