The AIDS Healthcare Foundation sent a letter this week to Los Angeles County officials asking that the county begin enforcing mandatory condom usage for adult film shoots – or face legal action.
The Jan. 26 letter from Tom Myers, general counsel for the Hollywood advocacy group, to Los Angeles County Counsel Mark Saladino sets a 30 day deadline for the county to set a permit fee for covering the costs of enforcing the condom law now that the law has passed review by the courts.
“If not, there will be no choice but to seek a (court order) compelling the performance of this ministerial duty,” Myers wrote.
AHF was the main proponent of Measure B, the ballot initiative approved by voters in November 2012. The measure was challenged by the adult industry, which has contended its protocols for testing performers for sexually transmitted diseases are adequate.
A lawsuit filed by Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest producers of adult films in the San Fernando Valley, and two performers challenged the law’s constitutionality.
In August 2013, a U.S. District Court judge in California struck down portions of the law, including a $2,000 to $2,500 permit fee, but upheld the constitutionality of requiring condoms in adult films and any fee that was “revenue neutral” to cover enforcement costs. The Ninth Circuit Appellate Court agreed with that decision in a ruling made in December.
“Because the county constitutionally may impose a revenue neutral fee, and because Measure B obliges upon the county a mandatory, ministerial obligation to develop and implement a fee, the county is required to undertake to develop and implement a revenue neutral permit fee,” Myers wrote in the letter.
Diane Duke, chief executive of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park trade group for the adult industry, was quoted by online publication XBiz as saying the actions of AHF and its president, Michal Weinstein, were “desperate” in an attempt to stay relevant.
“Weinstein's witch hunt aimed at the adult entertainment industry is wasting millions of dollars that could be used in actually serving the L.A. community,” Duke said.
Ged Kenslea, spokesman for AHF, said in an emailed statement that because the courts have determined the constitutionality of Measure B it was prudent to ask the county to begin enforcing it.
“There is widespread legal precedent for permit fees for filming, for clinics, nail salons, etc., so it is not unreasonable to press the county to step up now on developing appropriate related fees governing the adult film industry,” Kenslea wrote.
An immediate response was not available from Los Angeles County officials.