LAS VEGAS—Some of the adult film industry’s top executives warned Thursday that a new Los Angeles County law requiring porn actors to wear condoms while shooting sex scenes could have a “dangerous” impact on all entertainment companies, including mainstream film productions.
In a panel focusing on the state of the industry at the annual Adult Entertainment Expo, leaders from companies including Wicked Pictures, Adam & Eve and Hustler suggested that if the government could assert control over how how they shoot their movies, it could intervene in other Hollywood projects, as well.
“My concern is about a domino affect and that this could be implemented elsewhere, that they aren’t going to stop,” Christian Mann, general manager of Evil Angel Productions, said. “It’s very dangerous. It’s a regulation that hugely impacts how we can make movies, and even mainstream should be concerned. That kind of regulatory scheme could have an impact on everybody.”
Wicked Pictures chief Steve Orenstein echoed his concern, warning, “We don’t yet know how far they are going to take it. ... And to me, that is the greater issue.”
Their comments came after Vivid Entertainment and a group of top porn actors filed a lawsuit last week challenging the law, known as Measure B, arguing it infringed upon the industry’s First Amendment right to film movies the way it chooses.
Los Angeles County voters approved the referendum in November. The measure had been championed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which argued the law was necessary to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases within the industry.
Industry people have argued the regulations aren’t necessary because companies already police themselves with self-described strict disease-testing measures for every actor involved in filming. Critics note that didn’t stop a syphilis outbreak that hobbled the industry and stopped production for a time last year.
Adult industry executives have suggested that the L.A. County law could drive the industry out of Southern California into states like Nevada, where there aren’t internal regulations in place to protect performers, removing an industry that has been a major economic boon to the Los Angeles area.
“We will always find a place to shoot… But it’s better to do it in a place (like LA) where there is (disease) testing than to take productions to a place where they don’t enforce this stuff,” Michael Klein, president of Hustler and Larry Flynt Productions, said. “The reality is that you are more at risk. We would put performers more at risk.”
While Measure B is only in place in Los Angeles County, the issue has been one of the top issues discussed at this year's Expo, which kicked off Wednesday. On the convention floor, several actors and actresses have been volunteering their time at a booth aimed at raising money and awareness for what they call the “dangers” of Measure B.
One actress, who declined to be named because she worried her opinion might infuriate her boss, confessed that while she would “prefer” to have her co-stars wear condoms when they filmed sex scenes, she doesn't "want the government telling me that has to happen. That is really not cool."