Measure that promotes safer sex for porn workers met with controversy

Health advocates celebrated the passage of Measure B this week, but the porn industry plans to fight it

Published November 8, 2012 9:31PM (EST)

   (Firma V)
(Firma V)

Measure B, the ordinance that will require porn workers to wear condoms in porn scenes shot in L.A. County, passed by a 56 percent majority on Tuesday. The measure also requires adult film producers to apply for a permit from the county's Department of Public Health to shoot scenes, and the permit fees will fund periodic film site inspections.

Supporters of the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, argue that the law will promote sexual health and workplace safety. "We were extremely gratified that not only did it pass, but it passed by a wide margin," said AHF executive director Michael Weinstein. L.A. County voters "saw it quite clearly as a health, safety and fairness issue," he added.

Most of the porn industry, however, is frustrated by Measure B. Diane Duke, executive director for the Free Speech Coalition, the trade group that represents the adult entertainment industry, called Measure B "unconstitutional" in a recent statement. Porn star James Deen summed up the confusion and controversy stirred by the decision in an interview with the Daily Beast:

Well, there’s a lot of confusion, first and foremost. But I mean basically people don’t know what to do. They’re not sure where the industry’s going to go. And in the industry we’ve kind of created a community in Los Angeles. And if the community is to migrate, then we can migrate. We’re all looking to our attorneys and to our government and our representatives if there is anything we can do to find out exactly what the laws are. They’re written in a vague way. Are examinations going to be mandatory now, or are we going to be wearing gloves on set? I mean, what about goggles? What about kissing and fluid exchange? Is kissing no longer allowed in pornos? Like, what degree of severity is this measure actually going to require? After that, is it worth it?

How much is it going to cost the industry, and is it worth it to register our businesses out of town and then go shoot outside of Los Angeles County? Is it worth it to migrate to Las Vegas, which is said to be welcoming with open arms? Florida, and I believe Arizona as well, said something about wanting the billion-dollar industry. That’s going to be a huge hit to Los Angeles.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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James Deen Los Angeles Measure B Porn Public Safety Safe Sex