Condom-Mandated Porn may End Los Angeles’ Reign as Porn Capitol

Source: Wikimedia

Los Angeles voters have probably driven a $1-2 billion industry from its city. Measure B, which would require porn performers to wear condoms, passed with 56% of the vote earlier in the month. Now that the dust has settled on the vote, porn companies are looking at options elsewhere.

The measure will not be legal until the vote is certified, but a lawsuit to challenge the vote is already underway. It probably won’t succeed, but it still may take months for police departments to decide how to enforce it.

The problem for the police and health departments is that it is nearly impossible to tell from a porn film with or without a condom where the scene was shot. The idea of sending prophylactic police to watch porn studios for violations is an extra cost in tight budgets and not a good use of scarce government resources.

Porn makers are already looking elsewhere.

“The effect would be simply to have no scenes, or much, much fewer scenes shot in Los Angeles,” John Stagliano who owns one of the nation’s largest porn companies.

Where will the porn industry go? Obviously, there’s Las Vegas. Florida is a possibility too. Some local governments are even offering tax breaks there. San Francisco might be a possibility too but more likely is that filming will move to outside Los Angeles County or even to smaller cities within it. Pasadena and Long Beach are in Los Angeles County but their health departments state that they won’t enforce the condom law.

Supporters of Measure B pointed out that STD infections in the porn industry were higher than those in Nevada brothels. Prostitution, which is legal in parts of Nevada, is heavily regulated by testing and a condom-use requirement. Opponents of Measure B countered that HIV is rare in the porn industry with just two performers being infected since 2008.

If the porn industry stays in California, it may to face a similar law on the state level. The backers of Measure B are considering going statewide. The backers may think that they are doing a great service to the porn performers, but there’s a problem. Viewers don’t want to see condoms.

“The last time we attempted to go all condom, our industry lost sales by over 30 percent,” said porn star James Deen. “That’s a huge hit to our economy.”

No matter where the condom requirement goes, there will be some places without it. That’s where the films will be made. One thing for sure, interest in pornography is not going away nor are the profits.

The proposers of this law missed a golden opportunity to improve public health. Currently, porn performers are tested every 28 days for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. If the rates of infection are still too high, then the tests could have been required every 14 days. Fines, incentives and education could be used to persuade the performers to use condoms in their private lives, so as not to bring diseases onto the set. However, because the Measure’s backers chose to make the law unacceptable to the porn industry, it is apt to become scattered and even harder to regulate.

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