Thanks to Mark Kernes at AVN, we now have a full reading
of that hearing last Monday at the California Senate Appropriations Committee on AB1576, Isadore Hall's condom mandate/"testing documentation" bill that had already passed the Cali Assembly last month. And, it was every bit worth its weight, both from the mountain of bullshit spewed by the proponents of the bill and the spirited efforts of the opposition.
For those of you not following, AB1576 was ultimately placed "in suspense" without a vote on passage following spirited testimony at that hearing; which pretty much dooms its passage unless Izzy Hall can convince four committee members to reserrect the bill and pass it before all the "in suspense" bills get dumped next week.
But, that's next week's issue....what took place last Monday, upon further review, deserves a much detailed analysis. Fortunately, Mr. Kernes was there first hand, and he delivers as usual a full accounting of all the hijinks. All references will be to his AVN article, which can be found here
First...we have to live once again through the virtual Crapnado of Izzy Hall's sorry-ass arguments in favor of his bill...now jacked up to even higher fever pitches of stank.
"AB 1576 is a workplace safety measure that would require employer-paid
mandatory STD testing on adult film actors at least every 14 days and
documentation that a condom or other personal protective equipment was
use in all adult films produced in California," [Hall] began, adding that
three policy committees—the Assembly Arts & Entertainment and
Appropriations Committees, as well as the Senate Labor Committee—had
already had "extensive public debate on this bill" and "received
Right...."extensive public debate", I suppose, meaning biased hearings where he was able to control the microphone and weed out any real facts; and "received bipartisan support" meaning that his benefactors over at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation were able to grease the wheels of local politicians with some of that $2 million in lobbying funds.
Hall went on to state that "Existing state and federal OSHA laws already
require the use of condoms in adult films, period. In fact, existing
federal OSHA law requires the use of condoms in adult films produced
anywhere in the nation"—which of course begs the question of why AB 1576
is even needed.
Yeah, really. Never mind that Hall could never produce any law anywhere other than Measure B in Los Angeles County and the ordinance in the city of Los Angeles that specifically mandates condom usage for performers. And, forget about the fact that CalOSHA is currently in the process of revamping their "bloodborne pathogen"/"barrier protection" standards in order to cover adult porn production....something that probably would not be needed if it was already the law. Existing law is currently designed strictly for occupations where direct exposure to bloodborne pathogens or internal body fluids is most likely (re: hospitals, morgues, meat processors, etc.). The CalOSHA rewrite for adult production (proposed as CCR 5193.1) is currently in the preliminary draft stages, with a draft
form scheduled for release sometime this fall.
Hall also claimed that the bill has "negligible general fund impact,"
ignoring the fact that CalOSHA or some other state agency would need to
hire several additional inspectors to make sure adult movie and internet
content producers are complying with the law. However, Hall sidestepped
that fact by claiming that not passing the bill would cost the state
even more—over $600,000 per person, he said—for treatment of performers
who contracted HIV and other STDs, further claiming that most performers
don't have health insurance, even though the Affordable Care Act
requires them to obtain it.
This is critical, folks, because the Cali Appropriations Committee has an iron clad threshold of $150,000 for the acceptable cost of enforcing legislation...and AB1576 is in serious danger of reaching or exceeding that threshold, even before the costs of legal action against the state and the costs of hiring enough inspectors to enforce this law. I suppose that Hall thinks that AHF will step in with the funds to hire their own "inspection" force??
On that "$600,000 per person" expense that condoms are supposed to protect the taxpayers of Cali from: you mean, Izzy, that the expense per person of people already striken with HIV/AIDS in your own district isn't nearly as much a financial drain? Especially considering that the actual expense to the state of California for HIV treatment of porn performers is....well...ZERO
, since there hasn't been a single case of a straight performer contracting HIV on set since 2004, as compared to the new cases of HIV cropping up every day in LA?? And no, Izzy, contracting HIV off the set through off-the-clock private sex or IV drug needle sharing, or getting infected in a condom only shoot, does not count.
Finally, to the fact that many performers do not have effective health care insurance to cover for tragedies as such? My two word response to that: Single. Payer.
"Many California studios require condoms on the set today, and are
still extremely successful and profitable," [Hall] further claimed. "In
fact, as recently as May 9 of this year, one adult film director made
the switch to condoms and testing after acknowledging that the only
reason he didn't require condoms before was because he put profit before
Nice try, Izzy...but, WRONG....
That director was Axel Braun, and what Braun actually said
was, "Maybe the last one [HIV-positive performer] hit too close to
home, since patient zero was booked on my set the day he was diagnosed,
or maybe my integrity is becoming more important than my bottom line,
but I have finally come to believe that our system is broken, and I’m
simply trying to do what I can to fix it on my end.” Braun also adopted a
policy of only allowing actors with tests less that one week old, and
required that actors be at least 21 years old.
It should also be noted that Braun is also a fervent public opponent of AB1576, and stated that he was only acting for his company, not for others.
Gee...I wonder why Hall didn't also cite Tristan Taormino and Dan Leal, two producers who have also decided to go condom only + tests? Too worked up in spewing his BS??
Next up was Rand Martin representing AHF, with the usual swill:
AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Rand Martin followed Hall, claiming that
"The bill does two things: Number one, it requires documentation that
protective barriers were used when it was necessary to do so; number
two, that an STD test was taken no more than 14 days before a scene was
filmed. That is all the bill does." He also claimed that since he had
worked with CalOSHA to "align the bill" with the agency's existing
regulations, that no additional costs would be incurred—except, of
course, for the additional inspectors, which Martin did not mention.
And then the stank really hit the eyewall...
Cameron Bay and her boyfriend Rod Daily also spoke, with the former
actress dropping her claim that she had contracted her HIV on an adult
set, but claimed today that "Adult producers know ... that they could
take advantage of workers like myself. They know the high turnover rate
for workers like me and they know that they're breaking the law when
they deny a worker like me the cheapest workplace barrier protection in
existence, which is a condom. And they do all that because they don't
have to pay for the treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted
infections. You, the citizens of California, have to pay. While the
producers laugh their way to the bank, you're left with the bill: over
half a million dollars in medication just for a single HIV infection
That's kind of interesting, Cam...you mean that you weren't given the option after you bit too hard into Xander Corvus' schlong to wear a condom to finish? In a scene where no one else was infected, and has tested negative since? And, that those "4 cent" condoms really are more effective than stingent testing? And, that the people of California (and by extension, the USA) shouldn't have to pay one red cent to treat HIV+ people? And, how exactly do you "break the law", Ms. Bay, by having bareback sex where no one is infected???
If condoms are that effective, shouldn't they be mandated for everyone engaging in sex
, not just people making porn??
Oh, wait..this isn't about prevention; it;s about "mentoring" and selling the beauty of "safer sex". And.....well placed condom ads that could make AHF more $$$$. Never mind....
But while Bay claimed that "AB 1576 insures women like me are protected
from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections," her boyfriend Rod
Daily began his testimony by saying, "During my time as a performer, I
only wore condoms in all of my scenes. Because of these, I was protected
from STDs on set." So either Daily didn't contract his disease on an
adult set, or the condoms didn't protect him—neither of which argues for
the passage of AB 1576.
Or...I guess he must have meant "my time as a gay
performer", where condoms are mandatory due to direct potential interaction with HIV+ performers, and the lack of the kind of stringent testing the "straight" porn industry maintains. So, I guess mandating condoms in porn doesn't protect you very well off-the-clock.
The only other proponent of note was Adam Cohen of the UCLA Reproductive Health Interest Group, who has been one of the main colluding groups between CalOSHA and AHF in the condom mandate campaign. Michael Whiteacre has already debunked his nonsense here.
As bad as that portion of the testimony was, it didn't compare to the good that was the opponents' response. To put it bluntly, they were armed, locked, and loaded....and their arguments did much to disenfect the air.
First up, performer Lorelei Lee, who happened to be the third performer in that Cameron Bay/Xander Corvus scene at Kink.com (and whom is also HIV-, and always has been).
When de Leon asked for speakers in opposition to the bill, Lorelei
Lee stepped forward, bringing with her a petition signed by "over 650
adult performers" opposing the bill, out of the 1,000 to 1,200 active
performers in the industry, "so there can be no quesiton that the
majority of performers oppose this bill." She also noted that the
committee had received letters from members of the Adult Performer
Advocacy Committee, the industry's only all-talent group, which also
oppose the bill.
"I want to make clear that the author of this
bill does not speak for performers," Lee said. "The sponsors of this
bill do not speak for performers. They have not worked with us, they
have not reached to us, and no one cares more than we do about our
health and safety."
"This bill would seriously degrade the health
and safety protocols that we already have in place and that we have
been working to improve over the last decade," she added. "I want to
emphasize that we would not work in this industry if we did not believe
that our protocols have kept us safe. Under our current protocols, we
have not had a single on-set transmission of HIV in over a decadel. ...
Performers who have tested positive in the last decade have done so
after an exposure in their private lives and our mandatory test-and-stop
protocols have prevented any on-set transmissions from occurring."
also expressed concern about performers' medical information being
shared with CalOSHA, noting that "Forced consent is not consent. This is
a privacy violation and we do not consent to it."
that "legislative condom mandates do not lead to more condom use in
adult films," noting that after Measure B was passed, many productions
moved out of the jurisdiction, "taking thousands of California jobs with
them," including not only performers but the myriad technicians that
work behind the scenes. She also noted that many productions that can't
afford to move have gone underground.
"When our jobs become
illegal, our employers have even less accountability, and both the
stigmas and the on-set dangers that we face rise exponentially," she
concluded. "Our voice and our concerns should be more important than
bills that a politician is simply trying to pass a bill."
Next up...adult industry attorney Karen Tynan:
Attorney Karen Tynan next took the microphone, claiming that, "Let me
be clear: AB 1576 is costly to the state, far beyond the suspense
threshhold. It undermines efforts to implement a complete and effective
worker safety plan." She added that the industry had spent years working
with medical professionals and experts to devise the industry's current
testing protocols, which she said are "more comprehensive than AB 1576,
and we have the support of the workers, the performers themselves."
reminded the committee that CalOSHA is working on its own set of
regulations, and called AB 1576 "an assault on that process."
believe this bill will also cost money with the California Department
of Public Health," she stated. "The recommendations will require the
development of a list of recommended HIV tests and it's impossible to
believe that this will not require additional costs to the state. This
would have to be a public and inclusive process so that the Department
of Public Health can understand the nuances of this industry and could
listen to performers and primary care physicians," noting that such
costs would require Public Health to "divert resources from more
She concluded by noting that six Bay Area
production companies had already moved to Nevada, as well as a "San
Fernando-based adult film company with $30 million in revenue
transferred their entire operations out of state."
And, as if that wasn't enough to convince the legislators, a new witness emerged with a decisive new argument against the bill:
The final speaker in opposition to the bill was a new one: Aaron Fox
of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, who noted that his organization was one
of the ones that had sent an opposition letter to the committee last
week, with the other two being Project Inform of San Francisco and AIDS
Project Los Angeles (which de Leon made sure to note was a different
organization from the bill's sponsor, AIDS Healthcare Foundation).
state-mandated HIV testing has never been something that this
legislature has been in favor of except one time in its history, which
was in 1996, when a boxer tested positive for HIV and the legislature
passed a law that professional boxers and martial artists must be tested
for HIV before they can compete in the ring," he stated. "We believe
that any way of expanding state-mandated HIV testing violates privacy
rights, stigmatizes people with HIV and is not something that's in
congruence with all of the HIV testing laws in California that not only
require consent but also require people to have the right to decline an
HIV test. There's nothing in this legislation that allows people the
right to decline an HIV test and that has been something the California
legislature has always supported throughout its history."
Keep in mind that the protocols used by PASS are enforced through peer pressure and the honor system of production companies not hiring performers who test positive for HIV or other STI's, not through any government intervention. Since AB1576 would require documentation for testing for HIV or condom usage by a public board, it would effectively violate both antidiscrimination laws against HIV+ persons in employment, AND direct consent for mandatory HIV testing. If that segment is rendered unconstitutional by a later court action, and all that remains is the condom requirement, then the risks to performers would be elevated to a magnitude, since there would be no effective means in which a performer could know if her on-screen partner was infected prior to that scene. And, if the condom broke....
The backup support was there in droves as well, too:
At that point, de Leon called for those in the audience who oppose the
bill to step forward and state their opposition—and more than 30 did,
including performers Anna Cherry, Mia Coleman, Veruca James (who's also
the recently elected treasurer of APAC), Jiz Lee, Mick Blue, Anikka
Albrite, Aiden Starr, Ariel X, Lea Lexis, Maitresse Madeline, Owen Gray
and Mickey Mod, as well as FSC CEO Diane Duke and Michael Chate of
Based on all that, you'd think that Izzy Hall would reel in the rhetoric in his final push for his bill before the committee. You would be wrong.
None of the committee members had questions or comments, but de Leon gave Hall the last word, though, and he didn't disappoint.
know this is not a sexy bill," he began. "We're talking about
protecting the lives of those without a voice," apparently ignoring the
"voice" of the 650-plus petitions presented to the committee earlier.
individuals who have come forward today deserve a badge of honor for
the courage that they have to come back and forth to Sacramento for the
last several months testifying in front of members of the legislature
both on Senate and the Assembly side, talking about how they were
impacted on their places of employment," he stated, apparently referring
to Bay and Daily rather than the dozens of other performers who have
attended those same hearings, "where they contracted a disease that will
affect their lives for the rest of their lives," Hall added, implying
that Bay and Daily contracted their HIV on-set, which implication has
been shown to be untrue.
"For the record, Mr. Chair, this bill
does not mandate testing," Hall lied. "This bill mandates documentation
of testing, and there is a big difference. This bill does not mandate
testing; this bill mandates the documentation of testing, and the
question as I close is, Mr. Chair and members, is how many lives must be
taken for profit? How many people must come up here each and every week
or every other week and talk about how their lives and families' lives
and many others are drastically impacted by going to work, performing a
job, not receiving a reasonable level of protection afforded other
employees, and as a result, now their lives have been turned upside
down, their families and all of their associates?"
The answer to
that question appears to be just Cameron Bay and Rod Daily, neither of
whom caught their HIV on an adult set, while more than 650 other
performers signed petitions and wrote letters against the bill's
So, to review and condense Isadore Hall's case: Two performers with questionable histories are more truthful than over 650 performers with solid records of protecting themselves without his or AHF's help; we absolutely must save those performers who can't save themselves with protections from HIV and STI's, and only 4-cent condoms are the proven means to do that; only an organization with well over $250 million in revenue is capable of fighting against the Evil Porn Profiteers who infect their "employees" with impunity, then go on to infect the general population; and, requiring documentation of testing is not the same as actually requiring testing...even though if you don't test, you get punished just the same. Hurry up and pass this bill before our opportunity to make money off condom placement ads goes past.....errrrrrr, before another performer gets killed by AIDS!!
I guess that we will all see by next week, if not by August 15th, whether his lunacy and AHF's money tree are able to overcome actual logic and truth. At least, for this year.