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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023

Camarillo Puts Lid on Adult Shoots

Adult film producers looking outside of Los Angeles County to shoot their films may want to scratch Camarillo off their list of places to go. The City Council has passed a temporary ban on adult film production within its borders as it determines whether to put permanent regulations in place similar to those in Simi Valley and the city and county of Los Angeles. Since the passage in November of Measure B, the Los Angeles County law requiring condoms be used in adult films, producers have looked outside the county to make their movies, industry insiders said. That includes Camarillo, an upper-class bedroom community of 65,000 in Ventura County that only occasionally hosts filming of feature films or commercials. When there were three inquiries to the city during the last week of March about filming – one from an adult film company and another asking if the city had a condom policy – that made city officials take notice. “To get three in one week is unheard of,” said City Attorney Brian Pierik. The Council on March 27 approved an ordinance placing a 45-day moratorium on issuing new permits for adult productions in residential and commercial zoned properties. During that time, staff will analyze the Los Angeles, Simi Valley and L.A. County laws to see what can be borrowed and what adjustments may be needed specifically for Camarillo. “I do not expect that much customization is needed,” Pierik said. The city wouldn’t be taking this action if not for the efforts of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its determined co-founder and President Michael Weinstein. The AHF has been the main proponent of mandatory condom usage in porn, having single handedly funded the Measure B effort. In December 2011, the foundation collected enough signatures to get a ballot measure in the City of Los Angeles on the condom issue. Rather than go through a costly special election, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance on its own in early 2012. Weinstein and AHF, however, have a bigger goal in mind than just municipalities passing condom laws. The foundation is backing a bill in the California Assembly that would make condom use a mandatory requirement statewide. As a result, the actions taken by Camarillo and Simi Valley would no longer be necessary. But the adult industry is fighting back. It has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Measure B, and the industry is banding together to show a united front. With other cities following the lead of L.A. County and the L.A. City Council, the time is now to draw the line on how far mandatory condom laws spread, said Steve Hirsch, co-chairman at Vivid Entertainment in Studio City, one of the largest adult studios operating in the San Fernando Valley. “We need to get to court and have a judge look at the freedom of expression argument that we feel is the right one,” Hirsch said. Researching the merits With the passage of the moratorium ordinance, Camarillo has three options it can now take, Pierik said. The Council can extend the moratorium for up to 22 more months, or through the end of 2014; adopt a permanent ordinance during the moratorium; or not extend the moratorium and not adopt a permanent ordinance. “We are researching the merits (of the existing laws) and will go back to the Council at a future date on how to proceed,” Pierik said. As the net tightens on where adult films can be made, industry professionals, too, have options before them, including filming outside of areas that require condoms or even relocating outside of California. The reality is that there are few places for porn production to go as adult production is only legal in California and New Hampshire. Elsewhere, the filming of paid actors having sex is considered a violation of prostitution laws. “Can you get away with it in Las Vegas or Arizona? Possibly, until you get caught,” said Sherry Ziegelmeyer, of Black and Blue Media, a Canoga Park public relations firm for adult industry clients. Vivid would be willing to move if just to keep its competitive advantage with other adult production companies. “There are people shooting all over the country and all over the world without condoms,” Hirsch said. Action taken by lawmakers in Sacramento could make other adult producers follow Vivid out of the state. The statewide mandatory condom bill was approved April 9 on a 5-1 vote in the Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media committee. The bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, a Democrat from Compton. The AHF has been looking for an assembly member to sponsor a mandatory condom bill for five years, with Hall’s sponsorship a direct result of Measure B having passed in November, Weinstein said. Prior to the approval of the county measure, lawmakers were hesitant to attach their names to such a bill because of “the ick factor” involved, Weinstein said. “Some legislators have told me that they thought sponsoring it would make them look like they were promoting porn,” he added. “This is kind of silly because pornographers are vehemently opposed.”

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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