Meet Karen Tynan, The Woman Trying To Keep Condoms Out of Adult Film

May 22, 2015
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The adult entertainment industry is generally thought to be run by men, for men. (FYI: It’s not.) However, in times of legal crisis or cultural attack, the cadre of “industry attorneys” on call are all, invariably, men. Until now.

In November 2012, 59.96 percent of LA County voters approved Measure B, which mandated the use of barrier protection (read: condoms) in adult content shot in Los Angeles County. Karen Tynan, an attorney who specializes in defending California employers in occupational safety and health proceedings, was subsequently brought on by the adult industry’s trade organization, Free Speech Coalition (FSC), to help fight any further statewide or national “condom mandate.”

Meet Karen Tynan, The Woman Trying To Keep Condoms Out of Adult Film

Tynan is a fish out of water. She has a sweet Southern charm, a splashy, sassy, slightly sarcastic demeanor and is a lady working in labor law, which is generally just as much of a sausage factory as adult film is thought to be. After a few minutes of conversation, you realize there’s way more to Karen Tynan than you’d expect.

I sat down with the jurisprudential badass and self-described “courtroom tiger” once via Skype and again at The Phoenix Forum, a B2B adult industry trade show held annually in the spring.

Regarding LA County’s condom mandate, what’s going on right now?

It’s the never-ending battle. Every year AIDS Healthcare Foundation [AHF] makes new efforts in Sacramento with some lame condom bill, and the industry has to rally to fend off [AHF’s proposed] overreaching government regulations – things that would require latex gloves and dental dams in porn. There’s a new Cal/OSHA proposed regulation pending in California also. My clients and I are opposed to government regulations that take away autonomy for performers and drive the adult entertainment industry underground; 2015 is a big year for the industry.

You defend porn employers in occupational safety and health proceedings. How did you develop such a specialized client base?

It’s not a long story. It only goes back about five years. I started defending Adult Industry Medical (AIM), the Los Angeles clinic that served adult film performers. Cal/OSHA had inspected the clinic and was seeking performer medical records. I worked with the ACLU to defeat those efforts. California privacy laws protect medical records, including performers’.

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