Surprise! AHF Claims It Doesn't Want to Do Condom Inspections

LOS ANGELES—In a press release dated yesterday, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) stated that it will "NOT pursue a contract or request for proposal from the City as a potential vendor or service provider to monitor adult film production sets throughout Los Angeles to check for compliance with the new City of Los Angeles ordinance."

The announcement comes in the wake of the City Administrative Officer's (CAO) letter to City Council asking for a 90-day extension for its Working Group on the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Ordinance to complete its task of figuring out how to implement—and more specifically, how to make sure the adult industry is complying with—the recently passed ordinance, and the even more recent revelation that City Council had decided to hand that problem over to the city's Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee.

AHF's announcement was in part a response to this site's suspicions, based on statements made by AHF employee Mark Roy McGrath at the last Working Group meeting, that AHF itself would bid on a Request for Proposal (RFP) to do the condom inspections on adult movie (and perhaps webcam) sets. But according to a statement by AHF president Michael Weinstein, "Currently, AHF does not have the capability or expertise in this arena, and as such, we will not bid on any contracts or requests for proposals to monitor adult film sets for compliance with the new adult film permit ordinance."

"It's becoming clearer that the City of Los Angeles does not want—and/or may not actually have the capacity to enforce this new adult film safety ordinance that requires inspection of adult film sets for compliance with condom use in the productions," Weinstein said. "There are many objective, neutral compliance groups out there such as nursing agencies that can likely do this monitoring under contract to the city. And since this inspection and compliance effort will not cost the city anything—money for the inspections comes directly from the industry itself in the form of film permit fees—city officials should forge ahead and arrange for a qualified outside contractor to handle these compliance inspections."

Weinstein's math might be a little off, though. It's reliably estimated that at least two dozen non-studio adult movie shoots take place in the City of Los Angeles per day, with many of those sets having actors perform sex for as much as 16 hours per day or longer, often late into the night, and that dozens if not hundreds of women perform on webcams in various widespread locations around the city per day, thus requiring an inspection team of several dozen if not hundreds of workers.

Moreover, since AHF has already made an issue of the "fact" that city officials don't want to deal with this "problem" because they think watching sex is "icky," it remains to be seen whether nursing agencies or any other "objective, neutral compliance group" will be able to find enough staff who don't find sex "icky" to watch dozens of times per day to complete the inspection work that AHF's ill-conceived ordinance requires.

And that problem is likely to be compounded if AHF is successful in getting similar legislation on the Los Angeles County ballot next November. According to reports, the organization will deliver boxes containing over 300,000 signatures—thousands more than the 232,000 required—of LA County residents to the County Registrar/Recorder's office, all asking that the county require adult performers to wear condoms (but not yet the other "barrier protections" mandated in state's Health Code) during filming of sex scenes, and that production companies obtain "health permits" and pay for an inspection regime in order to shoot in the county, with $1,000 fines waiting for those who fail to comply.

It will be interesting to see if AHF's county ordinance follows the same path as the city ordinance did: Discussion of where the county will obtain the millions of dollars required to actually place AHF's ordinance on the county ballot; perhaps legal action to thwart that unaffordable expenditure for an ordinance that will likely be tied up in court for years on First Amendment violation and other grounds; then perhaps enactment by the County Supervisors without allowing voters to give the unconstitutional measure a "yea" or "nay"?

Only time will tell.