Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Michael Weinstein Is Now Officially Off His Rocker

It seems that getting his ass handed to him by the California authorities regarding his crusade to force mandatory condom usage onto the LA porn industry is not making AIDS Heath Care Foundation chief spokesman Michael Weinstein a happy camper these days.  Now, he wants a higher authority to swoop in and give him what he has been denied in, the federal US Department of Health and Human Services.

Today, a cover letter using AHCF stationary was released to the public; the letter was sent simultaneously to the offices of the HHS, the California state Health Office, and the California state Health Inspector. (Strangely enough, it wasn't sent to Cal-OSHA.) The full letter was posted to the blog; but here's a partial screen grab of its main contents (blown up for clarity).

Oh, really, Mr. Weinstein???  Do you really think that we don't read through this bullshit??

Ernest can take apart this nonsense far more ablely than I ever could..but even I can smell the crap coming from where I am.

That "AIM releases confidential medical information to anyone without their consent" meme?? Yeah, right. First of all, AIM is required BY LAW to reveal positive tests for HIV/AIDS to the effective political and health care jurisdictions...there is no option for refusing to violate the law.

What AIM is NOT required to do is to reveal ALL medical information about the contacts of a person found to have been tested positive in their testing regimen, unless the courts demand such an action.  Gee..wasn't that exactly what Weinstein actually wanted Cal-OSHA and the LA Health Care authorities to do regarding "Patient Zero" and her contacts?? Unfortunately for Weinstein, that was shut down by the local courts.

It's breathtakinly funny -- actually, not really -- that Weinstein tries to place himself as a protector of the "rights of the performers", when his main mission is to deny them their freedom of choice regarding whether or not they want to perform with condoms or not.

And, oh, goodness...a company requires mandatory drug testing as a prerequisite of employment, and uses the results to determine employment. WOW, as if only porn companies were doing that in the name of discriminating against drug users. I figure that Weinstein would be equally opposed to megacorporations like Walmart drug-testing their associates-to-be and not employing those testing positive?? Or, does he think that mandating condoms would preclude that, too???

Madness.  Just plain sheer madness.

UPDATE: now has a story up at their website on the Weinstein letter.


  1. Nothing if not tenacious in his pursuit of publicity, not to mention funding, is the relentless Mr. Weinstein. No matter how many doors get slammed in his face, he always finds a new one to knock on with his hat in his hand.

    I wouldn't look to the feds for much help on this deal myself. First of all, they have no jurisdiction in the regulation of local medical facilities until an action is brought in federal court, to which this may be some kind of prelim, but that costs a lot of money and I'm pretty sure the federal bench here will refer consideration of any such claim right back to the courts that have already given Weinstein and his pals the boot.

    I too find it amusing that, having failed to gain traction in what has clearly become a personal vendetta against AIM with his earlier attempts, and those of his pals at Cal-OSHA, to undermine AIM's credibility with its client base by trying to force AIM to divulge confidential client information, he now wants to hammer AIM for violating medical privacy laws. That's rich.

    And it's also lame, because the AIM release has been exhaustively vetted under both state and federal laws by attorneys who specialize in medical privacy issues. This was done in the wake of the events of 2004, when the privacy question was raised in the porn community, and I'm about as confident that the current release will withstand any court test as I am that the sun will come up in the east tomorrow. Good luck, Mike, but this one's a total Hail Mary with no shot at all. We've been ready for it for half a dozen years.

    And I love to hear the monopoly charge coming from this source, since it has such delightful past associations, namely marginal "talent agents" wanting to establish for-profit clinics to which they could funnel their clients in what would have amounted to a kick-back scheme rife with the potential for abuse. But Mr. Weinstein cares so deeply for the welfare of performers as we all know.

    That's why his organization argues that no medical privacy issues would even exist in porn if everyone were compelled to use condoms. This is AHF's clearest admission yet that it doesn't care if mandatory condom use would lead to the abolition of testing. AHF's agenda has always been built on the abolition of testing in favor of required barriers, a strategy which we know does not work and increases the real risks to performers exponentially.

    The good news here, if there is any, is that this latest broadside is clearly an act of desperation intended to breathe some life into a campaign that is clearly dead at the scene. AHF can't get its way in local or state courts, so it goes after the feds, who aren't likely to touch this whole mess with a barge pole. HHS has many better things to do than leap at the bidding of an advocacy group obviously attempting to federalize a local beef clearly driven by a personal grudge.

    Of course, if he annoys them enough, somebody might care to take a look at AHF's tax-exempt status. If you check the non-partisan charity rating site, you'll find that AHF's Out of the Closet thrift stores get a one-star rating. Why? Perhaps it's because fund raising and administrative expenses eat up about 80 cents of every dollar the stores collect, though their executive director still manages to pull down a couple of hundred thousand bucks a year for himself. With total revenues pushing 17 million dollars annually, O.O.T.C. isn't exactly hurting for money, but some of the recipients of its largess clearly are.

    Care to throw any more stones, Mike? Might want to move out of that glass palace first.

  2. I'm not sure if anybody saw this story from last month, but Weinstein is also going after producers in Florida. Presumably as a way of pre-empting threat to go out of California. Now word on whether that campaign has any more legs than his California one.

  3. Considering this latest story that Ernest just posted here, I'd say that he's more interested in establishing his own monopoly so that he can impose his "condom only" edicts everywhere.


  4. As this thing unfolds it becomes ever more obvious that it isn't about condoms at all, or even about porn. Weinstein has seized on this controversy as a means of expanding his highly profitable empire.

    What he really wants, as this bullshit makes clear, is to take over AIM's gig for AHF and use whatever political mojo he seems to think he has to create a single condom-only standard on both gay and straight porn, with whatever testing (probably ELISA) he can get the state to accept under the new limitations on medical privacy protections his proposed legislation would impose. At the risk of undoing AHF's successful campaign to guarantee HIV+ workers that they won't be subject to employment discrimination based on their immune status, he's trying to open a loop-hole for porn that would allow disclosure of test results in our industry through AHF.

    Of course, big healthcare providers and other industries that have bridled on the prohibition against demanding HIV tests for potential employees in potentially high-risk fields are likely to use this exception, if one is made, as a precedent to dismantle the very anti-discrimination laws AHF fought to put in place.

    Clearly, Weinstein sees enough potential profit in this gambit to turn on his own primary client base in order to achieve it.

    I don't think it's going to work and I'm pretty sure he's going to run into some major push-back from his own supporters for trying it.

    And someone really needs to explain to him that there really isn't any money to be squeezed out of the porn community for AHF's "services" at this point. AIM barely kept the lights on when things were good and they were running 40 tests a day. Now it's down to about half that and costs have just about doubled over the past five years.

    Do the math, Mike. Stick to the rag trade where you're already making much more than you'll ever pull down from this thing.