Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Memo To Michael Weinstein: You Wrote The Check...Now Let's See If Your Ass Can Back It Up This Time. The PrEP Controversy That Could Finally Nail His Coffin

[Updated below: scroll to bottom.]

It seems that Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation decided to shoot off his mouth again, and now he's about to swallow it with his foot. Except, he might want to protect his ass from the feet of others wanting to bust it and the rest of his body.

It's more than enough that his condom mandate campaign against the LA porn industry has alienated him with plenty of people..but now, he's gone and done something that only a professional asshole can do: he's pissed off his own damn base of support.

Some background here: the diaspora of the gay male community in San Francisco and beyond is raving about the latest treatments now being offered for those infected with HIV, as well as those active gay men who want to avoid getting infected with HIV to begin with. One of the most recent and most promising treatments involves the drug Truvada, which acts as what is called a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in that it acts to block the HIV virus from infecting a person who uses it. Understand that Truvada is NOT a vaccine that totally prevents HIV transmission forever; it simply works to temporarily prevent infection. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 as an HIV treatment; and in 2012, the pharmaceutial Gilead Science won approval to market and sell it to the public.

Proponents of Truvada and other PrEP treatments say that they can be an alternative to the more traditional forms of barrier protection, such as condoms, that have been advocated as HIV protection for the gay male community ever since the height of the AIDS pandemic during the 1980's. Detractors, on the other hand, have questioned the effectiveness of Truvada, as well as defending the reliance on condoms as a form of protection along with conservative behavior modification for those most vulnerable to infection.

Of course, "conservative behavior modification" is exactly what Michael Weinstein is all about, and what has allowed AHF to elevate both their outreach and their financial vaults to become the world's largest non-govermental service provider for HIV/AIDS.

And, he's not too shy to point that out, either: in 2007, he and AHF essentially shook down Pfizer, the manufacturers of the popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, claiming that their ads back then for the drug promoted "sexual promiscuity" and "unsafe sex". And, of course, I don't even need to reset Weinstein's motivation for pushing condoms on porn performers.

So, naturally, Weinstein and AHF have been one of, if not THE, loudest critics of Truvada and PrEF treatments as a basic threat to his "condoms only" empire: and in an interview with the Associated Press last week, he went after proponents in his own typical fashion.

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, recently described Truvada as a “party drug” in an interview with the Associated Press. (Weinstein’s full quote was: “If something comes along that’s better than condoms, I’m all for it, but Truvada is not that. Let’s be honest: It’s a party drug.”)
The "party drug" smack is a thinly-veiled allusion to the alleged abuse of GHB (aka, the "date rape" drug) and crystal meth among young gay men; but mostly, it's Weinstein's preferred means of citiing "out of control" sexuality as a justification for his campaigns to reign in the "excesses" of gay men (and porn performers) through condoms as a means of throttling sexual activity.

But, it seems, that Weinstein has bitten off just a bit too much of that apple...because there are plenty of other gay male health activists and gay men who are not at all pleased with his messianic need to control their sexuality. And, his statement against Truvada seems to be the final straw.

One of such men is Michael Lucas, the director of the gay male porn production shop Lucas Entertainment (and also, naturally, an opponent of Weinstein's condom mandate campaigns); he posted an Op-Ed to Out Magazine's website calling out Weinstein's "dangerous" rhetoric...and then calling for something else: his resignation from AHF. Some snippage:

Mr. Weinstein knows how to portray PrEP, along with gay men, in the most unattractive light. This month he told the Associated Press, ”Let’s be honest: It’s [Truvada] a party drug.” In Mr. Weinsteing’s eyes, PrEP isn’t about public health. It’s just a highly expensive way for those horny, irresponsible gays to go back to their barebacking-gone-wild.

It would be one thing if this were a talking point of a crackpot on The 700 Club. Hell, Mr. Weinstein’s words could be adapted nicely for a poster for the Westboro Baptist Church. But this man, who earns, according the LA Times, around $390,000 per year, leads an organization that’s the largest provider of HIV/AIDS services in the United States. Yet his views are so out of line with scientific reality that, before approving PrEP, the head of the Centers for Disease Control refused to even meet with him.

[....]

In this man’s prurient imagination, gays are too busy enjoying their bareback orgies to be trusted with taking a once-daily pill. In his view, gay men using PrEP will stir up a frothy new drug-resistant strain of the virus. What evidence exists that this is a valid scientific concern? None. He has not even credited the fact that this form of prevention might and is being used by responsible gay men regardless of the sexual activity they are engaged in. Mr. Weisnstein’s anti-PrEP position is an extension of his long-standing anti-promiscuity crusade and more importantly his continuation of harmful shame tactics.

It’s now time to for our community to fight back against his shame-on-us rhetoric. It’s time for us to fight back and say, “shame on him.”

As the issue of cost of PrEP, and whether it should be deployed to prevent young people from becoming infected, becomes an important national issue, we need to take Mr. Weinstein and his radical rhetoric out of the national conversation.

He needs to be removed from his post at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Immediately.
 And some others are taking that last sentence of Lucas literally.  Eric Leue, described as "Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2014" in his bio; went so far as to launch a signing petition at Change.org calling for AHF to remove Weinstein from their directorship.  The petition has reached 1,500 signatures as of right now, reflecting the blowback from a sizable portion of the gay community to Weinstein's tactics and sex-shaming. More snippage from the petition:

This petition is not about how Weinstein or we personally feel about HIV PrEP. This petition is about whether we, the people, should be allowed access to accurate information, free of stigma and discrimination. Since 1980, HIV and its prevention has been framed in moral terms, and the people carrying the virus blamed. The head of our largest AIDS service organization should know that HIV prevention is not “a party.”
With our signatures to remove Michael Weinstein as CEO and President of the AHF, we encourage the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to reconnect with the public to be able to continue their important work hand in hand with the communities they serve.
The petition is also being endorsed and signed by many in the mainstream porn community who are just as fed up with the same sex-shaming and authoritarianism. (See the Twitter hashtag #RemoveWeinstein.)

Whether removing Weinstein from AHF will force a change in their policy is probably unclear, but the point is that he has become his own worst enemy, by driving AHF away from its core philosophy of healthcare service, and into his own myopic drive for personal power and money.

We at BPPA strongly recommend and heartily endorse this petition, and hope that you go and sign it as well.

(Note by Anthony: I already have.)

Link to Petition for Michael Weinstein's removal from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Change.org)



UPDATE (4-18-14):  Well, anyone who thought that Michael Weinstein would bow down to public opinion would be surely disappointed by his reaction to the turmoil. In an interview with BuzzFeed, he doubled and quadrupled down on his anti-Truvada "party drug" smack, even going as far as associating his critics with "the bareback porn industry".

Some brief snippage from BuzzFeed:
“I’ve had debates on this subject, but these people are jumping to character assassination and I’m not going to respond to it,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest HIV/AIDS medical care provider in the U.S. “My record and the record of AHF speaks for itself.”

[....]

Weinstein, who has long been a critic of the blue pill, has no intentions of stepping aside or quieting down and blames much of the backlash he’s received on what he said is the “bareback porn industry.” Michael Lucas, creator of one of the largest gay porn companies, Lucas Entertainment, also called for Weinstein to leave his job in an op-ed published by Out magazine.

“In the last few days in terms of the people who have been yelling the loudest about this, they’ve all been associated with bareback porn,” he said. “They’re all associated with bareback porn, which kind of makes my point that it’s a party drug.”
The BuzzFeed article also gauges reaction from many AIDS prevention activists not at all pleased with Weinstein's position.
“Comments like that of Michael Weinstein really devalue and diminish decades of research and the opinions of experts the world over that would very much disagree with his characterization,” said Jim Pickett, director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “The idea that [Truvada] is simply some party drug on par with crystal meth or ecstasy is really ridiculous and insulting.”

The point of conflict seems to be questions about the effectiveness of Truvada as opposed to condoms and whether or not those using it as PrEP will adhere to its prescriptions.

Proponents of the drug point to studies showing massive reductions in HIV transmissions in cases where the drug was taken daily. But Weinstein, and other Truvada critics, question the drug’s ability to be effective because patients are unlikely to adhere to the daily regimen. A factor in this could be the drug’s high cost — about $13,000 per year — although many insurance plans and Medicaid cover prescriptions.

Additionally, Truvada, unlike condoms, will also do nothing to protect people from other sexually-transmitted diseases such as syphilis, herpes, and gonorrhea, Weinstein said.

Of course, that ignores the fact that condoms cannot prevent infection where sores are exposed and barrier protection can't reach.

“The primary issue with Truvada is that in the perfect world if people took it every day they would be protected, but that is not the case,” he said. “I read over and over again articles talking about how it’s more than 90% effective and they don’t even mention the adherence issue. PrEP is just not 90%-plus effective in the real world. It’s just not ready for prime time as a public health strategy.”

Translation: It really screws up his "condoms rule the world" profit streams. Yes, AHF does in fact market and brand condoms under their label. Ask Michael Whiteacre and his wife Christina Parriera.
Or, just ask the Las Vegas chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), who just decided to sign a marketing agreement with AHF to promote their condoms in exchange for "publicity".
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, medical director of the ambulatory HIV program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said he is a prescriber of Truvada, telling BuzzFeed, “I don’t see it as a party drug at all.” Daskalakis also sits on the board of Gay Mens Health Crisis, one of the nation’s top HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy organizations. He was also part of the FDA panel that approved Truvada for PrEP.

“The guys I’m giving Truvada to and some women, have a lot of good reasons to take it,” Daskalakis told BuzzFeed. “If being in a sexual relationship with someone who is HIV-positive is a party, then Truvada is a party drug.”

Daskalakis and Pickett are among critics of Weinstein’s comments who think likening Truvada to a “party drug” is judgmental of behavior and detracts from what HIV/AIDS advocates aim to do: prevent HIV, Daskalakis said. Pickett said it equates to “shaming” and “the paternalism and the infantilization of gay men.”
Essentially, that is the heart of the issue: imposing a sexually conservative agenda in the name of "protection", while denying gay men (or, in the case of the porn condom mandate, porn performers) the right of choice on how they can best protect themselves.

Obviously, this debate won't be resolved any time soon. We'll just have to see if Weinstein pays the cost for his mouth shooting off.






Monday, April 7, 2014

AB1576's Rediscovery Of Testing: A Move Forward Or A Trap Door??

Of all of the developments involving Isadore Hall's recent bill, AB1576, to force condoms and other "barrier protections" in all porn shoots, the most interesting is their evolution involving performer testing.

In the past, the party line expressed by Hall and his mentors at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was that testing, especially the testing regime currently used by the industry, was an utter failure that did nothing to protect the performers from STI's, including HIV, and that mandatory condom usage was the only tried and true solution.

However, with this latest effort, it seems that Hall and AHF have warmed up to the notion of mandatory testing, to the point that his current effort now includes a requirement that performers prove that they were tested no less than 14 days prior to shooting a scene, along with proof of using "barrier" protection.

Seems like Hall and AHF is reaching out to FSCPASS and meeting them halfway, right??

Not so fast. The car might look new, but a check under the hood for the actual details support a different, less altruistic agenda.

Keep in mind that the 14 day testing protocol is voluntary for porn studios. Most, due to cost considerations, can't afford a 14-day test, and instead go for 28 or 30 day cleared tests to allow their performers to shoot, along with varying degrees of condom protection. Some are condom only (such as Wicked and VIVID), and some are more optional, leaving that choice to the performer or producer.

AB1576, however, would force studios to undergo and pay for mandatory 14 day tests on nearly all of the standard STI's (HIV, Hepatitis A/B/C, HPV, chlamydia, gonnorhea, and syphilis), as well as require they use condoms, dental dams, and all other forms of barrier protection. Sure, Hall and AHF say that they only would require condoms; but they rely on the emerging CalOSHA standards for "bloodborne/sexually transmitted pathogen" protection, which does require the use of "personal protection equipment" as a form of "barrier protection". The CalOSHA standards would also forbid any proximity of sexually oriented body fluids to unwrapped "sensitive areas" such as the mouth, genitals, or anus..which would forbid facials, body shots above the navel and below the knee, and even perhaps oral sex without "protection".

The record keeping requirement that producers and studios keep and make accessible to health officials personal medical records of all performers depicting their test results and the degree of protection used in their scenes is already enough of a constitutional and personal privacy nightmare.

But that's not even the worst part of the proposal. The real devil in the details is in the type of testing for HIV that AB1576 would require, and how that could potentially backfire in a catastropic way.

Remember that the PASS standards use the most current and accurate HIV tests available at a cost....namely, the Aptima test, which is capable of catching the HIV virus within 6-10 days of initial infection. It has become the gold standard of rapid testing for screening out cases of acute HIV infection, a point that is vital with preventing the spread of the virus to other performers.

Problem is, though, Aptima is NOT the standard that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or AHF uses for their HIV tests. They prefer to use the old and true ELISA antibody tests for initial screening, backed by viral load testing such as PCR-RNA or Western Blot for confirmation of a positive.

The problem with that is that antibody and antigen testing for HIV is notorious for not catching acute HIV cases, and have nearly a 60-90 day latency period where the virus can remain undetected. Now, no one doubts the accuracy of antibody testing for detecting HIV antibodies; but when you are trying to isolate acute cases before they spread to others, especially when it comes to shooting sex scenes that can go on for hours on end, having to wait 60-90 days for a positive or negative confirmation of getting infected isn't just a nightmare for the performer awaiting his fate; it's money out of his wallet.

Not to mention, the required moratoriums that force general work stoppages while testing of first- and second-generation screen partners of any potential infectee can cause serious impacts on performers and studios alike. I know of a model who was burned by the two back-to-back moratoriums while attempting to travel from Florida to California to shoot scenes; she now draws the line at performing only with condoms. (Out of respect for her privacy, I will not name her.)

The trap door, though, is this: AB1576 does not require performers or producers to get the latest and best testing for HIV, it simply states that they be tested under the guidelines set forth by CalOSHA and the CDC...guidelines that assume testing through ELISA-based assays.

Do you see the ultimate result here?? Studios not wealthy enough to afford the 14-day testing regime (i.e., those not owned by MindGeek) and overwhelmed by the requirement of full documentation of their testing regimens, would be the most likely to cave in to AHF's demands for mandatory condoms as a "fall back" in compliance with the potential law...and they would also be the most likely to cut corners for profits by offering their performers fly-by-night testing scams. Like, for instance, the quick and free OraSure OraQuick HIV swab tests made so famous by Mike South in his latest escapades.

Or, a fledgling porn producer could simply borrow some of South's mythical powers of reasoning and interviewing to clear a performer for shooting scenes, without all that need for actual testing.

Or...scared performers could just pull a Mr. Marcus and fake their tests in order to continue to shoot films and make money, because condoms would save them. Except, that they break, and they don't protect against all STI's.

Thusly, AHF and Izzy Hall create a wonderful illusion of safety, that covers up a free fire zone for performers. The big studios who will more than likely keep 14-day mandatory testing, but also be forced to include condoms, will survive as usual...though some will probably react by moving their businesses out of California altogether and taking their chances going underground in a less protected venue. The condom companies will get free placement and unwilling users, and will drown in the cash of respectability for "making safer sex hot". The medicos will fulfill their promise of using porn performers as unwitting guniea pigs for "safer sex". And, the communitarians will have one more piece of government regulation as a means of "behavior modification" and controlling a suspect population.

Whether this will actually do anything to reduce the pandemic of HIV or other STI's in the general population, or merely force performers into much less safe venues to fulfill their craft, or simply force them to quit and take their chances with less sexy exploitation, remains to be seen. Needless to say, considering how the current "sex trafficking" scare is now being used to suppress and slander sex workers and their clients, I have my doubts.

Sorry, Assemblyman Hall and Mr. Weinstein, but I'd much rather that performers themselves have the choice of how best to protect themselves, not be the unwilling and forced participants in a shell game.

AB1576, like all the other condom mandate bills before it, needs to be defeated. Like, yesterday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mike South: Proudly Spreading Ignorance About STI Testing In Porn Since 2003 (Pwnage By Sharon Mitchell And AIM, via AVN)

It's one thing to be deliberately obtuse and out-to-lunch about something as important as a person's health. It's another thing entirely to maintain that ignorance for an extended time.

You all know by now of the exposure to bright sunlight of the recent travails of Mike South, part-time porn producer/director/webminister, and full time gadfly/critic of the LA porn industry and its testing system for STI's.

Michael Whiteacre of The Real Porn Wikileaks has been running a series over there revealing South as a grand hypocrite who mocks LA producers for not forcing condoms down their perfomers throats and not universally testing them for every single infective threat, while he relies on oral swab tests, no condoms, and his own "common sense"/ESP/Spider-Man senses/boner blood as his own screenage against STI's and HIV.

As it turns out, though, South's "expertese" in HIV testing goes a long way back...like even before the initial Darren James/Lara Roxx outbreak hit in 2004. And, the need for real experts to correct his errors go back just as far, too.

The following is a repost of an article that was posted to AVN.com back in June of 2003, where AIM Medical Foundation director Sharon Mitchell responds point-for-point to some comments Mike South made at his blog the weekend before. South was responding to a viewer/reader asking questions about the testing regime used back then; and apparently, the answers he gave didn't quite tell the whole story.

You will note, of course, that the PCR-DNA test that was the gold standard back then has now been itself upended by the Aptima test, which further cuts the latency period down from 14-30 days to 6-10 days. Also, the "protease inhibitors" that used to cloak HIV+ readings for viral load or antibody tests do not affect DNA-based tests or Aptima; and neither do the more recent "retroviral" drugs now used today as treatment for HIV+ people. Other than those caveats, what was said then is as much true today.

I will simply reprint the article in its entirity; the original can be found by clicking the title.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who's At Risk For HIV — And How Do You Know? Mitchell Answers South


Over the weekend, Mike South, a producer/director in the adult video business and Internet columnist, answered a question from a reader who asked him to explain the differences between the RT-PCR/PCR-DNA test(s) and the ELISA test. Since AVN is in the process of preparing a series of articles on healthcare within the adult industry, we asked AIM Healthcare Foundation executive director Sharon Mitchell to comment on South's answer to his correspondent's questions. What follows are South's answer, broken into its component parts, and Mitchell's comments on each part, with some amplification questions from AVN Senior Editor Mark Kernes: 
 
Mike South: The Viral load tests measure the amount of virus in a blood sample by one of two methods. The first, the PCR is a process by which the RNA is chemically treated to cause it to replicate itself, the idea is to induce replication to a high level, then measure that level knowing that the replication factor is a constant. This is called an indirect test because it indirectly measures the amount of RNA in the sample. 
 
Sharon Mitchell: That's a PCR-RNA test. 
 
South: The second called bDNA, this is a direct measurement of the RNA. The sample is treated to induce the RNA to lumenesce [sic] or "glow" the amount of light given off indicates how much virus is present. 
 
Mitchell: That's a branch DNA test, which is a form of an RNA test. It's still a viral load test. We do neither the bDNA nor the RT-RNA. We do PCR-DNA. 
 
Mark Kernes: When Mike South says, "RT-PCR," that's incomplete? It has to say either RT-PCR-DNA or RT-PCR-RNA?
 
Mitchell: That's correct, and we do the PCR-DNA, not the PCR-RNA.
 
South: The problem with these tests is that they are only accurate to about forty parts per million, below that point the virus is undetectable. Someone who has HIV and has been on protease inhibitor drugs can fall well below this level and the tests determine them to be HIV Negative which they clearly are not. They are also most certainly still capable of passing on the virus to someone else. 
 
Mitchell: That's all correct, bearing in mind that "forty parts per million" is equivalent of 400 copies per milliliter [see below], but it refers to the PCR-RNA test. 
 
South: The ELISA test tests for antibodies to the virus to be present in your system, even though you may show no signs of illness 95% of all people will develope [sic] antibodies to HIV within 3 weeks of exposure.
 
Mitchell: No, no. In fact, some people can go without developing antibodies for six weeks to six months, and while six weeks may be great for the general population, it's not good for people having multiple partners in porn. And remember, we are using monitoring. We're not looking for a one guy/one time diagnosis here; we're looking for monitoring based on every 30 days by PCR-DNA — not RNA, not viral loads. That's why USA Referral [a testing referral service] is not a good facility for that very reason. 
 
Kernes: So the first time someone came into you, if you gave them an ELISA test and it showed negative, they could actually have been HIV positive for up to six months and you would not necessarily be able to see it on the ELISA test? 
 
Mitchell: Yes. That's why we don't use the ELISA test. 
 
South: This "window period" is in reality no worse than that of the PCR tests, and may even prove better in some cases. 
 
Kernes: He's talking about the PCR-RNA test, apparently.
 
Mitchell: Right, I know, and this is all relevant to PCR-RNA, but we don't do PCR-RNA. We can't afford to wait for the window periods of an ELISA or RNA. 
 
Kernes: So an ELISA test and a PCR-RNA are really about the same in the sense — 
 
Mitchell: No. One's an antibody test and one's a viral load test; they're two entirely different things, but they're not effective for this population when dealing with monitoring. 
 
Kernes: So if someone had HIV and was not taking protease inhibitors, and got an ELISA test and a PCR-RNA, which one would be likely to detect the virus first? 
 
Mitchell: Well, it depends. Now, remember, HIV is going to surge in the first 18-30 days, so if you're catching it early, HIV-RNA is going to show a sky-high viral load. But if we're not catching it early, there'll be some viral load and it will be relatively over 400 copies per milliliter, and that could occur any time, at any point. But usually when I've done the RNA tests, I've done them very early because I've done them as a confirmatory after ELISA, Western Blot and then RNA, after a positive PCR-DNA. 
 
Kernes: So they're confirmatory tests for you?


Mitchell: For us, yeah. 

Kernes
: And even then, the tests may not confirm because depending on a variety of circumstances — how long the person has been positive; whether or not they're taking protease inhibitors — the only one that will actually show that they have the virus is the PCR-DNA. 

Mitchell
: Correct. In this case [see below], the RNA will mask the virus because they still have HIV but they're undetected, and the patient can still transmit the virus at least 15 percent of the time. Therefore, the one that we depend upon in case someone is trying to hide the fact that they have HIV is PCR-DNA, because it will always show the virus is detected. 

South
: I am surprised that AIM would not offer the ELISA test if you requested it, specially since it is the ONLY HIV test that is recognized by either the CDC or the AIDS Foundation as a valid HIV Screen. 

Kernes
: Why would you give the PCR-DNA in preference to the ELISA test or the PCR-RNA test? 

Mitchell
: Because of the window period. It's not three weeks; it can be minimum six weeks to as long as six months, and that's most of the time. Young, healthy people, for the antibody to mature, could take a lot longer than your average Joe, and we're dealing with young, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 25. And also remember, we're monitoring for the HIV disease every 30 days. That's key here. It's a monitoring system.

Kernes
: Is the ELISA test the only test that's recognized by the CDC or the AIDS Foundation as a valid HIV screen? 

Mitchell
: I don't know.

South
: PCR and bDNA testing are emphatically stated as NOT to be used as an HIV screen. 

Mitchell
: That may very well be, but again, they're dealing with average, everyday people, everyday tests for the general population. We are dealing with adult entertainers for pornography and this is a system that has kept HIV successfully out of porn since the inception of this Foundation in 1998. 

South
: Some companies and performers have been mislead [sic] by AIM so make sure that the person you are going to work with knows that you have not been tested by AIM, but have tests from a certified independent [sic] lab. I only accept an ELISA test but some in porn valley [sic] may only accept a PCR test, until they have been educated to the facts. 

Mitchell
: He's got the wrong facts. PCR-DNA is the one that will always show the virus. PCR-RNA is the one that hides the virus. I've got the proof right here. 

[Note: To support her statements, Mitchell produced two tests given to the same HIV-positive individual who is currently taking protease inhibitors, the standard treatment for HIV: A PCR-RNA test, which indicates that the individual is "Within Range Result" with "Fewer than 400 copies/ml" of the virus, which would indicate to a physician who had no idea of the person's actual HIV status that the person was HIV negative; and a PCR-DNA test, which indicates that the person is "Outside of Reference Range" and is "Positive" for HIV.]

Kernes
: So if someone in porn attempted to work with just an ELISA test or just a PCR-RNA, what would be your advice to their partner or to the company that's employing them? 

Mitchell
: Do not do it. To a performer, I'd say you're putting yourself at risk because these two types of methods, ELISA and PCR-RNA, are hiding HIV at its earliest, and you may be working with someone that just has gotten HIV — it's not going to show up on either of those tests — or you may be working with someone that's HIV positive that's on medications and is not showing up on this RNA test, that can still transmit the virus 15 percent of the time. PCR-DNA test always will show up, and that's why we did this experiment here with Kevin. 

Kernes
: And on the PCR-DNA, the virus can show up within seven days?

Mitchell
: No. Let's say minimum 14, to 30. We've seen it at 14 days.

Kernes
: But it will definitely show itself by 30 days? 

Mitchell
: Absolutely.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Izzy Hall's Last Stand: SB 1576, The Condom Mandate...errrrrrr, Personal Protective Equipment Bill (Now With 50% More 2257 Kick!!) Gets Its Day In California Assembly

If at first you don't suceed..

Last year, California Assemblyman Isadore Hall made two efforts to exploit the numerous STI controversies ongoing in the Los Angeles-based porn industry in order to pass his bills to force mandatory condoms and other "barrier protection" onto porn shoots. Both times, his bills didn't even make it to the full Assembly for a vote, due to them getting killed in committee due to costs and Constitutional questions.

This week, though, Assemblyman Hall and his backers at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are hoping that, to use another trite catch phrase, the third time would be the charm.

The newest effort, SB 1576, attempts to take a different approach from the previous attempts last year.

If you will remember, Hall's original attempts at the condom mandate utilized the existing CalOSHA regulations regarding treatment of "employees" and protection from "bloodborne pathogens" in order to require porn producers to force condoms on performers against their wishes. It also basically ignored if not sought to eliminate and replace entirely the existing screening and testing regime that has been used by the industry to screen out potential infections.

This year, though, Hall and his commisars at AHF seem to be more aware that their case isn't quite as airshut as they originally thought....so, they've tweaked and tinkled with their bill constantly to get to the point of finally unleashing it to an Assembly committee on tomorrow. The fact that the Free Speech Coalition is holding their annual "Free Speech Lobbying Days" sessions with the Assembly next week might also have something to do with their sudden desparation push.

Whatever the motivation may be, the final product of Hall still has as many questions as answers.

One main departure from last year is that the bill does give a left-handed nod to the testing regime by requiring that all adult performers not only be induced to wear "personal protective equipment" (that would include not only condoms, but also dental dams, gloves, goggles, and other forms of barrier protection), but would also have to prove that they were tested for HIV and most other STI's within 14 days of their performing anal or vaginal sex acts on screen.

Apparently, this is Hall's/AHF's way of splitting the difference with the industry through acknowledging the success of the FSC-PASS testing regime, while still favoring mandatory "barrier protection" (read, condoms) as supposedly a backup reinforcement.

Strangely enough, the proposed bill would not directly mandate "barrier protection" for oral sex acts, even though the original legislation would have bound porn producers to the provisions of California Code Section 5193, which is in the process of being revised by CalOSHA to cover porn shoots. Those proposed revisions would have not only mandated condoms/barrier protections for all anal and vaginal sex acts on screen, but would also have sanctioned any proximity of bodily fluids (including sperm or vaginal secretions) from areas where STI transmission could take place. That would mean no creampies, no facials, no external pop shots below the breasts or above the knees, and no pop shots on the buttocks. SB1576, unlike last year's efforts, slides away from such requirements, concentrating only on "barrier protection" for anal and vaginal sex.

That would be bad enough for performers who want their own choice of protection...but in the process of attempting to make his bill acceptable for passage, Assemblyman Hall added some language that may potentially undue his efforts. 

Here's the pertinent section on how Hall plans to enforce his bill, through what appears to be a record-keeping nightmare for porn producers.

(i) (1) An adult film employer’s injury prevention program shall include a log of information for all scenes produced or purchased, including, but not limited to, documentation that:

(A) Each time an employee performing in an adult film engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse,
a condom or other protective barrier personal protective equipment was used to protect the employee from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This paragraph shall not be construed to require that the
condom or other protective barrier personal protective equipment be visible to the consumer in the finished film.

(B) Each employee performing in an adult film was tested for sexually transmitted infections,
including, but not limited to, HIV, according to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department of Public Health current at the time the testing takes place, not
less more than 14 days prior to filming any scene in which the employee engaged in vaginal or anal intercourse and that the employer paid for the test.

(2) For the purposes of this subdivision, “adult film” means any commercial film, video, multimedia, or other recorded representation during the production of which performers actually engage in sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, or anal penetration.
The main point here is that the "employers" would be required to keep detailed records of every scene they produced or published, in which not only the performers' names and licenses would be made accessible to health authorities upon request, but also test results, the detailed sex acts, and the type of "personal protection" used in each scene. Yes, folks, I said medical records. And, those records would have to be maintained and logged by the production companies for as long as the law allowed, if not forever.

Now, isn't there a law called the Health Information and Personal Privacy Act (aka HIPPA) which protects people's medical records from just such a public intervention?? And, wasn't it AHF who used the same motive of "medical privacy" to sue the old AIM when Desi Foxx's medical info turned up online thanks to the work of the original Porn Wikileaks?

If this sounds so hauntingly familiar, it's the same exact degree of death by information logging that the age verification 2257/2257A federal regulations were created to enforce. And like 2257, this new regime of medical bookeeping would allow so much abuse due to anyone getting access to the medical records of performers and using them for exploitive blackmail or doxxing...or worse.

Whether or not all this is enough go get through the Assembly firewall will be seen by all tomorrow, when the Assembly's Committee on Labor and Enforcement take up the bill. It would have to pass there, then go to another committee and pass that before it goes to the full Assembly..and then it would have to go through and pass the California State Senate before going to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

Most folk say that this won't even pass the smell test and will be tabled like the last two efforts. We'll just watch and see.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why People Living In Glass Houses With Busted Septic Tanks Shouldn't Talk Sh*t About Others: Mike South Exposed As A Hypocrite...And WORSE

Blowback can be a real bitch sometimes. There is a saying: The things you do and say will come back on you, like bad food. Whichever end it comes out of, however, says a lot about you.

For amateur porn producer and profoundly loud critic Mike South, that saying is even more prescient today, in the wake of current events.

Michael Whiteacre over at The Real Porn Wikileaks has been running a fine series of articles there exposing South for the hypocrite and double talker he seems to be.

Most of you know Mike South as one of the most verbiose critics of the Free Speech Coalition's testing protocols and of certain performers in the Los Angeles-based porn industry. Along with his protege, "President" Rob Black, he has been on a rolling campaign from his North Georgia base to support the drive to mandate condoms in all porn shoots, while all along smacking his lips about how superior he is in locating and shooting talent.

Needless to say, that "superiority" took some major crotch blows this week, thanks to Mr. Whiteacre and TRPWL.

It began with an expose post last week where TRPWL relayed the story of a performer named Jessica Chase, whom had attempted to shoot some porn with South in Atlanta for his websites (and for possibly creating a website for her), only to experience all sorts of hell. The actual article goes into full detail of what Ms. Chase endured; here's just a brief sample:

Jessica Chase picks up the story from there:
I go down there with him, we stay at Lindsey Lovehands (who is a sweetie). Come to find out, she had no idea that we were supposed to be shooting (only South knows how that happened as he set up the shoot because it was for [our] website). She and I get it together the next day and do our two shoots (one for her site, one for mine).

I let South know I was upset when I found out that there were no more shoots. So I ask, “What shoots do I need for my site that I can actually do?”

“Oh, a bj video,” he says. I’m like, “why didn’t you bring this up when I had a room full of guys, one being a male friend when I shot the Bukkake for you?” I didn’t get a straight answer other than,” You can shoot your bj video with me.” I declined, due to the fact that he is supposed to be a producer, not talent, and frankly I’m not stupid, so I angrily left Florida and returned to Ohio.
And so it was that Mike South didn’t get his blow job.

As for the matter of the COD package sent via UPS, unsurprisingly there’s more to that, too:
About half-way back I remember my company airbrush tanning equipment is at his house, where I had stopped to follow him to Florida. He had ridden his bike, so I took my airbrush equipment etc. out of my car to make room for his stuff. I text[ed] him to let him know, to which he said that he would ship it COD to me once he returned home from Florida.

He found he had to pay money to ship his photography stuff, etc back to his house, as he couldn’t fit it on his bike, and thus began a huge Mike South tantrum. This tantrum included not giving UPS correct addresses his nor mine, even after I told him my address again and what needed to be done.
The article provides support through emails and texts provided by Ms. Chase to TRPWL.

For his part, South simply dismisses Ms. Chase as a "bimbo" and a "dumb bitch", and responded to the original article with his customary "Consider the source".

Problem for him was, that was just a foreshock, albeit a decently sized one. Yesterday, came the proverbial follow up, and it was The BIG ONE in comparison.

In the follow up piece, Whiteacre expounds on Jessica Chase's travails with Mike South to reveal what could be one of the greatest hypocrisies of all time: The man who incessantly attacks the porn industry for not meeting his high standards of HIV/STI protection, not only doesn't follow his own standards, but actually violates them with impunity.

Turns out that in those shoots that Ms. Chase did with South for his sites, he only used a quick instant swab test (OraQuick) for HIV, provided for by the male "talent" (who was also not even paid for their efforts, BTW), instead of the expanded testing regimen (HIV-Hepatitis A/B/C-Chlamydia-Gonorrhea-Syphilis) required by the FSC-PASS protocols. And..he didn't ever require condoms, either.

In fact, for one particular shoot, South allegedly even blew off the fact that Ms. Chase's testing period had lapsed beyond the 28 day period, and told her not to retest, though she offered to do so, because he didn't deem it necessary....because there was no "penetration" in his scenes. "Penetration" in this case refered to vaginal and anal sex; the scene actually shot was a "blow bang" featuring oral sex and facials.

It would be deliciously ironic were it not for the fact that the same Mike South was blasting out posts galore busting LA's porn scene for not mandating condoms and doing more to protect their talent from the apparent STI pandemic that was supposedly ongoing. Or, that the same Mike South had the sac to label as a "moron" and an "idiot" a 30 year veteran of porn and a certified registered nurse whom had more knowledge about STI prevention on the ground than he could ever get.

But, even all that pales to the most ironic aspect of all this: the entire point of the South/Black/AHF condom mandate campaign is to effectively destroy and dismantle the FSC-PASS testing regime and replace it with mandatory condoms reinforced by "local" decentralized testing that would be "free" and based on the OraQuick HIV swab method...in short, the very system that South used against Jessica Chase.

Never mind that the proposed CalOSHA "bloodborne/sexually transmitted pathogen" regulations would also ban facials and require condoms for oral sex acts as well (unless the performers involved take Hep C vaccines and are cleared by approved medical personnel); I guess that South would probably consider that a win since that would shoot down competition for his amateur porn market. If those regulations were adopted by his own state's OSHA, though, South would be out of business....and let's not also forget the fact that Georgia isn't exactly a porn friendly state, either.

And as for South's claim that his "commom sense" approach would beat across-the-board universal testing in screening out STI+ individuals....well, I'll just let Michael Whiteacre hit that knuckball of a lie out of the park in conclusion (bolded emphasis added by me):

And how does Mike South claim he prevents STI transmission on set?
No system is perfect but common sense goes a long way….maybe that’s why in 20 + years in this industry not one person on any of my shoots has ever contracted any kind of STD. Ever.

But then I won’t shoot just anyone either, I have an interview process and if I don’t like her answers (or his) I don’t care how hot they are I ain’t shooting them.

I can’t think of a girl I didn’t stay in touch with for quite some time after we shot, but that’s because (partially) I interview most of them in person at least twice prior to shooting so we kinda becomes friends.

So, Mike South claims he has special powers: the ability to determine someone’s STI status, or their scene partners’ risk of contracting an STI, based on talking to them twice.

As I told South at the time, “Those are anecdotes, Mike, not data, You know better. It also assumes the performers in question actually know where they caught it and/or desire to tell you. That’s not science and it’s not logic either.”

Setting aside the fact that, without a universal testing AND monitoring/surveillance system that could access records of the test results of all performers with whom he worked both before AND AFTER they worked with him, South could not possibly know for certain whether any of his performers had ever contracted an STI.

Does South honestly expect anyone to believe that 20 years ago when, for example, he shot scenes in hotel rooms at adult conventions, when testing was not what it is now — and new talent went from room to room shooting scenes — some performer showed him even a one or two-day old test, and he can somehow be 100% sure that “not one person on any of [his] shoots has ever contracted any kind of STD”?

People lie about their STI status, people can be mistaken, people can fail to get a follow-up test, etc — it is exceedingly difficult to determine where a sexually active person who is doing scenes contracted an STI, or transmitted an STI – but it is scientifically impossible to know this if one can’t look at a tests for EVERY performer before and after the scene. People walk around with STIs for YEARS without knowing they even have them.

And when Mike South tells people not to bother getting tested, they WON’T find out.
It was just this kind of "Trust us" mentality that led to Marc Wallace, Darren James, Derrick Burts, Mr. Marcus, and Cameron Bay/Rod Daily. And if folk like Mike South get their way and get to dismantle the testing protocols that have worked, there will be plenty more.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How To Destroy Your Reputation And Alienate An Entire Industry In One Day: The Horrible MindGeek/Twistys TOTY 2014 Fix

This isn't necessarily the normal bit of subject matter for BPPA, but since we cover the industry as much as we defend it, it's important to tell the tale when we think it is doing wrong as when it warrants defense.

The adult Internet is now in full flame over the events of the last two days concerning the former glamcore website Twistys.com, and their apparent railroading of their most recent Treat of the Year contest to reward one of their owner's contract models at the expense of the actually deserving models.

The Real Porn Wikileaks' crack (no, not that kind, folks) reporter Michael "Deep Throat" Whiteacre is on the case with a full synopsis of the sitch posted there...but for you, here's the abbreviated story:

Twistys was one of the most successful "glamcore" porn sites, which featured women doing mainly solo and girl/girl scenes, which made them different from the usual boy/girl and "gonzo" sites like Brazzers and BangBros, which were owned by the conglomerate Manwin.

But then, Manwin ousted their original president, rebooted themselves under the name MindGeek, and bought out Twistys, bringing in new management. And, apparently, they concluded that glamcore wasn't their cup of tea, and that Twistys should be bought to heel and introduced to the porn ticky tacky formula of cheap profits and b/g scenes.

Which brings us to their recently completed 2014 Treat of the Year contest, which was supposed to be a fan-voted election where members of the Twistys forum would have the final say in selecting a winner and a runner-up. The prize was a cash award and a paid trip to Costa Rica to do a rip-roaring scene.

Given Twistys sterling reputation, plenty of their models and former TOTY winners turned out to show out for the votes.

Ultimately, the voting concluded, and a winner was announced. Nicole Aniston got the most votes, and was awarded the prestigious award. The runner up, OTOH, wasn't so simple...and that's where I turn the mic over to Mr. Whiteacre:

According to Alexandra, after the voting ended Rob informed her that Nicole Aniston had received the most votes, and Vanessa Veracruz had come in second.

Elle, he said, had come in third, beating Sophia Knight — also a girl/girl-only performer — by one vote.
"Rob" refers to the now former production manager at Twistys (more on that anon). "Elle" is model Elle Alexandra, who, like Vanessa Veracruz, is a strictly girl/girl performer.

Two sources inform TRPWL that Aniston, who had not shot boy/girl content in some time, agreed to work with a male performer in Costa Rica on the condition that Twistys bring Veracruz on the shoot as well.

Veracruz told TRPWL that she worked very hard on this year’s contest — arranging giveaways of DVDs and 8×10 photos.

“I put in a lot of time and effort to connect with fans on a daily basis,” she said.
Alas, all that effort was cast aside by the Twistys upper management, because $$$$ (emphasis added by me):

Rob reportedly took to the forum to post that Aniston was the winner and Veracruz the runner-up specifically because he didn’t want the MindGeek brass to pass off boy/girl performer and Mindgeek contract star Madison Ivy — who had placed fifth at best —  as the contest’s actual runner-up.
Eventually, however, management indicated they would compromise: seeking boy/girl content, they would bring Ivy to Costa Rica, but would still honor Veracruz’s standing as legitimate runner-up.
So, the model who paid a considerable cost in time and money to actually finish second in a model contest must defer to the model who finished at best out of the pack, because promoting your contract model overrides a fair vote in your own contest?? That would be outrageous enough in any form.

But even that "compromise" was apparently not good enough for MindGeek/NewTwistys, because...

That was everyone’s understanding until this morning — when the Twistys site saluted Aniston as Treat of the Year, and Ivy as runner-up.
 And to further emphasize MG/NewTwisty's sudden urge to send the "We make and remake the rules here, sluts" message:
And, in what appears to be a bit of proactive damage control, the link to the Twistys forum — which is overrun with complaints about the contest — was removed from the Twistys homepage.
Turns out, MG had arranged for Ivy's shoot in Costa Rica well in advance of even the TOTY vote; they even paid to fly her to the shoot location before making the announcement of Madison's "win". Apparently, the faux MENSAs who now run MG must have thought that Madison Ivy, who is legitimately popular and well honored as a performer, would get more than enough votes in any contest to win. But, when their lack of knowledge and familiarity with the history of Twistys and their glamcore legacy came back and bit them on their asses, they responded like most big conglomerates when faced with a rebellion from one of their subsidiaries: Crush it like a grape and reestablish your power...and then destroy the evidence.

The backlash has been predictably swift and deep. Vanessa Veracruz, the scorned and jilted rightful runnerup, is firing back at MG/NewTwistys with a #BoycottTwistys campaign, seconded by many of her sister models. Others, like Elle Alexandra, have fired their own volleys back, saying that they would never model ever again at that site. (In Alexandra's case, not by choice, since NewTwistys revoked and canceled her upcoming shoots following her complaints.)

NewTwistys' "So sorry, we are out of fucks to give; we run our own company and stay your asses out of our business" reaction certainly don't help defuse the situation, either. They managed to banish all critics -- including even some past TOTY participants and winners -- from their forum....and then, they even shut down the forum itself, claiming "ongoing maintenance". Riiiiight. Also, "TwistysRob" resigned his post in protest, and now operates his Twitter account under a new name.

This is exactly the kind of corporate idiocy and disrespect for the models/performers who create the content for companies like MindGeek and Twistys that allow the likes of Gail Dines (remember her??) and Shelley Lubben the tiny bit of legitimacy to slam the porn industry as a meat grinder. It's even more unfortunate because MindGeek/Manwin has actually done positive things for the industry through their contributions to the Free Speech Coalitions's PASS protocols, their support for improved talent STI testing, and their opposition to the condom mandate campaign.

Maybe it's time for a new Danni Ashe to emerge to show the Porn Industrial Complex how it should be done. I have my idea for who could step up to the plate....but that's only me.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gail Dines' Allies: Judith "Bat-Ada" Reisman Goes WingNut Daily Against AHF, Condom Mandate

[Originally posted to Red Garter Club Blog, condensed and edited for posting here.] 

There is a saying; Be careful of who you lie with, because you just might get bitten in the ass. Unless, of course, ass bites are one of your most cherished fetishes.

Remember the name "Judith Reisman"? She had recently joined forces with sister fundie Shelley Lubben in a You Tube video taped at a recent porn convention, where Shelley was actively trolling for new fresh recruits to scam for her Pink Cross faux ministry or ex-porn starlets.

Before then, "Dr." Reisman was well acclaimed as a crackpot right-wing "scholar" who focused her antiporn activism on the calamitous impact of porn on the synapses of its user through "erotoxins", as well as her usual crackpot opposition to any form of sexual activity not approvable to her Christian fundamentalist sensibiities.

You may also remember "Dr." Reisman from her legacy of going from being a script writer for the old-school children's TV show Captain Kangaroo (an eye-roller of its own, considering that Mr. Captain himself, Bob Keeshan, was a openly activist liberal) to becoming an antiporn "feminist" activist who blamed adult sexual speech for causing child sexual abuse, pedophilia, rape, and other degradations to women and children. In an essay that was posted to the 1970's antirape radicalfeminist anthem, Take Back The Night, she maligned the three founders of print porn media -- Playboy's Hugh Hefner, Penthouse's Bob Guccione, and HUSTLER's Larry Flynt, in no particular order, as "Hitler, Stalin, and Goebbels". She then parlayed that pub into an appearance giving testimony to the 1980's Meese Commission On Pornography, where she got to pontificate on the cosmic danger of Playboy pushing child porn to impressionable youth through its...cartoons.

So...how does this connect with Gail Dines?? Well, Reisman's "scholarship" on the negative impacts of porn has been used, reused, and used over and over again by Dines and her associates over at Stop Porn Culture to make their case for censorship of all sexually explicit material. Also, Shelley Lubben has often used Reisman as a go-to source for some of most classic rantage about the destructiveness of porn on those who perform it.

Even better than that, Dines and SPC have been more frequently using Reisman's "scholarship" as a means to unite the antiporn "feminist" and traditionalist Religious Right "obscenity" movements with the anti-sex work "abolitionists" in connecting porn and prostitution/escorting/oncall sexual services/sexual commerce as "sex trafficking".

Plus (and here's the kicker to all this), Dines has been attempting to glam her way into the debate over mandatory condoms in porn by positively citing the efforts of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to force performers to use condoms and other "barrier methods" as a means of containing an alleged STI/HIV "pandemic".

Never mind that the efforts of AHF come from a fundamentally different paradigm of making money off condom sales....ahhhh, I mean, protecting the jobs of crossover HIV+ performers who would be otherwise prevented from performing in the "straight" porn industry due to the current screening/testing regimen imposed by the Free Speech Coalition's PASS protocols. And, never mind that AHF's core constituency happens to be the very gay male community that has been truly wrecked by the HIV pandemic, albeit there is vast opposition even there to what some feel is AHF's hamfisted approach to selling condoms as "behavior modification", as opposed to treatment or development of a vaccine to cure HIV. To Gail Dines, anything that can be used to slam porn as "corporate capitalist" mass rape and abuse of women is a good thing.

Except, with Judith Reisman, she may have bit off just a bit too much.

Michael Whiteacre of The Real Porn Wikileaks alerted me to an article which ran today over at the very, very ultra right-wing site World Net Daily, which most folk would much prefer to call "WingNut Daily" due to its predisposition to the most bizarre conspiracy theories known to mankind. You know...Birth certificates? Madrassas? Agenda 21/ACORN? "Obama is a Muslim Socialist"??

Anyways..the article pretended itself to be an attack on the notion that condoms are the most effective means for gay male folk to protect themselves against STI's, including HIV/AIDS. It preferred the old tried-an-true method of gays giving up their nasty, sinful, disgusting "buggery" and coming home to Jesus Christ and the joys of heterosexual monogamy and procreative marriage..or facing the full brunt of criminalization through anti-sodomy laws. The article also called for good, God-fearing families of people suffering from HIV, and/or the relatives of people who actually succumbed to HIV/AIDS, to be able to file class action suits against "pro-gay" organizations for lying about the true nature of condoms failing to protect their users from contracting HIV.

Further, the WND article claimed that anal "sex" (yes, the fright quotes are included, because to the author of the piece, penises should never, ever attempt to even touch the tender anal passages of any other person, especially not another man) is not subject to the wonderful protection of more Godly acts like "natural" vaginal sex, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allegedly never approved the use of condoms for anal penetration.

The author's evidence for this?? Citations from a "study" from a right-wing Hawaiian state senator named Bob McDermott, attempting to oppose a sex education program in that state that was used by a whopping 12 schools, which called for the usage of condoms as a barrier protectant for PIV and anal penetration. That study took note of the disclaimer that the CDC had not endorsed the use of the original condoms for anal sex due to the risk of breakage and the inflexibility of anal passages.

A single line quote from Rep. McDermott condenses the point concisely:

“Genitals are sexual reproductive organs,” McDermott told EAGnews, “and the a– isn’t that.”

Don't you just love how fundie rightwingers are so quick with cursing, and just as quick with masking it?

The payoff paragraph in this is whom the author recommends to be sued:

A class action lawsuit by AIDS victims and their loved ones would rock the world – a suit based on the fact that condom pushers have for years dispensed false, deceptive claims about how the product protects – or fails to protect – the health of sex participants. The reality is that everyday condoms are manufactured and approved for natural, vaginal sex, not anal “sex” – they are not effectively designed to protect from disease those people who engage in sodomy.

Such a lawsuit should target the AIDS Heathcare Foundation, Planned Parenthood and a myriad of teachers and school systems, too many to count, that have taught that anal “sex” (traditionally termed “sodomy” or “buggery” under British-based legal codes) as not so different than natural coitus.

A right-wing antigay organization targeting AHF for representing HIV+ gay folk isn't really news, of course. Until you find out that the author of that piece happens to be.... (screenshot, please)

WingnutDailyReismanLede
[click on thumb to link to article]

Yup....you read right....THAT Judith Reisman. Gail Dines' go-to source for "feminist" analysis against porn. The artist formerly known as "Judith Bat-Ada" who was so trusted by radfems that she scored a essay in one of their classic anthologies. The one connection between the whacked-out Hard Right and the radfem antiporn "Left". THAT Judith Reisman.

And now, the same Judith Reisman who is now attempting to ride the wave of antiporn/anti-sexwork activism, and link it with the anti- "sex trafficking" and "porn addiction" movements, and bring her old-school historic antigay bigotry into the mix.

Gee...I wonder what Michael Weinstein would be thinking once he reads this? Or, the "radicallesbians" now totally committed to this "alliance"? Or, for that matter, Professor Dines herself, since she constantly rails about her movement being nicked falsely as palling around with reactionaries. Or...is World Net Daily now simply her newest ally in the fight against The Great Porn Capitalist Conspiracy, and any talk of a "progressive" antiporn "feminist" movement merely just a ruse to cover up the usual sex-hate against anything not linked to procreation or "mutual love"?

I suppose we will all have to see for ourselves, right??

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alexander S. Birkhold Flushes The Arguments For The Condom Mandate With Authority (Washington Univ. Law Review Legal Thesis)

This may be one of the best legal arguments against the condom mandate I've seen in quite a while.

Alexander S. Birkhold, originally a writer for the New York University School of Law, has written a thesis paper for the Washington University Law Review, in which he authoritatively debunks condom mandate laws such as Measure B and the Safe Sex In The Adult Industry Act as gross violations of the First Amendment protections of free speech and consensual sexual expression. Although his main focus is on the impact of such laws on gay bareback sexual acts, I don't doubt that straight/hetero sexual performers could benefit from his analysis as well.

Here's his paper, originally released by Washington University's Law Review as part of their free Law Commons series, and reposted by moi via Scribd.com.


Condom Mandate Update: CalOSHA "Landmark" Ruling In Treasure Island Media Case Seals The Debate On Condoms In Porn...Or, Doesn't.

Interesting event happened on Friday that might have some major bearing on the entire Condom Mandate battle in Los Angeles County....and beyond, even nationwide.

In 2009, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a grievance with CalOSHA against a San Francisco-based gay porn production studio, Treasure Island Media, in which they claimed that by not using condoms as part of their scenes, TIM was in violation of the "bloodborne pathogen" standard requiring the use of "barrier protection" in all scenes as a means of STI protection. Never mind that no one in any one of those scenes were found to be HIV- or STI-positive, or to have been infected with HIV or any other STI as a result of those scenes; the point was, according to AHF, to establish CalOSHA's power to impose the condom mandate at will against any porn production company statewide. CalOSHA had sanctioned TIM in Feburary of last year with two violations of the standard, to which TIM appealed to CalOSHA's built-in judicial appeal process.

Well...last Friday, CalOSHA Administrative Law Judge Mary Dryovage made her ruling on the case; siding with CalOSHA and upholding the sanctions against Treasure Island Media. In her ruling, she essentially rehashed the standard AHF propaganda points that condoms were the only true means of preventing disasterous outbreaks of STI's, and that porn performers absolutely must be regulated as "employees" for their own "protection", and have condoms forced on them for their own "good".

Naturally, AHF is crowing loud about this "landmark" decision, saying that it effectively ends the debate on condoms in porn by establishing CalOSHA's inevitable right to regulate bareback porn out of business. Here's AHF's spokesperson Ged Kenslea, riffing on, via proven AHF sycophant...errrrrrrrrr, LA Weekly regular columnist Dennis Romero:

AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea told us that one of the most important aspects of the ruling ...
 ... is its affirmation that performers are indeed employees due protection under under workplace safety rules. The group has long argued that federal law prohibiting exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as sperm at the workplace applies to California's adult performers.

The industry has said that porn stars are very part-time workers who paid per "scene" as independent contractors.

The ruling by Judge Mary Droyovage wrote that, without condoms, there is "substantial probability that employees would suffer serious exposure resulting in serious physical harm or death if violation occurred."

Kenslea said AHF's stance is that the ruling applies only to condom use and that it does not mandate dental dams, surgical masks, eye protection, gloves and other gear feared by the industry.

The case involved a "bareback" sex tape by Bay Area studio Treasure Island Media. The video featured multiple partners on film, none apparently using condoms. Treasure Island appealed Cal/OSHA's sanctions, leading to the ruling.

The AHF was "a catalyst for" the ruling, Kenslea said, because the case included a complaint from the organization. He said he was surprised the studio appealed.
The decision was also praised by yet another even more pro-AHF sycophant, former producer Mike South, who breathlessly repeated the same old AHF talking points that this all but clinched the condom debate....not to mention that not only could Cal-OSHA could set the rules regarding the condom mandate, but because their rules could be expanded nationwide by the federal OSHA, they could be enforced everywhere in the US. In other words, to rephrase AHF President Michael Weinstein's well quoted saying: "Whereever they go, we will follow them."

Case closed, then?? Ahhhhh....not quite.

There is another side of the story, of course, and The Real Porn Wikileaks just so happened to get Treasure Island Media's response to the ruling and subsequent barrage of BS from AHF.

For starters, they noted that while Judge Dryovage did sustain the original CalOSHA sanctions, she did significantly reduce the fines involved: totally eliminating the fine for one count (from $9,000 to $0); and reducing the fine for the other count from $9K to $6,300.

And secondly, they loudly announced that the principle of defending sexual freedom demanded that they further appeal the decision to an even higher court. Here's attorney Karen Tynan, who represents TIM, speaking via TRPWL:
[...] “Having the fines lowered by a total of nearly two-thirds is a very significant win for us,” said Karen Tynan, Treasure Island Media’s attorney.


Tynan went onto say, “We will be appealing the decision with a Petition for Reconsideration on the grounds that the decision was unsupported by the facts.” Among the issues regarding the sufficiency of evidence: Cal/OSHA’s star witness was a disgruntled former employee who had been terminated in 2010 and their medical expert was an osteopath (a branch of medical practice that emphasizes the treatment of medical disorders through the manipulation and massage of the bones, joints, and muscles.) who last treated communicable diseases almost twenty years ago.
Apparently, AHF went to the tried-and-true tactics of antiporn crusaders of yesteryear: the old "OMG...OMGOMGOMGOMG...the SHOCK AND HORROR of such disgusting, nasty, filthy buttsexin' goin on!!!" card.
At issue was The 1000 Load Fuck, directed by Morris. The 2009 video pushes the envelope, taking porn into taboo regions of the forbidden and depraved. In a bold and unprecedented experiment, one young man voluntarily takes a gallon of semen up his ass.

We watched the video over and over and over. Then we watched it in slow motion, reverse, and paused it on almost every frame,” said TIM General Manager Matt Mason, who testified for almost a day and a half and withstood hours of cross examination by Cal/OSHA attorney Kathryn Woods. “The state prosecutors took special interest in the turkey baster and the liquid fun in that scene.”
In effect, AHF used this movie the way antiporn prosecutors used Ira Issacs' alleged scat videos, or Gail Dines used "gonzo" porn: as a means of shocking and scaring and shaming "aberrant" sexual practices to illicit the usual response of anger and disgust and "There outta be a law against that!!!" meme. Or, in this case, "They better cover that up with a condom!!!"

It remains to be seen how the appeal process will resolve this case...or if this "landmark" decision really is the end of the line for bareback porn....although, I'm sure Isadore Hall and Michael Weinstein are already writing the speeches that Hall will use to integrate this ruling into their next legislative attempt to force Measure B statewide, or to aid CalOSHA to craft the ever evolving "bloodborne pathogen barrier protection" regs as a wedge to be imposed nationwide.

And, I'm just as sure that those who perform and enjoy bareback porn -- whether gay or straight or bi or whatever combination thereof -- will equally battle to defend their freedom and right to do so.

Either way, this isn't over, by any means. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Porn 101" -- The Remix: Adult Performer Advocacy Committee's MUST SEE Introductory Porn Video

[Personal note by Anthony: Yes, I know, it's been quite a while since I last posted here at BPPA...my night job combined with some sheer laziness on my part has contributed to that. I'm going to do my best to re-crank the posts here more often....and also add some more personal commentary rather than just recapping current porn events. Just be assured: BPPA isn't dead, by any means.]

Way, way, waaaaaaay back in the 1990's, when the LA porn industry was still more like the Wild Wild West in regards to its quasilegality and its means of protection, the idea of having an introductory video for people interesting in having sex on camera for pay might have seemed radical. Back then, though,  testing was still mostly a hit-or-miss proposition via the ELISA antibody test, and knowledge and education of the risks of live sex was spotty at best. That began to change after the 1998 "outbreak", where a performer was confirmed to have gotten infected with HIV (and faked his tests to hide that result); the Adult Industry Medical Foundation was founded soon afterwards, and DNA testing greatly improved the quality of protection. It also helped that AIM founder Sharon Mitchell got some of her best friend porn performer allies, including a well known performer at that time named Nina Hartley, to create a video and circulate it amongst budding ingenue performers. That video, titled "Porn 101", became the standard of that time for introducing newbies to the fruits and the hazards of being an adult entertainerHepa.

Flash forward to the current era...where testing is now worlds beyond even the heights of the 1990s, where the Internet and social media have both revolutionized and terrorized the porn industry, and where the rewards and risks for performing sexually explicit imagery have been amplified even more thanks to the added profit streams. Given all the drama of the past few years with piracy, STI/HIV panics, and the condom mandate, getting performers to speak in one unified voice and offer clearer and safer paths for noobies wanting in on the action is an even dauntier task than ever.

Which is exactly why the formation of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee couldn't have come at a better time.

APAC was originally the brainchild of performer/director Mick Blue and performer Anikka Albrite, who decided after the Great Hepatitis C and Cameron Bay/Rod Daily HIV scares of last year that it was time for performers to get together to represent themselves. Then they got two serious heavyweight high-profile performers, James Deen and Stoya, to join in and develop the core of the organization. From there...well, I'll just quote Mark Kernes' recent AVN article:
"APAC was basically formed by Anikka [Albrite] and me in my kitchen," explained veteran actor/director Mick Blue, "and then we brought James Deen and Stoya into it, and then the four of us started to build the APAC group, and Nina Hartley and all the others came to APAC later."
I should note that APAC is NOT related in any way to the group Adult Performers Coalition For Choice (APC4C), that was formed in the wake of Los Angeles County's Measure B campaign...though the two groups do share common goals.

As part of the process of organizing and educating performers, Blue hopped on the idea of updating that classic "Porn 101" video for the more modern era:

APAC has had several meeting[s] over the past few months, with one of its primary aims being the production of a new Porn 101 video. To that end, according to Blue, Kimberly Kane, Chanel Preston, Jessica Drake, Anikka Albrite and Danny Wylde met as a group to create a script for the project.

"One of the things I want to make very clear is that APAC as a group is responsible for the things APAC does," Blue said. "Kimberly Kane, Jessica Drake and Nina Hartley, they basically thought about doing another Porn 101 many years ago, but it never happened. Then, after the first Hepatitis C moratorium came up last year, followed by the first HIV moratorium, Anikka Albrite and me said, 'We need to make a change now to the industry,' so I started calling people and said, 'Okay, guys, we need to get together; we need to make a change. We need to form a performers' group where we can create a voice for performers, and speak, for example, to the producers and also Free Speech [Coalition] about moratoriums and so on.' When we shot the Porn 101 video, we invited other people to speak in front of the camera. It's now on YouTube."
To say that the Porn 101 remix is impressive is an understatement. Check out the cast:
And it's a hell of a cast. Besides Blue and Albrite, appearing in Porn 101, in no particular order, are Jessica Drake, Nina Hartley, James Deen, Danny Wylde, Stoya, Kimberly Kane, Kylie Ireland, Chanel Preston, Asa Akira, Kelly Shibari, Dani Daniels, Nyomi Banxxx, Bonnie Rotten, Penny Pax, Jon Jon, Casey Calvert, Toni Ribas, April Flores, Wolf Hudson, Xander Corvus, Ryan Driller, Claire Robbins, Chloe Foster, Jay Taylor, Alina Li, Zak Sabbath and Mandy Morbid—many of whom are also members of APAC.

"For us, it's all about the need to make our industry safer and to explain to people that are working in the industry that they have responsibilities to all the other people they work with," Blue said. "It's like explaining to them, 'Look, you need to watch out what you do in your private life because everything you do in your private life can put everybody who is in the industry who is working with you in danger as well, as we've seen in the past three moratoriums.' So we hope that through this video, people are going to get a better idea about our industry and about their responsibilities and also about their own bodies and their own safety regarding agents, producers and so on."
Kernes' article does a much better job of summarizing all the goodness of this video; feel free to go to his article. I'd rather just let you watch for yourself. So, with full thanks and appreciation to APAC for their permission to repost: here you go, folks. (Original here, via YouTube, props also to Kinky.com)




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Well done and done well, gang!!!