By ELA DARLING / Contributing Writer
Since it was first announced, adult performers have opposed Proposition 60. It gives unprecedented power to its sole proponent, Michael Weinstein, not only over performers’ bodies, but above state regulatory agencies and public health departments.
Performers are well acquainted with Weinstein. Over the past seven years, he’s filed hundred of complaints against us based on the types of movies we make. He’s tied us up in costly litigation and regulatory nightmares, all against our will – all, supposedly, in the interest of saving us.
Now, with Proposition 60, he hopes to give 38 million residents of California the power to do the same. Prop. 60 would give each state resident the power to sue us if they should see an adult film without a visible condom. It’s an outrageous violation that would open us to stalkers, harassers, anti-porn activists and, maybe most disturbingly, profiteers. (The proposition includes a large cash bounty to anyone successfully bringing a suit, then forces us to pay our harassers’ legal fees.)
The way the proposition is written, anyone with a “financial interest” in the film is open to these suits. This includes the vast majority of performers, since, in addition to shooting for larger companies, we regularly create our own content, perform on our own webcams, and run our own websites. When we do shoot for larger studios, we profit-share through affiliate links. Aside from the probable harassment, the litigation costs would likely bankrupt us.
The Prop. 60 campaign has called us lawbreakers, and says we’d be better off moving out of state. They refer to Cal/OSHA regulations written for hospital emergency rooms, not adult sets. For the first time in history, Cal/OSHA is working with performers to write regulations specific to our industry – incorporating not only condoms, but testing, and other safety guards. Prop. 60 would supersede all of that.
Weinstein claims that he’s speaking for performers, but he’s consistently refused to meet with us. We at the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, the large performers’ rights organization, has repeatedly asked him to meet, and we have repeatedly been ignored. How you can attempt to regulate workforce without involving the workers is beyond me.
Perhaps that’s why the California Democratic and Republican and Libertarian Parties have all opposed Prop. 60, as have the editorial boards of the state’s seven largest papers (including this one), as well as countless public health organizations, civil rights advocates, legislators and political clubs.
Proposition 60 is a ridiculous initiative that would drive a legal, safe industry underground and out-of-state, where performers would have fewer protections. It would dismantle hard-fought safety protocols developed between doctors and performers – protocols that have prevented HIV from being transmitted on a regulated set for more than a decade.
Most unfortunately, it would give Michael Weinstein, a man with a penchant for scare tactics, bad data and lawsuits, unrestricted access to state resources to carry out a dangerous, personal crusade.
I, and thousands of performers like me, ask that you vote no on Prop. 60.
Ela Darling is the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.