HOLLYWOOD—Friday afternoon saw something unique in the annals of adult industry history: The inauguration of a weekly internet radio program that brings together the “movers and shakers” of the adult industry for a discussion of its problems and issues by people who are actually in a position to do something about them.
“I want to bring in all sorts of people and it’s not only people who agree with my viewpoint, because to be honest with you, that’s boring. I want to bring in people who have all different sorts of viewpoints,” explained Vivid Entertainment CEO Steven Hirsch, who will moderate each episode. “I want to talk about what really happens behind the scenes in the industry, so I’m excited and ecstatic to have a forum like this to reach out to other people in the industry who don’t necessarily get 60 minutes to talk about how they really feel, and hopefully people enjoy it.”
The topic of the roundtable’s first discussion was one that’s affecting everyone in the industry and many far beyond it: The requirement under the recently passed Measure B that all hardcore scenes shot in Los Angeles County must use condoms and other protective devices or be subject to large fines. To discuss that, Hirsch invited some of the industry’s most influential personnel: Evil Angel CEO John Stagliano, Penthouse Entertainment Managing Director (and now the publisher of Penthouse magazine as well) Kelly Holland, Free speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke, and First Amendment attorney Paul Cambria, who’s the primary attorney challenging Measure B on behalf of Vivid and two performers.
“It’s been talked about a lot in the media, but there haven’t been a lot of CEOs in the adult industry who have really tackled the issue of condoms and where we’re going with them, what’s happened in the last year,” Hirsch framed the discussion. “Several people have tested positive, so the question is, where is the industry today and where are we going?”
Hirsch first asked Duke to give some background on the issue, and she summed up the situation, noting, “We haven’t previously seen a lot of performers testing positive, and three seems like a huge number, but if you put it in perspective, just in LA County alone, there are five new cases of HIV daily, and when you look at these performers who have tested positive, this is nationwide… Only one of them is in the LA County area, so that tells you something, that it is really very rare for a performer to test positive, and then we found out that these transmissions did not occur on-set, so we’ve been able to show that, and so what is true is, you’ve got 4,000 performers and with those numbers, it’s inevitable that somebody’s going to end up positive for HIV. The good news is, because the program works, we are able to call a moratorium to make sure no transmission occurs on-set.”
Duke’s statements later led to a discussion of how the recent moratoriums had led AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) president Michael Weinstein to claim that the industry was now “in crisis,” with Hirsch noting, “Hundreds of thousands of scenes have been shot since the last case of HIV that was contracted in the industry.”
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