Well....it seems that either AHF has either plenty of deep pockets and too much time on their hands, or they take defeat not too kindly. After being blocked by the California Appelate Court from their attempt to force the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) to issue directives forcing porn shoots to impose mandatory condoms and barrier protections on LA porn performers and producers, Michael Weinstein's group has now decided to appeal directly to the California Supreme Court to force the issue once and for all.
Michael Whiteacre posted a comment to my previous post regarding the appelate court ruling, which stated that the courts could not induce LACDPH to any one method of intervention or prevention because the regulations were more like guidelines allowing for a wide latitude of options and not forcing any one option on regulations.
Needless to say, AHF begs to differ...and in their official press release announcing their decision to appeal the three judge panel ruling, they mince no words about how they feel.
Some quotes from their press statement:
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In response to the dismissal late last week by California’s Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, of an appeal (Case No. #B222979) by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) of an AHF legal action which sought a writ of mandate compelling Los Angeles County to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, in the adult film industry, AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced that it will file a petition for review with the Supreme Court of California.
“The agency’s inaction continues to needlessly place thousands of people at risk of disease.”The AHF legal action was first filed in July 2009 in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (Case No. BS121665). Through it, AHF sought a writ of mandate, “…compelling the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to discharge its ministerial and non-discretionary statutory duty to combat an acknowledged epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases stemming from production of hardcore pornography in Los Angeles County.”
AHF filed the initial lawsuit after exhausting all other methods to compel the County to fulfill its obligation to protect the public’s health in the wake of a June 2009 revelation that an actress working in the adult film business had tested positive for HIV. At that time, AHF had urged the County to better monitor HIV and STD prevention in the region’s adult film industry—and require condom use, as required under state statute—or to shut down porn sets.
Of course, the supposed "outbreaks" of 2009 and 2010 resulted in only two performers (and a possible third) actually getting infected with HIV ("Patient Zeta" in 2009, who more than likely skipped testing herself; and Derrick Burts, who still claims he got infected through a crossover gay male shoot in which condoms were actually involved)...so other than the usual hyperbole of exploiting a moral panic for personal advantage, it does beg the question why Weinstein is so gung ho on forcing LADPH to impose his personal dictates.
And as for the supposed "epidemic" of STI's in adult (as if the civilian sector in Cali isn't drowning in STI's on its own)...well, we have The Mayer Report to undercut that nonsense.
Even better than they hyperbolic rhetoric, though, is that AHF simply resets the same tired propaganda points that have been well disproven and debunked. Ergo:
Since the June 2009 reporting of that particular HIV outbreak in the adult industry—and subsequent reports by the LA Times that as many as 22 porn performers may have tested positive in the previous five years—no action has been taken by the County to halt the spread of STDs on LA porn sets or to conduct the proper and legally required public health follow-up with those thought to be infected.Riiight...never mind that the "22 HIV porn infections in 5 years" meme has already been debunked readily (16 were from gay male performers having nothing to do with the straight LA porn market, 4 were non-perforer private citizens using the testing of now defunct AIM, and the other 2 were the two cases in 2009 and 2010 cited..and even that number didn't include the 4 performers infected in the Darren James/Lara Roxx et. al. outbreak of 2004). And, not to mention that the aformentioned Mayer Report revealed the hogwash methodology and cooked-up science that deliberately inflated infections in porn performers as compared to the general population. Why let the truth get in the way of a good antiporn sex panic??
“We will vigorously pursue this legal avenue with the California Supreme Court in order to try to compel LA County Health officials to safeguard the health and wellbeing of those working in the adult film industry in California,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “As an HIV and STD medical provider, it is our obligation to continue to pursue action on this issue, which goes beyond the recent HIV outbreaks and includes an epidemic of thousands of STD cases in the porn industry annually—an epidemic virtually ignored by the County Department of Public Health. County officials and porn producers should know we will not stop our efforts to protect the public health and will continue to fight the STD epidemic in the adult film industry.”
And, WHOA....what a bitchslap Weinstein levels at LACDPH..as if they have done absolutely nothing to support or even collude in AHF's efforts to take over performer testing and treatment and profit off condom sales....errrrrrr, protect the performers from themselves?Whatever happened to the love for Robert Kim-Farley and Peter Kerndt, who offered much of the bad information that Weinstein uses for his crusade?? Is he that much of a meglomaniac that he can't trust performers to protect themselves..or is this just one more means for him to shake down the industry for his own profits, or simply get them booted out of Cali for good?
The Free Speech Coalition blog has posted a solid rejoinder to Weinstein's announcement, and it packs a punch in debunking all of the arguments for appeal. Some snippage:
Of course, AHF’s agenda is enforcing mandatory condoms and other barrier protection in the adult industry – because apparently there are not enough legitimate issues facing those affected with HIV/AIDS or populations at risk for HIV infection. Apparently, all of AHF’s attention can now be focused on policing the adult performer population numbering, perhaps, 1,500 people.I'm betting that this gets laughed out of the California Supreme Court on sight.
Never mind that the adult production industry has successfully self-regulated the safety of its performers with monthly STI testing since 1998. The testing protocol instated by the now-defunct Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) clinic efficiently prevented HIV-positive individuals from entering the business, and also effectively limited the spread of infection when active performers tested positive in 2004, 2009 and 2010. AIM also served the sexual health needs of other high-risk populations not involved in adult production.
Never mind that another lawsuit, and numerous complaints filed by AHF were instrumental in contributing to the “financial hardships” that finally destroyed AIM.
Never mind that statistical information on STI rates for adult performers, presented by public health officials, has been described as inaccurate and “without basis in science” in a report commissioned by FSC, written by prominent epidemiologist and biostatistician Dr. Lawrence Mayer. That report was entered into record at the June 7 Cal/OSHA meeting, attended by scores of adult performers that wanted their voices heard in a regulatory process that will impact them the most. And never mind that AHF - not performers – has filed workplace safety violation complaints against adult production companies and agents, forcing Cal/OSHA into action.
Never mind that AHF keeps on quoting what they now must know to be inaccurate information; as in its press release, that “as many as 22 porn performers have tested positive in the last five years,” when in fact, the LA Times published that health officials retracted their findings concerning the number of performers that tested positive for HIV. And according to Dr. Mayer’s report, the stats that AHF quotes (as analyzed by LA County Public Health) on Chlamydia and gonorrhea in the performer population ALSO are wildly inaccurate.
And while AHF is busy playing nanny to adult industry performers and the public at large, did you know that a recent study shows that the highest rate of increase in HIV infection in the nation is affecting Asians and Pacific Islanders? When was the last time that we saw an Asian on an AHF billboard, or AHF launching media outreach to that community?
Did you know that HIV rates for gay and bisexual men in California may have been dropping steadily since the mid-2000s, and this may be due to improved treatments for HIV? AHF provides valuable resources for those living with HIV and should continue to do so – at the same time, taking responsibility for the education of at-risk populations about safe sex. But adult performers – who test 12 times a year or more – are making an informed choice about their health and the work they do; how many average citizens are tested for STIs, even just once?