If it wasn't so serious to threaten a legal industry, it would be hilarious.
Last week, the California Assembly's Labor and Employment Committee debated and ultimately sent to the full Assembly AB 332, the attempt to extend the reach of the mandate for porn performers to wear condoms and other forms of "barrier protections" against STI's to the whole state, rather than just the city of Los Angeles (via statue) or jurisdictions of Los Angeles County (thanks to Measure B).
The discussion was pretty intense, with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation represented not only by bill sponsor Isadore Hall, but also by representatives from AHF who testified for the bill; while on the other side, porn performers, producers, and the Free Speech Coalition making the case that the mandate was overbroad, overreaching, and counterproductive to protecting performers.
In the end, though, the bill was sent to the full Assembly on a 5-1 vote, punctuated by a, shall we say, passionate closing speech by Assemblyman Hall in which he channeled all his verbal skills -- accented by probably the ever fattening wallet from AHF contributions -- to motivate the committee to "put on their courage vests" and move this bill on.
That's right, Clones, you heard it correct: "courage vests".
Because, as you know, it takes genuine courage for an esteemed person like Isadore Hall to pocket all that AHF money to become their new shill and promoter for subsidized condom ad placement on free porn stes....not to mention all the kickbacks he'll be getting for securing AHF's gravy train of NGO funding.
And, what tremendous sac it takes for Mr. Hall to get out in front of the most important issue of our time, especially when "lesser" issues like the continuing HIV/STI pandemic in the broader African American and Latino community can be pushed aside and dismissed for the glory of forcing adult performers to wrap up. Because, as you well know, young impressionable folk only learn about proper sex education and harm prevention from watching porn, not from outreach from medical professionals or proper sex education in schools. Forcing 25-30 year old adult performers to wear rubbers is far more important here than actually distributing condoms and other protective propylactics to the broader public..or, even better, actually seeking cures or vaccines that could potentially prevent STI's from spreading. But, that wouldn't be quite as good for the business of imposing morality, now wouldn't it??
But, maybe this isn't just about exploiting a moral sex panic to destroy a legal industry, or simply special interest groups getting paid off the forced labor of others. Maybe there is something more primal going on with this push for infantilizing porn performers.
Like, you know....Haz-Mat porn fetishes??
Work with me on this one...how do we know that the real reason why Mike Weinstein and his crew are so obsessed with this legislation isn't that they all have secret fetishes for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?? I mean, there are fetishes much more freakier than nutting off on those green aprons, goggles, and face shields, but what's to say that Hall, Weinstein, and company are actually sexual visionaries sensing a potential new and hawt sexual subgenre to mine for instant cash? I can see it now: the instantaneous signage of AB 332 into law combined with the release of the first "safe sex" classic epic, Fifty Shades of Green: Love In The HazMat Room.
But, all sarcastic smack aside, folks....the fact remains that AB 322 is a false solution in search of a misplaced problem, and it's passage will not only drive a legal industry underground and threaten the health of actual people; it will also codify an ill-place assumption that scapegoating a minority of performers will somehow help the majority. And, you don't need a "courage vest" to understand that.
See also Lydia Lee's (fka Julie Meadows') outstanding post here, and Mark Kernes' post at AVN here.