California: AIDS Activists Target Porn Agents
April 19, 2010
The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation is filing a labor complaint with state regulators, alleging that certain talent agencies encourage unsafe sex acts by pornographic video performers. In a letter to state Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet, AHF said nine Los Angeles-area talent agencies are putting performers at risk of STDs.
AHF's campaign to require condom use among adult-film actors began in earnest shortly after a 2004 HIV outbreak among performers in the San Fernando Valley.
"Many of these agents are callous enough to describe the unprotected sexual acts their clients will engage in on a checklist on their Web sites as cavalierly as if one was ordering off a menu in a restaurant," said Michael Weinstein, AHF's president.
"They keep trying to figure out who to blame, and now they're blaming the agents," said former porn actress Shy Love, whose ATMLA agency is among those listed in AHF's complaint.
Love said she cannot dictate what sex acts her roster of actors will perform; rather, her job is simply to match clients with production companies and projects. "They tell us what they want to do, we find those jobs and present it to them," she said. "We don't force them into anything."
A California workplace safety panel last month created an advisory group to study mandating condom use and other protections for porn performers. Los Angeles County public health officials have recommended mandatory condom use and said STD testing should be paid for by producers, not performers.
County public health officials say that up to a quarter of porn performers are diagnosed with an STD in any given year, a figure the industry denies. Porn producers say AIDS activists are determined to attack the industry even though they are working with regulators to improve workplace safety.
Los Angeles Times
04.15.2010; Molly Hennessy-Fiske