Poking holes in ‘Condoms in Porn’ ballot measure

Flawed initiative claims to protect performers, but leaves them vulnerable.

by Aulani Capuchin, Staff Columnist

Edited: 9/29/16 09:20 PDT

This year’s crowded ballot includes Prop 60, the “Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative.” If passed, it would require the use of condoms and other safety measures during filming. AIDS and LGBT organizations as well as both major political parties oppose Prop 60. This initiative not only leaves room for harassment of adult film industry workers, but would also be expensive for Californians on both local and state levels.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting the best in safety for adult film performers, but the language of the proposition leaves a lot to be questioned. The description of how they plan to protect performers is by providing a barrier for the “eyes, skin, mouth and mucous membranes.” This barrier is meant to protect performers from blood and “OPIM-STI”, which is the technical term for any other potentially infectious material. This will require the use of not just condoms, but also dental dams and goggles, which is irrational to legislate as a requirement for this industry.

Most Adult film performers are tested every two weeks. The Performer Availability Screening Services is a database where performers can look up other industry members in order to see their test results.

Regulation against condom-less porn does not mean this kind of porn will cease to exist. There is a demand for it, and where there is demand, there will always be a supply. This law would push the industry out of California or underground, and might lead to some of the exact issues that this proposition is working to prevent. Unregulated porn is more likely to feature actors who get tested less often, as well as unclean and unsafe environments.

The loose language of the initiative gives any California citizen the opportunity to sue adult film producers, many of whom are also performers, if they find a violation of the policy. This seems to be more of an excuse for a pornographic witch hunt rather than a means of protecting performers. These kinds of lawsuits require investigations into the privacy of those involved, requiring them to disclose sensitive information such as their real names and addresses.

If this initiative passes, it is projected to be costly for California. The adult film industry is lucrative for California. Enforcement of Prop 60 would push the industry out of California to other states. A similar law was passed in Los Angeles County in 2012 and resulted in a 90 percent drop in film permits in the county. This decline in income and wages for the industry in California will have an effect on tax revenues by several million dollars. It is also predicted that approximately 20,000 people will lose their jobs if the industry chooses to move elsewhere, which means potential increases in costs for health and social services.

Looking at the proposition, it is easy to see that although it is well intended, it contains too many flaws to implement. This legislation is not pro-safety, it is anti-porn.