Ex-Porn Star Blasts ‘Lies’ of Condom Law Foes

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — Porn stars and a California lawmaker are intentionally spreading lies to voters hoping to foil a November ballot measure requiring the use of condoms in adult films, a former actor claims in court.
     If passed by voters in November, Proposition 60 would not only require condom use in California’s multibillion dollar porn industry, but also force producers to register with the state and pay for performers to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Porn studios and producers could also be sued for violating the new safety regulations.
     Former porn actor Derrick Burts, who claims he contracted HIV from another performer in 2010, says state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and other opponents of Prop 60 have filed false arguments with California elections officials.
     According to Burts’ complaint filed Thursday in state court, Leno’s “false and misleading statements” will soon be delivered to voters in a ballot pamphlet in August.
     “The statements range from outright falsehoods about Proposition 60, to misplaced reliance on superseded fiscal findings of the Legislative Analyst, to obfuscation of the measure’s private attorney general provision and even to inaccurately naming an organization that opposes the measure,” the complaint states.
     The arguments for and against Prop 60 were revealed online Tuesday by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who is also named in the lawsuit.
     Burts says the letters signed by Leno and porn stars Rachel “Chanel Preston” Taylor and Marie Louise “Nina Hartley” Levine, contain a cache of misrepresentations about the impact the initiative could have on California’s economy.
     Forcing porn actors to wear condoms would cost taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars” and “give every Californian the right to sue adult film performers,” the opponents argue. They also claim that married couples filming sexual acts in their own home could be sued if Prop 60 is approved by voters.
     “That’s why you should join performers, business leaders, the California Democratic Party and California Republican Party and vote no on Prop 60,” the argument, signed by Leno and Dr. Jay Gladstein, states.
     While the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst initially estimated that Prop 60’s fiscal impact could cost the state tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue, the estimate was lowered to $7 million in a June report.
     Leno’s argument still cites the analyst’s old figure and claims Prop 60 could “cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.”
     Burts is challenging 17 separate official claims made by the Prop 60 critics in his lawsuit.
     Leno and the opponents are intentionally pushing a “sky is falling mentality,” Bradley Hertz, Burts’ attorney, said in an interview. Claims that Prop 60 will force a mass migration of California’s porn industry and that it will create a “lawsuit bonanza” are being greatly exaggerated. Since the production of pornography is illegal in 48 states, it’s highly unlikely that California’s industry would be destroyed because of mandatory condom use, Hertz said.
     “Those are all utterly and completely false,” Hertz said. “They are also issuing the parade of horribles that this is going to lead to automatic, invasive discovery about the personal private information of performers and that their safety and welfare are in jeopardy.”
     Leno’s office declined to comment on the pending legislation. A vocal critic of the proposition, Leno testified in opposition of the bill during a June legislative oversight hearing.
     The contentious proposal is modeled after a measure approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2012.
     Measure B was also backed by Burts, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Los Angeles County Medical Association. Burts appeared in campaign commercials along with other performers that contracted HIV while working in the porn industry.
     The foundation is again leading the charge on the statewide proposal, donating more than $2 million to Prop 60.
     Mandatory condom-use laws for porn films are already in place but producers generally ignore them. Between 2014 and 2015, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health cited just four porn companies for violating worker-safety laws.
     Enforcing Proposition 60 would cost the state more than $1 million while reducing costs on social health programs due to fewer transmissions of sexually transmitted diseases, according to the analyst’s report.
     The potential health benefits don’t outweigh the negative impacts on the porn industry, Taylor – the porn actress working under the name “Chanel Preston” and the president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee said. Prop 60 is “dangerous for workers and costly to voters,” she said in a filing against the measure.
     “Prop 60 is an all-or-nothing approach funded by a single special interest group. Worker-safety policy should be written with everyone’s input,” the argument states.
     Burts wants the court to order Padilla to remove the challenged statements from the printed voter guides before an Aug. 15 deadline. He’s represented by Hertz, who’s with the Sutton Law Firm in San Francisco.
     Leno, Padilla, California State Printer Kevin Hannah, Californians Against Worker Harassment, Gladstein, Jessica Yasukochi, Jere Ingram, and porn stars Levine and Taylor are the named respondents in the petition.

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