He’s known in some circles as Mr. L.A. Leather 2014, but Eric Paul Leue isn’t bound to that title alone.
As the newly appointed executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, Leue leads an organization that protects a multibillion-dollar industry vilified yet idolized in popular culture.
Formed 25 years ago this year, the Free Speech Coalition’s mission is to protect and promote the well-being of the adult-entertainment industry, much of it based in the San Fernando Valley. That includes film production, pleasure product manufacturing, talent agents, distributors and wholesalers that support thousands of jobs. Pornography is regulated and protected in California under the Freeman decision of 1988, but the Free Speech Coalition also speaks for adult-entertainment businesses nationwide on censorship and discrimination issues.
Leue, 29, was born and raised in Germany and traveled to Los Angeles in 2010. He fell in love with the city the minute the plane landed, and he decided then and there “to do something important in my life.”
In his role at the Free Speech Coalition, Leue’s job is to protect the rights of all adult-entertainment workers while also emphasizing sexual health, a subject important to him, since he knows what it means to lose friends who’ve contracted HIV. One of the current battles in California is an upcoming ballot measure that asks state voters to pass a law that requires condoms on all adult-film production sets.
Leue and others have said condoms aren’t the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases while making adult films.
The state measure would be similar to Measure B, passed by Los Angeles County voters in 2012. It became known informally as the condom-in-porn issue and was lead by Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Leue said the Free Speech Coalition supports worker safety and sexual health, but he believes forcing condoms on sets would only encourage enforcement that in the end will harass performers, generate lawsuits against producers and force the industry out of California. Here’s what else he said in a recent interview: