Take Two for November 8, 2012

What does Measure B mean for porn industry in Los Angeles?

A technician edits a pornographic movie

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: A technician edits a pornographic movie at the Vivid Entertainment studio 30 January 2007 in Los Angeles. Blotches, blemishes and the occasional patch of cellulite: the high definition entertainment revolution has raised some hitherto unforeseen headaches for purveyors of pornography. But as his company prepares to release its first ever adult film on next generation Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, Vivid Entertainment chief Steve Hirsch is adamant the growing pains of 'hi-def' have been overcome.

Voters in Los Angeles County approved Measure B, which requires adult film productions to obtain health permits before shooting and the use of condoms in sex scenes. The measure passed with 56 percent of the vote.

Supporters say it will protect performers from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but porn industry producers say the precautions they already take are working and, they warn, the measure will cause economic hardship.

Steven Hirsch is the founder and co-CEO of Vivid entertainment, one of the largest adult film companies in the world. He stopped by the studio to tell us what Measure B means for porn production in L.A.

Interview Highlights:

What about this law presents problems for the adult film industry?
“If you go into the actual law and look at it, we will now be treated as if we are in a hospital, like nurses in a hospital. Any time there are bodily fluids being passed there are certain things that need to take place like goggles, gloves, etc. There needs to be a nurse on set; there are so many requirements that are a part of this law that there is absolutely no way, after this measure is implemented, that any adult company will be able to produce movies in the county of Los Angeles.”

How will this affect your bottom line?
“It will increase our cost of production if we have to move outside of the state that costs money. If we move outside of the state like to Nevada, then we will hire people who live there and people who live in California unfortunately will lose their jobs.”

If you need to relocate, what options are you looking at?
“One thing we will not do is anything that is illegal, we will shoot outside the county, if we shoot just right outside the county that is still outside the county, so we wont do anything that is illegal and we will look to shoot in places that we are more welcome and able to produce movies that people want to watch…people have talked about Las Vegas, we have had some preliminary conversations there about that happening, there are other people that have produced in Florida, and other places around the country. Let me make it clear though that all things being equal we would much rather stay here. This is where we are headquartered and most of our performers live here, but if that’s not possible we will pick up and move.”

How many different jobs will this affect?
“I think we are talking primarily about the production arm. We shoot about 60 movies a year and depending on the budget there are between 10 and 30 people on the set so certainly it will have a wide ranging impact”

Have you considered any way of making the use of condoms more exciting to the audience?
“We do think that all of our performers on set are safe and very safe. The testing that has been in place for the last 8 years has worked and worked well. There has been over three hundred thousand adult scenes shot in the past 8 years and there has been zero transmission of HIV. So I think that what we have done has protected the performers. The performers don’t want condoms mandated, neither do the producers and neither do the viewers. So to be forced to do something, to be forced to produce a product that people don’t want to see is not going to happen.”

With more free pornography available online and now the measure, how is the industry faring?
“Our industry has been hit by the perfect storm, declining DVD sales, struggling economy, and free adult content online. You add this on top of everything and certainly it makes it difficult. But pornography has been around since the time of the cavemen so I don’t think we’re going anywhere, and we will figure this out and we will move forward.”


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