Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Porn Panic 2011: Derek Burts -- From Rentboy To Crossover HIV+ Victim...To Anti-Gay Double Agent??? (OR:When Mike Weinstein and Bryan Fischer Are In Sync, We Have A BIG Problem)

Oh, but you are so NOT going to believe what I am about to type here. As crazy as the latest porn scare is, the stuff I just discovered is going to blow things up to the level of insanity. It's kind of convoluted, so bear with me.

Bryan Fischer is the chief spokeperson for the American Family Association, which is one of the oldest and loudest "Christian Conservative" lobbying groups in this country. You may remember the AFA when it was formerly known as the National Federation for Decency, and its head honcho was a gruffy old Mississippi Baptist preacher named Don Wildmon, and they were in the 80's one of the main leaders of the 1980's war against "ungodly" sex. From abortion to homosexuality to pornography to "promiscuity" to just plain adultery, there was no sexual sin that they wouldn't attempt to uncover and severely punish...all in the name of salvation through Jesus, of course.

When Don Wildmon passed from this earth a few years ago, the family syndicate was passed on to his son Tim, who also appears from time to time...but these days, its Bryan Fischer who is the main mouthpiece for AFA these days. To that end, he has his own online radio talk show (to match the over-the-air radio show he does for the Family Values Radio Network and Christian Right talk radio daily) where he discusses the issues of the day from his own American Christian Taliban perspective.

Usually his show consists of varying shades or the usual wingnutter talking points: Barack Obama is a socialist Marxist Muslim Kenyan who faked his birth certificate; "Communist" Russia and "Communist China" are out to bury us, Government not redeemed by Christian Right values is illegitimate and must be abolished; the Founding Fathers of our country were rock-ribbed Christians who wanted a "Christian Nation" (their Deism and secularism not withstanding), and so on ad nauseum.

Their main obsession of the moment, however, is sexuality...and homosexuality in particular. To folks like Fischer, "sexual deviancy" (meaning, any form of sexual expression or act not intended to make lots and lots of babies for Jesus within a Biblically approved marriage) is at the heart of homosexuality, abortion, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, and all other forms of what he considers to be "sexual sin"...and their practioners need at least to be punished severely for their heresy and deviance from the Godly order...or, at its most extreme, simply killed.

Which brings me to one of Bryan Fischer's latest online programs that he streamed for the AFA's website, titled "Sexual Deviancy Welcomed In U. S. Army".

(I hear 'ya thinkin', Clones..."What the hell does this have to do with the porn scare, 'Dog??" Hang with me, folks....I'm getting there.)

Anyways, the original background for this particular program was the upcoming finalization of the 60 day cooling period when the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy preventing homosexuals from openly serving in the military would finally expire, and gay men, lesbian, and bisexual folk would be free to enlist and serve in our Armed Forces free of public persecution and dismissal merely for their private sexual preference. For most average folk, this is a grand step forward for equality and justice, since performance of the job should be the principal criteria for a soldier's effectiveness, not his private sex life. (Besides, it's not as if the military is bending over backwards to purge itself of hetero adulterers or divorcees, you know.)

But to people like Fischer, it is a grave and destructive step backwards, simply because it means, in his mind and that of likeminded homophobes, that gay men wielding their leather ass chaps and rock-hard dicks and Anal-Eze will be fully able to seduce and buttfuck impressionable young recruits into the evil and Satanic "homosexual lifestyle", thusly destroying morale and the will of Americans to fight and kill and torture and even die for the glory of God and their country.

And so, Fischer dedicated this program to how decent, Far Right-believing Christians can fight back for decency and morality.

The first portion is the usual talking points about fear of gay stalkers in the showers and sex in the foxholes, and talk of a protest on the day that DADT is scheduled to officially expire.

In the middle portion, though, it gets real interesting.

Unfortunately, it's streaming video, so I can't capture and embed it; you will have to go over to the AFA website to view the clip and see for yourself. But, here's the abridged version.

Fischer goes on to describe how he thinks homosexuals should be punished for their public "deviancy" and then announces that for his "Liberal News Tweak of the Day", he will use "an activist gay male porn star" to dictate what he feels should be the proper law against public homosexuality. He then quotes directly from an activist gay performer who happens to be HIV+ who had openly called for fines and even jail sentences for any gay man who has sex in porn without using a condom. Fischer, of course, extends that sanction to include not only all gay men in general, but also any one, gay, straight, or bi, outside of marriage.

But the real kicker is in the gay porn star he quotes to support his position. Three guesses, Clones.

Try....Derek Burts.

DEREK BURTS?!?!? Not that Derek Burts, alias Cameron Reid?? The one who was the Patient Zero of last year's HIV scare? The one who openly boasted of being proud of being both a crossover gay performer AND an escort for Rentboy.com? The one who claimed that AIM had dissed him after he got infected, and sought treatment from them, and then got himself on AHF's payroll?? The one who even boasted that the scene where he apparently got infected was a condom scene in which his partner took of the condom at the end and blew out on his butthole, causing the infected spooge to enter via the anal cavity?? THAT Derek Burts??

Yup...that's your man.

In fact, Fischer was so confident in using Burts as the perfect example of the kind of gay male porn role model for Christian bashing that he followed his show up with a post on the official AFA blog, Rightly Conserned, where he liberally (no pun) quotes both Derrick Burts and Michael Weinstein, as well as their LA condom mandate ordinance, which would call for huge fines for porn companies not mandating condoms in all shoots. Of course, Burts and Weinstein are more concerned about protecting performers (or so they say), while Fischer is all about banning gay sex (and non marital non procreative hetero sex)....but you can see the shared vision of deep sexual fascism and sexual repression in both.

Here's how Fischer attempted to get on Weinstein and Burts' good side:


A gay porn actor is way ahead of me, but I’m all caught up now. He wants to fine people who don’t use a condom when they have gay sex.

Now he wants to restrict the fine to people in the porn industry, but why stop there? If contracting HIV/AIDS is the threat to human health he says it is, why shouldn’t we try to protect everybody?

Derek Burts is an actor in both straight and gay porn films, and shut down the porn industry late last fall when he tested positive for HIV, which he says he almost certainly contracted while filming gay sex scenes.

Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, another sex performer has been diagnosed with HIV, and once again the porn industry has been temporarily shuttered.

Burts and others are now collecting signatures for a ballot initiative sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which, if passed by voters in 2012, will require all performers in adult films shot in L.A. to wear condoms during filming, whether the sex is gay or straight. The only standards in place right now are strictly voluntary, and ask performers to be tested every 30 days.

The president of the foundation, one Michael Weinstein, says that not requiring gay porn actors to wear condoms shows “outrageous disregard for the health and safety of performers and the community at large.” So he too admits that gay sex is an enormous threat to public health, and that the threat is community-wide. In other words, he’s saying that homosexual sex, indeed random sex in general, is not a victimless crime. I couldn’t agree more. I feel like I’m listening to myself here.

[...]


Now if condoms are going to be required in filming gay sex scenes, then there must be some penalty for failing to do so. I was unable to find out exactly what the proposed penalty is, but I’m assuming it’s in the nature of a fine.

What I’m suggesting is that we enact ordinances in city after city and laws in state after state that mandate that same exact penalty - whatever penalty gay activists think is appropriate - for unprotected homosexual sex. Hey, if it’s good enough for porn stars, it should be good enough for the average gay man on the street.

And if someone wants to extend that same penalty to unmarried straights who have sex, who am I to complain?

Why should we only care about the health of those who get paid $1000 to $2000 for filming a sex scene and not care about the little people who have gay sex in public bathrooms for free?

Of course, this is just the place to begin, but it is a first step in de-normalizing and de-legitimizing homosexual sex. And the beauty here is that we would be following the lead of homosexual activists. We ought to take their advice in the simple interest of human health and out of concern for future possible HIV victims.

So oddly, I find myself in the same corner on this issue as gay porn stars. I’m willing to take their suggestion and apply it not just in L.A. but nationwide and not just for people who get paid to have sex but for every gay sex partner in the land. It’s not all we can do, but it’s the least we can do.
Anyone wants to do an over-under on how long it will take for Ministress Lubben to appear on Fischer's show?? I'd give it about 2 weeks.

More importantly, what does that say about Mike Weinstein's fervent denials that he's not a right-winger or in any way associated with right-wingers who are dedicated to destroying everything related and not about porn, and that AHF is only and solely concerned with the safety and health of the performers?? Will he and his newly founded asstroturf group FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility) come out and directly repudiate Mr. Fischer and all other open homophobes and erotophobes and fascists? And how in the hell can a man who still sells bareback gay male porn at his thrift stores feel fit to fellow travel with some of the most toxic racist/sexist/homophobic/fundamentalist Right people around?

I suspect only two motives...either Mike Weinstein and Derek Burts and the rest of AHF are really right-wing double agents playing the "liberal" good cop to the "conservative" AFA bad cop scheme to wipe out porn and sexual expression a bit at a time; or they're all motivated more by the golden showers of cold hard cash that can be gotten by exploiting sex hate and shoving condoms down performers' throats.

Then again, we've already seen with such "liberals" like Mike Weinstein and Gail Dines that political consistency always tends to be flexible based on the amount of dollar bills thrown at them. Why should this be any different for them?

Once again, this is why faux liberalism, like faux ho's, should be taken very seriously. What you see might not be exactly what you ultimately get...and beware of men and women hiding behind curtains with really big microphones and bells and whistles.

Porn Panic 2011: FSC/APHSS Responds To AHF Smear Campaign

It didn't take long for the Free Speech Coalition to respond to the accusations spewed forth by Mike Weinstein of AHF at his presser today. Here's their response, as posted over at AVN.com (and at XBiz.com and LukeIsBack.com as well).


CANOGA PARK, Calif.The following announcement by the Free Speech Coalition was issued Wednesday afternoon and is reprinted in its entirety:

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has been falsely accused by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), of obstructing a medical investigation by Los Angeles County Public Health (LACPH), in regards to the latest incidence of the possible HIV exposure of an adult industry performer in a press release issued by AHF today.

FSC, the adult industry trade association, would like to make clear that this accusation is completely false and that is appallingly irresponsible for AHF to accuse any adult industry members of wrong-doing without any basis in actual fact.

Official statements made today by AHF President Michael Weinstein at an AHF press conference are false and seemingly based on rumor and innuendo gathered from unreliable sources.

During that press conference, Weinstein also falsely accused FSC of witholding information from public health authorities.

FSC has received no contact from LACPH, out-of-state health officials, or AHF.

“This is another prime example of AHF and its President Michael Weinstein’s outrageous grandstanding, which is completely false and baseless,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke. “AHF has a history of spreading misinformation in order to further their agenda to force government regulation of sexual behavior. Apparently, Mr. Weinstein will stop at nothing, including spreading false information, in order to call attention to AHF’s agenda.”

To FSC’s knowledge, there is no investigation being conducted by LACPH at this time. It is impossible for FSC to obstruct an investigation that, evidently, does not exist. In the event that FSC were to be contacted by authorities from LACPH or elswehere, it would endeavor to cooperate fully, while still protecting the rights of any individuals to medical privacy.

It should also be made clear that at this time FSC does not have authorized information confirming that a performer or any performers have tested positive for HIV. However, after reports received on Saturday were corroborated by various sources, there was enough serious concern regarding the possible infection for FSC to call a moratorium on production.

It also should be noted that the possible infection took place outside of California, and there is nothing to suggest that the Los Angeles adult production industry has been affected by any possible infections. However, adult production companies in Los Angeles have voluntarily agreed to the moratorium in order to eliminate the potential for exposure.

Also, the possible exposure and subsequent events took place outside of the APHSS.org database program and therefore, outside of the authority of FSC to implement industry exposure protocols. However, FSC has reached out to concerned parties and is providing assistance.

The APHSS.org database program was developed in order to fill the gap left by the closure of Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) that, since 1998, had been the primary testing facility for adult performers. AIM was closed in May, largely due to financial pressure brought on by relentless litigation waged against them by AHF. FSC administers the APHSS.org program, which was launched on August 1, and still in the process of organizing producers, agents and performers for participation in the program.

“AHF’s campaign for mandatory condoms has done nothing but create controversy and, with the closure of AIM, has deprived the adult industry of an important health and safety resource,” Duke continued. “The industry has successfully self-regulated since 1998, due to AIM and the cooperation of the content production industry nationwide. However, without a similar system in place, the issue of industry protocols not being followed by separate testing facilities presents substantial difficulties for maintaining health and safety standards.”

FSC also has consulted with legal advisers in order to issue a demand for an immediate retraction from AHF.


Porn Panic 2011 -- The Series Continues: AHF Ratches Up The BS Propaganda Machine To Full Blast, Calls For Federal Investigation of Brazzers And Dings FSC/APHSS For "Stonewalling"

Oh, but Mike Weinstein's through fooling around now...he's getting real serious.

Get a load of this press release AHF just posted to Business Wire.com this afternoon. If only President Obama could be this aggessive.


HIV Porn Case: AHF to File Complaints with Federal & FL Health Officials against Producers

LOS ANGELES, Aug 31, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --AHF officials will submit a health and safety complaint under Florida 'Sanitary Nuisance' statutes against Brazzers, the production company involved in the latest HIV case in the adult film industry; industry sources say male performer involved had worked directly with as many as a dozen female performers

--Group also will call on the Free Speech Coalition to "stop obstructing the investigation in Los Angeles County and provide necessary information to health authorities" and will call on Los Angeles City officials to suspend all new film permits for adult films
Never mind that there hasn't even been a verification of even ONE performer testing positive for HIV, or the fact that the producer involved with the alleged "Patient Zero" has formally and publically denied that he had allowed that performer to do the shoot off a positive-confirmed test (the director said that in fact, the test was negative), and that no confirmation of any other performer being infected has been found or even any first- or second-generation confirmation tests done. When there's propaganda to be done, the truth is a natural distraction.

Actually, for AHF, the truth is more like a roll of Charmin tissue. To wit:

In response to the latest reported HIV case in the adult film industry--thought to be the 23rd industry-related HIV case since 2004--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host a press teleconference today, Wednesday, August 31st at 2:00 PM Pacific Time to announce the filing of a 'sanitary nuisance' health complaint with the Florida Department of Health and a similar letter of complaint with federal OSHA officials against Brazzers, the Florida-based adult film production company widely reported as the company where the infected performer was employed. Industry sources say the male performer involved had worked directly--and without condoms--with as many as a dozen female performers.
Ahh...let's count the lies, shall we??

First, you have the old and tired "23 performers contracting HIV in porn since 2004" meme....which seems quite drastic. Seems, that is....until you go "inside the numbers" and find out that only 4 of those cases involved :straight" heterosexual porn performers, and NONE of them were infected directly on set. (And the only questionable one, Derrick Burts of last year, even publically stated that he was infected in a gay scene...which included a condom.) 4 were private citizens using the services of then AIM for their own purposes, and  the remainders were gay male porn performers...where a fundamentally different system of less testing (and CONDOMS, TOO!!!!) was being used. Even the LA Times, who is mostly sympathetic to the condom mandate cause, was smart enough to retract that stat...but Weinstein never let such things get in his way before, now hasn't he??

And then there is the "male performer working without condoms" libel...as if it's Brazzers' fault that the performer, if he did in fact get infected, was able to continue to shoot scenes with women. Remember that the performer was working off a negative test, albeit one that wasn't from a testing facility that had gotten under the umbrella of the Free Speech Coalition's APHSS program because the latter has only gotten started this past month.

Of course, the reason why APHSS was needed in the first place was because the older regimen that had been put in place by the earlier group AIM was shattered when AIM was put out of business...largely thanks to the hard work of AHF and  Cal/OSHA's nuisance suits against them. Gee..ya think that would turn out well, Mike??

"When will it end? This is yet another suspected case of HIV infection in the adult film industry. Given the wide reports, and given that Brazzers affirmatively states they do not use condoms--a violation of both state and federal health statutes--it makes sense to investigate them in the hopes of putting an end to further infections," said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We are filing these complaints with Florida health officials and federal OSHA officials to prompt industry compliance with employee health and safety regulations and to spur proper and thorough public health investigations of this reported incident. In addition, we are calling on the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry-sponsored advocacy group, to stop obstructing the investigation of this incident in Los Angeles County and provide all of the necessary information to public health authorities. FSC is an advocacy group, they are not authorized to do these health investigations, and they are not qualified. The pattern of non-cooperation that has characterized the industry and led to the current situation is continuing. It is the responsibility of Los Angeles County, which has not issued any statement to this point, to demand cooperation from the adult industry. Even though the initial exposure took place in Florida, the shutdown in LA constitutes a major public health event under the law. We are also reaffirming our call on the City of Los Angeles to stop issuing new permits."

Excuse me a moment while I go through this laughing spasm.

Wait..there are FEDERAL health statutes out there that require all porn performers to use condoms??  Really, Mike?? So, what about all those damn bareback gay videos that you were selling in your Florida thrift stores recently?? Are you going to be filing federal and state complaints against those companies, too??

And this attempt at intimidating the FSC?? WOW. For an organization who has the full colluding support of the LA County health officials and Cal/OSHA, and who was able to bribe...errrrrrrrrrrrr, persuade four LA city councilmen to attempt to browbeat the LA City Attorney to force the LA film board to cancel all porn film permits until they go condom only, AND when stoned by the Attorney himself,  go over his head to the California Supreme Court to get their way, to attempt to smack down FSC for "stonewalling", is chutzpah to the extreme. But to call FSC an "advocacy group" and "not qualified", and to turn the voluntary step of suspending production until all the testing is done as a "major public health event" and call for the total abolishment?? These jackals are making the words "hypocrisy"  and "projection" into the understatements of the millenium...and we haven't even gotten through the second decade yet!!!

Oh, and unless Weinstein is pulling laws out of his ass as usual, I want anyone reading this to look deep into the Florida legal code and cite for me any sort of regulations where sites like Brazzers (or other home grown adult websites based in Florida) are mandated to use condoms for all of their scenes.

And also...someone please remind Mikey that organizations in California cannot be held resposible for acts of unrelated companies in Florida??

It should also be noted that none of the female performers who would potentially be affected have shot any content in California, and that the moratorium for all porn production is a voluntary preventative measure designed to protect everyone from accidental exposure while the whole situation is sorted out.  Of course, the reason Weinstein wants to make it permanent is to totally break the industry so that AHF and Cal/OSHA can take over and impose his favored condom mandate plus pre-1994 testing regime...the very regime that led to umpteempt outbreaks in the past, when performers could buy and rig tests like derivatives.

One last thing, Mikey: THERE IS NO LOS ANGELES COUNTY INVESTIGATION ONGOING, BECAUSE THIS IS STRICTLY A FLORIDA SITUATION. You might want to recheck your sources on that one.


The Free Speech Coalition (FSC)--which has fiercely opposed condom use in adult films--reported over the weekend that yet another adult film performer has tested HIV positive, and as a result, the industry group itself called for a moratorium on all adult film production, "...until possible first and second-generation exposures have been identified." Sources within the adult industry also said the performer is thought to be a male and had worked directly with as many as a dozen female performers, who in turn worked with scores of other performers.

The most direct response to this particular Big Dam Lie is in two words: BULL. SHIT.

The more stacid response, though, is to simply point out that nowhere does FSC or APHSS ever call for an end to condom usage, nor do they even come close to advocating that performers who choose to use or wish their shooting partners to use condoms should be in any way discriminated against or or ostracized. They simply oppose having condom usage imposed by government fiat.

And notice the trend towards quoting unnamed "industry sources" to support Weinstein's whopping mischaracterization of both the alleged performer and his partners...as if all of them are nothing more than stupid promiscuous sluts who are incapable of protecting themselves. Until the test results come in, he knows exactly what the rest of us know: not a Goddess-damn thing.

Weinstein then goes on to pimp the LA condom mandate ordinance, which has already been debunked here before, so I won't bore you with that.

But after that, it actually gets interesting. Here's what AHF has in store for Brazzers locally:


'Sanitary Nuisance' Complaints in Florida

Unlike California or the federal government, the State of Florida does not have a specifically designated occupational safety and health division. However, there is a "sanitary nuisance" law in the Florida Statutes. AHF believes that unprotected sex in a commercial setting should, arguably, fall under the definition of a "sanitary nuisance," since Florida law defines it as "any act" that may cause disease.

386.01 Sanitary nuisance.--A sanitary nuisance is the commission of any act, by an individual, municipality, organization, or corporation, or the keeping, maintaining, propagation, existence, or permission of anything, by an individual, municipality, organization, or corporation, by which the health or life of an individual, or the health or lives of individuals, may be threatened or impaired, or by which or through which, directly or indirectly, disease may be caused.

386.02 Duty of Department of Health.--The Department of Health, upon request of the proper authorities, or of any three responsible resident citizens, or whenever it may seem necessary to the department, shall investigate the sanitary condition of any city, town, or place in the state; and if, upon examination, the department shall ascertain the existence of any sanitary nuisance as herein defined, it shall serve notice upon the proper party or parties to remove or abate the said nuisance or, if necessary, proceed to remove or abate the said nuisance in the manner provided in s. 823.01.

As such, three "responsible resident citizens" will file complaints with the Florida Department of Health asking them to investigate a sanitary nuisance--unprotected sex taking place on adult film productions in the state.

There is also a Miami-Dade County "sanitary nuisance" law as well (Miami-Dade County Municipal Ordinances Chapter 26A). It uses a similar definition of "sanitary nuisance" as the state law, and it provides for the Director of the Dade County Department of Public Health to investigate nuisances.
So, in effect, Michael Weinstein is going to pay off three "responsible resident citizens" of Miami/South Beach to file a complaint with the state and local departments of health asking them to investigate and potentially shut down Brazzers as a "sanitary nusiance" for....allowing for sex acts without the use of a condom???

Now...such "sanitary nuisance" regs are nomally used against those whom explicitly handle food (such as restaurants or diners) hazardous chemicals or forms of hazardous waste, or whom get close to any form of bodily fluids or internal human organs (such as medical professionals, morticians, and the like). I'm pretty damn sure that it has never been used against porn sites...but there's a first for anything.

But here's the really ironic point: for someone who says that he cares deeply about the well being and safety of porn performers so much, he's sure giving those who don't share his concern and who would much prefer the industry to be drop-kicked into either jail cells or simple nonexistence a really big hammer to sling against any and all adult sites. Imagine the Christian Right getting three like-minded citizens to file local nuisance charges against any woman running a porn site out of her home, for example. Hell, imagine Polk County Sheriff and antiporn zealout Grant Judd using that same hammer to shut down even anyone with a computer LOOKING at porn. Be careful of what you ask for, Michael, because you just might get it.

But then again, I'm guessing that since Governor Rick Scott has so shredded Florida state government as to render it unable to fulfill Weinstein's requests, and that the Miami-Dade officials have far more struggles and concerns on their hand than wet-nursing a false porn panic, he will simply do as he has done so well in Cali: exploit this to the fullest extent to shake people down for lots and lots of money for his coffers, to be shared with both the condom manufacturers who finance AHF and the crossover gay male performers -- some of whom may even be HIV+ -- that he is protecting and covering for.

Which means..this won't be the last propaganda presser we'll get from him.

I just wonder how long it will be for Florida to read him properly and give him the boot.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Porn Panic 2011 Redux #2: Jordan Owen States The Obvious About The Dishonesty Of AHF

Not many people can advocate for adult sexual expression quite like Jordan Owen.

I may not personally agree sometimes with his libertarian conservative "individualistic" perspective, but Jordan is gifted in the art of cutting through the BS of arguments of antiporn activists. He just finished a long series where he totally debunked Gail Dines' recent tome Pornland., and he has also done series debunking the idiocy of Shelley Lubben, Patrick Trueman, and other antiporn/antisex activists.

Today, at his YouTube channel, he posted a video reflecting his own thoughts on the recent HIV porn panic, the credibility of Derrick Burts as a spokesperson for the aggrieved "victim" of the industry (conveniently ignoring his Rentboy.com membership and the fact that the scene he claims he got infected in did in fact include a condom), the menacity of AHF in attempting to replace AIM as the main regulator of the California adult industry, and the illogic of the proposed LA ordinance. It is so powerful that I've decided to mirror it here for your reading enjoyment.

I most certainly recommend that you visit his channel for lots of truth and wisdom. Also, feel free to check out his Facebook page as well.



Jordan Owen (JordanOwen42) giving his personal reflections on the latest 
HIV-in-porn scare, the AHF, Shelley Lubben, and the proposed LA
condom ordinance (via YouTube)

HIV Porn Panic 2011 Update: "Patient Zero" Possibly Exposed, Brazzers.com (In Florida) Implicated

[UPDATED: Scroll to bottom.]

Remember, the following information is still speculation, and should not be assumed to be the absolute truth until it is verified.

More information is being released this morning about the background of the most recent HIV porn scare. It's a bit convoluted, so try to follow me.

This morning, AdultFYI.com reposted a blog entry by former porn agent Mike South in which the latter "outs" the alleged "Patient Zero" at the center of the crisis. Pursuant of this blog's stated policy, I will not give out the name of the performer (though, both AdultFYI and South obviously do at their sites), but I can give out some other information via the blog post by South, which was reposted by AdultFYI.  (Redacted to protect privacy and presumption of innocence)



"What is troubling is that he tested positive and still worked, that is undisputed what is disputed is whether he tested negative after testing positive using the same methodology.
"A positive test should ALWAYS be confirmed with a Western Blot no matter if its PCR or ELISA, retesting with another test that isn't Western Blot doesn't mean anything.
"Only the Western Blot can confirm a positive test.
"The really fucked up part is the Director also reportedly knew that [redacted] had tested positive, but let him work on the basis that it was believed it was a false positive.
"It is being said that [redacted] is being retested via Western Blot to confirm his results and that the results of that test are not back yet.
"I do hope he is negative but this should be a lesson to everyone either way."

Gene (Ross, AdultFYI reporter) adds: "Now that the cat's out of the bag, here's what I'm told- [redacted] also goes by the name [redacted].
He was found by Brazzer's Producer [redacted].'
[Redacted] is known to throw sex/swing parties where [redacted] met him.

[Redacted's] test came back 'false positive' and allegedly talked [redacted] into still shooting him with a positive test.

Apparently 13 Florida Female Talent have been exposed."
So, apparently, the performer tested positive using a company not within the APHSS grid, then went to yet another testing company also not in the grid for a followup test which essentially concluded that the first test was a false positive, to which the latter test was used by him to persuade the producer to clear him to shoot scenes.

The implication of Brazzers.com is fascinating in its own right, too, since Brazzers' Florida-base production center (as opposed to their LA and Vegas centers)  has developed a really bad reputation from talent and consumers alike for cutting corners in regards to protecting performers and putting their own profits above their talent. (That, and Brazzers' overly lenient attitude towards tube sites and content piracy, which has really ticked off other adult production companies struggling against content thievery.) Also, Brazzers was not amongst the main production companies who contributed to the creation of APHSS.

The scariest thing about this, though, is that 13 women whom had worked with this performer (and possibly all of their partners) are now exposed enough to warrant testing. It remains to be seen whether or not any of those women had done any other work outside of Florida.

I'm still going to reserve judgment on Brazzers until we have more reliable information, but if this editorial by a blogger at the porn gossip/info site LukeFord.com (not to be confused with LukeIsBack.com) has any weight to it, then Brazzers may be in a heap of trouble. (His sentiment, NOT mine.)


In school when they teach you about sex they are quick to remind you that you not only slept with the person you are with but every person they have been with and every person they have been with, so quickly 1 partner can become 34, 34 can become 340.  So when the news broke that Brazzer’s knowingly exposed 13 performers to HIV [source]  …. we know the impact is much larger because since their potential exposure, who else have those 13 girls slept with, and then who else have those people slept with?

So if stealing content, running 5 of the most popular illegal tube sites wasn’t enough, how about this?  Is knowing a performer tested HIV positive and still letting him perform with others enough for ya?

Why do I go on twitter day after day and see some performer bragging about doing this or that with Brazzers?  What the heck is wrong with you people?  Are you blind?  Do you not see day in and day out what they are doing?

I mean sure there can be arguments made for people like Jules Jordan and Wicked Pictures deserving to get screwed … they after all knowingly entered into business deals with the devil, Brazzers – so they got what they deserved … but what about you?  What’s your excuse for still doing business with them?

Do you realize that because of their illegal activities, other producers were forced to reduce the amount they pay performers, so every time you do any work with Brazzers you are directly contributing to the further success of a company that fucked you and your friends.

As far as the HIV scare goes, if you have worked in Miami in the last month or so or worked with anyone who has worked in Miami than now is a good time to go get tested.  Just remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry so if you have concerns about working with a performer, it’s okay to say no.  Your life is far more important than that scene is.
And please, please, for Goddess sake, please, for those of you in Miami heeding that final graph's advice....use an APHSS approved clinic that has the proper protocols and procedures.


UPDATE (8-30-11): The director that was implicated in the original blog entry by Mike South (and outed by both South and the AdultFYI.com mirror post), has now responded, through an email that was posted to South's blog this evening. I'll simply repost it for posterity's sake.



I understand that there are rumors circulating concerning the identity of "Patient Zero."  If the rumors are true, the last time I shot this particular individual was on August 19.  That person had a valid negative test.

There has been a lot of false information circulating about this situation. I want to be clear that there is absolutely no truth to any of the statements about my filming this performer with a positive test.  I would never, ever shoot anyone with a positive test, even if they claimed it was a "false positive."  I make no exceptions.

Please put an end to this vicious and harmful rumor.

Our lawyers are CC'ed in this e-mail and have verified the documentation.
The title of the post over at South's blog does list the director's name, but, consistent with this blog's policy regarding performer/director privacy, I will not reveal it here.


Monday, August 29, 2011

HIV Porn Scare 2011 Redux: Rumor, Speculation, And Fact

[Now also crossposted over at LukeIsBack.com; Domo Obligato to Cindi Loftus for the honor and pleasure. ]

Like I figured, developments are breaking fast on the news today of a performer having been tested positive for HIV. Thusly, it's important to understand that rumors and speculation about the identity of the performer, how (s)he got infected, whom (if any) else may have been compromised, and the nature of how this occurred, should be treated as just that: rumors and speculation, until more information is offered.

Nevertheless, there are some conclusions that can be made even in this early time, based on the preliminary info trickling out.

First off: it does appear that the targeted performer was allegedly shooting content in Florida using a testing service that was out of the loop of the testing regimen established by the Free Speech Coalition's APHSS services. Remember that when AIM-ORG was run out of business by the combined efforts of Cal/OSHA and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's consensus testing procedure was effectively obliterated, leaving the task to several smaller and much less standardized companies (such as Talent Testing Services), which did not have the extensive resources for follow-up testing and verification that AIM had. Many performers had feared that in their zeal to shut down AIM and impose the condom mandate and their own system of weaker testing procedures, AHF and Cal/OSHA was essentially creating much more risk for active performers by driving them into less safe venues and shadier groups more interested in exploitation than safety. Since Florida until now has not had the institutionalized and standardized testing regimen that LA had with AIM, the inevitable results could have been easily predicted.

Secondly....it is no grand irony that the last three HIV porn scares have taken place outside of LA; the 2010 scare featuring Cameron Reid/Derrick Burts was also the byproduct of a Florida shoot; and the 2009 "Patient Zero" panic was based in Las Vegas. Well, maybe it is somewhat of an irony, considering all the hard work and resources that AHF has put into browbeating the city of LA, Los Angeles County, and the state of California into imposing the condom mandate for shoots in LA. Though Weinstein has made noises about imposing similar regulations in Florida, he hasn't worked up anywhere near the effort or the concern about "performer safety" there. Maybe the South Beach politicos are too rich to bribe??

Thirdly...the lightning response by APHSS in not only confronting and containing the panic, but also getting out in front in public with warnings and suggestions on performers protecting themselves, says a great deal for their professionalism and concern about seriously protecting the talent. It also speaks to the advantage of having a standardized system of testing and treatment, rather than a hodge-podge ad-hoc system where testing is basically left to whomever is closest at the moment. Many who claimed that AIM had an "monopoly" on performer testing completely ignored the main reason why that was so: their regimen worked. Yes, there were two cases of performers getting infected, but in both cases they were not infected from a porn shoot (and in the case of Derrick Burts, the shoot was for a gay video, which is outside of AIM's jurisdiction), and in both cases the threat was contained to that particular performer. Hopefully, that will be the foundation that APHSS will build on....that is, if AHF and Cal/OSHA would allow them to.

Finally...I'm pretty sure that Mike Weinstein is already preparing his next press conference as I type this, where he and Ministress Lubben shed their usual crocodile tears about how this poor young woman (yes, I'm assuming again; If I'm wrong, then I'm the ass...so sue me) had her life taken away from her by the Big, Bad, Mean Porn Industry. (Hell, I even expect them to add Gail Dines to the lecturn to add her quarter's worth about how this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt how porn chews up women for The Patriarchy.) If the concept of shame ever invaded the Teflon-coated synapses of their brains, they would hopefully think twice about exploiting her..but then again, if Lubben and Weinstein had thought twice about almost anything, they wouldn't have the publicity and the money they had, right??

Just my personal thoughts, Clones.  Consume with the usual sprinkle of salt and Tony Chachere's seasoning.


BREAKING: Once Again, Into The Breach We Go: ANOTHER HIV Porn Scare???

[Updated below....scroll to bottom.]

This is what you call really, really bad timing.


FSC Asks for Porn Moratorium After Possible HIV Exposure
In short, it appears that in the transition between the closure of AIM-ORG (the old testing center) and the establishment of APHSS,  fly-by-night organizations have been going around offering testing without the kind of follow-up for treatment or verification that AIM had in place, and what APHSS now does have.

This couldn't have come at a worse time, too, since I'm sure that the usual suspects (Shelley Lubben, Mike Weinstein, et. al.) are already preparing the press conferences to say that this proves once and for all that the testing system is a failure and only condoms are the true answer. Not to mention, this gives them pretty much the ammo they need to fuel their proposed ordinace to force the condom mandate.

But, that's a worry for later. The main thing right now is to offer comfort and protection to the infected performer, investigate and contain this outbreak (if it is confirmed), let the procedures run their course, and hope that nobody else is affected.

And, it's a damn good reason for performers to join APHSS and know and follow their protocols for testing. At least they reacted decisively and rapidly to contain this threat.


Addedum: Like I said,the Free Speech Coalition and APHSS wastes no time.  Here's some snippage from their official press release that was just posted to the AINews.com site just a few minutes ago.

(CANOGA PARK, CA) -- Free Speech Coalition (FSC), as administrators of the Adult Production Health & Safety Services Program (APHSS.org), would like to address recent reports that an active performer may have tested positive for HIV.

FSC was made aware of the purported incident on Saturday by a reliable industry source. Most importantly, FSC would like to make clear that these reports were not involving APHSS.org testing facilities. This fact has limited the information gathered by FSC/APHSS.org and we can neither deny nor confirm specific facts about this incident. Due to legal issues concerning patient privacy, FSC/APHSS.org, as of yet, is unable to implement exposure protocols and procedures.


It is the recommendation of FSC/APHSS.org that an industry-wide moratorium on production be instituted immediately and continued for a time period until the primary reports are confirmed, and possible first and second-generation exposures have been identified. The quarantine can be extended after that point, if necessary.


According to the information that is available, the performer in question may have tested positive for HIV at a testing facility that does not appear to have protocols or procedures in place for medical follow-up (including generational testing).


However, FSC/APHSS.org cannot act on the behalf of any testing facilities outside the APHSS.org system until we are requested to do so by the performer or any medical advisor authorized by the performer. Again, we have been in contact with concerned parties and have offered to assist them in anyway possible, while still remaining compliant with the performer’s wishes for assistance, in respect to legal constraints that require that the performer’s privacy be protected, as well as other compliance issues.


In addition to the moratorium on production, FSC/APHSS.org also recommends that active performers who are concerned about possible exposure (or that would like to take extra precautions to confirm their own well-being) consider being tested as soon as possible.


FSC/APHSS.org also recommends that industry members avoid spreading unverified information until the involved parties are able to confirm developments, or until information is received from an appropriate medical authority.


We are committed to assisting any industry members that have concerns involving this incident; if you have questions, please contact diane@freespeechcoalition.com or joanne@freespeechcoalition.com. But because this situation has occurred outside of the APHSS.org database program, we are limited in any available information until we are informed of any details or allowed to assist in implementing industry protocols.
Obviously, we'll keep you informed here if anything else breaks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Porn Panic 2011 Supplemental: XBiz Reports On The FSC's Reaction To AHF's Proposed Condom Mandate Ordinance Drive

Don't ever accuse the Free Speech Coalition of not having a rapid response team to events involving the porn industry.

Here's their official response to today's news of AHF's announcement of their drive for an initiative for the condom mandate, as reported today by XBiz.com.

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said that the Department of Public Health has already stated in response to a lawsuit filed by AHF that it doesn't see a compelling public interest to require the use of condoms in adult productions.

"Clearly AHF has an anti-adult industry agenda and like its previous frivolous lawsuits, erroneous charges with Cal/OSHA, multiple press conferences and protests, I suspect that this is the next step in AHF’s attempt to stay relevant," Duke said.

"Clearly their efforts and financial resources would be much better served in the prevention and treatment of HIV rather than continuing its witch hunt of the adult entertainment industry."

The FSC also said that it will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to sort out what the City Attorney has already called a "non-issue."

"It's an absurd attempt at grandstanding by AHF and its president Michael Weinstein," said Joanne Cachapero, FSC's membership director. "A judge has already ruled against AHF's attempt to force the city to enforce mandatory condoms, stating that the city cannot be compelled to enforce regulations that fall under the authority of a state agency like Cal/OSHA.

"What a huge waste of resources for the people of California and for AHF's contributors, while Weinstein carries on a campaign of misinformation."

The FSC also said that the performers who appeared at today's press conference do not represent the population in the adult industry and claims that they contracted HIV or other diseases while working on adult productions are "unfounded."

"The data that AHF presents to the media has been debunked as inaccurate and is the result of methodology that has no basis in science," Cachapero said.

"There is no public health threat or epidemic, as Weinstein likes to portray. The adult production industry has been very successful at protecting performers' health and safety ever since the first incidence of HIV infection in 1998, and we continue to be a model for STI testing.

"The only logical reason that AHF would continue its campaign must be to bring attention to their own pro-condom agenda," Cachapero said.


Porn Panic 2011 (The Endless Loop Contionues): AHF, Apparently Not Happy With The Grinding Wheels of Process, Takes Its Case ForThe Condom Mandate To The LA Streets Via Initiative

Michael Weinstein much be hard on cash again...because apparently he's not bothering to wait for Cal/OSHA to do the dirty work of forcing condoms down the throats of porn performers in LA.

Today, Weinstein and his AIDS Healthcare Foundation groupies gathered at the Sheraton Hotel to announce that they were going to initiate a signature drive to put to the voters of the City of Los Angeles an initiative for a proposed ordinance that would force city officials to impose the condom mandate as a requirement for approval of production of porn in that jurisdiction. The goal would be to place the proposed ordinance on the ballot before the people of LA by June of next year.

The  press release announcing this initiative cited all the usual AHF talking points about how adult performers were protected less than mainstream TV actors (ignoring the basic fact that most mainstream actors don't engage in active sex on screen (except, maybe, in casting couches, and that would probably not be covered by condom regs), that there is a pandemic of STD's, including HIV, afoot within the porn industry that is so out of control that outside intervention is needed (conveniently ignoring AHF's own role in toppling the one organization that had been the most effective in controlling STD's--namely the AIM Medical Foundation), and that all they are doing is asking the city to enforce existing law, which they say already mandates condom usage.

The actual press conference, on the other hand, was more than just the usual antics and showboating...though there was plenty of that. Mark Kernes of AVN.com did a decent report on the presser, and I will quote freely from his accounts, which you can see here.

All the usual suspects were there to testify. Mike Weinstein kicked it off:

"We're here today to announce the launching of an initiative campaign before the voters of the city of Los Angeles, to require as a condition of permitting, that adult films follow the law....[w]e protect all other workers in every other industry and minimize their risk....[w]e protect performers in Hollywood films, stunt people and actors, from injury. We even protect animals from being harmed in the making of films, and yet we do not protect the performers in this industry."
Really?? You mean that stunt people are required to wear helmets and goggles and protective gear every time they do a stumt?? Are they also requited to wear PPE (personal protective gear) to prevent themselves from tainted blood?? Are MMA athletes required to wear gloves, dental dams, and googles in order to prevent them from getting infected from blood, too??

And...surely Mike Weinstein already knows that performers are already capable of protecting themselves, and many of them already use condoms as one line of defense along with testing and peer pressure and selective use of partners in shooting porn scenes, does he??

Quite naturally, Weinstein then proceeds to throw his local allies at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health under his big, shiny bus..never mind the hard work of folks there  like Peter Kerndt and Robert Kim-Fairley to cook the stats on STD transmission to his favor. And, he minces no words either towards the LA City Attorney's office, who stoned his efforts earlier to force the local film regulatory agency FilmLA to impose the condom mandate on approval of film shoots in LA. (The quote is from the Kernes AVN article.)

"Then you come down to the county level, which is responsible for public health and stopping the spread of disease; they've been a no-show," Weinstein claimed. "We've gone to them many times and they have refused to act and they've punted it to the state. At the level of the state legislature, we have not been able to get any member to sponsor legislation to strengthen these provisions. And then we come down to the city. Since most of the films are made in the city of Los Angeles, the city of Los Angeles has jurisdiction over zoning, and as such the issuing of permits. There are about 200 permits a month that are issued to the adult film industry, and we simply want a condition of the issuing of those permits to be that they follow the health and safety laws. We have not been able to get the city council to enact this."
This is what you call "progressive lying through your damn teeth."....because the LA City Attorney's office had already issued its own legal counsel ruling that they had no jurisdiction over FilmLA to require condoms as a mandate for approving film permits; the Cali State Assembly already had a proposed bill in place -- Senate Bill  459 -- that would have modified the designation of "independent contractors" as opposed to "employees" in order to make it easier for Cal/OSHA to enforce the condom mandate through stiffer fines and arbitrary reporting guidelines, and, of course, the proposed changes in the Cal/OSHA regulations are still in the process of being tweaked for final review and approval. But, it's all LA County's fault that Weinstein can't impose condoms on porn shoots, or gain full control of the testing and protection" of porn performers. Tiny violins were crying in the background, I suppose,

But that was just the beginning of the fun and games, for Weinstein and his AHF legal henchman Brian Chase (who actually created the proposed ordinance), brought the full three-ring circus act to supplement their case.

Which brings us right back to...Ministeress Shelley Lubben and her Pink Cross Foundation League of Ex-Porn Sluts For Jesus.

Yup, never mind the irony of an antigay fundamentalist Christian who openly boasts of the magical powers of her Lord and Savior rescuing gays from their sins working with an organization formed to protect the rights of HIV+ perfomers, the majority of which just so happen to be gay. Where there's a camera, and an opportunity to get pub, you know that Shelley will be there. Probably with the ink from Ron Jeremy's signature still not drying off her tits yet, too. Or, the memories of her rediscovering her old stripper moves at same party being still fresh in her mind.

Here's Lubben's contribution to the AHF press release:

“I was a porn star living the glamorous life. Drug overdoses, herpes, suicide attempts and abuse at the hands of the porn industry,” said Shelley Lubben, former porn actress and founder and president of the Pink Cross Foundation, an IRS approved 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to offering adult industry workers emotional, financial and transitional support for those who want out of the adult industry. “In my time in the industry, I did some very hardcore movies, and only drugs and alcohol could get me through them. I played a crazy game of Russian roulette with my life. The industry did not and still does NOT enforce condom usage, so STDs and HIV were and still are a high risk among porn actors and actresses. While my own life has taken an entirely new and profoundly fulfilling direction and I now work to help performers leave the industry altogether, I wholeheartedly support this ballot initiative that would allow Los Angeles residents and voters to weigh in on tying film permits to condom use in the ongoing production of adult films in California.”
How that jibes with Shelley's repeated claims that she is intent on "destroying the porn industry" is not so made abundantly clear. Also not clear: the disjoint between all this tragic tale of how the porn industry did all this bad to her, and her own spoken and written testimony that her herpes (which she still can't or won't give proof that she had, other than the assertion that "God cured me" of them) or her other ailments, were more the byproduct of her 5 years as a working street prostitute/escort prior to her even starting to make porn films in 1993, or the basic (il)logic of how her 17 credited films makes her the go-to expert on how female porn performers are treated...even though she hasn't made a video of a film in nearly 18 years.

But hey...with Jesus at your side, anything is possible.

I'll just leave it to Michael Whiteacre to address the other points about Shelley's "asistance".

Speaking thereof...Lubben brought with her two of her prized assistants from the PCF: Jan Meza-Merritt and Jenni Case, to reinforce the case against the "porn industry" for its lack of protecting female performers.   Meza-Merritt was particularly strong with the proper "pathos" (again, from the AHF press release):.

“I was brutalized, traumatized and victimized for a buck by an industry that could care less if I lived or died. I contracted Chlamydia and herpes, which is a non curable STD from my time in the porn industry. The porn industry collectively employs thousands of male and female porn actresses monthly. How much higher then is the risk of getting HIV and other STD’s in a transient industry where you have not only one sexual partner per day, but several or more and condoms are looked at as an unnecessary, negative component of this industry?,” said Jan (Meza) Merritt, former porn actress and member of the Pink Cross Foundation. “Enough is enough! How many more HIV incidents must occur in the adult industry before changes are made once and for all? I fully support the ‘City of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act’ that will allow Los Angeles voters to weigh in on the safety of those individuals who remain working in the porn industry.”
The "City of Los Angeles Safer Sex In The Adult Film Industry Act"?!?!? What...they couldn't have entitled their initiative with something shorter...like, "The Lara Roxxx-Darren James Adult Industry Protection Act"???

But even Ministress Lubben and her acolytes weren't considered sufficient enough for Weinstein, because for the coup'd grace, he brought out of retirement none other than Darren James himself...the original "Patient Zero" of the 2004 outbreak.

James, now on the AHF payroll after nearly 9 years of hiding, testified at the presser about how he "had predicted another HIV outbreak" to occur "because of this same thing", and he inferred that the industry "is not being policed properly." Of course, no one bothered to ask Darren how in the hell he got himself infected to begin with -- most sources say that he was infected in Brazil shooting a bareback scene with a transgendered actor, and there are also concerns that Lara Roxxx might have been infected, too, prior to their scene as well.

And for more recent support, Derrick Burts (aka Cameron Reid) was also recruited to sell the AHF line, and to promote the crossover gay male pro-condom perspective. Burts, of course, was "Patient Zero" for the last "outbreak" in 2010, who first went to AIM-MED for help, then, claiming that he was dissed, crossed over to AHF. At the presser, he was simply off the chain.

[...] Burts charged that, "The porn industry likes to think that they're above the law," claimed that  "performers, especially female performers, are afraid to speak up... They're very belittled in this industry. I've gone to several shoots where the females are just treated horribly," that "If you ask a performer off-record, would you like your male performer to wear a condom, I bet you at least 98 percent of them would say yes";  and further claimed that, "LA County has since then confirmed that I worked with not one but two HIV-positive performers"—not surprising since his primary work was in gay porn. (Quoted from the Kernes AVN,com article)
Never mind again the fact that most performers who request a condom in their scenes are enabled to use them, but many others, like Nina Hartley, prefer not to use them due to personal concerns about micro-tearing of vaginal tissue increasing the risk for more infections, or the personal feel of rubber, or simply because they feel that they are perfectly capable of protecting themselves against STD's without the heavy hand of bureaucrats looking down their blouses or up their skirts.

And...it would kind of upset the apple cart to note that Burts himself has testified that he was infected on a gay  male shoot...in a condomized scene, where he claims the other participant
took off the condom at the end and blew off into his...well, anal orfice, thusly infecting him.

Remember, Clones...gay male porn has its own separate standards for STI control (more reliance on condoms due to the much greater prevalence of HIV+ performers there) as compared to the hetero porn industry (which relies on testing and peer pressure as their firewall against HIV and other common STD's)..

And, that may be the point of Weinstein's antics, I think...other than the desire to get the government grants and use them, along with the condom manufacturers, to seriously get paid. Perhaps AHF and Weinstein really want to create a protection racket for crossover gay/bi male performers wanting to make money off the existing industry...and mandating condoms along with reviving the older ERISA tests for STI's, in combination with existing standards against discrimination of HIV+ performers, would produce a permanent income flow from folk like Burts/Reid.

Of course, the cost of that in weakening the preexisting standards of the testing firewalls (now reinforced through the new AHPSS standards and the more modern PCR-DNA tests standardized through AIM-MED and now through AHPSS), not to mention the economic costs from the rejection of a porn consuming public that has spoken loud and clear with their dollars that they like their porn unwrapped and bareback, regardless of whatever good social intentions may exist.

Anyways..you can't have a proper initiative without a neat-o, catchy organization, and AHF has solved that issue by forming -- you'll love this -- "For Adult Industry Responsibility", who will oversee this effort. Gee..I wonder how Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting will react when they find out that their acronym is being pilfered this way?? If it's anything like the World Wildlife Foundation's fierce reaction (and ultimate win in the courts) over the former World Wrestling Federation's use  of "WWF", I don't think that this will be pretty.

One other thing about the proposed ordinance you should know about: while the proposed Cal/OSHA regulation changes would mandate all kinds of barrier protections, including not only condoms but also gloves, dental dams, goggles, and other forms of "protection", during the shooting of porn sex scenes, the proposed AHF ordinance only requires the condom mandate. Weinstein had a...well, particular reaction at the presser when noted of that little conflict:


Moreover, when asked about the disparity between his initiative's call for universal condom use, and the fact that the Health Code refers to "barrier protection," which would also include dental dams, latex gloves, goggles and face shields during hardcore scenes, Weinstein simply responded, "You've been peddling this 'goggles' line in every article... If that makes you happy, go for it. That has never been our position; it isn't our position now; it isn't the position of CalOSHA."

So much for "follow[ing] the health and safety laws"!
So...never mind that Cal/OSHA's own regulations for "employees" directly mandate all forms of "barrier protections", and that AHF had no opposition whatsoever to adding such protections to the proposed regulations for porn shoots....all of a sudden, only condoms are needed?? Nice job, Mike, for revealing what it was all about in the first place.





Sunday, August 7, 2011

Porn Panic 2011 Redux: FSC Unleashes APHSS System For Testing, Protection Of Porn Performers; But AHF/Cal-OSHA Continue Condom Mandate Plans Anyway (UPDATED)

Updated below....scroll to bottom.

It's been a while since I last updated you on the Porn Protection Wars....so here's here's the latest.

First, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, not completely satisfied with its efforts with Cal-OSHA to impose the condom mandate through workplace regulations, decided to attempt to strike at another angle from which it had been supposedly denied: the use of leveraging approval film permits for shooting porn scenes by the local Los Angeles Film Board.

You will recall that that particular body had been compelled via a request from the LA City Council to report on whether the board could force the condom mandate as a requirement for the Film Board's approval to shoot porn scenes in Los Angeles County and the incorporated citiy of LA. The LA County Attorney's office had filed a report concluding that the film board didn't have that authority.

Well...you know that Michael Weinstein, the head of AHF, is not too well known for taking defeat with grace and gratitude... so, it's not surprising that he would seek a second opinion on the matter. And glory be, he seems to think he's found one...from none other than his colluding associates at the LA County Department of Public Health Cal-OSHA, which has been the OTHER agency attempting to push the condom mandate on the industry in LA.

Here's some snippage from the press release from AHF, as reposted to LukeIsBack.com:

Opinion by Cal OSHA legal counsel contradicts Los Angeles City Attorney’s March 2011 report claiming the City does not have authority to condition issuance of adult film permits to condom use
In its evaluation, Cal OSHA counsel noted, “…State law does not preempt such action by the City because the City does not seek to enact an occupational health and safety standard but rather a public health standard applicable to any film activity (regardless of employment) within the city boundaries.”

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In response to a push by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to compel the City of Los Angeles to tie the issuance of its adult film permits to condom use in adult film productions, a recent opinion letter by Cal/OSHA’s (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health) legal counsel sharply contradicts a March 2011 report in which the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office claimed it did not have the authority to condition issuance of adult film permits to condom use.


“Presently it (Cal OSHA) mandates that all employees exposed to blood borne pathogens wear protective barriers, which includes the use of condoms. CAL-OSHA has been responsive to complaints and has several open investigations, including production companies affiliated with Larry Flynt Publications and Playboy.”
In the initial City report, dated March 22, 2011 titled, “Mechanisms Necessary to Enable the City’s Film Permit Process to Require Workplace Safety in the Production of All Adult Films,’ Kimberly Miera, Deputy City Attorney, City of Los Angeles, on behalf of City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich, wrote:
“It is the opinion of this Office (City Attorney, City of Los Angeles) that the current permit language covers the use of condoms on all permitted adult film sets to the extent that the City may legally do so. Based on the current permit language, along with the jurisdictional concerns in regulating workplace safety issues, our Office recommends the permit language remains unchanged and this report be noted and filed.”

However, in a researched opinion letter dated July 20th titled, ‘Position of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Concerning Possible Conditions on the City’s Film Permits Issued to Adult Film Producers,’ written in response to the City Attorney’s March report and addressed and sent to ‘the Honorable City Council, City of Los Angeles,’ James D. Clark, Staff Counsel for California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Legal Unit, Southern California, wrote:

“It is the Division’s (of Occupational Safety and Health) position that State law does not preempt such action by the City because the City does not seek to enact an occupational health and safety standard but rather a public health standard applicable to any film activity (regardless of employment relationship) within the City boundaries.



“Cal OSHA and Mr. Clark have provided a very clear and compelling case as to why the City of Los Angeles can condition the issuing of film permits to adult film producers based upon compliance with condom use in their film productions, as currently required under state statute,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Ordinarily, state agencies are given deference by cities and local bodies in situations such as this, and we ask the Los Angeles City Council to do so in this matter in order to better protect workers and performers working in the adult film industry here in Los Angeles.”


In her March report to City Council, Deputy City Attorney Miera also confirmed that condom use in adult film production in the state is required, writing,

“Presently it (Cal OSHA) mandates that all employees exposed to blood borne pathogens wear protective barriers, which includes the use of condoms. CAL-OSHA has been responsive to complaints and has several open investigations, including production companies affiliated with Larry Flynt Publications and Playboy.”
 The latter refers to a case that was filed against Larry Flynt Productions and Playboy on behalf of AHF, which resulted in fines imposed on the two companies for allegedly not using the proper protective measures for their performers.

Of course, the problem with all this is that the LA County Attorney's opinion is the word of law, while Cal-OSHA's and AHF's opinions are just subjective....and I'm just wondering whether or not AHF is willing to risk a legal challenge to the local office just to force the condom mandate on the Film Board. Or, are they simply awaiting the final appeal on that other case involving the LA County Department of Public Health's supposed lack of fervor in forcing condoms down performers' throats??

AVN.com columnist Mark Kernes found some other flaws in AHF's arguments, too.
Of course, AHF focused on Clark's stated "conclusion": "It is the Division's position that State law does not preempt such action by the City [in requiring condoms, etc.] because the City does not seek to enact an occupational health and safety standard but rather a public health standard applicable to any film activity (regardless of employment realtionship) within the City boundaries."

But indeed, Clark makes it clear that Cal/OSHA only has power of employer/employee situations—an issue that has been hotly contested before the Cal/OSHA Standards Board's subcommittee on performer health which has held several meetings over the past year.


"The Division has jurisdiction over 'places of employment,'" Clark wrote. "It has no jurisdiction unless an employer-employee relationship exists. ... The Labor Code and Title 8 CCR also set forth the means by which the Division is to exercise its authority to assure employee safety. The system for asserting its authority is, generally, by issuing citations that include administrative penalties for violating one or more of the Title's workplace safety standards."


Indeed, that's something CalOSHA has done a dozen times to adult producers since 2004, though four of those cases (including one against AIM) remain under appeal.


But according to Clark, nothing in CalOSHA's regulations prohibit the city from dealing with what it may perceive as violations of occupational health and safety regulations.


"It is clear that the only matter that the Legislature has put in the hands solely of the Division is the 'enforcement of occupational safety and health standards adopted by the [Standards] [B]oard'," Clark stated. "By clear implication, localities may adopt and enforce their own standards as long as that adoption is within the localities' police powers. This is true even if the local standards could be construed as 'occupational safety and health standards.'"


AHF, of course, was overjoyed with Clark's opinion—even as it continues to repeat misinformation about the infection rates and number of infectees in the industry.


"Cal/OSHA and Mr. Clark have provided a very clear and compelling case as to why the City of Los Angeles can condition the issuing of film permits to adult film producers based upon compliance with condom use in their film productions, as currently required under state statute," said AHF president Michael Weinstein said in a press release. "Ordinarily, state agencies are given deference by cities and local bodies in situations such as this, and we ask the Los Angeles City Council to do so in this matter in order to better protect workers and performers working in the adult film industry here in Los Angeles."


However, as things stand now, FilmL.A.'s website gives no indication that permits are conditioned upon complying with any particular laws or regulations. It merely requires that the company obtain liability insurance, which may be increased if the action being filmed includes "exceptional activities"—but having sex on camera isn't one of them. The permitting process also includes the possibility that a FilmLA Monitor may be assigned to the production "in areas that have Special Filming Conditions in place," which are generally "many of the most popularly filmed neighborhoods in Los Angeles."

The next two graphs by Kernes spell out the real risks in AHF's actions.
But what many may not remember is that adult companies have been applying for and receiving filming permits for less than 20 years. Prior to that, the usual practice was for the cast and crew to meet up at an agreed-upon location, then caravan to wherever the movie was to be shot, often in some out-of-the-way, little-traveled place where they would be unlikely to be observed.

If the LA City Council, the LADPH and/or FilmL.A. makes it impossible for adult producers to make movies that will sell—i.e., through rules that require condoms, dental dams, rubber gloves and face shields for all sexual acts—the possibility exists that many of the companies will go back to the "old way" doing doing things—and few in the industry want that to happen, since to do so would likely even further compromise the health and safety of the very performers AHF claims it wants to protect.
 Another way in which good intentions unfettered by common sense lead to bad outcomes.

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

On the other hand, the other news couldn't come at a better time for performers waiting for a replacement to the system that AIM had in place. The Free Speech Coalition last week finally unveiled their highly vaunted performer testing and health information system for performers and producers alike.

The program is called APHSS, for Adult Performer Health and Safety Services, and it includes not only a secure database that would protect sensitive information about performers without dealing with medical data, but would also provide comprehensive STI testing through various vendors (or through personal doctors) at a yearly fee that would be affordable to all.

Joanne Cachapero, Membership Director over at the FSC, gave a brief description of how the APHSS system and database would work, and how it improves on the pioneering work of AIM.


Performers, agents and producers can go to www.APHSS.org and click “sign-up” to be led through a simple registration process. Other information that is available at the website includes links to testing facilities, FAQs and contact information. Users are encouraged to view the FAQs on the website.
As with any new system, users should be aware of small glitches. When signing up, users should receive a confirmation email, but some have indicated that the emails went to their spam folders; please, check there if you sign-up and don’t receive an email. For any questions or if you need assistance in accessing your account, please contact [email address redacted to protect privacy].

“We’re starting from scratch with this database so we really need the support of performers and producers to get signed up. We already have the support of major industry producers including Wicked, Vivid, Hustler, Adam & Eve, Kink.com, Girlfriends Films, Pink Visual and Manwin producers, and we appreciate their recognition of the need for this resource. We will be working closely with the LATATA Organization and industry talent agents, to make sure to have their input for the program. We also want people to know they can contact us if they need assistance with any issues.
“Once we have the database populated, and as performers use APHSS.org testing facilities, data will be updated and users will be able to verify work availability on the site; this will take some amount of time, before the database is populated with information, as people start to use it. If anyone encounters any questions or issues, they can contact me directly. We also will have a Twitter feed @YourAPHSS,” Cachapero explained.

For two months, APHSS.org will be accessible free-of-charge, in order to give users a chance to get used to the new format and for the database to become fully populated. After the initial period is over, performers will be charged an yearly fee of $50, and producers will be charged monthly, to use the database. Funds from those fees will go to expenses for APHSS program and website operations. Eventually, APHSS.org also will add educational resources for users, to keep industry members up-to-date on health & safety-related information.

While some have questioned the safety of the database and whether or not sensitive medical information will or won't be included, Ms. Cachapero has assured everyone that medical data will NOT be included in the database at all, and that other steps will be taken to insure the security of the information that will be included, so that no Donny Long/Pornwikileaks shenanigans ever happen again.

In addition, APHSS has announced the formation of its advisory committee who will oversee and monitor the operations of the system and database, with representation from performers and producers alike. As this article posted at FSC's blog shows, they include some heavyweight names indeed.



The performer representatives are Jessica Drake, Bobbi Starr, Danny Wylde and Steve Cruz. Producer representatives are Dan O’Connell (Girlfriends Films) and Steven Scarborough (Hot House Entertainment). Performer Nina Hartley will serve as Educational Advisor, and attorney Karen Tynan has been appointed as Legal Advisor.

The appointees have agreed to a six-month term, as the APHSS.org program is launched and in its initial stages. The responsibilities of committee members are to provide insight and feedback on policies and operation of the APHSS.org. They also will help develop resources for the program to benefit performers and producers.
And, the organization has been hard at work informing the public as well. ABC's Good Morning America website on Thursday featured a surprisingly balanced and non-panicky (at least, for ABC) article on the formation of APHSS, quoting freely from many representatives (and the prerequisite contrary opposition from Mike Weinstein of AHF, of course)  Nina's contribution to the article is worth snipping:


For Nina Hartley, condoms make on-set sex uncomfortable and, she argues, more dangerous. But off-set it's a different story.

"I would say it's different in a civilian population," said Hartley, a performer of 27 years with a degree in nursing. "But public health is not served by forcing a small group of professionals to use condoms instead of being tested."



To those who say pornography without condoms promotes unsafe sex, Hartley has strong words.

"It's not the job of adult entertainers to be educating people about safe sex practices," she said, adding that the "ignorance-based abstinence-only model of sexual education" does little to promote safe sex either.


"People say cartoons promote bad behavior, and Hollywood movies promote unsafe driving. But this is pure entertainment," said Hartley. "We don't ask other entertainers in our culture to slip in the vegetables of education."
Still want that debate, Ministress Lubben??  And how about thou, Gail??


Update (8-12-11): Well now, that didn't take long, didn't it?? APHSS legal council Karen Tynan decided to launch a Scud missile of her own towards Cal-OSHA and the AHF's attempts to browbeat the LA City Council towards imposing the condom mandate via workplace regulations through the LACDPH. The weapon of choice?? An official legal-issue letter to LA  City Attorney Carmen Trutainch.

The letter, which can be read here (warning, pdf doc, needs Adobe Reader), clearly debunks the claims of AHF and Cal-OSHA in attempting to overrule establishment legal precedent and hand off their responsibilities over to the locals, while still attempting their other legal coups through the regulatory processes.

The synopsis of the letter that was posted to the FSC blog says it better than I ever could, so I will simply quote from it.


“When I saw that counsel for Cal/OSHA was advising the City of Los Angeles to jump into this issue, I was appalled,” said Tynan. “I don’t see Cal/OSHA writing to the city council of Bakersfield or Fresno imploring those cities to write regulations on heat illness to protect the field workers, so why is Cal/OSHA taking this position on condoms?  This is another glaring example of the politics, judgment, and discrimination that swirl around the condom issue.

“I certainly hope that the Los Angeles City Attorney and his staff attorneys can cut through the misinformation and propaganda that continues to pour forth from AHF and their allies,” Tynan added.

In the letter, Tynan states clearly that Cal/OSHA’s attempt to hand off regulatory enforcement to local agencies is unprecedented on a legal basis, allowing local agencies to enforce health & safety regulation without clear authority to do so.


Also, Tynan points out several conflicts of interest raised by the relationship between the Cal/OSHA and nonprofit HIV organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), including evidence that shows that AHF has provided expert witnesses and its own physicians to give testimony in proceedings regarding adult industry health & safety, while adult industry stakeholders had limited opportunities to present testimony or counterpoints to the data provided by AHF.

FSC, as the adult industry trade association, commissioned a report from respected biostatistician Lawrence Mayer MD, MFA, PhD, debunking the methodology used to analyze the data presented by AHF and showing that statistics used by AHF are inaccurate. That report was entered into record at the most recent Cal/OSHA meeting regarding adult industry health & safety.


“Since 2009, FSC and industry stakeholders have been working cooperatively with Cal/OSHA to arrive at industry-appropriate regulations for health & safety, so we are surprised at the latest developments,” said FSC Membership/Communications Director Joanne Cachapero. “Frankly, it’s shocking that a state agency would take action allowing the issues to become further politicized. The letter from Cal/OSHA to the LA City Attorney seems to indicate bias. It appears as if Cal/OSHA has decided to align their actions with Aids Healthcare Foundation’s continuing anti-industry campaign to mandate condom use on adult production sets.”

"Appears"??? Really, Ms., Cachapero?? There's nothing "appears" about it...Cal/OSHA and the AHF have been 69'ing each other for the past 5 years attempting to impose the condom mandate in porn. They've perfected the art of "conflict of interest" the way Dick Cheney did with Haliburton during the Iraq War years.