Here we are. Again.
I shot my first adult scene on November 5th, 2012. On November 6th, Measure B, the Los Angeles Porn Actors Required to Wear Condoms Act, passed. Since then, we - not just adult performers, but the business as a whole and those who support us - have been fighting back.
The enemy is the same, Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, but his strategy this time is so much worse, leaves so much more at stake that more of us are speaking out than ever before. It's called Prop 60, and it's not about condoms anymore. Just like everything else having to do with Weinstein, it's about money.
Let's discuss -
Condoms are awesome. They are one of the very few forms of birth control that protect against both pregnancy and STDS, and when used correctly, work at over 96% efficacy.1 But they have their place, and that place is not on a porn set. When worn for long periods of time, like while shooting a scene, condoms become painful and unreliable. For more on why I'd prefer to keep them off my sets, click here.
On the Yes on Prop 60 website (no, I will not link to it), there's a lovely little graphic of a football helmet, a fire helmet, a hard hat, and a condom. "Every worker should be protected," they say. And I agree. I feel very blessed to live and work in a country with labor laws.
Here's the thing - There's a lot of false data out there, most of it spread by AHF. No matter what you've read, there has not been an on-set transmission of HIV in over 10 years. Ask yourself - if someone got HIV on set, who did they get it from when no one else tested positive? If someone else had, these fear-mongerers would have let you know about it. Sure, we get gonorrhea and chlyamydia. But we test, every 14 days, and treat immediately, which leads to negligable transmission. Our genitals get sick when we fuck civilians, not each other.2
What that means is that we're already protected, we've got it taken care of. Our testing system is fantastic. But even if we did need state-mandated condoms, this bill asks for so much more. That's where it starts to not just overreach, but put us in harms way. This bill is dangerous - to us and to California.
I have a brand new stalker. In fact, I'm certain he will read this. He sends hand written letters to my mother, it's great. If Prop 60 passes, my new friend suddenly has the means to acquire all of my personal information, including my home address, and meet me in court. How you ask? Well, it's right there in the proposal.
Any person who violates any provision of this Act shall be liable via the administrative enforcement process, or via a civil action brought by the Division or its designee, a civil prosecutor, an adult film performer aggrieved by a violation of Labor Code section 6720, or an individual residing in the State of California.3
Or, to put it in plainer terms, from the summary:
To enable whistleblowers and private citizens to pursue violators of the Act where the State fails to do so.4
Before we go any further, I need to define who is a "violator" as it pertains to this act:
Liability under this Act shall not apply to adult film performers, bona-fide employees, individuals providing independent contracting services, or production volunteers of an adult film producer who are acting within the scope of the general services being provided and in accordance with the instruction of the adult film producer, provided that such individuals have no financial interest in the adult film and are not adult film producers. Such individuals shall not be considered agents of the adult film producer for purposes of this Act. 5
So, great, right? You're thinking, Casey, you're a performer, this means you are exempt. You aren't a violator. That's what Weinstein wants you to believe (Look, it's about worker safety!). But you're wrong.
I sell personalized video clips to my fans (aka customs). Many of these customs involve scenarios unfolding between me and a male actor. I receive the money from the client, I pay the cameraman, the other talent - I have financial interest in the product. That makes me a producer.
Many of my peers do content trade (where they shoot scenes, and exchange content rather than cash). They are producers. Many have websites. They are producers. Many join large websites' affiliate programs. They are producers. I have a friend who does cam shows out of her home, with her husband. They are monogamous, and don't use condoms. They are producers.
The business these days is such that one cannot make a living solely relying on scenes shot by the big companies. We are all business people. We are all producers.
As a result, any person residing in California can sue me, sue any of us, for not using a condom. Stalkers, ultra-fans, anti-porn zealots, all of them. And there's nothing in place to prevent them from filing complaints against content that was created before the act passed. Sure, they might lose the suit, but the damage will be done. Lawyers are expensive.
It doesn't stop there.
If judgment is entered against one or more defendants in an action brought under this section, penalties recovered by the plaintiff shall be distributed as follows: 75 percent to the State of California and 25 percent to the plaintiff.6
That's right, prop 60 actually provides incentive for my stalker to sue me. A 25% incentive. I don't know how anyone can ignore how dangerous this is. Our courts are overburdened enough without this gift to trial lawyers, and the potential lawsuit tsunami to follow.
Can I sue a construction worker for not wearing a helmet? Can I sue an MMA fighter when his nose gets broken in a fight? Can I sue a nurse when she accidentally contracts HIV from a patient? No. Nor would it would make any sense for me to be able to. Those things don't harm me; I have no standing.
So until I can, and profit from it, why should I get sued for not wearing a condom?
You can see, it's not potentially being forced to wear condoms that has me so scared. And if you can't see, stay with me, because it's not just (if you can even say 'just' about this insanity) the impending litigation.
The act also requires producers to pay to be licensed(which comes with its own set of guidelines),7 pay an additional fee to support the regulatory administrative expenses,8 pay for all STI testing and treatment (which is a great idea in theory, but almost impossible to implement, and too difficult to explain in this blog),9 and maintain detailed medical records on all performers (a potential federal HIPAA violation).10 And, the act allows performers to seek damages, in a class (if certified),11 if the regulations mandated by the act aren't followed, to the tune of $50,000.12
The adult business isn't the big business it used to be. Pornographers aren't driving around LA in Lamborghinis, doing blow and having orgies. Modern pornographers are the girl in the apartment down the hall trying to pay off her student loans. They are the guy just trying to put food on the table for his family. They are the newlyweds saving for their first home. These regulations put those people out of business. They put me out of business.
We don't have the money to comply with expensive, pointless regulations that primarily benefit Weinstein himself.
His organization, AHF, was the sole donor to this campaign. Those two million plus dollars13 were maybe better spent helping people with HIV, but who am I to say. And Weinstein is the sole Proponent of the act, his name alone is on it. There's even a section that dictates that, if he doesn't feel OSHA and the State are enforcing the regulations well enough, he gets to take over because of his direct and personal stake in the act. He becomes an employee of the state, drawing a salary of tax-payers dollars, to watch porn and sue the participants.14 And due to the severability clause, even if this act passes, becomes a bill, and gets ruled unconstitutional (because, you know, it is), Weinstein can't get fired from his 'porn czar' position without a majority vote in both houses. He'd be harder to remove than the Governor.
Yes, I know, the more you read, the worse it gets.
The California GOP oppose Prop 60. The California Democratic Party opposes Prop 60. AIDS Project LA opposes Prop 60. So many LGBT organizations, medical organizations, and political groups oppose Prop 60. No one who has read this bill supports it. Know who does support Prop 60? The AIDS Healthcare Foundation.15
I appreciate the purported sentiment, you know - wanting to help porn performers. Help against discrimination from financial institutions would be great. Help fighting stigma, awesome. Let's look for actual solutions.
Because know what doesn't help? Legislating us out of our homes. Know what doesn't keep us safe? Proposition 60.
For more info about Prop 60, please visit: http://dontharassca.com/ and check out the hashtag #NoProp60 on social media.
3. (P9 §4 §6720.6.a)
4. (P2 §3.1)
5. (P3 §4 §6720.i)
6. (P 10, §4 §6720.6.d)
7. Section 6720.2. Adult Film Producers: License (P 6, §4 § 6270.2)
8. Upon submitting the information required by this section, the adult film producer must pay a fee set by the Division or Board in an amount sufficient for data security, data storage, and other administrative expenses associated with receiving, processing, and maintaining all information submitted under this section. Until the Division or Board sets the fee, the fee shall be $100. The fees collected pursuant to this subsection shall not be used to cover the costs of enforcing the Act. (P 4, §4 § 6270.1.b)
9. An adult film producer's failure to offer, provide, and pay for a STI prevention vaccine, STI test, or medical examination, as required in order to be an adult film performer, if such vaccine, test, or examination is consented to by the adult film performer, shall result in a penalty against the adult film producer, payable to the State of California, equal to the cost of each STI prevention vaccine, each STI test, and each medical examination that the adult film producer failed to offer, provide, or pay for on behalf of the adult film performer. (P 3, §4 § 6270.d)
10. Adult film producers shall maintain as strictly confidential, as required by law, any adult film performer's health information acquired by any means. (P 3, §4 § 6270.c) An adult film producer shall designate a custodian of records for purposes of this Act. For a period of not less than four years, the custodian of records shall maintain: (P 5, §4 § 6270.1.h)
11. Any adult film performer entitled to bring an action under Labor Code section 6720(e) shall be entitled to bring such an action on behalf of all similarly situated adult film performers, subject to class certification by a court. (P 3, §4 § 6270.f)
12. Any adult film performer may seek and be awarded, in addition to any other remedies or damages allowed by law, a civil damages award of up to $50,000, subject to yearly consumer price index increases, if the trier of fact: (1) finds that the adult film performer has suffered economic or personal injury as a result of the adult film producer's failure to comply with Labor Code sections 6720(a), (b), or (c); (2) makes an affirmative finding that the adult film producer's failure to comply was negligent, reckless, or intentional; and (3) finds that an award is appropriate. The court shall award costs and attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff in litigation filed pursuant to this subsection or subsection (f). Reasonable attorney's fees may be awarded to a prevailing defendant upon a finding by the court that the plaintiffs prosecution of the action was not in good faith. In the event that an adult film performer's damages for economic or personal injury are covered by the adult film producer's workers' compensation insurance, this subsection shall not apply. (P 3, §4 § 6270.e)
14. The People of the State of California desire that the Act, if approved by the voters, and thereafter challenged in court, be defended by the State of California. The People of the State of California, by enacting this Act, hereby declare that the proponent of this Act has a direct and personal stake in defending this Act from constitutional or statutory challenges to the Act's validity. In the event the Attorney General fails to defend this Act; or the Attorney General fails to appeal an adverse judgment against the constitutionality or statutory permissibly of this Act, in whole or in part, in any court, the Act's proponent shall be entitled to assert his direct and personal stake by defending the Act's validity in any court and shall be empowered by the citizens through this Act to act as an agent of the citizens of the State of California subject to the following conditions: (1) the proponent shall not be considered an "at-will" employee of the State of California, but the Legislature shall have the authority to remove the proponent from his agency role by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature when "good cause" exists to do so, as that term is defined by California case law; (2) the proponent shall take the Oath of Office under California Constitution, Article XX, §3 as an employee of the State of California; (3) the proponent shall be subject to all fiduciary, ethical, and legal duties prescribed by law; and (4) the proponent shall be indemnified by the State of California for only reasonable expenses and other losses incurred by the proponent, as agent, in defending the validity of the challenged Act. The rate of indemnification shall be no more than the amount it would cost the State to perform the defense itself. (P 12, §10)