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L.A.'s condom law sends porn industry packing

November 20, 2013|By Ted Rall
(Ted Rall / For The Times )

According to a porn industry trade group, L.A. County has seen a 95% plunge in film production permits in 2013 compared with the same period last year. This follows last year's passage of Measure B, which mandates that porn actors use condoms on set.

County officials have declined to send inspectors to porn sets because of an outstanding lawsuit. A judge has ruled that unannounced on-set inspections may violate the 4th Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Nevertheless, the chilling effect remains. Apparently, the business has migrated from the San Fernando Valley to Ventura County.

When an industry collapses, the first thing I think of as a cartoonist is of panhandlers with "Will ____ for Food" signs. So that's where I started with this cartoon. Because the aesthetics of porn tend toward the undignified side, a story like this is comic gold. These things pretty much draw themselves.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ted Rall cartoons

Still, this is serious business.

The county is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue. As for the purpose of the law — to encourage safe sex — this measure appears to be completely ineffective. The movies are still being made, those rascals still aren't being wrapped and viewers won't get the voter-desired safe-sex message. As far as I can tell, the only thing that Measure B accomplished was to scoot the sets a few miles north and west.

"I wouldn't mind using condoms more," performer Lily LaBeau told Slate. "It's just not what people want to see." There's no empirical data to support or deny that claim. But that's clearly the mainstream view within the industry — and they're voting with their feet to prove they believe it. 

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Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall

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