by Syd Blakovich
Hot off the heels of the passing of Measure B in Los Angeles, known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex In the Adult Film Industry Act, comes bill AB 1576 which would extend mandatory use of protective barriers in adult films made in the state of California. Measure B passing and AB 1576 proposal have been lauded by their proponents as major victories for safer sex and workers’ rights.
Your initial reaction to this might be a lot like mine. I am 100% about giving more visibility to safer sex practices, creating media that makes condom use sexy and accessible, and showing by example. I want performers to be safe, respected, and encouraged to use safer sex — especially when it’s their decision.
I hate to burst this beautiful utopia, where government officials stare deeply into our eyes and say “I love what you’re doing and want to make sure your rights and health are completely supported.” Because the reality is, if government officials actually cared about the public’s sexual health and safety, they would provide accurate sex education and free safer sex materials to the general public — without morally driven agendas. The Aids Health Foundation spent $1,654,681 USD on campaign funding for Measure B. Compare that to the $325,000 grant that the California Department of Education receives from the Center for Disease Control to provide limited statewide leadership for HIV/STD and teen pregnancy prevention. If $325,000 can’t even get you a one-bedroom in San Francisco then how the hell is it suppose to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy in all of California?
POP! There goes our utopia, and as we dig a little deeper into these policies, reality sets in…
Let’s take a closed look at the AB 1576 Bill Analysis according to the Official California Legislative Information, particularly section of Compliance, Enforcement, and Operations:
Measure B also imposes civil fines on individuals who violate the act and makes it misdemeanor for willfully non-compliance of its provisions. In regards to civil penalties, Measure B gives the Department discretion to impose fines up to five-hundred dollars per violation on individuals who violates its provisions. For a criminal offence to be found, an individual or entity is guilty of a misdemeanor if he or she violates any of Measure B’s provisions, produces or films adult films for commercial purposes without a valid permit, or willfully refuses or neglects to conform to a county health officer’s lawful order AB 1576 Page K or directive attempting to enforce Measure B. An offence is either punishable by a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a combination of the two. A civil action to enjoin a person or entity from filming in violation of Measure B may also be brought by the county’s counsel, the district attorney, or any person directly related to the failure of the person or entity from conforming to Measure B’s provisions.
“Provisions?” you say, “What are these provisions?” Well, they fall somewhere loosely around not exposing employees to “blood or other potentially infectious materials”, but the exact nature of what constitutes exposure is never fully defined. It has been alluded that these provisions will reflect the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s for the healthcare industry, which are highly stringent and aimed at minimizing workers exposure to hazardous materials within the medical field.
Application. Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.
I imagine that producing a porn would be mighty difficult if the adult industry was forced to abide by the medical industry’s OSHA standards. Then again I think preforming most job responsibilities in a number of industries (think entertainment, sports, education) would be damn near impossible if they too were forced to follow the medical industry’s OSHA standards. What would a boxing or MMA fight look like if the athletes were made to wear protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields as to not come into contact with their opponent’s body fluids? If a drop of body fluid lands on anyone, it could be in potential violation of the provisions. Maybe you ride public transport like I do or work with children. Then you know you are constantly in contact with “potentially infection materials”. Under this new bill, the main difference between me working a porn set or with the walking petri-dishes that are kids, I can’t send someone to prison if they snot on me.
Go ahead and read that Bill Analysis one more time. According to this official analysis, YOU CAN GO TO PRISON if you violate the very vague provisions of this bill and Measure B.
But wait! There’s more…
Check out Section 1 (b)(3) of the actual bill AB 1576:
“Employer” means a company, partnership, corporation, or individual engaged in the production of an adult film…“.
Hold the phone… individual engaged in the production of an adult film? So in theory, your fellow employees could be liable for violations of this bill and could serve prison time for getting an indiscriminate amount of body fluid on someone. Doesn’t sound very fair if you ask me. AB 1576’s motto may be “Performers deserve the same worker health and safety protections every other Californian enjoys”, but the reality sounds quite the contrary if workers can serve prison time for on the job accidents.
Humor me for a moment. What if AB 1576 AKA “California’s Condom Law” applied to other industries where employees were exposed to to diseases via contact with blood or general skin to skin contact? (Think MRSA! Google Image Search it, if you are feeling brave). We’ve got boxing, MMA, wrestling… pretty much most contact sports). Now take this idea and apply it to AB 1576 — Mad-Libs style. I provided an example below and highlighted some of the original language making it incredibly dangerous. Here are some examples of how AB 1576 might sound if it applied to contact sports:
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 1576, as introduced, Hall. Occupational safety and health:
adult filmscontact sporting events.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 establishes certain safety and other responsibilities of employers and employees. Violations of the act under certain circumstances are a crime.
This bill would require an employer engaged in the production of an athletic event
adult filmto adopt prescribed practices and procedures to protect employees from exposure to, and infection by, sexually transmitted diseases diseases transmitted through physical contact and fluid exchange, including engineering and work practice controls, an exposure control plan, hepatitis B vaccinations, medical monitoring, and information and training on health and safety. The bill would define terms for those purposes. Because a violation of the act would be a crime under certain circumstances, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the protection of workers in the
adult film industrysports industry is the responsibility of multiple layers of government, with the department being responsible for worker safety and the county being responsible for protecting the public health. Therefore, this section shall not be construed to prohibit a city, county, or city and county from implementing a local ordinance regulating the adult film industry sports industry, provided that nothing in the local ordinance contradicts any provision of this section.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
Adult filmContact Sporting Event” means any commercial event film, video, multimedia, or other recorded representationduring the production of which performersathletes actually engage in sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, or anal penetrationphysical and body fluid contact such as blood.
(2) “Employee” means a person who is an employee or independent contractor, regardless of whether the person is performing in the athletic event
shown in the adult film, who, during the production of the athletic event adult film, performs sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, or anal penetrationcomes into contact with others and their bodily fluids.
(3) “Employer” means a company, partnership, corporation, or individual engaged in the production of a contact sporting event
an adult film. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the name on the material for commercial distribution is the employer unless there is evidence to the contrary as demonstrated through contractual or employment records.
Sexually transmitted diseaseContact transmitted diseases” or “ STDCTD” means any infection commonly spread by physical conduct, including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis, genital human papillomavirus infection, CA-MRSA (Community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Scabies, Shingles (Herpes zoster),and genital herpes…
Go ahead and add your own libs to the AB 1576 Bill! Just don’t let it pass.
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