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Porn filming declines sharply since L.A. condom law passed

April 17, 2013|By Kurt Streeter
  • The AIDS Healthcare Foundation protests for condom use in porn outside the XBiz Awards in Los Angeles.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation protests for condom use in porn outside… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Film permits issued for porn shoots in Los Angeles County have dropped to almost zero since a law was enacted requiring actors to use condoms during shoots.

So far this year, only two permits have been issued for pornographic filming, far off the pace for an industry that typically gets about 500 permits annually, according to Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, a nonprofit agency that oversees permitting throughout Los Angeles County. “It’s a steep drop,” Audley said, adding that “both of those applications came in January.”  

Coupled with an apparent increase in filming in nearby Ventura County -- where one politician says some residents have complained about “seeing people naked” during film shoots -- the decrease has been seized on by porn industry insiders who have long claimed that efforts to regulate their industry would end up hurting Los Angeles’ pocketbook.  

“We’re not surprised by this,” said Diane Duke, chief executive of the Free Speech Coalition, a film industry trade group. “Movie companies are beginning to look for other areas,” outside the San Fernando Valley, the longtime home base for most of the industry.

Duke said that Measure B, the ordinance passed by Los Angeles voters in November mandating condom use during film shoots, has created difficulties for the industry because most consumers want to see scenes without condoms. She added that many film companies are simply deferring production, waiting for the results of a lawsuit expected to be heard in U.S. District Court challenging the measure on  free speech grounds. The new law also requires studios to apply to Los Angeles County for health permits.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which like many other public health groups has strongly advocated the restrictions, said that porn studios in Los Angeles simply need to accept the vote.

The industry’s prediction of a filming exodus that would create a deep economic hole was  “heard by the voters in L.A. County, and 57 percent voted for Measure B.” Weinstein said. “We live in a democracy.”

Weinstein added that there was no evidence the industry has started filming elsewhere, nor was their evidence that nearby states such as Nevada were keen to allow X-rated filming.

But parts of Ventura County are already grappling with an increase in porn film permits since the Los Angeles law took effect, said Linda Parks, a Ventura County supervisor. Parks said residents of a neighborhood she represents near Thousand Oaks are upset because companies from Los Angeles have started shooting and “people are hearing moans and groans and seeing naked people.”

The supervisor said she is planning to introduce legislation modeled on Measure B -- and a similar law in Simi Valley -- in an effort to regulate porn filming in her county.

State Assemblyman Isadore Hall (D-Compton) has proposed an Assembly bill similar to Measure B that would cover all of California.  

The decline in permits was first reported by the Daily News of Los Angeles.

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