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Vivid and pornstars sue to block Measure B

The LA-area porn industry is not happy with Measure B, aka the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, which requires porn performers to wear condoms during filming. The new law passed by referendum 57%-43% in the last election. Technically the new law is already in effect, but county officials haven’t started enforcing it.

Now porn studio Vivid and pornstars Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce have sued the country to block the law. You can read the actual lawsuit (PDF) if you’re so inclined. The lawsuit calls itself a “civil rights action” against a “facial violation of numerous protections provided by the First Amendment”. (Seriously, “facial violation”? Is that a real legal term?)

The head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been hounding the porn biz for years, responds, “This is not a free speech issue. This is a workplace safety issue.” He’s got a point. Non-porn film studios have to follow all sorts of workplace safety regulations, fire codes, child labor laws, etc, while producing their constitutionally-protected artistic expression.

Everyone has ulterior motives in this fight. The porn folks are mainly worried about money. Porn with condoms is a less appealing product, which would be competing against porn without condoms produced in other states and countries. And much support for Measure B was motivated less by workplace safety wonkery than by sheer hostility to the porn biz.

The Vivid et al lawsuit makes a good point: the LA-area porn industry already has its own effective system in place for protecting performers from AIDS, relying on frequent testing and a performer database. The new law would not result in better porn safety, it would just drive more production to places (like Russia or Florida) where performers have less protection. AIDS Healthcare Foundation and many local politicians have spent years attacking the industry’s in-house system, particularly the AIM Healthcare clinic which shut down in 2011, putting the lie to their claimed concern for pornstar health.

Kayden Kross wrote a “No on Measure B” op-ed on her blog last September, signed “a girl who would like to maintain autonomy over her vagina”.

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