Porn Industry Uses Free Speech to Fight California's Condom Law

The Atlantic Wire
Porn Industry Uses Free Speech to Fight California's Condom Law
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Porn Industry Uses Free Speech to Fight California's Condom Law

Vivid Entertainment is one of the biggest producers of pornography in the U.S., and most of their operations run out of California. They're mad about a new law requiring porn performers to wear condoms during scenes because, they say, it violates their freedom of expression. 

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Vivid filed a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County over Measure B, a referendum overwhelmingly passed in November requiring all porn performers to wear condoms while shooting, on Friday. The porn world almost universally opposed it; and so too did the LAPD. To date they haven't figured out how to enforce the law. But this lawsuit isn't significant because of sex safety, it's the lane Vivid and their attorneys are approaching the case. 

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"We will fight for our right to express ourselves as we please," Steven Hirsch, Vivid's founder and co-chief executive officer, told the the L.A. Times. Vivid's main argument is that Measure B violates their 1st amendment rights. The law restricts their ability to tell accurate stories in their work. "Let's assume that we're filming an adult movie and it was taking place in the swashbuckler times. All of a sudden, Captain Jack slips on a condom," Vivid's lead attorney Paul Cambria Jr told the Times. "Obviously, that would basically destroy the movie, because it would be fake. Obviously, people would know that couldn't have happened then." Hirsch seems to think the law will force performers to either go underground and look for less regulated work in other states, or go overseas to find work there. 

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Supporters of Measure B maintain the law isn't about the 1st amendment and it's rather a health and safety measure to prevent sexually transmitted infections. But there's currently a successful regulation system set up in L.A.'s "Porn Valley" that requires regular blood testing before shooting scenes. Of the estimated 350,000 condom-less scenes shot since 2004, there has not been one case of HIV transmitted from performer to performer. 

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