LOS ANGELES—After a long and (figuratively) bloody fight, the adult industry scored an amazing victory last night with the defeat of Prop 60, the so-called Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The No On 60 campaign was far outspent (illegally, one might add) by the proposition's main proponent, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which contributed almost 100 percent of the funds used to promote the initiative, while the No On 60 campaign was funded through the generosity of many adult producers including Vivid Entertainment Group, Wicked Pictures/Wicked Sensual Care, Evil Angel, Adam & Eve, Kink, New Sensations/Digital Sin, Penthouse, Grooby Productions, AEBN, LATATA, Great Western Litho and several more, not counting the hundreds of smaller, individual contributions.
"This was a tremendous victory, not only for adult performers, but for science over stigma, and facts over fear," wrote Michael Stabile, communications director for the No on Proposition 60 campaign, in an official statement. "Adult industry workers no longer need to fear a punitive law that would have allowed any resident of the state to file suit against them. We were honored to have the Democratic and Republican and Libertarian Parties, along with over 55 state newspapers and hundreds of public health and civil rights advocates, stand with adult performers.
"We hope this marks the beginning of a new, safer era for adult film performers and other workers in California," he continued, "one in which worker voices and lived experiences are included in the legislation and regulation that affects their bodies and their lives. Most of all, we thank the millions of Californians who stood up against worker harassment."
Also celebrating the victory over worker harassment was the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, which sent out the following press release:
"The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee would like to congratulate the efforts of the adult film community in defeating Proposition 60—written and paid for by Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation—which failed on November 8, 2016.
"Adult film workers are encouraged to celebrate their work opposing Prop 60. In an outstanding and unprecedented display of solidarity and focus, performers managed to defeat a proposition fueled by millions of dollars. The industry must use this momentum going forward to address concerns and create a secure work environment that is near-impenetrable to intimidation or persecution from outsiders or from within the industry. Building a better community is still a primary goal and adult film performers have shown, indisputably, how much they can accomplish when goals are set, voices are raised, and demands are made. This is a time of celebration, but the work is not done.
"Performers who wish to continue to advocate for their community and demand work conditions and comprehensive protocols that ensure their safety and well-being are urged to join the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. APAC will hear concerns of all adult film workers, regardless of membership, and work as fervently as possible to continue to create rules of conduct that guarantee performer safety and adherence to performer rights. The refusal of California voters to allow legislation that puts performers at risk is a miraculous win. Now performers must focus on securing the industry against unfair and uneducated perspectives that may put the industry at risk in the future.
"This is a glorious time to be an adult film performer. APAC wants to express immense gratitude for your support and hard work. Your enthusiasm against Prop 60 is an understated accomplishment and staying united is crucial to assure positive change.
"For more information about the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, contact [email protected]."
Even as this is written, congratulations are coming in from adult industry members all overr the country.
"My congratulations to those many of you who worked so hard, and successfully to defeat this monstrosity. You all deserve a lot of credit," wrote Adam & Eve owner Phil Harvey. "And of course we can also celebrate the marijuana vote which could represent the beginning of the end of the dreadful war on drugs."
"YES!" echoed Adam & Eve's New Business Coordinator Bob Christian. "Let’s not let the general US election results sap the joy of the fantastic victory in defeating Prop 60 and the celebration of what Eric and every member of the 'Say NO to Prop 60' team made happen. Congrats and thanks."
"This is a major blow for Weinstein," agreed Kink.com owner Peter Acworth. "I believe he spent $20 million and lost not only [Prop] 60 but also 61. That's $20m that should have gone towards helping people with HIV. Its hard to imagine how he can survive this. If he does, surely he has to back off from his ridiculous crusade against porn.
"Congratulations to all!!!" he added. "Amazing work and leadership by Eric. There's nothing we could possibly have done to affect the presidential race, so why think about it? It is what it is and we will have to deal with it."
"Congrats on the win!!" wrote MindGeek's Franco Lipari. "I can’t imagine how much effort this has taken. You managed to prove that with ideas, strategy and unity you can defeat goliath. With this footprint you have made we should use this massive swing the keep industry united."
"Just wanted to extend a big thank you to Eric, Siouxsie, Mike, and the NoProp60 crew for their hard work," wrote Kristel Penn in a statement on behalf of herself and Grooby Productions' Steven Grooby. "Thank you for being advocates for our industry and motivating others to become advocates too. It was really powerful to see everyone coming together for this. Defeating Prop 60 is such a great victory for us—it's definitely been my silver lining as well.
"Yesterday I stopped by the rally in NoHo to lend support with some Grooby folks, and Siouxsie and the crew had been standing in 90 degree heat all day," she added. "I know it was not the first time they and others had done that, but I'm so happy to think yesterday was the last time."
"It's great when right overcomes wrong," lauded producer Scott David. "It was so great to see the industry pull together. Again great job to all that helped."
Even before the first vote had been cast, Free Speech Executive Director Eric Paul Leue voiced both optimism and caution regarding the upcoming battle:
"Mahatma Gandhi said 'The path is the goal.' Let this sink in as we await the outcome of Proposition 60.
"When I joined the Free Speech Coalition on February 1st, it was my vision to create an organization bigger than the sum of its parts. We have walked many paths over the past 25 years, and will no doubt walk many more. Along each, moments of success, moments of defeat, and moments like this: unified and powerful.
"No matter the outcome tonight, we have already won. Together, we have built a movement, that exceeded anyone’s expectations. We pushed forward, steadfast against prejudice, misconception and lies. We drew people’s attention to a megalomaniac willing to steal scarce prevention funding to push his own misguided agenda.
"We united Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. We amassed over 55 newspaper endorsements. We got public health and civil-rights organizations, politicians and celebrities to stand with us and reject Proposition 60.
"Every single one of your voices has made a difference.
"As we look beyond Proposition 60, don’t forget how powerful our voices are when we unite to fight for the well-being and safety of our rights, our workplace, our chosen family.
"Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. And no matter what the outcome tonight, never give up."
Even as the election results were coming in, Leue remained at his computer, watching the returns minute by minute, and as soon as the polls closed in California, he saw reason for hope, in that the first announced results showed that early voters were rejecting Prop 60. As the totals continued to favor the "No" position, Leue opined that if we had a reasonable margin in our favor by the time 30 percent of the ballots had been counted, and if the "Yes" vote in Los Angeles (AIDS Healthcare's stronghold) remained only slightly ahead of the "No," esppecially with San Francisco voting overwhelmingly against the proposition, we would prevail. By 11 p.m. last night, those hopes had become reality, and as this is written, with 99.7 percent of the precincts at least partially reporting, the No's carried the day with 53.9 percent versus 46.1 percent of the Yes's.
AVN adds its own congratulations to Leue, Stabile, Siouxsie Q and the dozens of people both in and outside of the adult industry who helped to accomplish this great victory. It's one that will figure strongly in any future history of adult, as the first time that the industry mounted a coordinated effort to affect a political issue, and succeeded beyond all expectations.