BURBANK - The San Fernando Valley's largest business advocacy group says forcing adult film actors to wear condoms while shooting pornographic scenes would result in thousands of lost jobs.
The Valley Industry and Commerce Association announced Thursday it is siding with the adult film industry in its opposition to Measure B, also known as the Safer Sex Initiative.
If passed by Los Angeles County voters in November, Measure B would require the use of condoms on all adult film sets as well as make producers obtain a public health permit after completing training on blood-borne pathogens and submitting an exposure control plan.
Fees charged for the permits would be used to pay for enforcement, according to Measure B supporters.
But VICA said the measure's passage will have a ripple effect on Valley businesses and the entertainment industry as a whole. They say taxpayers will foot the bill to pay for enforcement, and the adult film industry, with some estimating its worth at $1 billion, could leave the state.
"The real results of this ballot measure, should it pass, will be a loss of thousands of jobs," said Stuart Waldman, president of VICA. "The industry employs more than 10,000 workers in production-related jobs such as makeup, lighting, carpenters, transportation, food service, payroll processing, Web design and actors."
Waldman made the statement Thursday morning during a press conference at the Burbank offices of Manwin, one of the largest global owners of major pornographic websites.
The press conference was held by the No on Government Waste Committee and the Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, which represents the adult film industry.
At least 400 businesses are represented by VICA, said David Adelman, chairman of the association.
"When we saw the legislation, we knew this was bad for the Valley," he said, adding that Measure B represents government intrusion.
He called adult films a thriving part of L.A.'s overall entertainment industry.
"VICA believes our policy should be to make L.A. as business friendly as possible," he said. "Measure B is policy Los Angeles County doesn't need. VICA is opposed to overreaching government."
Michael Weinstein, executive director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and proponent of Measure B, said providing condoms on adult film production sites promotes public health and safety. And it is already a state law, though it has never been enforced.
The measure, supported by the Los Angeles County Medical Association, would prevent sexually transmitted diseases from spreading, Weinstein has said.
A press conference held by AHF on Monday included a presentation of a commercial that began airing on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other channels. It shows two former adult film actors saying they contracted HIV from working in porn, and advocating for condoms.
Weinstein also points to a recent syphilis scare last month, which resulted in production shutting down for two weeks. At least nine cases of the STD were reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
But adult film actor James Deen said during Thursday's press conference he is opposed to Measure B, because it mocks him and other actors who have chosen to work in the adult film profession and who understand the risks.
A program that allows adult film performers to test for HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia every 28 days, or more often has been the industry's best deterrent. If condoms are used, that testing may stop, he said.
"I've made more films than most, and I have never contracted an STD," Deen said. "Everybody takes this work seriously. It's insulting and unconstitutional. To say we have to have a movie made a certain way is impossible."
Besides VICA, at least 15 chambers of commerce from the San Gabriel Valley also are supporting the adult film industry's opposition to Measure B.