Quantcast

Condoms now required for Los Angeles porn actors

By John Rogers

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 5 2012 3:55 p.m. MST

The offices of Vivid Entertainment Group, an adult entertainment studio, are seen in the Studio City area of Los Angeles, Monday, March 5, 2012. A new Los Angeles city ordinance requiring adult film actors to wear condoms on set goes into effect Monday. But industry leaders say the new regulation might drive them from the nation's porn capital. They estimate that as many as 90 percent of U.S. porn films are made in Los Angeles, most of them in the suburban San Fernando Valley.

Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

LOS ANGELES — Actors in many of the adult films made in the nation's porn capital must use condoms under a law that took effect Monday, but the prophylactic police aren't yet on the beat.

How they will enforce such a regulation once they do begin enforcement is anyone's guess.

In Los Angeles, where an estimated 90 percent of the country's porn films are made, city officials and industry leaders are trying to settle on a way to ensure that there's more safe sex on the set. Some say health care professionals should be present during a shoot to make sure actors use condoms.

"Today really is a milestone in the advance of health and safety for these adult filmmakers," said Ged Kenslea, spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which lobbied for years for the measure.

When the City Council passed the law in January, it gave police, the city attorney, the porn industry and others six months to recommend the best way to enforce the measure. They have roughly four months left.

Until then, it's unclear whether police or health officials will start showing up at shoots. On Monday, city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said he didn't know the status of enforcement.

To shoot a film, the law requires a permit as well as the condom use. It contains a loophole for some of the larger porn companies, exempting the condom requirement from films made on studio soundstages.

The question is whether smaller companies, in which only a handful of people show up at a house, usually in the city's San Fernando Valley, quickly make a movie in a day or two and then move on, will pay any attention.

The head of one of the industry's largest filmmakers said he hadn't been approached about working out how the ordinance would work and how the city would deal with violators.

"We have not been approached," said Steven Hirsch, chief executive and co-founder of the Vivid Entertainment Group. "We assumed we would be approached but we have not been."

Hirsch said about 90 percent of Vivid's film shoots are conducted either in its own studio or outside the city.

But he quickly added that his company would immediately begin complying with the law and require that actors use condoms on any film shoots taking place outside a studio in Los Angeles.

Kenslea, the spokesman for the AIDS health care group, said he's heard that, although as many 50,000 porn films a year are made in Los Angeles, only about 200 permits a month are issued by the city to film them.

"Just because they don't take out permits does not mean there shouldn't be regulations," he said.

Industry officials say the law isn't needed and that their audiences find the use of condoms a turnoff. They said the industry's own requirement, that actors be tested for sexually transmitted diseases every 30 days, is sufficient. Hirsch and others have pointed out that there hasn't been a case of HIV linked directly to the making of a porn film since 2004.

But Kenslea and other advocates of using condoms say there have been nine reported cases of HIV involving porn actors since 2004. They added that the risk is always there that someone who, as in those cases, may have acquired the virus in their private life and could still infect others on set.

When it comes to enforcement, Kenslea said, his organization is pushing for the city to use health care professionals, perhaps from a private duty nursing agency, to conduct spot checks. The cost of the inspections would be paid out of fees the filmmakers would pay when applying for permits. The foundation has proposed a fee of $50 to $75.

Filmmakers who are caught violating the requirement would be refused future permits.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS