Kink.com’s Acworth Calls Cal-OSHA Citations ‘Excessive’, ‘Politically Motivated’
Adult Film Company Says It Will Appeal Over $78,000 in Fines
SAN FRANCISCO — Adult film producer Kink.com is firing back at the California State Occupational Safety and Health Administration, after Cal-OSHA announced fines against the company in excess of $78,000. The majority of the citations are related to relatively minor issues, such as extension cord violations and paperwork, which Kink says are due to it’s ongoing overhaul of the 100 year old National Guard Armory where they shoot. However, the largest fines are related to the company’s policy of allowing performers to choose whether or not to use a condom.
“The fines are excessive and, we believe, politically motivated, ” says Peter Acworth, founder of Kink.com. “The complaints which prompted the inspection were not made by actual employees, but by outside groups with a long history of opposition to adult film. We’ll be appealing the citations.”
Kink.com has long been recognized as an ethical leader in the adult film business, with a Performer’s Bill of Rights that explicitly outlines the right to use condoms.
“Some of our most popular performers always work with condoms,” says Jessie Lee, Talent Manager at Kink.com. “But many prefer not to, for various reasons including that they can be uncomfortable and abrasive on a long shoot. We’ve always believed that performers should be able to make that decision themselves. The government should not be regulating what we do sexually.”
The fines are the latest volley in an aggressive campaign that Cal-OSHA has waged against adult companies in California in the past year. The agency has been forced to respond to complaints filed by Michael Weinstein of Los Angeles’ AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a longtime opponent of the industry. Earlier this year, the agency proposed regulations that would not only require condoms for intercourse, but also require barriers for eyes and mouth, including protective glasses for adult performers.
“The inspections have less to do with risks to performers, and more to do with stoking public fear about adult film,” says Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, an industry organization comprised of both adult performers and producers. “For reasons that have more to do with morality than science, opponents of adult film have created a climate of harassment that is driving a legal business out of California.”
The inspections came after a two performers who had worked with Kink tested HIV-positive. Subsequent testing established that the couple had contracted the virus in their private life, rather than through adult film work.
The last transmission of HIV on a film set was in 2004, after which the industry adopted strict regulations about testing. Currently, performers are tested every fourteen days for a slate of STIs, including HIV. Both producers and performers groups have been outspoken in opposition to the new regulation
Acworth has detailed his response to the OSHA citations in detail on his blog. More information about industry testing protocols is available here.