It’s a Wrap

11.07.12

L.A.’s New Condom Measure Has Porn Stars Saying, Free Willie!

Los Angeles voters pass Measure B, requiring porn stars to use condoms when they shoot, and industry support is limp. Christine Pelisek reports from a porn party.

As Los Angeles porn actress Anikka Albrite watched the election returns with her fellow performers last night, she explained how she is navigating the adult film industry after just one year in the business. “Every girl has a business strategy,” she says. “I don’t do anal or gangbangs. You don’t want to do everything at once. I want to stay in the business as long as I can.”

But threatening her business plan, she said, is Measure B, which will now require porn actors in Los Angeles County to wear condoms when they shoot. Voters approved the measure with 55.9% of the vote yesterday.

“It is not the American way. We are grown adults. We shouldn’t be forced to use condoms,” said Albrite, who has starred in such adult film offerings as Slurpy Throat Sluts and Don’t Tell Daddy I Do Black Men.

Albright said that when she started in the porn business, her agent told her she could request the use of condoms, but would probably not get a lot of work if she did. “A lot of the girls get more work if they choose to not use condoms,” she said. “I know I am putting myself at risk for disease, but I know we have strict health regulations,” she said, pointing to the industry’s self-regulation that requires testing at least every 14 and 28 days for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis

But AIDS activists, who led the drive for Measure B amid concerns that HIV was being transmitted among performers and to the general public who have sex with them, say the testing system is flawed, and that performers can easily become infected between tests. HIV is “at epidemic proportions in the industry and it spreads to the community,” said AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein. “There is not an iron wall between the community and the porn industry. This is happening in my backyard. To have this happening where we reside is not right.” 

Weinstein said that “as an organization, we didn’t think gay men were disposable in the ‘80s,” and indeed, activists succeeded in making condoms de rigueur in gay porn. “We don’t think these young women who are in the porn business are expendable either. It sends a terrible message that the only type of hot sex is unsafe sex. We aren’t trying to make porn illegal. We just think they should abide by the law. No industry wants to be regulated, but there is no reason why they should be exempt.”

The “Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act” would also require porn producers to apply for a permit from the county Department of Public Health to shoot sex scenes. The fees would pay for periodic inspections of film sets, and violators would be subject to civil fines and criminal misdemeanor charges.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for Los Angeles filming,” complained porn legend Ron Jeremy, who was among the 100 or so actors, directors and producers on hand at adult-film company Vivid Entertainment in North Hollywood, Calif., last night to watch the results.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for Los Angeles filming,” complained porn legend Ron Jeremy. “How can we compete with Europe and amateurs? They don’t use rubbers.”

“How can we compete with Europe and amateurs? They don’t use rubbers,” Jeremy said. “You are putting Los Angeles filmmakers at a disadvantage. It wouldn’t be a problem if we were all on the same playing field.”

One adult film veteran who goes by the name Valentino argued that porn is about selling a fantasy, and if performers are forced to wear condoms people will stop watching. “People want to see something they wouldn’t experience at home themselves,” he says. “People want to be lost in the fantasy. If they were 100 percent serious about eradicating HIV, they would have put the money into the community.”

“This is a measure that shouldn’t have been on the ballot,” lamented former-porn-actress-turned-production-designer Kylie Ireland. “They are trying to force regulations on something that already has the best testing in the world.” She said that with Measure B, “the industry will go underground, and more than likely the testing will go away. It will become less safe. We will spend money for government officials to sit there and babysit to make sure we are wearing condoms.”

For her part, Albrite said she is concerned that the government intrusion into the porn business might force some producers out of the city. “I’m going to probably have to move,” she said. “I won’t be able to work so much. I wanted to stay in the business as long as I can. I will only have my looks for so long.”