CalOSHA Wraps Two Days of Hearings on Treasure Island Media

SAN FRANCISCO—Treasure Island Media (TIM) has been the focus of two days of hearings before an administrative law judge, based on complaints filed with CalOSHA by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) regarding the bareback movie The Thousand Load Fuck. Though details are sketchy, and the defense has not yet presented its case, Karen Tynan, the attorney for TIM, is confident that the charges will be dismissed at that time.

"There was a complaint, and then CalOSHA brought an action," Tynan said. "It's a three-year-old case, actually; it's taken CalOSHA three years to finally bring this to a hearing after numerous continuances which obviously, I feel prejudiced for my client, Treasure Island Media, because of the delays. But it's for not using condoms and for oral sex without condoms and, obviously, unprotected anal sex, and there's an allegation of what you and I would call 'rimming,' but they refer to it in the transcript as 'analingus'."

"We were scheduled for two days before the judge," she continued, "and Cal/OSHA called Matt Mason, Manager of TIM, as their first witness. The second day they called Gene Murphy as the inspector. I’m about to receive the transcript from the hearing where the inspector, Gene Murphy, testified under oath that that the adult entertainment industry was not a high hazard industry. We spent over an hour watching The Thousand Load Fuck—that's the movie they're focusing on—and Cal/OSHA submitted over 30 exhibits."

"There's been a kind of a plodding, slow pace by CalOSHA," she observed. "In two days, they only got on two witnesses. The judge has admonished them repeatedly to speed up the pace of their case, and we're really at a stage where we're coming back in April to hopefully have two more days of hearings and get this wrapped up and prove that CalOSHA has no jurisdiction, because a lot of these films—including The Thousand Load Fuck—are from outside California.   What CalOSHA can't seem to understand is that these studios film in Europe—Paris and London and Spain—and Canada, and they still are trying to make these allegations sound like it happened in California. Also, these performers are not employees, because if you remember from the [CalOSHA] hearings we had over the last year or so, that there has to be an employee relationship, and these people are not employees."

"I should note that AHF sent two representatives to watch the trial," she added, "and it was clear that AHF and the Cal/OSHA personnel were thick as thieves, whispering in the corner and practically canoodling during lunch."

And speaking of canoodling, perhaps in response to their poor showing at the Treasure Island hearing, AHF filed complaints on Wednesday with CalOSHA against a dozen other gay companies, as well as an additional complaint against Treasure Island Media.

"AIDS Healthcare Foundation this week filed formal 'Notice of Safety or Health Hazards' complaints with Cal/OSHA (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health), the state’s health and safety regulatory and watchdog organization," stated an AHF press release, "over the lack of condom use in adult films produced by Treasure Island Media, Inc., a Bay Area adult film production company that primarily serves and produces films for the gay market as well as a dozen other production companies producing what are known as ‘bareback’ films—gay adult films in which the performers do not wear condoms."

The companies being complained about besides TIM are Bareback Inc./Vineyard Entertainment; Dark Alley Media; HDK International/Hot Desert Knights; Huge Studio/AVNS Inc.; Icarus Entertainment/Raw Pups; Pete’s Distribution; Sparta Video; Spunk Video; Stud Mall; SX Video; Viper Entertainment and Zyloco Inc./Tony & Cam, several of which are not even based in California, the only area where CalOSHA has any jurisdiction.

In addition, several of the films that are the subjects of the complaints—Liam Cole's Slammed (2012), Park & Ride: A Max Sohl Sex Tape (2012), Cheap Thrills Volume 3 (2011), In the Flesh: A Liam Cole Video (2011), What I Can't See #3 (2011), Breeding Season #2 (2010), Raw Underground: Paris (2010), Full Tilt: Liam Cole (2010) and three other films not mentioned by name in the release—weren't even shot in the U.S., much less in California. All, however, were distributed by TIM, which has no control over their content.

"As a global HIV and STD medical provider operating treatment clinics and prevention facilities here in California, we see it as our duty to pursue action on the issue of safety in the workplace—in these instances, unprotected sex acts taking place in albeit non-traditional workplaces—porn sets located throughout the San Fernando Valley that are churning out billions of dollars of adult fare every day," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Treasure Island has been quite vocal and outspoken in its opposition to condom use in the company’s films. This is why we are filing workplace health and safety complaints with Cal/OSHA: to press for the enforcement of existing state and local workplace regulatory guidelines which would require the use of condoms in their—and all—adult films produced in California."

Of course, as noted above, few or none of the complained-about movies were shot in the San Fernando Valley; the adult industry hardly "churn[s] out billions of dollars of adult fare every day"; and since TIM is located in the Bay Area, any films it did shoot in that area are not affected by Los Angeles County's recently passed Measure B, nor by the City of Los Angeles' film permitting requirements.

"I am interested to see what action, if any, OSHA takes against us, and I am particularly interested to see on what basis they allege jurisdiction," responded Robert Felt of New York-based Dark Alley Media. "For the moment, this is just a press release and I've been around long enough to know better than to overreact to press releases."