Adult Industry Celebrates as Cal/OSHA Votes Against AHF Proposal to Regulate Porn

Updated March 05, 2016 3:42pm PST

Cal-OSHA, the regulatory body for worker safety in California, rejected a proposal from the Aids Healthcare Foundation yesterday in Oakland to the applause and tears of joyful porn performers

The proposal narrowly lost with only 3 board members voting yes - to pass, 4 members would have had to have sided with the regulations. 

“I’m actually more torn up over this than I could ever say,” said labor representative David Harrison, citing a lack of adult industry involvement with the creation of the suggested regulations as one of his reasons to vote no. The board was down two members from the usual number, something that may well have worked in the adult industry’s favor February 18th.

Board chair David Thomas seemed to feel that such regulations were inevitable. “I know many of you don’t want to realize this,” he said, “but you are already required to wear condoms”. This standard, however, is only applicable currently to porn made in LA County , not California state. Many performers in the audience came from the Bay area, for example, which does not have that requirement. Additionally, Measure B, the regulation that requires condom use, does not go so far as to require dental dams, gloves, and eye protection, some of the things cited within the proposal. 

“I've never seen our industry as united as we've been over the 'condom mandates' that have escalated over the last five years.Performers and producers gave up a full day of work, and more for those who travelled, to protect their jobs, privacy, and health. I believe our presence influenced the outcome, as board members commented on our attendance and gave the impression that we're a new invigorated industry ready to come to the table. (And on our end, we left with the impression that next year when the regulation returns, this time they'll listen.)”

Jiz Lee

Lee added, “Increased social media presence in recent years and advocacy groups like APAC and FSC helped us mobilize. There are a number of ways performers' sexual health can be improved, and a lot of opinions on what methods will work best. One thing's for sure, we do care about our work and our health.” 

The 4 hour meeting included testimony from over 100 performers and producers, many of whom flew out from LA to be in Oakland to speak to the Cal/OSHA board. Issues cited included fears the industry would go underground or move out of state rather than comply, endangering workers, and that the medical recordkeeping requirement would be a security risk for an already marginalized population.

"We need to continue the passion and advocacy to help them design regulation that would help, not harm performers. We need to make sure that as these new regulations are designed with the real-life concerns of adult performers, not moral crusaders. We need to fight for a place at the table. We also have to turn our attention to the ballot initiative in November that will allow private citizens to sue performers who don't use condoms."

Mike Stabile

One board member expressed that he had been at meetings about these regulations from the beginning–only now was the adult industry coming out to speak. 

"We aren't all here today and we won't all be here tomorrow but we're here now".

Mickey Mod

And for now, at least, the porn industry showing up to fight back seems to have won the day. With the AHF determined to  refile their petition, it seems the adult industry will need to show up and advocate for their agency a lot more over the coming months.

Like this? Want more? Support the snark through Patreon

Kitty Stryker is porn's riot grrl, striving to bring consent culture and feminism to the forefront of her work as a performer and producer. Particularly interested in the intersections between explicit materials, politics, and ethics, Stryker is the Mistress of Marketing and Social Media for Harlot Magazine and has written for Buzzfeed, Fleshbot, the Guardian, the Daily Dot, and more. She blogs at KittyStryker.com.