SACRAMENTO — Nearly 500 adult performers have signed a petition asking legislators to vote no on AB1576, a bill that many performers say violates their privacy, and is so restrictive that it would push a legal industry underground.
For the first time, AB1576 would establish criminal penalties for not using a condom in an adult film, require producers to keep a log of a performer’s sexual activities, and force performers to waive their right to medical privacy.
Independent groups representing adult film stars, including the Adult Performers Advocacy Committee (APAC) and the Erotic Service Providers Union (ESPU), have joined the 463 petitioners and the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry trade group, to oppose AB1576. The petition will be presented in Sacramento on Wednesday at an Assembly Appropriations hearing.
“This is an insulting and paternalistic bill,” said Lorelei Lee, a performer and one of the bill’s most vocal opponents. “This shows a total disregard for performers’ autonomy and threatens a vital safety infrastructure that we have spent ten years building. AB1576 squanders resources addressing a problem that doesn’t exist. If the bill becomes law, it will, in fact, harm the people it claims it will protect.”
California State Assembly Bill AB1576 is the collaboration between Michael Weinstein, the controversial head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Assemblymember Isadore Hall, a Baptist minister. It is the third time they have attempted to advance such a bill.
“Performers shouldn’t have to give up control over their bodies,” said Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition. “We are a small community, and not always the most political, but outrage has come from all areas of the industry — gay, straight, trans, fetish, studio and independent — to fight against a bill that criminalizes sex between consenting adults. More performers are signing this petition every day, and we look forward to presenting it Wednesday.”
Nina Hartley, a performer and registered nurse, called AB1576 “a solution in search of a problem,” during testimony before the state Assembly in April and has been vociferous in her opposition to the bill. “There has not been a single case of HIV transmission between performers on a regulated adult film set in over ten years, and yet they treat us like a threat to public health, using shame, sexism and fear-mongering to dismiss our concerns about privacy, discomfort, rights and safety.”
A delegation of performers, including Lee, will be heading to Sacramento on Tuesday to present the petition to legislators in advance of Wednesday’s hearing.
A PDF of the petition is available upon request.