Open Letter in response to Pride Party

Dear Readers,

I am responding to the open letter posted recently in which objections are raised about the theme of the upcoming Pride party at the historic Armory. I write to you as the owner of the Armory, Kink.com, and as a one third partner in the event itself.

Firstly, let me say that I feel empathy for those who are offended. I have enormous respect for the battles that are being fought against incarceration and the statistics raised in your letter appaul me, as they should any reasonable person. I am someone who has long-since been deeply troubled by the minimum sentencing rules and the war on drugs that were started under the Reagan Administration.

I am proud to have a diverse staff and to support the LGBTQ community. If you were to visit The Armory and mingle with kink’s employee base, you would find that the LGBTQ communities are strongly represented and cherished at the core of our organization. The first thing I did when I purchased the Armory was fly the Pride Flag. We celebrate the LGBTQ community by flying their flags throughout the year.

I am at the same time, however, someone who believes in freedom of expression. I believe that my kink should be OK. I believe that if a group wants to organize a particular kind of party, they should be free to do so without shame. The purpose of this event is a celebration. It was certainly never intended to ‘trivialize incarceration’ nor ‘normalize oppression’, and I do not believe that a fantasy party could ever trivialize or normalize events in the larger world. I ask you to also consider the fact that sexual fantasy and BDSM have long been a tool used by those who have experienced real life trauma and oppression – including many members of the LGBTQ community – to reclaim the imagery and language of their experiences and alter the actual meanings of those words and images. Sexual fantasies may be catalyzed by real life events, but in no way do those fantasies represent or contain the same meaning as non-consensual, non-sexual real life power dynamics. In BDSM play, though players negotiate and consent to roles such as top and bottom, dominant and submissive – though they may request to be spanked, flogged, or shackled – this should in no way be interpreted as an actual loss of power on the part of the submissive or a gaining of power on the part of the dominant. Though players may wear a uniform or use language that is traditionally representative of cultural authority, they do so with the understanding that this play queers that representation and alters its meaning. The wearing of uniforms and the use of the tools of authority as sexual props has long been a means through which some members of the queer community have protested and reclaimed the symbols of oppression. I ask you to consider the idea that the use of the prison industrial complex as a party theme does not trivialize the experiences of the oppressed, but trivializes the assumed authority of the oppressor.

Having said that, the extent to which some groups find this theme offensive because the party is happening during the San Francisco Pride weekend has given me cause to reflect. I realize that Pride is both a celebration of LGBTQ identities and historically a time when serious issues that affect queer communities are highlighted. Had I thought that a prison fantasy party would detract from the very serious issue of the prison industrial complex in this country, I would have insisted on another theme. With the party just over two weeks away, it is not possible for us to change the theme, as we are contractually bound to WE, whose show we purchased and cannot change. Quite literally, the costumes, decor, backdrops etc, are already allocated and en route to The Armory.

We can, however, revamp the website and marketing materials to minimize the emphasis on prison language, to highlight the camp and fantasy aspects of this event and to raise awareness of the real life incarceration issues that we all find so troubling. As a 33% owner in the event, I am able to sway the course of the event to an extent, and I promise to do all I can so that Pride participants can both celebrate their sexual identities and make strides toward fighting the real life issues faced by LGBTQ people worldwide.

Yours truly,

Peter Acworth

Update 12th June. The person able to change the website is in Tel-Aviv hosting another WE party. The prideatthearmory.com assets are at his home in NYC. He will update with new copy as soon as he returns to NYC this coming Tuesday.

Dear Mr. Weinstein: You’re Lying

Dear Mr. Weinstein,

I have not heard back from you regarding my open letter. Given the lack of ongoing dialog, it is clear that my attempts to open a channel of communication with you are unlikely to succeed. I am left with no alternative but to air my concerns publicly.

You and I both care about the well-being of performers in the adult industry. However, as I listened to the ongoing testimony over AB1576 and read your statements in the press, I am dismayed. Until now, I looked at our disagreement over condoms in adult film as disagreement in principle. I no longer think of you as someone with whom I have an intellectual disagreement: I think of you as someone who willfully misrepresents facts to justify a political position. In short, you’re lying. Here’s how:

1. You’re using off-set HIV infections as evidence of on-set danger.
In your post-statement press, you described Rod Daily and Cameron Bay, the two performers who testified at the hearings, as “having contracted HIV while working in adult film.” You know this isn’t true and yet you continue to say it. By using a couple who have contracted HIV in their private life as evidence of a public health threat, you’re turning what should be a healthcare discussion into a moral debate. Would you say “Magic Johnson contracted HIV while playing basketball?”. Linguistically you’ve got some plausible deniability, but please. For you, the ends may justify the means, but in reality, it stops us from educating performers about real ways they should be protecting themselves.

2. You’re using STI research that is fundamentally flawed.
The Kim-Farley and Kerndt studies you cite at hearings have been debunked, Among many fundamental flaws, these studies do not account for re-tests, do not accurately estimate the size of the population, and compare STI rates with the general population. If you compare porn stars to a group that includes pre-teens, moms and grandparents, you may get numbers you’re looking for. If you compare performers to people in their own age group? Not so much. These studies are profoundly flawed, and yet you still use them as fact. This is not only ethically problematic, it again unfairly stigmatizes porn performers.

3. You say that porn is illegal outside of California (and New Hampshire)
This has been repeated at every hearing we’ve been at with you, and it confounds us. We are a national industry, and have been for decades. We shoot legally in nearly every state in the country, and many large companies are based in states like New York, Nevada and Florida. It may be politically expedient to tell legislators that performers and producers can’t set up shop out of state but, like so much else, it’s something that you know to be untrue. If your argument was truly strong, you wouldn’t have to fabricate your case.

Frankly, I think that disagreement is good and that we should always be talking with performers about how to make the system safer and more responsive to their needs. I also think that you do genuinely believe that what you’re doing is for the greater good. However, the ends do not justify the means. I ask that you listen to the performers who are so angry about this bill. I ask that you use facts that will help performers understand how to better to protect themselves. To knowingly misrepresent facts only hurts performers, because it clouds meaningful discussions we could be having about STIs.

So, please, Mr. Weinstein, stop misrepresenting the facts in this desperate manner to push your condom agenda through. Please retract statements you know to be untrue. Please let’s come back to the table with honest, accurate dialog.

Respectfully,

Peter Acworth

Open Letter to Michael Weinstein, President AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Dear Mr. Weinstein,

I have great respect for the work AHF and other AIDS charities do. Indeed, I have been a long time supporter of SF based AIDS charities and have hosted fundraising events. The views expressed below are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the industry or the Free Speech Coalition.

You have spent valuable donor money battling the adult video production community for many years as what appears to be your priority. This dates back to lawsuits you filed against AIM (the much cherished performer-created testing facility and database) which eventually put them out of business, to your lobbying efforts with Cal/OSHA, to numerous complaints you have filed against my and other production companies, to Measure B which mandates condoms in LA, to various bills you have sponsored with Assemblymember Isadore Hall, and on-going PR attacks on the industry.

If the current direction continues, I believe it to be inevitable that what remains of the adult video industry will leave the state. Worse, I believe the safety protocols the industry already has in place will become jeopardized. AB 1576 will attempt to force 14 day testing and mandatory condoms, plus record keeping that invades performer privacy; new Cal/OSHA regulations propose to require condoms for oral and protection of other mucus membranes such as eyes. I’m afraid it is just a brutal reality that the industry will leave California under these regulations. Abroad, standards are lower than what the industry already self-imposes here in the US. Additionally, I fear smaller production companies will shoot underground and that we will see a reduction in the safety on-set that the industry has worked very hard to build over the last decade.

I come to you as a more reasonable person than you might imagine. Back in 2004, when the last verified on-set transmission on an adult video set in the US took place, I went on CNN saying I felt condoms should be mandatory. I then attempted, along with other companies such as Vivid, to shoot with condoms required. Various product lines had to be shut down, but it was actually pressure from the performers themselves that eventually persuaded me to relax our policy back to condom-optional. In a survey I conducted in 2005, a majority of both female and male performers wanted this policy returned. Ten years later, with testing now improved and not a single on-set transmission on a testing-mandatory set, I stand by this decision. I could not, in good conscience, write this letter did I not believe in the track record of the industry.

I trust you believe you are doing the right thing and I agree to disagree with you. However, I am the eternal optimist and I am writing this in the hope that there is still a chance for common ground which will allow the industry to function while staying in California, and yet go a long way towards alleviating your concerns. There are various measures I believe in, and I would like to list them below:

Firstly, I believe performers need to be protected, but with the flexibility offered by either using the current 14-day testing regimen OR condoms approach. The adult industry is made up of diverse communities: kinky, gay, straight, couples, large studios and small webcam operations — and a one-size fits all approach is disastrous. Many gay studios, for instance, use condoms because they believe that testing violates hard-fought medical privacy rights, just as straight performers rely on testing because of the discomfort caused by condoms. If a performer doesn’t want to use a condom, I believe they should be regularly tested before performing, as those in the straight industry have for the past fifteen years.

Secondly, we need education. If a scene is shot without condoms, we should remind viewers that the actors have been tested, and encourage them to do the same. We should also make sure that anyone entering the industry knows how to protect themselves, and what the risks are.

Thirdly, condoms truly need to be optional on-set, even if everyone has been tested, and performers need to know that they can request one without discrimination. In response to performer feedback, we use a double-blind condom system at Kink, and explain to all performers that it is their right to request a condom at any time, for any reason — and many do. But the majority, for reasons that range from discomfort to confidence in the testing system, don’t. If you want to protect performers, let’s empower them to make that choice.

Lastly, I know you have mixed feelings about PrEP, the new medical regimen that can help prevent HIV transmission. It’s not well-understood yet by performers, but I believe we owe it to the communities we serve to evaluate this on its merits. The fact is, none of the performers you bring to your press conferences would have been protected had AB1576 been passed ten years ago, because no California condom law is going to protect performers during their personal lives, or shooting on unregulated sets overseas. PrEP, if it works as advertised, could do just that. In fact, we’ve recently begun working with HIV and sex worker health organizations to develop an educational program about PrEP specifically targeting adult performers — it would be great if you could be a part of it.

Please, Mr. Weinstein, take this letter at face value. There is no hidden agenda. I am reaching out to you and AHF in the hopes of a day where we may sit across the table from one another and agree on common goals and strategy on protecting performers, as opposed to continuing this battle. I hope to hear back from you.

Cordially,

Peter Acworth
Founder and CEO, kink.com.

Plea to register and vote , JUNE 3rd, for David Campos!!

Dear Fellow Kinkster,

If you love San Francisco for its diversity and its acceptance of alternative sexualities and alternative lifestyles, I plead to you to support David Campos in his bid to represent San Francisco in the state legislature.

David Campos will support cherished San Francisco traditions such as Folsom St. Fair, our affinity with Burning Man, our quirks, our differences, and frankly, the heart and soul of what we have come to love as San Francisco, and, yes, he will support ‘fringe’ small businesses such as kink.com and the Armory Community Center, along with the myriad of gay production companies here in town.

That culture, that ‘heart and soul’, is currently coming under attack. For better or worse, we face an unprecedented influx of transplants into our city. New construction is taking place at break-neck speed and the real-estate markets are white hot. Large corporate interests are becoming more powerful and their word will start to rule.

There are three reasons I believe David Campos to be the best candidate to preserve San Francisco’s culture:

1) David Campos is literally the only politician who has proactively reached out to me and initiated contact. You might think that as an employer of 130 people and the owner of the biggest building in the Mission, this would be expected, but it has never happened before! Most politicians are scared of any association with sex work of any kind. If David Campos will meet and listen to me, he will work with you, regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or your profession.

2) David Campos supports entertainment. He supports a 4am optional closing time, a relaxation of the current liquor license restrictions. This is in stark contrast to David’s opponent who has sided with the ABC on a midnight closing time in some cases. Do you want to live in a boring city where everything closes early? I most certainly do not!

3) David Campos is not only gay, he’s open minded and progressive about a myriad of issues regarding sex and sexuality. At a time when some of our most cherished institutions are threatened, we need a legislator who embraces our city’s rich sexual culture. I believe David Campos will not only support LGBTQ issues, but champion them with legislation.

Donate to David Campos’s campaign.

Register to Vote.

Vote.

Peter Acworth,
Founder, CEO of kink.com

Why We’re Fighting the Cal-OSHA Citations

This afternoon, we received citations from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration that total over $78,000, one of the largest fines in adult film history. While many of the citations relate to things like extension cord violations which relate to our continued overhaul of the 100 year old Armory where we shoot, the biggest fines come because we allow performers the option to shoot without condoms — or as Cal-OSHA terms it, “barrier protection.”

There are various reasons I believe condoms should be optional for performers. The primary reason is that this is the opinion of the majority of performers. Many cite issues such as discomfort, and that in the context of hardcore sex lasting several hours, condoms can lead to abrasions and tears that in some instances can make sex less safe.

What is frustrating is that Cal-OSHA’s stance appears to avoid the basic facts. Since 2004, when current testing protocols were put in place, there has not been a single case of HIV transmission on an adult film set in the US. This is known for sure, since in the rare cases a potential performer tests positive for HIV, we can halt production and retest all the partners with whom the positive performer worked. In every case since 2004, the conclusion has been that HIV was contracted by the performer in their personal lives. This is obviously something the industry cannot control, and not something any Cal-OSHA regulation will address.

The fines levied against Kink.com are not isolated. In the past few years, there have been increasing number of citations handed down to adult companies, often from inspections prompted by outside groups. Worse, Cal-OSHA is currently working on more onerous regulations which, if enforced, will essentially criminalize the production of pornography in the state of California. These regulations were written without dialog with the industry they address, despite significant industry efforts to open such a dialog. The new regulations require things like protective goggles to avoid possible eye-contact with semen, and no cum-shots on genitals or face. I hardly need to write that the industry will either move out of state or go underground — that much is obvious. My fear is that if the industry is forced into a quasi-legal state, this will result in poorer overall working conditions, and less safety. This industry badly needs to stay legal and be subject to intelligent regulation.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that these complaints were not made by employees, but by AIDS Heathcare Foundation, the same organization behind the various bills in Sacramento which would aim to legally mandate condoms in adult productions. These bills have been opposed not only by producers, but by the performers themselves.

One would hope we all have the common goal of protecting performers. I have to confess I am second guessing this is genuinely the case. I cannot help but suspect an agenda to criminalize adult production is at play. It would be wonderful if we could all come together productively — AIDS organizations, Cal-OSHA, the adult entertainment industry, and performers themselves — with the common goal of protecting performer interests and maximizing safety.

Response to The AHF Press Conference

Our hearts go out to the performers who were part of the AHF press conference this morning with Michael Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The performers were brave to talk about their experiences. We as a community have a duty support performers to increase education, healthcare and services, regardless of HIV status. Unfortunately, Weinstein’s press conference conflated and misrepresented facts, particularly regarding HIV transmission.

While it’s true that there were six HIV positive performers at the conference, Weinstein suggested that their infection was the result of out of control sets. Except for Darren James, who tested positive in 2004, these all appear to be private transmissions.

None of those that performed on straight (testing mandatory) sets contracted nor transmitted HIV on set. We know this for sure as all performers with whom the individuals performed have since tested negative several times.

In gay shoots, performers with HIV are allowed to shoot as long as they use a condom. kink.com is condom-mandatory and testing optional for such shoots. This has been standard policy for over two decades in most gay production companies. Any performer can request tests for his partners in order to make an informed decision.

On the straight side of the industry, 28 day testing is mandatory. If someone fails a test, they don’t work on a straight set. Period. Patrick Stone’s booking confirmation with us was tentative because we did not yet know his status; in order to shoot with Kink he would have had to retest clean. Anything else is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation.

More troublesome was the overall representation of what goes on on a Kink set: how the shoot is managed and how decisions are made. To an outside observer, BDSM can seem uncontrolled and dangerous. It’s far from the case. All of our models are informed that they request a condom at any time, that they can stop a shoot at any time, and that they control the scene. These are central tenets of BDSM, and we take consent and safety seriously.
You can read more about our model bill of rights here:

http://www.kink.com/k/model_rights.jsp?c=1

and Kink’s shooting protocols

http://peteracworth.com/on-kink-coms-shooting-protocols/

That said, Ms. Bay’s shoot caused us concern long before the subject of HIV came up. While HIV was not transmitted on set, there were incidents on that shoot, including some of the same ones that Ms. Bay identified, that have caused us to reevaluate what we permit on shoots involving members of the public, even when it’s consensual. BDSM is a physically demanding and consensual practice, and we constantly work to balance authenticity with safety.

These are real people’s lives. But rather than figure out solutions with us, the performers, and the industry, Mr. Weinstein would rather play loose with facts and generate hysteria around HIV. He and AHF continue to push for mandatory condoms at all costs, regardless of the facts. Four out of the six performers who spoke today already worked on condom mandatory sets. All but Darren James, who tested positive in 2004, were stopped from working on sets by the mandatory testing protocol.

We need to work together to make sets safer for performers, provide better education, and do a better job of giving a voice to performers via surveys and press conferences. We need rational conversations about the realities of STDs and other risks in the context of adult entertainment, and then identify real steps that can be taken to improve the workplace for performers. I welcome any and all constructive debate on this issue, based on facts and the feedback of the overall performer community.

On Kink.com’s Shooting Protocols

Last week, a performer tested HIV+ through the industry PASS (Performer Availability Screening Services) system. We immediately halted production while performers could be re-tested and protocols examined. We take the health and safety of performer’s extremely seriously, and no matter where the performer contracted HIV, it’s our responsibility to make sure our safety protocols are inviolable.

In this case, as they have for Kink’s entire history, the protocols worked. (Despite filming thousands of scenes each year, the straight adult industry itself has not seen an on-set transmission of HIV in the United States since 2004.) But that hasn’t stopped fear-mongering, HIV hysteria or willful misunderstanding of what happens on a Kink set.

I do not want to attack those who are concerned about condoms on adult sets or those who believe that our protections are not enough — those people, too, are concerned with safety of adult performers. But it’s important for me to talk about how we conduct ourselves at Kink.

For kink.com’s gay sites, all shoots are condom-mandatory. On the straight side, we only work with performers shown cleared for work in the PASS (formerly APHSS) database. This means they have tested negative for a slate of STIs in the last 30 days, including HIV via the highly sensitive RNA test.

All of our performers have the right to ask for a condom to be used at any time during a shoot, for any reason. Earlier this year, in response to performer feedback, we instigated a double-blind condom policy. Performers confidentially choose whether they want condoms to be used, and when directors hire a performer, they do so without knowing that performer’s condom preference. (Some of our biggest stars, like Lorelei Lee, consistently use condoms.)

On sets like Public Disgrace, which are open to non-adult performers, we do not allow anyone who has not been tested to do anything that might transmit an STI. If a performer has indicated in writing that he or she is comfortable with it, we allow these persons to perform activities such as touching, slapping or fondling, but this is entirely up to the performer. Negotiated consent is the central tenet of BDSM, and it’s part of the foundation on how we built Kink.com.

These past few years, we have worked closely with the STD Prevention and Control division of the SF Department of Public Health on training for employees and providing a safe workplace. We also host free bi-annual screenings and STI counselling for all local performers whether from a studio or independent. We have documented Blood Borne Pathogen and IIPP protocols which include rigorous cleaning of all toys used etc. We carry worker’s compensation insurance which covers all performers. And we’ve worked with Cal-OSHA to do on-set inspections. We are committed to helping keep our community stay safe and healthy.

This particular performer performed at Kink.com on July 31st. She tested negative on July 27th via the most sensitive HIV tests available, and was thus shown as cleared for work in the PASS database, as were all those persons she performed sexually with. Additionally, those same people she performed sexually with tested negative for HIV again after that July 31st shoot.

Anytime someone tests positive for HIV — whether an adult performer or not, whether through sex work or not — it is devastating for the person concerned. However, that doesn’t mean it should be a reason to demagogue from either side, to blame the victim, people’s sexuality or what they choose to do for a living. We work hard to protect our performers, and it’s important to us that anyone in the Kink family — fans, performers or staff — know the truth about our protocols and standards.

If anyone has any questions about the particulars, I’m happy to answer them. But the issues are too serious to allow opinion, speculation and politics to take the place of fact.

AN OPEN LETTER TO DAVID CAMERON

Dear Mr. Cameron,

You recently announced sweeping measures to combat illegal child pornography. Let me say that we in the adult entertainment industry applaud any well thought out measures to achieve this goal.

However, in the name of ‘protecting children’ and as a ‘moral obligation’ you also intend to expand laws which make mere possession of some forms of pornography illegal, and to censor the Internet of all forms of pornography in the UK. I am writing to you to let you know why I believe these are mistakes. I speak both from a personal perspective and on the basis of statistics.

I grew up in England, and am the product of a family dynamic where sex was not a topic of conversation. Any form of sexual information — be it pornographic or otherwise — was unavailable to me. I graduated Cambridge University, in a college consisting of 80 percent men, primarily focused on academia. I consider my sexuality to have been repressed until adulthood. My first understandings of my sexuality came — aged 18 — from purchasing bondage and kink themed magazines and videos from seedy london sex shops. I say ‘seedy’ because these establishments had to be prepared to break UK law by selling this material — and still do to this day. It was upon acquisition of this material that I started to understand that BDSM was part of my sexuality and that I was not alone. From there, I identified communities of people with similar sexual tastes. For me, access to pornography was healthy.

My repressed sexuality could only stay repressed for so long. Shortly after moving to the USA, and having identified a need for the widespread availability of kink-centric pornography, I started Kink.com, a business which now employs 130 people. I felt a need to express myself, and in a big way. I felt a need to let people know that expression of sexuality is OK. My life’s journey has taken me wide, far, and back to where I find myself happily married with a child today.

I do not mean to suggest that if I had not been able to access pornography aged 18, I would have committed a sexual crime. However, had the repression I felt lasted indefinitely, had I never found communities of people who shared my sexual desires, and had this lead to isolation, I have no idea where I would be today. As it is, I have explored my desires to such an extent, that my sex life today is probably not obscene, even to you.

The ‘extreme pornography’ laws of the UK which – incredibly – you are considering expanding are ambiguous to say the least. Who is to say what is illegal to possess and what is not? Are a couple who take pictures of their BDSM activities guilty of this law for merely possessing the images?? How will you make the distinction — from a single image — between a heavy S/M scene and what UK law calls “likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals”? Is the depiction of a woman who consents to being bound and penetrated deemed ‘rape’? Where will this stop? What about educational websites which include elaborate pictures of S/M? You are sending a message that kinky sex is wrong. You are repressing sexual expression. The point of my letter is to tell you that your actions are inherently short sighted, unhealthy, and indeed likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.

My experience is an isolated case, and so clearly not the basis of any scientific conclusion. However, you are guilty of exactly this — considering only isolated cases. You draw the conclusion that consumption of pornography by a handful of sexual offenders actually caused the offense, and then you extrapolate to other forms of legal pornography and assume this also leads to crime. Let me clue you in. Consumption of legal pornography is widespread beyond your wildest imagination — the vast majority of it, healthily consumed. You are using a moral compass to make sweeping policy decisions without any real evidence or analysis of the consequences.

I have yet to see any compelling evidence whatsoever that there are any negative consequences to the proliferation of pornography on the Internet. Indeed, during the period from the creation of the Internet and today, there has been a remarkable reduction in the incidence of rape in western civilizations. Anthony D’Amato, Leighton Professor of Law at Northwestern University argues this point very well in his paper, Porn Up, Rape Down (this paper was written in 2004, but rape numbers have dropped a further 15% in the US during that 2004-2013 period).

Further, If your assessment was correct, it would follow that countries such as Denmark, who prides herself on an absence of censorship of any kind, would have a sexual abuse problem. Far from it. Rape numbers in Norway are one quarter of those in the USA or UK.

From my personal experience and these statistics, I believe you are wrong in this decision. Indeed, I believe that society’s acceptance of sexual expression is fundamentally healthy. Repressed people become isolated, lost and frightened, and that is the real problem we face. Those who use pornography to help explore their sexual tastes end up healthier.

As an Englishman, it saddens me to read of this shortsighted approach to policy making in my home country.

Peter Acworth
Founder, CEO, kink.com

Help Stop Condoms Being Used Evidence!

Please join me in supporting Tom Ammiano’s bill which states that possession of condom(s) shall not be used as evidence of soliciting or engaging in prostitution.

Whether or not you agree that prostitution should be legal, the problem this bill addresses is that that there is a prevalent belief among sex workers that carrying condoms will get you arrested.  For those that have never been arrested I can assure you it is no fun, and it is not surprising that many sex workers carry an insufficient number of condoms, or none at all, as a direct result of this fear.  This poses an obvious public health issue for both the sex workers and their clients.

Please help support this bill by writing/faxing to the people below (Yes fax! Use a service like interfax.net if you no longer have one)

Here is a fact sheet on the issue:
AB 336 – Fact Sheet – Condoms As Evidence (1)

Here is a template support letter thanks to St. James Infirmary:
AB 336 – template support – ACOPS (1)

Here is the list of people to send it to BY TUESDAY APRIL 23rd!

Committee Members District Office & Contact Information
Tom Ammiano (Chair) Dem – 17 Contact Assembly Member Tom Ammiano

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 3146, Sacramento, CA 94249-0017; (916) 319-2017  Fax: (916) 319-2117

Melissa A. Melendez (Vice Chair) Rep – 67 Contact Assembly Member Melissa A. Melendez

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 4009, Sacramento, CA 94249-0067; (916) 319-2067 Fax (916) 319-2167

Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer, Sr. Dem – 59 Contact Assembly Member Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer, Sr.

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 5144, Sacramento, CA 94249-0059; (916) 319-2059 Fax: (916) 319-2159

Holly J. Mitchell Dem – 54 Contact Assembly Member Holly J. Mitchell

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2163, Sacramento, CA 94249-0054; (916) 319-2054 Fax: (916) 319-2154

Bill Quirk Dem – 20 Contact Assembly Member Bill Quirk

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2175, Sacramento, CA 94249-0020; (916) 319-2020 Fax: (916) 319-2120

Nancy Skinner Dem – 15 Contact Assembly Member Nancy Skinner

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 3160, Sacramento, CA 94249-0015; (916) 319-2015  Fax: (916) 319-2115

Marie Waldron Rep – 75 Contact Assembly Member Marie Waldron

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 5128, Sacramento, CA 94249-0075; (916) 319-2075 Fax (916) 319-2175

 

Opposing Mandatory Condoms in Porn

AB 332 is a pending bill in the California state legislature mandating that performers in the adult industry use condoms when they work. At it’s heart, it’s a state-wide version of the ordinance that passed in Los Angeles last fall. On the surface, such a bill would seem to protect the performers from STIs — a worthy goal, and one toward which all of us in the industry should work. Unfortunately, AB 332 would make things worse performers. I’ve spent over ten years working to make Kink a safe and sane work environment for performers, and the bill does nothing to acknowledge the reality of porn production.

Kink, like most of the industry, abides by a strict set of testing protocols — a safety infrastructure we’ve built over the past decade to keep performers safe. Porn actors are required to submit to regular testing, and present those tests before shooting new scenes. It’s been largely successful — there has not been a case of HIV transmission on a porn set since 2004, and when there has even a suspicion, the industry shuts down until everyone can be retested.

What AB 322 does by requiring condoms could dismantle this testing protocol and threaten to drive porn production back underground. It also takes away the rights of performers who prefer not to use condoms on set due. Porn production is a physically intensive process, and latex makes the process much more difficult. In a three hour shoot, it can be abrasive and very uncomfortable. (Kink did a survey of performers a few years ago, and a majority of both men and women prefer to shoot porn without condoms — even when they use them diligently in their personal life.)

Instead of creating smarter regulation, AB 322 will turn porn into a wild west, stripping existing protections from our performers. In the short term, much of the industry will move out of state, or overseas, to places where neither condoms — nor our testing protocols — are in place to protect models.

There are ways that the porn industry can make sets safer for models, but AB 322, like Measure B before it, isn’t one of them. They were drafted by moralists (we can get into that at another time) who have never listened to what either performers or producers have told them about how we live or work.

Next Wednesday, Kink staff and stars will be headed to Sacramento to make our voices heard. And while we’d love to see you there, you can help even if you can’t be on the bus.

Please call or fax (yes, they still measure opposition by fax in Sacramento) the Assembly members on the committee to express your opposition.

– Peter

State Assembly Labor Committee Contact Info

Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D)
100 North Barranca Street
Suite 895
West Covina, CA 91791

Tel: (626) 960-4457
Fax: (626) 960-1310

assemblymember.hernandez@asembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Jeff Gorel (R)
2659 Townsgate Rd Suite 236
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Tel: 805-230-9167
Fax: 805-230-9183

assemblymember.gorel@assembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Mike Morrell
10604 Trademark Parkway North, Suite #308
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Tel: (909) 466-9096
F: (909) 466-9892

assemblymember.morrell@aseembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Luis Alejo
Salinas Office:
100 West Alisal Street
Suite 134
Salinas, CA 93901

Tel: (831) 759-8676
Fax: (831) 759-2961

assemblymember.alejo@assembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Ed Chau
205 South Chapel Avenue, Suite B
Alhambra, CA 91801

Tel: (626) 382-0049
Fax: (626) 382-0048

assemblymember.chau@assembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez
1910 West Sunset Boulevard
Suite 810
Los Angeles, CA 90026-3350

Tel: (213) 483-5151
Fax: (213) 483-5166

assemblymember.gomez@assembly.ca.gov

Assemblymember Chris Holden
600 N. Rosemead Blvd, Suite 117
Pasadena, CA 91107

Tel: (626) 351-1917

assemblymember.holden@assembly.ca.gov

More more information or possible text for fax, please visit the Free Speech Coalition/a>.