LA's 'runaway porn' problem mounting

Permits to shoot adult films in Los Angeles County are down 90 percent since voters passed a law requiring condom use.
Porn production is plummeting in Los Angeles County.

Film L.A. reported that permits to shoot adult films are down 90 percent since 2012. The group received 480 permits in 2012 and just 40 in 2013.

Why the drop off?

Industry leaders said it all comes down to condoms.

In November 2012, Los Angeles County voters passed Measure B, a law that requires performers engaging in sex scenes to wear condoms.

"The actors don't want to use condoms, the companies don't want them, the fans don't want to see condom movies necessarily," said Steven Hirsch, founder of Vivid Entertainment.

Hirsch said his company hasn't shot a single scene in Los Angeles since Measure B passed. He said Vivid shot about 60 films a year in the county before 2012.

"We want to stay in L.A., but it has to be a level playing field," Hirsch said.

President of Film L.A. Paul Audley said the lack of permits hurts a Southern California economy already "devastated" by so-called runaway productions.

"Adult film making might not be something everyone approves of, but the people who work in that industry are your neighbors. A cameraman may be working on this one day and a sitcom the next and a feature film in six months," Audley said.

President of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association Stuart Waldman said the porn industry is responsible for 10,000 jobs in California.

"We've estimated this is a $6 billion industry and by losing them, you are going to lose a lot," Waldman said. "The performers and the caterers and the camera guys all live and work in the San Fernando Valley and when they start to leave, they're going to take all their money with them."

But, not everyone agreed the industry is leaving as quickly as the permits suggest.

"Shoots are still happening. Permitting is not happening," said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation co-sponsored Measure B in 2012. The group is now pushing Assembly Bill 1576 in Sacramento, which would require condom use for all porn shoots in California.

Kenslea said current Cal-OSHA regulations already require condom use.

"The industry has been breaking the law by not using condoms, with or without Measure B. Now, they're breaking the law by not taking out the required permits" he said.

Hirsch is fighting back. He's appealed Measure B in court. A federal appeals court is expected to rule on that later this year.

Hirsch said the industry's self-regulation is effective as is.

"No one has contracted or transmitted HIV in over a decade. This whole sort of scare tactic that we're saving these people from getting HIV is all false."

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