AHF Announces L.A. City Ballot Initiative to Force Condom Use

LOS ANGELES—The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is taking its condom case to the people … maybe. The group, which has been trying to force all adult performers to use condoms on set, is undertaking a ballot initiative to get enough signatures to put an initiative on the city’s June 2012 ballot that, if approved by the voters, will require porn productions to use condoms in order to obtain film permits to shoot in Los Angeles.

Late Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times posted an article on the initiative to the L.A. Now blog. The post, which includes a lengthy interview with AHF president Michael Weinstein and former performers Derrick Burts and Darren James, includes no input from anyone in the industry opposed to mandatory condom use.

James contracted HIV in 2004 after traveling to Brazil, where he reportedly contracted HIV while shooting a scene for TT Boy Productions. Burts claims he was infected with HIV on a porn set around September 2010. Both performers were informed that they had contracted HIV following periodic tests at the AIM health clinic, which has since closed. Both are now advocates of mandatory condom use.

Regarding the initiative, the Times reported, “Activists must submit a petition with at least 41,138 qualifying signatures (15 percent of all votes cast in the last mayoral election) by Dec. 23 in order to place the measure on the June ballot, city election officials said. If they succeed, it will be the first time the issue—which has been litigated and disputed during state regulatory meetings—has come before L.A. voters.”

AHF is holding a press conference tomorrow morning on the launch of the ballot initiative. A number of condom mandatory proponents will be there, including James, Burts, Shelley Lubben and Jenni Case of the Pink Cross Foundation, as well as Weinstein and AHF assistant general counsel Brian Chase.

In comments made to the Times, Weinstein said he was pleased with the actions Cal/OSHA has been taking with respect to citing companies not using condoms on set, but that he was more than a little disappointed with state and city efforts, including a decision by the L.A. City Council in April, following a report by the city attorney advising against the requirement, not to tie the issuance of film permits to condom use.

“We’d rather take our chances with the electorate than with the cowardly political establishment,” Weinstein said.

AVN contacted the Free Speech Coalition, which has been spearheading efforts by the industry to head off mandatory condom and other barrier protection use, for comment. FSC Executive Director Diane Duke replied Tuesday morning with the following statement.

“The L.A. County Department of Public Health has plainly stated in response to a lawsuit filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that it doesn’t see a compelling public interest to require the use of condoms in adult movie production,” said Duke.

“Clearly AHF has an anti-adult industry agenda and, like its previous frivolous lawsuits, erroneous charges with CalOSHA, multiple press conferences and protests, I suspect that this is the next step in AHF’s attempt to stay relevant,” she added. “Clearly their efforts and financial resources would be much better served in the prevention and treatment of HIV rather than continuing its witch hunt of the adult entertainment industry.”