The adult industry is facing restrictions on production that rival the obscenity prosecutions of the 1970s and 80s, when production was forced underground by distorted enforcement of the law, says Jeffrey Douglas, Board Chair of the Free Speech Coalition and noted First Amendment attorney.  Among the new restrictions set to take effect in California in 2016:

  • New Cal/OSHA regulations that would require eye protection and dental dams in addition to condoms.
  • A statewide ballot initiative that will levy massive fines for not using condoms
  • Enforcement mechanisms that allow anyone in the state of California to sue performers and producers for appearing not to comply with the initiative

Both the regulations and the initiative have been advanced by Michael Weinstein and his controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation. AHF has been repeatedly opposed by the ACLU, LGBT rights groups, HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations and public health departments, among others, over its morals-based approach to HIV prevention.

“There is no way to comply with these regulations as written,” said Douglas. “Weinstein will push most of the larger producers out of state and the rest underground. Over the past twenty-five years, we have built a legal, responsible, safe industry, and it’s about to be destroyed by one man’s moral crusade. The adult industry is facing its gravest threat since the Nixon administration.”

While previous attempts to pass similar laws in the legislature failed, the new ballot initiative is much more difficult to defeat, since most voters will not be aware of the industry’s rigorous testing protocols, or its multifaceted system of HIV prevention. The regulated adult industry has not had an on-set transmission of HIV since 2004.

“These restrictions aren’t about performer or public health,” said Eric Paul Leue, the new Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition. “It is about turning the adult industry into an arm of his version of a safer sex campaign. In doing so, he’ll push production into the shadows, decimate the testing system we’ve fought so hard for, and ultimately harm the very performers he claims to want to protect. It’s anti-science, anti-sex and anti-free expression. We will fight this till the end.”

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