3/25/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

We are lifting the mandatory production hold related to use of non-standard testing protocols by THL. There were no positive tests for either syphilis or HIV. However, the voluntary production hold related to coronavirus remains in effect. 

At this time, no one should be shooting or creating content with partners who are not a part of their household. To do so during this pandemic poses a health risk to yourself, your partners, your crew, and the broader community. 

Shooting at this time is neither safe nor ethical, but we are re-opening PASS in order to prevent compounding the current health crisis with a blackout on STI information. 

Due to the fast-moving spread of this virus and the stay-at-home orders in California, Nevada, New York, and a growing number of regions across the continent, we urge all of you to stay home, leaving only for essentials.

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com with any questions.


3/24/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

The mandatory production hold called on Wednesday, March 17 is still in effect. We do not believe there are any active cases of syphilis or HIV in the talent community, but need to clear all talent who recently tested with THL before we can lift the hold. 

All affected talent have now been successfully retested, and all results have so far been clear. We expect the final results on Wednesday. If those results are also clear, we will lift the mandatory hold and re-open PASS. 

However, the voluntary production hold will remain in effect.

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com with any questions.


3/23/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

The mandatory production hold called on Wednesday, March 17 is still in effect. We do not believe there are any active cases of syphilis or HIV in the talent community, but need to clear all talent who recently tested with THL before we can lift the hold. 

We have been in contact with all affected talent. All who have retested are now clear. 

A couple of performers were delayed in getting tested. We now expect to have all results back on Wednesday. Once we are able to clear them, we should be able to lift the mandatory hold and open PASS. However, the voluntary hold will remain in effect.

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com with any questions.

PRODUCTION HOLD FAQ

When Is a Production Hold Called?

A production hold is called when we believe there may be a potential risk to the health of the talent pool. During a production hold, production stops while we investigate the risk and determine if work can safely continue. 

What is the Difference Between a Production Hold and a Moratorium?

Both a production hold and a moratorium require a full stoppage of work. However, while a production hold might last a few days or more, in order to establish that work can continue safely. A moratorium occurs when the risk can not be identified or isolated — for example, if there are multiple incidences, or we can not accurately track contacts. In the case of a moratorium, work stops for two weeks, after which every performer must be retested. 

Why Are There Two Syphilis Tests?

We use two tests (RPR and Treponemal). Because one of the tests is very sensitive, it frequently gives a ‘false positive’ result — meaning it returns a ‘positive’ result even if the person does not have syphilis. (For example, it might give a false positive test if a performer had previously had syphilis, but no longer does.) We run both together so that we can quickly separate actual positive tests from false positives — and not have to ask performers to retest or lose work unnecessarily.

In the case of THL, they were only running one test. If it returned a positive result, they ran the second test. This caused delays for talent, and was a violation of our protocols, but it didn’t represent an immediate danger to the talent pool.

Why Are There Two HIV Tests?

We use two HIV tests, the PCR-RNA test and the HIV Antibody/Antigen test. The PCR-RNA test is more sensitive than the Antibody/Antigen test. The PCR-RNA test is the gold standard for testing. It can identify an infection 7-10 days after exposure, and is critical to ensuring safe sets. 

THL was only using the Antibody/Antigen test, which is the standard testing protocol for the general public, but is not the standard testing protocol for PASS. 


3/21/2020 & 3/22/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

The mandatory production hold called on Wednesday, March 17 is still in effect. We do not believe there are any active cases of syphilis or HIV in the talent community, but need to clear all talent who recently tested with THL before we can lift the hold. 

We have been in contact with all affected talent. All who have retested are now clear. We expect to have the few remaining test results back on Tuesday. Once we are able to clear those, we should be able to lift the mandatory hold and open PASS. However, the voluntary hold will remain in effect.

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com with any questions.

 


3/20/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

The mandatory production hold called on Wednesday, March 17 is still in effect. We do not believe there are any active cases of syphilis or HIV in the talent community, but need to clear all talent who recently tested with THL before we can lift the hold. 

So far, everyone who has retested has been cleared. A few others are testing today and Monday.

However, there are still two performers who have not responded to us or rescheduled retests. One has an active test in PASS, the other does not. The sooner we can reach and retest these people, the sooner we can lift the hold.

If you tested with Talent Health Labs (THL), please read the criteria below to see if you might be one of the people we need to speak to.

  • If you tested with THL in the beginning of February but have not yet tested at another PASS-certified lab
  • If you tested with THL in March

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com if you believe you are one of these people.

 


3/19/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

The mandatory production hold called on Wednesday, March 17 is still in effect. We do not believe there are any active cases of syphilis or HIV in the talent community, but need to clear all talent who recently tested with THL before we can lift the hold. 

There is currently only one person with an active test who has not yet been cleared. However, there are several others who tested with THL within the past month, but who are no longer active in PASS, who have not yet been cleared. Most of those are currently retesting and we expect results within the next 24-48 hours.

We hope to have the remaining people tested quickly. Of those, there are a few for whom we have left messages but have not yet heard back from. 

If you tested with Talent Health Labs (THL), please read the criteria below to see if you might be one of the people we need to speak to.

  • If you tested with THL in the beginning of February but have not yet tested at another PASS-certified lab
  • If you tested with THL in March

Please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com if you believe you are one of these people.

 


3/18/2020 Update on Current Production Hold

Dear FSC PASS Members,

 

The mandatory production hold called yesterday will continue while we work to retest talent who were given less sensitive tests than those required by PASS. 

While there is no doubt about the accuracy of their test results, we have to maintain the production hold until these individuals are again cleared. I apologize if the issuance of a mandatory production hold on top of a voluntary production hold caused more confusion.

To be clear, we have no reason to believe that there are any active cases of HIV or syphilis in the talent community. 

However, because they were not tested with the approved protocol, they must be retested and we must handle this event as if it were the same as an actual threat of infection. Unfortunately, the current restrictions on travel have made it difficult to retest some of the talent. We understand that many in our community are already dealing with high levels of stress due to work stoppage and the spread of coronavirus.

Over the weekend, we were alerted that Talent Health Labs (THL) was processing syphilis tests in a different manner than is mandated by PASS. Our protocols mandate the use of a second test in order to more quickly identify false positives. This deviation from protocol was unacceptable. As it did not weaken protections, we did not immediately call a production hold. However, we did reach out to THL to correct.

On Tuesday, we discovered that THL was using just one of the two HIV tests mandated by PASS protocols. They were using the less sensitive test that is standard for HIV testing in the general public, not the PASS-standard PCR-RNA test. We immediately suspended THL from PASS and called a production hold while we investigated. 

PASS’s strict testing protocols, with redundant tests and the 14-day test window, were designed by medical experts and have been effective in keeping our community safe. Since the inception of these protocols in 2004, there has not been a single HIV transmission on a PASS-regulated set. Adherence to the protocols by PASS-certified labs is the foundation of the system.

As THL was a new lab, these tests only affected a small percentage of the talent pool. Most have since retested clear with the other PASS-certified labs (TTS, CET, and AIT). Once we are able to clear all affected performers, we will reopen PASS. However, even then, the voluntary production hold will remain in place. 

We hope to be able to reopen PASS by Sunday, March, 22. We will post daily updates about the status of the mandatory production hold. In the meantime, all production must cease.

We appreciate your patience during this confusing, stressful time. We’ve provided a short FAQ on some of the issues related to this hold. Our goal is always to protect talent and maintain safe sets.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at pass@freespeechcoalition.com.

Be safe,

Michelle L. LeBlanc
Executive Director

 

PRODUCTION HOLD FAQ

When Is a Production Hold Called?

A production hold is called when we believe there may be a potential risk to the health of the talent pool. During a production hold, production stops while we investigate the risk and determine if work can safely continue. 

What is the Difference Between a Production Hold and a Moratorium?

Both a production hold and a moratorium require a full stoppage of work. However, while a production hold might last a few days or more, in order to establish that work can continue safely. A moratorium occurs when the risk can not be identified or isolated — for example, if there are multiple incidences, or we can not accurately track contacts. In the case of a moratorium, work stops for two weeks, after which every performer must be retested. 

Why Are There Two Syphilis Tests?

We use two tests (RPR and Treponemal). Because one of the tests is very sensitive, it frequently gives a ‘false positive’ result — meaning it returns a ‘positive’ result even if the person does not have syphilis. (For example, it might give a false positive test if a performer had previously had syphilis, but no longer does.) We run both together so that we can quickly separate actual positive tests from false positives — and not have to ask performers to retest or lose work unnecessarily.

In the case of THL, they were only running one test. If it returned a positive result, they ran the second test. This caused delays for talent, and was a violation of our protocols, but it didn’t represent an immediate danger to the talent pool.

Why Are There Two HIV Tests?

We use two HIV tests, the PCR-RNA test and the HIV Antibody/Antigen test. The PCR-RNA test is more sensitive than the Antibody/Antigen test. The PCR-RNA test is the gold standard for testing. It can identify an infection 7-10 days after exposure, and is critical to ensuring safe sets. 

THL was only using the Antibody/Antigen test, which is the standard testing protocol for the general public, but is not the standard testing protocol for PASS.