L.A. City Council: Deny Film Permits to Non-Condom Shoots

LOS ANGELES—In its latest bid to drive adult production companies out of business or out of the state, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has managed to get four Los Angeles City Councilmembers to support a motion to deny filming permits to adult companies unless the permits contain special conditions requiring condoms, dental dams, face shields and/or goggles for all sex acts.

"The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has documented widespread transmission of sexually transmitted diseases associated with the activities of the adult film industry within the City of Los Angeles," begins the motion proposed by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and seconded by members Ed Reyes, Paul Koretz and Eric Garcetti.

"The producers of all films within the City of Los Angeles, including adult films, are required to obtain permits issued by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and administered by FilmL.A., Inc. under certain contracts between FilmL.A., Inc. and the City of Los Angeles," the motion continues. "Such permits for film production within the City of Los Angeles may include conditions to protect public safety and health."

"The producers of adult films are required by California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5903 et seq. to employ barrier protection, including without limitation condoms, to shield performers from contact with potentially infectious material during the production of adult films."

"I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney to report back within 45 days to explain the mechanisms necessary to enable the City’s film permit process to require workplace safety in the production of all adult films."

AHF president Michael Weinstein, whose organization pushed for the motion, lauded Rosendahl for the action.

"Tying condom use to adult-film production permits is absolutely the responsible thing to do, protecting adult film industry performers who—under the current system of testing—are routinely asked to risk their lives and health in order to continue working," Weinstein told the BusinessWire.com site. "Unfortunately, despite clear regulatory requirements and actions taken by public officials, the adult film industry remains convinced it is above the law."

Enlisting the City Council is the latest move in AHF's war on the adult industry. Wednesday, it sponsored a press conference where alleged HIV-positive adult performer Derrick Burts claimed to have been maltreated by AIM Healthcare—a charge which AIM has categorically denied—and yesterday it convinced LA Health Department director Dr. Jonathan Fielding to serve a cease-and-desist order on AIM even after the California Department of Health gave AIM 60 days (from November 30) to correct the name on its application for an operating permit as a community clinic.

At this point, it's difficult to assess what effect the Rosendahl motion will have on the adult industry. The motion itself merely calls for the City Attorney to report on how FilmL.A., Inc., the agency which contracts with the city to issue filming permits, can be made to require adult companies seeking permits to require that those companies use condoms, dental dams and face shields/goggles in their productions or, presumably, to be denied the permit. The City Attorney has 45 days to make its report, and it is unknown what recommendations the City Attorney will make.

A review of the Web page regarding FilmL.A.'s permitting process notes that, "Obtaining a film permit involves more than just submitting an application.  As a part of the permit process, applicants must also furnish proof of insurance and other documents and conduct community outreach."

However, a more in-depth look at FilmL.A.'s "Process Guide" notes that in certain cases, a "FilmL.A. Monitor" may be assigned to a particular film project "when one or more of the following criteria apply for film activity at any location on any film permit"; some of those criteria being, "when requested by a city councilmember or equivalent elected official"; "when requested by a representative of a city or county department"; or "when FilmL.A., in its uniquely informed judgment, determines there is a need for Monitor oversight based on a review of the filming activities requested, the results of a community filming survey (if required), or historical knowledge of community filming concerns (as applicable)."

"Except in unique circumstances, Monitors are required to be present one hour prior to the crew's arrival and to remain at the location for the complete duration of the filming activity," the Guide also says, adding that the production company itself must bear the expense of the monitor, and there's a four-hour minimum for that person's services, billed currently at $30 per hour.

None of the attorneys serving the adult industry were available for comment about this latest AHF tactic, so check back with AVN.com for more information about this crucial threat to the industry.