Prop. 60: How hardcore do we want to get in policing porn? #NoProp60

Prop. 60: How hardcore do we want to get in policing porn? #NoProp60

For as long as X-rated entertainment has existed, it has exploited the vulnerable and troubled. So we sympathize with the intentions behind Proposition 60, which would crack down on unsafe sex in the production of pornography.

Unfortunately, this initiative is a bit like its Los Angeles-based proponent, activist Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – well-meaning, but so litigious that even sympathizers are unsettled. Most mainstream AIDS organizations and both major political parties in California oppose it. So must we.

Weinstein does raise worthwhile issues. Producers, not performers, should bear the cost of tests for sexually transmitted infections. And condom use is not too much to ask from an industry that routinely exposes its workers to sexually transmitted diseases, some of which can kill them. That’s why rules mandating protection against blood-borne pathogens on adult film sets have been in effect here since 1992.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is tasked with enforcement. But California’s porn industry is so fragmented and furtive that policing it increasingly has been a goose chase, demanding an outsized commitment from staff members who must watch over many risk-prone lines of work.

Proposition 60 arises from understandable frustration with that situation; its solution is essentially to litigate the adult film industry into compliance with condom rules. If voters were to approve the measure, and Cal/OSHA declined to pursue a reported violation within 21 days, the complainant could file a civil suit against anyone with a financial stake in the production and take a cut of the proceeds. It’s an interesting idea, but surely we aren’t so far gone that we want to start offering bounties and inviting frivolous lawsuits.

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