LOS ANGELES: Porn Shoot Permits Drop 90% After Condom Use Mandate

In November 2012, Los Angeles County voters approved a bill that mandates the use of condoms in all porn video shoots. The Associated Press reports today that local applications for porn filming permits dropped by more than 90% last year. But that doesn’t mean that condom-less filming isn’t still taking place.

So where are those hundreds of films available for instant download on the Internet coming from? Many are still coming from right here, say industry officials, acknowledging that when Los Angeles County voters cracked down on filmmakers in November 2012 with an ordinance requiring that actors use condoms, quite a few filmmakers went underground. “A lot are simply shooting in out-of-the-way places where they won’t be caught,” says Mark Kernes, senior editor at Adult Video News, which tracks industry trends. “Normally it’s in people’s homes who are willing to rent them out for a day. Sometimes it’s out in the woods. There are vacation cabins far away from anything that you can shoot a movie at.”

Others have traveled outside of Los Angeles County, either to neighboring counties or sometimes even out of state. Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, an industry advocacy group, said she knows of a handful that have moved to Las Vegas, although none want to be mentioned by name for fear of bringing condom activists after them. Although a few porn producers do require that actors use condoms, the majority do not, saying fans have made it clear they don’t want to see them. Wherever the filmmakers are working now, only 20 have applied for permits so far this year, according to Film LA, which issues them. Last year 40 adult filmmakers took out permits, compared with 485 in 2012, the last year before the ordinance took effect.

RELATED: The Los Angeles County ordinance was spearheaded by the combative and controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Today the AHF issued a press release declaring that it has filed an OSHA complaint against a San Francisco-based porn company that is filming in Nevada.

“Under the guise of his various Kink and Kink.com, adult film businesses and brands, owner Peter Acworth, thinks he and his companies can simply ignore the Federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard with regard to required condom use in his adult film productions shot in Nevada. This new complaint in Nevada is based on the simple fact that they cannot hide from federal law there, or anywhere in the U.S.,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “When we first proposed the Los Angeles City bill, the industry said they’d film in other L.A. cities. When we proposed Measure B for L.A. County, the industry said they’d film in other counties. And when we proposed AB 1576, the industry said they’d film outside of California. Here, Mr. Acworth will no doubt find out that both Nevada and Federal OSHA statutes apply as well. Are workers in Nevada any less entitled to protection from harm than those in California?”

ALSO RELATED: This week the AHF sued the city of San Francisco for blocking its plans to open a pharmacy in the Castro. According to the AHF, local AIDS activists are behind the denial because they are furious with the AHF for opposing the use of Truvada as a daily HIV preventive.

“At the behest of San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, The City rammed through, at lightning speed, an interim zoning law specifically targeting AIDS Healthcare Foundation,” claimed Laura Boudreau, chief of operations for AHF. “The clear and sole purpose of that action was to discourage the organization from relocating and opening a nonprofit safety-net clinic and pharmacy in the Castro.” But City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey called the civil rights violation charge “absurd.” “AHF is asking the court to find a constitutional right to build whatever it wants wherever it wants, and that’s just not something courts have allowed,” Dorsey said.

Boudreau claims the motivation for The City’s actions came from the foundation’s position on PrEP — an HIV treatment drug which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have advocated for as a preventative tool, but which the group opposes as a widespread HIV prevention tool, arguing its efficacy is debatable. While a local HIV activist said the AHF’s position on HIV prevention is not popular among many in San Francisco, he and Wiener point out that the main issue with the group, which has 33 locations nationwide, is that it operates a chain. The city’s formula retail rules define chain stores as any with 11 or more locations. “AHF tried to game our formula retail law by tweaking its name and then claiming it wasn’t actually formula retail,” Wiener said. “Under AHF’s approach, any chain store could come into San Francisco, tweak its name, and claim that it isn’t formula retail.”