'But Filming With Condoms Takes the Constitutionality Out of It'
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Claiming a new law threatens the livelihood of 10,000 Angelenos, pornographers and porn actors sued Los Angeles County, challenging the constitutionality of forcing male porn actors to wear condoms while filming.
Vivid Entertainment, Califa Productions and Jane and John Doe porn actors known as Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce sued L.A. County, its district attorney and its director of public health, claiming the new law, Measure B, violates the First Amendment.
Kross has won Adult Video News (AVN) awards for her work. The cable channel CNBC named her one of the dozen most popular porn stars in 2011.
Voters approved Measure B, the Safer Sex in Adult Industry Act, in the November 2012 general election.
The law requires pornography filmmakers in Los Angeles to take training to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
It forces porn actors to wear condoms while "engaged in constitutionally protected expression," according to the complaint.
Porn producers must pay a fee to the L.A. County Department of Public Health for a film permit. If actors or producers violate Measure B, their film permit may be revoked.
The plaintiffs say it is "beyond dispute" that pornographic movies are protected expression under the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment. They want enforcement of the law enjoined.
"Through this action, plaintiffs seek to protect the First Amendment rights of producers of sexually oriented films, to uphold the supremacy of the law of the State of California, and to protect the livelihoods of those who work in and around the adult film industry," the 22-page complaint states.
The pornographers say Measure B applies to just a "small segment" of people in Los Angeles but "threatens the livelihoods of a much larger percentage of the population."
"It is estimated that there are 1,500 active adult film performers nationwide, working primarily in Los Angeles and Florida, with 300 living full-time in the Los Angeles area, and it is further estimated producers of adult film employ approximately 10,000 people in the Los Angeles area all told. It is also estimated that the adult film industry contributes approximately $1 billion to the local economy of the Los Angeles area," the complaint states.
Supporters of Measure B, including perhaps its most vocal advocate, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, claim the law is needed to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
But the plaintiffs say the law "places unnecessary restrictions" on them and stifles their right to "sexually expressive speech."
"Measure B is unnecessary, as the adult film industry already has strict requirements in place to protect its performers," the complaint states. "Measure B's claims to the contrary are unsupported and inaccurate. Measure B's requirements also tread into an area that is the exclusive provenance of the California Department of Health and Human Services, and its Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and is thus pre-empted."
The plaintiffs claim Measure B is unconstitutionally vague, violates due process, and is preempted by state law.
They are represented by Matthew Peterson with Davis Wright Tremaine.