Friday, December 2, 2011

LA Porn Panic 2011/2012: The Series Continues: Mike Weinstein Gets His Condom Mandate Initiative On LA Ballot For Next June

Things are now about to get real, folks.

Yesterday, Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation released a press statement and had a press conference announcing that his proposed initiative mandating condom usage for all porn shoots in the greater Los Angeles area had gotten past the necessary 48,000 signatures to appear in the ballot for June of next year.

The presser was done to coincide with World AIDS Day (yes, because you know that only porn stars and gay men get HIV/AIDS, get it???) and to give Weinstein yet another chance to play verbal roulette with the truth.

Using his dedicated front group, the oxymoronically acronymed "F.A.I.R" ("For Adult Industry Accountablilty"), Weinstein was all a flutter about getting his precious initiative going, even with the progress of Cal-OSHA's making their own regulations on mandating condoms and other "barrier protections" for porn performers against their stated will.

So much so, in fact, that he wasn't even willing to wait until the vote next June; he wants the L. A. City Council to use the sigs to enact the proposal NOW. As in, before Chiristmas.

Don't believe me??  Here's a direct quote from the AHF press release (via here):

“Producers of adult films are required by California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5193 to use barrier protection, including condoms, to protect employees during the production of adult films,” said Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “However, many producers of adult films in Los Angeles consistently violate the worker safety provisions of this Code. In addition, pursuant to Section 12.22(A)(13) of the Los Angeles Planning and Zoning Code, producers of all films within the City of Los Angeles, including adult films, are also required to obtain film permits. Such permits issued may contain conditions ‘consistent with public health, safety and general welfare.’ We believe the city already has the authority to tie film permits to condom use—this ballot measure will allow Los Angeles voters to weigh in and make certain this happens.”
 And here's a direct quote from Weinstein himself at the press conference, as captured by AVN's Mark Kernes (full article here):
Perhaps the most important point for the adult industry, aside from the announcement that AHF had apparently collected more than enough signatures to put its mandatory-condom initiative on the ballot in June, was the claim by AHF president Michael Weinstein that if city clerks, doing a random check of petition signatures, find that the initative has qualified for the June ballot, that enacting an ordinance needn't wait for voter approval.

"At that point [after the signatures have been checked], the city council will have 20 days to enact the ordinance as is, or else it will go to the June ballot," Weinstein said. "We're very confident of victory in the election. Certainly, we think it is primarily the responsibility of the city council to enact this measure, and we hope that their consciences will be pricked and they will do the right thing and do that, but we're perfectly prepared to move forward.... We will be making an announcement shortly about actions we're going to take to move the agenda along at the county level as well."
 Of course, Weinstein seems to have forgotten that the second the condom mandate even becomes law, it will be hit with a tsumami of lawsuits challenging its legality...never mind the fact also that I'm guessing that LA doesn't have anywhere close to the funding to effectively enforce such a broad-reaching law. But, then again, all those potential condom dollars from Lifestyles and Durex must still be affecting his brain cells.

To further buttress his case, Weinstein bought out his crewe of sycophants and "several former actors" in the adult industry" (at least, that's what his press statement promised)...which turned out to be two actors. But oh, how interesting they were.

Testimonial #1 was from none other than Derrick Burts, the eye of the 2010 "porn scare", who waxed real good about how easy it was for him to get all kinds of STI's from unprotected sex and how only condoms would have saved him. (From Kernes again)
Burts, who "works alongside the AIDS Healthcare Foundation" and claimed to have been infected with chalymdia, herpes, gonorrhea and HIV after performing in adult movies (straight and gay) for just four months, opined, "I think it's very safe and fair to say that in this industry as a worker, when you're not wearing barrier protections, the likelihood of you getting an STD is extremely high."

Perhaps more interesting was Burts' claim that, "One thing I always point out time and time again, is that testing is not enough because there's too big of a time frame where we can go out and have sex with someone in the general public—you know, a lot of performers, female performers go out and have sex in the general public—male performers as well—and we go back to work on a porn set and we can easily spread that before testing again."
Ahhh, yes...the old "we porn stars are just too slutty to protect ourselves, so we need the State to intervene for our own good and jam condoms down our throats" card. Funny, but having someone who managed to infect himself in a scene WITH A CONDOM INCLUDED, who openly boasted of being an active bisexual swinger, and who even managed to use a negative AIM test to pimp himself for, is hardly the best person to use to promote sexual restraint. (Also, go here and here to see more of DBurts playing fast and loose with the facts.)

The other former actor to take advantage of AHF's crying towel was Darren James, whom at least has a bit more cred as the centerpiece of the notorious 2004 HIV outbreak that actually did claim 4 female performers (Lara Roxx included).Like Burts, James pitied the fact that his life essentially changed after his HIV infection, and naturally, he blamed not having a condom on during the scene:
"People are going to buy porn regardless," James argued. "The fans that I've seen on the street, they could care less. They just want to see performers. If that means that a guy can't use a condom, you get a better actor that can use a condom... It's gonna sell. Don't believe all the directors talking about—they try to use every kind of scapegoat they can to get out of it, but it all comes down to the same thing: You gotta stick by the condom. The condom is the only way because just testing—that's what I thought: Just getting a test was saving me. And look at me now: I'm HIV-positive. The tests don't mean nothing; it's after the fact."  (excerpted from Kernes)
So, Mr. James...why weren't you willing to stick to your own words when you had that tryst in Brazil before doing that scene?? Or..why didn't the obvious anal sores on Lara Roxx's buttocks raise the red flag that something was more than a bit wrong and that maybe it should have been time to bail out?? Viruses don't invade by themselves, you have to get them and spread them.

And don't even begin to start me on the claim that James and/or Roxx might have been infected before that infamous shoot, due to they shooting in Canada..see this story.

The other spokesperson there was Brian Chase, AHF's chief legal counsel, who riffed on how the condom mandate would be enforced if the initiative was ratified or passed. Apparently, he thinks that FilmLA, the organization that permits movie shoots in Los Angeles, can be induced to enforce the law:
"Everyone knows that when you go the city to get a permit, that permit comes with some conditions," Chase stated. "If a mainstream film studio wants to get a film permit and there's going to be pyrotechnics, then they have to have safety measures; they have to have the fire department involved. When you get a construction permit for your house, that means you've got to follow all the rules regarding workplace safety for construction workers. It's the exact same thing in the adult film industry. We have regulations saying that when workers might be exposed to the threat of disease, they have to be protected with barrier protection. In the context of adult films, that means condoms. This is a law that already exists, but this industry seems to believe that it's above the law, that it can just ignore the law and get away with it. It can't, and we're going to continue to do whatever we can, including going to the voters, to put pressure on this industry to start protecting its workers."
 Yes. but FilmLA does not have a charter to impose rules for condoms on porn shoots, and I don't see LA giving them the money to do so (otherwise, that would be called an "unfunded mandate", which is a no-no politically). But, Chase and Weinstein have an out for that: just let either the LA County Dept. of Public Health or Cal-OSHA take over the enforcement. The former, though, wants out of the condom police biz altogether after being burned far too often, and the latter already has enough powers through fines and raids (and is currently seeking to change the regs to force the mandate via "barrier protection" enforcement".

Just as interesting as who was there, though, was who was absent.

Like, for example, any active current porn performer, even though there are more than a few who do support the idea of more condoms in porn. females this time; you'd think that Weinstein would want to avoid the stigma of having men lecture female performers on protecting themselves.

But the biggest absence of this drama?? No Ministeress!!!

Apparently Shelley Lubben has become much too radioactive for even the folks at AHF to recruit her ministry for propaganda's sake, thanks to the allegations that "Madelyne" (the former Michelle Avanti) raised against her and her Pink Cross Foundation. Either that, or Shelley's decided to focus her audience for her book on her fundamentalist Christian roots, and palling around with a liberal gay organization would get in the way. (Not that she's not doing her deeds en rogue, her YouTube page just put out a video of the presser, albeit altered to make it seem as if she was there.)

And if you remember, Clones, Shelley and Pink Cross was all over the original presser in June announcing the initiative; she even had her present protege Jan Meza pose in the background.Whether this is a permanent break or simply part of the strategy of divide and conquer, we shall see.

In any rate, maybe it's time for the industry to get past their differences and pull together and fight this nonsense. It's only your profession, you know.