Business & Economy

Condom requirement for porn actors rejected by California state safety board

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health was scheduled to vote Tuesday on proposed new regulations aimed at protecting actors who make adult films.
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health was scheduled to vote Tuesday on proposed new regulations aimed at protecting actors who make adult films.
Photo by Rorro Navia via Flickr Creative Commons

4:37 p.m. Board rejects condom requirement for porn films 

Heeding the pleas of scores of actors, directors and producers, California officials in charge of workplace safety have rejected a proposal to require that porn actors cover up with condoms.

Spokeswoman Julia Bernstein says the measure was rejected Thursday when only three members of the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health's Standards Board voted in favor.

Four yes votes were required for passage.

Bernstein says Cal/Osha will now begin considering a new workplace safety measure for pornactors.

Board members heard more than five hours of testimony from those who said audiences won't accept condoms in porn films.

The board was told the requirement would force the industry underground.

That, they say, could eliminate safety standards already in place, such as testing every 14 days for sexually transmitted diseases.

AP

Updated 2:03 p.m. Porn workers urge state not to require condom use 

Scores of porn actors, writers, directors and producers are imploring state officials not to make them usecondoms in films, saying it will criminalize and perhaps even destroy their multibillion-dollar industry.

They delivered their message before a state Division of Occupational Safety and Health hearing Thursday in Oakland that included more than three hours of public testimony.

The agency's board was scheduled to vote at the hearing's conclusion on new safety standards for the porn industry that would require actors filming sex scenes to use condoms.

Porn actress Maxine Holloway told the board requiring condoms would criminalize the industry by forcing porn productions to go underground She says that in turn would make working conditions more dangerous, not safer.

1:29 a.m. California considers condoms for porn actors

Condoms could be coming to porn studios across California if the state agency in charge of enforcing workplace safety adopts proposed new regulations aimed at protecting actors who make adult films.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health was scheduled to vote on the regulations following a hearing Thursday in Oakland.

Porn industry officials say the proposed restrictions go too far and could result in actors having to wear not only condoms but also safety goggles and dental dams — a rectangular piece of latex — when engaging in some acts like oral sex.

"That's pure fantasy on their part," responds Michael Weinstein, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who has pushed Cal/OSHA for years to adopt workplace safety regulations aimed specifically at the porn industry.

Porn executives say their own requirement that actors be tested every 14 days for sexually transmitted diseases provides adequate protection.

They add that tougher Cal/OSHA rules could drive their multibillion-dollar business, much of which is based in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, out of the state.

"These are unworkable regulations based in fear and stigma, not science or public health," said Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the industry trade organization the Free Speech Coalition.

He added that more than 100 actors plan to speak out against the proposed regulations.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is bringing a handful of former actors to the hearing who say they were infected with HIV while working in the business.

Under the 21-page proposal the agency is considering, so-called engineering controls, "such as condoms" must be used by actors engaging in sex to reduce the risk of being infected.

Producers would also be required to pay for medical visits, treatments and other health-care costs for their performers.

Condoms are already required for films made in Los Angeles County, thanks to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation-sponsored ordinance that voters adopted in 2012.

Weinstein has complained that filmmakers, who sometimes work out of houses they rent for just a day are two, sometimes ignore that law.

Cal/OSHA could enforce its regulations with, among other things, the kind of workplace visits it requires of other industries.

This story has been updated.