SACRAMENTO — Opponents of a statewide ballot initiative that would allow private citizens to harass and sue adult workers have announced the launch of a ballot measure committee to help fight it.
The Californians Against Worker Harassment ballot measure committee is funded by a coalition of performers, businesses, and public health advocates. The campaign will be chaired by long-time public health advocate Eric Paul Leue, Executive Director of the Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, a sponsor of the PAC.
Mike Stabile, a spokesperson for Californians Against Worker Harassment, says the proposed law would set a precedent in California law, creating a dangerous culture of harassment and fear in the adult film industry:
“This initiative would grant any private citizen of California the power to sue a worker, even an injured worker, in the adult entertainment industry, simply because they don’t agree with how that worker does their job. It opens up the door to extortion and harassment of a predominantly female performer base and small business owners by those outside the industry.”
The proposed law would mandate that use of condoms be verifiable in all adult films across all technology platforms, including unrated independent films. If the condom is not visible a performer could be sued by any California citizen. Performer safety is currently regulated by Cal-OSHA, and performers are tested every fourteen days for a full slate of STIs, a protocol which has prevented on-set transmission of HIV in California for over a decade.
Adult workers have been vocal in their opposition to the law, which would remove their own ability to choose a condom, and open the door to stalkers and serial harassers, a serious issue for many performers. Many also fear that the initiative will further drive a legal industry underground, leaving them less protected.
The Attorney General estimates the “California Condoms in Pornographic Films” ballot initiative will cost tens of millions annually in lost tax revenue and administration costs. A similar bill in Los Angeles in 2012 resulted in a 95% drop in permits for adult production in LA county, before being ruled unenforceable.
“This initiative is dangerous to adult performers, sets a precedent for other workers to be sued, and will force tax revenues and jobs out of state,” said Stabile. “We should not allow adult performers to be harassed simply because someone doesn’t like what they do. California law should protect workers from harassment, not sanction it.”