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Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022
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The Adult Film Industry and You

You may not have thought that the adult entertainment industry has much of an effect on your business. Yet an initiative on the November ballot which would require that adult entertainment performers wear protection in films has implications for all of us in the San Fernando Valley. As an organization, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s job is to represent the business perspective. Many of the issues we advocate for have serious implications for business owners but aren’t covered by the major newspapers. These issues don’t grab the headlines – they are sometimes obscure, often technical and even, dare I say it, boring. The anti-adult film ballot initiative is neither obscure nor technical and it is definitely not boring. Editors gleefully will be dreaming up their headlines for the next few months. I am sure some intrepid reporters will be venturing onto film sets. And they will be venturing to the San Fernando Valley to set up their interviews, as this is where the industry is based. Though it may be tempting to dismiss this initiative as frivolous – another sideshow in an increasingly wild election season – I would urge you to reconsider. The adult entertainment industry is worth billions to our local economy, making it one of the largest economic drivers in the Valley. In the same way that the largest employment sectors provide jobs and business for auxiliary service providers, the adult entertainment industry benefits us all. We know that a law like this will drive these businesses out of California. The city of Los Angeles passed a similarly contested ordinance that has pushed filming outside of city jurisdiction. Leaving all of that aside, this proposal has wider implications across the state for our entire business community. At its heart, this initiative is about the imposition of an arbitrary rule which attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, simply because determined individuals dislike an industry. It is about preventing businesses and individuals from exercising their right to free speech. It allows any individual to pursue violators. It adds complex reporting and compliance requirements. It is unenforceable. It exposes production companies to huge liabilities. It will cost the state of California millions of dollars to defend and attempt to enforce, not considering the lost revenue as business leaves the state. It is the definition of poorly drafted, overreaching legislation which will damage California without providing any benefits. If this initiative is passed by the voters of California, and upheld in the inevitable lawsuits, it will set a troubling precedent for all types of other businesses. It will address a health and safety problem which has already been successfully managed by a voluntarily industry-led program. The initiative is making a deliberate attempt to regulate a successful industry out of business and out of California. Our whole business community must oppose this initiative simply because the principle underpinning it is so damaging to all businesses. When all of the things that make it entertaining to the media are stripped away, this is yet another technical and boring regulation, with serious ramifications for the Valley. Stuart Waldman is president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a Sherman Oaks-based business advocacy organization that represents L.A. County employers at the local, state and federal levels of government.

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