In a strong and pointed editorial, the Sacramento Bee has opposed Proposition 60, an adult film initiative which would allow any resident of California to sue individual performers and those involved in distribution if a condom is not visible in an adult film. The editorial board joins those of the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Fresno Bee and other leading California papers in opposing the controversial ballot initiative. Prop. 60 is also opposed by both the California Democratic Party and the California Republican Party.
In their editorial, the Bee calls the measure “a legal overreach … offering bounties and inviting frivolous lawsuits,” on the industry, and says the proponents solutions are “too hardcore” for California, saying the proposition would lead to:
“… an all-out war, in the courts and by the state, on an industry that already operates at the fringe could just drive performers further underground and make them less safe. And public health-wise, porn isn’t a major driver of HIV/AIDS here. It has been 12 years since a new HIV/AIDS case was documented on a porn set, and new cases in general in California have been declining for 15 years.”
This echoes concerns raised by the Chronicle that Prop. 60 “invites legal bounty hunting,” on a population of performers who already face stalkers, and who are tested every fourteen days for a full slate of STIs, including HIV.
“The Bee editorial echoes what performers have been saying since this noxious measure was introduced,” says Eric Paul Leue, Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition. “That it endangers adult industry workers by placing a cash bounty on their heads. Under Prop 60, any resident of the state could file a suit against an adult performer if a condom is not immediately visible, and receive a cash payout. Michael Weinstein is exploiting adult industry workers in the name of his own dangerous moral crusade.”
The Bee also condemned a provision that would install Michael Weinstein, the controversial proponent of the measure, as a state employee with legal standing to defend the measure if the state declined — a position which the Mercury News and Orange County Register have previously decried as a state-subsidized “porn czar.”
The Sacramento Bee points out that Weinstein’s legal fees would be paid “by taxpayers.”
Prop 60 has also been opposed by major HIV/AIDS and civil rights organizations including Equality California, SF AIDS Foundation, San Francisco Medical Society, AIDS Project LA, LA LGBT Center, the Transgender Law Center and APAC, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.
“Prop 60: How Hardcore Do We Want to Get in Policing Porn” (Sacramento Bee)
Communications Director, Free Speech Coalition