LOS ANGELES -- The local adult entertainment industry has followed through on its promise to challenge a new law mandating condom use in films with a lawsuit against Los Angeles County.
The suit, filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of Vivid Entertainment and performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, states that porn companies have the right to freedom of expression and speech, which includes the right to film sex acts without a condom.
Measure B, a voter-approved ballot initiative that requires the use of condoms and other prophylactics on the sets of adult films, is a violation of porn companies' first amendment rights, charges the suit.
The lawsuit also claims that porn companies and actors are subject to "draconian penalties" that depend on the "whim" of the LA County Department of Public Health, all for a measure that does nothing to truly prevent the spread of HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Tom Myers, Chief of Public Affairs and General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (the non-profit who championed Measure B in 2012), challenged the suit's description of Measure B as a violation of freedom of speech.
“Despite what the adult industry’s lawyers are claiming in this lawsuit, Measure B is not directed at speech, and as such, their First Amendment claims will likely ring hollow with the court,” Myers said in a statement. “Measure B is about safety in a commercial endeavor. Nothing in Measure B restricts the content of what can be shown."
Myers went on to compare the adult entertainment industry to the mainstream entertainment industry, analogizing a condom on a porn performer to a net for a stuntman. From the statement:
However, as soon as an adult performer accepts money for performing in a film, a whole host of worker safety laws kick in. In non-adult films, we don't let people take chances that can harm themselves or others, with pyrotechnics, for example, just because they feel their creativity or expression would be stifled otherwise. The same reason one requires condoms is the same reason a stunt man or woman would have to use a net, or be tied to a harness.
The new law officially took effect Dec. 14, 2012 and requires adult film productions to purchase a permit from the LA County Department of Public Health. The money raised from the permit would go toward enforcement of the law -- which could include anything from surprise visits from officials to reviews of finished products.
The LA County Department of Public Health did not immediately return a request for comment on the new lawsuit or enforcement of the law thus far.
Interestingly, because Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments, those cities are not subject to Measure B enforcement, notes the Associated Press. That means adult film productions won't have to go far to escape the condom mandate -- and LA County could still potentially benefit from the circulation of jobs and money from adult films.