Latest Updates on Treasure Island Media's CalOSHA Hearing

SAN FRANCISCO—Yesterday saw the continuation of the CalOSHA hearing regarding some of the complaints made by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) against gay adult content producer Treasure Island Media (TIM)—and it began with indignant CalOSHA prosecutor Kathryn Woods blasting defense attorney Karen Tynan for describing CalOSHA employees and AHF staffers as being "thick as thieves, whispering in the corner and practically canoodling during lunch" at the previous hearing, and adult media in general for posting photos, taken during a break in the proceedings, of AHF "consultant" Mark Roy McGrath lying on the hearing room floor with his feet up on one of the seats.

But despite those accusations, some actual testimony was elicited during the hearing, which lasted all day yesterday and today, with testimony having concluded but with the administrative hearing officer yet to render a verdict.

Besides the hearing officer, present at the hearing yesterday were CalOSHA Deputy Chief for Health and Technical Services Deborah Gold (who spent more than 18 months presiding over an AHF petition to require condoms in porn), attorneys Kathryn Woods and Tuyet-Van Tran, and Inspector Eugene Murphy, while those sitting at the defense table included Tynan and TIM General Manager Matt Mason. Early reports from the hearing room today indicated that neither McGrath nor UCLA's Adam Cohen, both of whom attended yesterday's session, were to be present today, possibly because AB 332, which AHF supports (and possibly drafted in its entirety) is being heard by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee at 1:30 this afternoon. (Live streaming of that hearing can be found here.)

At issue are a number of movies distributed by TIM, including The Thousand Load Fuck (2009), 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 others not named in the complaint, all of which the company maintains were shot outside California.

Much of yesterday morning's session was taken up by Tynan's re-cross examination of Murphy, whom the prosecution had used to support its contention that at least one of the movies complained of was shot in California in 2009—a contention that the defense denies. The significance of such testimony would go to the question of whether CalOSHA had/has any jurisdiction over the movie in the first place, since the agency can only deal with alleged health concerns that involve California-based productions.

Part of the evidence introduced during Murphy's testimony was a check register from Paul Morris Productions, with which Woods attempted to show that checks were cut for "per diems" in Los Angeles and San Diego in mid-2009—as well as Montreal, Key West and several other locations. However, the prosecutor called no additional witnesses regarding either the check register itself nor whether those checks could specifically be tied to the production at issue at the hearing, and on examination, Tynan adduced thestimony from Murphy that he had no idea what activities took place at any of the locations tied to the issued checks.

Woods then called to the stand a former casting director for TIM, Gehno Sanchez, who had previously been fired by Mason. Sanchez testified that the movie in question had indeed been shot in San Francisco—but he also admitted that he had received Employee Safety and Bloodborne Pathogen training at TIM, and that 10 to 15 minutes of workplace safety discussion/training was had at every weekly meeting of TIM employees.

The prosecution's next witness was Public Health Medical Officer Janice Prudhomme, an osteopathic physician whom the prosecutors wished to use as an epidemiologist/virologist although her curriculum vitae shows no degree or training in either specialty. According to testimony elicited yesterday afternoon, Prudhomme prepared for her testimony in part by reading articles and recommendations by Deborah Gold, who introduced her to the writings of LA County Department of Public Health's Dr. Peter Kerndt, who has frequently shown his antipathy for the adult industry, including co-authoring this anti-adult report. Prudhomme also balked at admitting that even kissing can create an exposure risk for HIV and Hepatitis C infection, though she did admit that cuts and open sores on the mouth, lips or throat create that risk as well.

But perhaps Prudhomme's most damaging admission was that she has no familiarity with any adult industry testing protocols, including which tests are used, what frequency of testing is used, how such testing is verified, what STI treatments are made available, how STI-infected performers are prevented from working until cured, how industry infections are tracked using generational contacting of potentially exposed performers, etc.. In fact, according to reports, Prudhomme testified only that she had "heard" that there is "some testing going on."

Yesterday's last witness was Deborah Gold, who began by describing her job responsibilities with CalOSHA, and this morning testified about her understanding of the terms "bare-backing" and "pre-cum"—and referred to several of TIM's models, performers and employees by their legal (rather than stage) names. Her testimony was completed shortly before the lunch recess, at which point the prosecution rested its case.

The defense then called its first and only witness to the stand, TIM General Manager Matt Mason, who explained to the hearing officer that the performers whose work is distributed by Treasure Island Media are independent contractors over whom TIM has little or no control. He also described how the movies are shot almost documentary style rather than being scripted. Mason didn't deal with whether the movies were filmed in California, though he noted that his former casting director, Gehno Sanchez, rather than having quit the company as Sanchez claimed, had actually been fired, and that his testimony should be understood with that fact in mind.

"We also asked the judges to take judicial notice of the regulatory history of [California Health Code] Section 5193, which we ordered from Sacramento," Tynan told AVN, "and that regulatory history shows that the adult industry was never considered when these regulations were put in place, so that's another defense that we have, that these regulations are inapplicable."

Part of the afternoon was also taken up with the accusations leveled against Tynan by Woods, who refused to stipulate that Tynan had not violated any rule of court by speaking with AVN previously, so Tynan went on the record to say that if Woods wanted to assert anything about her conduct or the conduct of Matt Mason in taking photos of McGrath during the previous session's lunch break, she could do so in writing.

"As you well know, attorneys are allowed to speak to reporters as long as they're not trying to affect the outcome of the case by swaying the jury," Tynan noted, "and it's unlikely that the judge will read [AVN reporter Mark Kernes'] column on or She [Woods] was particularly upset by the word 'canoodling,' but what can I say? I think the word conveys a lot."

With testimony now complete, both sides are waiting for the hearing transcript to be produced, and once they receive their copies, both sides will file briefs summarizing the evidence adduced at the hearing, and the judge is expected to render a decision sometime in June.

(H/t to hearing attendee Michael Whiteacre for providing much of the information noted above.)