Let’s Be Clear About Proposition 60

Once again, thanks to Mike for giving everybody (well at least to me) the chance to express their opinion, even and especially when their opinion diverges from Mike’s. The following post is not new. It’s part of an answer that I gave on Quora on October 14 and it contains a few consideration which I already originally posted on MikeSouth.com in the past and at different times. Earlier, I was reading Mike’s most recent post about Proposition 60 and I thought that maybe I could offer a different view whose intent is simply to induce a reflection by whomever is going to read it.

First, let me tell you that while I am an adult performer, I have no specific stake on Prop 60. The reason is simple and it will serve also as an argument in support of my opposition to Prop 60: I have quit shooting porn in California or anywhere else in the United States of America, for what it counts. And the reason for this is the high level of unprofessionalism among many performers which is unfortunately either directly or indirectly backed up by some short-sighted equally unprofessional producers who prioritize today’s money over tomorrow’s financial and reputation growth of the entire sector (about this Prop 60 signer Mr. Weinstein is absolutely correct).

Before my many friends and reputable acquaintances who work in the industry over there jump off their chair, let me add that I am generalizing and that of course there are plenty of amazing, professional people working in the US adult industry, both on performers and producers’ side. But unfortunately they don’t have the power and sometimes the courage to fight for changing the status quo.

This is particularly true for performers who are often afraid to voice out their concerns about dubious business practice by some producers and colleagues for fear of not getting hired anymore. I know this too well, because even if I wanted to go back to work in the US I would have a very limited choice of “employers” to choose from, since I have never been afraid to expose the crap that it is going on on some producers’ sets. It’s a small industry and the risk of global retaliation is very high when you legitimately open your mouth to point out what’s wrong.

And many things are wrong. I will mention only a few ones which hopefully will help you to understand some thing about Prop 60 that nobody is particularly eager to tell you.

HIV and STD Testing Terrible Design

The testing system is nonsensically corrupted, expensive and incomplete primarily due to the fact that it is a duopoly encouraged by the lack of direct and indirect financial support by governmental institutions and by the disgraceful Free Speech Coalition way of handling their PASS program (a series of protocols involving, among others, the creation and maintenance of an obscured and heavily hacked database of performers and their testing history) and of covering up the numerous failures of that same program by manipulating the information released to the public any time there is an STD outbreak in the industry. It would take too long to go into details, but it should be enough to mention that

  • an adult performer has no access to free testing facilities which can provide the certification requested to shoot (the paradox is that AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the promoter of Prop 60, offers free testing services, but for some less than obscure reasons they have never proposed to take care of testing adult performers for free, to my knowledge [1] [2]). pippo
  • A (in)complete industry panel test inclusive of password-protected electronic certification costs minimum 150$ at the two only labs widely accepted by producers (remember the duopoly?). In Europe I pay the equivalent of 50$ for a much more complete test and with a much improved password-protected electronic certification which makes it almost impossible for someone to forge the results.
  • The widely accepted test doesn’t test for: HIV-0, HIV-2, p24 antigen (useful for diagnosing very early infection when antibody levels are still low) and Mycoplasma genitalium.
  • The widely accepted test doesn’t feature a vaginal, anal and throat swab which are the most reliable way to detect some STDs such as Chlamydia. [3]

Total lack of psychological assessment

Performers (especially young newcomers) who could possibly get hired for shooting porn don’t get interviewed. This is the only psycho-sensitive industry I know where this happens. You need a pretty high level of maturity, strength, confidence and awareness to work in porn and your good looking body alone won’t guarantee you the required fitness to expose your naked body and sexual skills before millions and to deal with its consequences. Many girls enter porn attracted by the false impression that they will make easy money by doing that wonderful thing which is getting or giving an orgasm. Unfortunately very often after the first shoot they realize that the money is neither much nor easy and that now they got attached the mark of having done porn with all the consequences that this carries for the rest of their lives.

Irresponsible behavior

Some of both experienced performers and newcomers engage in unprotected sexual acts with untested partners (be them a guy/gal met in a bar or a client of their escorting business) until the day before a “professional” shooting take place, strong of the fact that when the day after they show up on set they can provide a negative test taken days, if not weeks, earlier and therefore not accounting for their most recent irresponsible sexual activity.

Putting people out of business for the very wrong reasons

Most of the performers who have forged their tests, knowingly lied about their poor health condition because not yet emerged in the most recent test or negligently infected other performers on set because of their unprofessional behavior off set, most of those performers, I was saying, are still very active in the industry and get regularly hired to shoot with other performers who perfectly know their despicable history, but choose to run the risk of getting an STD over the sure faith of being discretely blacklisted by producers (hence putting an end to their career).

The picture that I hope will emerge from the above four points is that of an industry whose biggest problems are prevention and effective control of performers’ health status. I’m talking about the significant lack of them of course. Hopefully it also emerges some performers and producers’ trend to seek shelter behind faulty, incomplete regulations in order to put their conscience at ease when they turn a blind eye to common sense and professionalism in favor of profit and career: “I am / you are healthy because so it says my / your two weeks old test.” Remember this line because it is crucial when it comes to say yes or not to prop 60.

So, what should made be clear about Prop 60?

Many of those who oppose Prop 60 offer, in my opinion, very interesting arguments which range from wasted taxpayers money to poorly drafted language passing through privacy violation and possible Prop 60 proposer Mr. Weinstein conflicts of interest. [4] Interesting, but alleged and mostly based on assumptions, and therefore debatable or at least not entirely comprehensible to those, like me, who know little or nothing about bureaucracy, lawsuits and financial regulations. Furthermore, they don’t address the only thing I’m interested about: health.

Also among Prop 60 supporters there are people who focus on lawsuits; I’m thinking of my friend Mike South (that’s what I repute you Mike, so I hope you’re fine with me calling you as such) who states that Prop 60 is not about condoms, but rather about giving performers the opportunity, for the first time in the whole life of this industry, to hold producers accountable whenever working conditions on set are not safe and to even be able to sue them and to seek compensation in case of infections contracted on the set of negligent producers. [5] This is not a bad thing at all, although I’m pretty sure that between being able to sue when infected and not needing to sue because perfectly healthy many people would choose the latter. And this is the reason why I believe him to be wrong: Prop 60 is about condoms. In fact, it is true that Prop 60 is not about condoms yes or not because there is already a valid law which requires the use of condoms on set and Prop 60 simply reminds the legislator this and calls him to enforce such already existing regulation; however, Prop 60 suggests that forcing producers to comply with such existing regulations is going “to protect performers in the adult film industry and minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections resulting from the making of adult films”.

Have I read right? “Minimize the spread.” Prop 60 doesn’t address how to minimize the risk of contraction in first place; it gives for granted the presence of STIs among performers and clears the industry from solving the problems I mentioned above by imposing the use of condoms: don’t worry about being irresponsible and possibly being or getting sick…wear a condom and you’re good to go.

This is a bomb ready to explode and produce devastating effects. In an industry which presents the problems I have listed above a 2 mm palliative is a sure recipe for disaster. It’s an invitation to more unprofessional people to join the industry and to carry on their negligent behavior. Prop 60 doesn’t address any of the problems that I have listed above: it legitimates them by making the use of condoms the only barrier between getting infected and staying healthy and it puts at risk the career and the health of those who have always been professional.

Do you want to know what will happen if Proposition 60 will pass?

Less testing

Performers will not get tested more than once a month (versus the currently auto imposed 14 days time frame), according to California state regulations. Since producers will have to pay for the tests, they will go for the minimum required by the law, in order to save money. This will dangerously spread the temporal window of unknowingly shooting while infected.

Goodbye prevention

Prevention will be a thing of the past, for many. When being tested once a month and shooting with condoms put both irresponsible performers and unscrupulous producers on the right side of the law you can’t expect them to care about anything else.

Panic attacks

Have you ever been in a situation where the condom broke? How did you feel? Imagine if that happened on set and you were less than sure about your partner’s health status.

Blackmail

How does this sound to you?

An adult film producer’s failure to offer, provide, and pay for a STI prevention vaccine, STI test, or medical examination, as required in order to be an adult film performer, if such vaccine, test, or examination is consented to by the adult film performer, shall result in a penalty against the adult film producer… [6]

What do you think it will happen, in many cases, when some performers will discover that not consenting to be tested more than the minimum required by the law will secure them more work?

This is why I say NO to Prop 60 and I hope that if you are a voter you will do the same.

I am all in favor of condoms as long as they don’t become the excuse to allow infected people to join and work in the adult industry. I want to work with healthy people and then eventually decide together if we want to use a condom or not as any sentient adult has the right to choose. I am far less interested in working with unhealthy partners on the premise that wearing a condom should minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

3 Replies to “Let’s Be Clear About Proposition 60”

  1. Karmafan

    “An adult film producer’s failure to offer, provide, and pay for a STI prevention vaccine, STI test, or medical examination, as required in order to be an adult film performer, if such vaccine, test, or examination is consented to by the adult film performer, shall result in a penalty against the adult film producer…”

    Lately there have been stories of some production companies NOT paying the talent for the scenes they shot. Axel Braun did it to Carter Cruise and Siniplex did it to Samantha Rone and a couple other girls. If they are stiffing the talent (no pun intended) on their paychecks I just don’t see them coughing up $$$ for testing and such.

  2. rawalex

    While you wandered around a bit, I think you hit the most important thing in my mind:

    prop60 is a condom law, but it’s incomplete. The lack of mandated testing opens up the distinct possibility of performers with HIV or other STDs working in porn because “we are using condoms, it’s safe”. The reality is that a condom law will only work if it’s the “extra on top” of a well regulated testing regime.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8070546

    Testing alone isn’t a 100% answer – but neither are condoms. Condoms alone not only is not a 100% answer., as breakage and slippage is a real issue. More so with men with larger penis size or girth. If the only protection is a condom, then you are already accepting that somewhere between 2 to 10% of all scenes shot will include breakage. It’s also very likely that considering the duration and such of porn shoots that breakage rates would be higher.

    Now, there is also the increase in chaffing and such that comes with condom use. While it’s not major (not enough to stop anyone working), it’s a well known and confirmed scientific fact that even micro abrasions make it much easier to transmit STDs especially HIV.

    The results are simple: A law that forces condom use without any other requirement would actually end up being a step backwards compared to the current situation of testing.

    What is really needed is an improved and better controlled testing system (perhaps regulated by the state even), combined with a condom mandate. With those two together, there would be a signfiicant decrease in the chances of STD transmission.

  3. MikeSouth

    Sabrina I am HONORED to have you write this…It is really very well said. This is more award worthy than anything that will win an AVN or XBiz award this year. Thank You for making your voice heard and for using mikesouth.com as the platform. You and all of the people here do me proud…very proud…Thank You!

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