- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A California ballot measure requiring actors in porn films use condoms was trailing at the ballot box Wednesday, buoying the spirits of movie producers whose industry has been battered in recent years by free internet porn and other challenges.

With nearly 6.5 million ballots counted, Proposition 60 was losing by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent, and Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment said he was confident that would hold up.

“I feel like things are trending in our direction and I’m really happy to see it,” said Hirsch, who runs one of the industry’s largest companies. “It just shows that the voters of California saw through this and they took the time to read exactly what was being proposed and they turned it down.”

A spokesman for the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which spent more than $4.6 million to pass the measure, did not immediately return a call for comment.

The so-called Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act would place the condom requirement and a number of other regulations on the porn industry and assess fines as high as $70,000 for violations.

Filmmakers would have to be licensed by the state and anyone who witnesses a film made without condoms could file a complaint with the state. It the complaint isn’t acted upon promptly the filmmaker and anyone with a financial interest in the film could be sued.

Producers would also have to pay for actors to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. The industry already requires such tests but actors must pay for them.

Proponents say the measure is needed to protect the young, often low-paid actors who crank out films by the hundreds for an industry that by its own account grosses about $5 billion annually.

“They are a legal industry, every legal industry is regulated and is subject to workplace safety standards, and there is no reason why they should be exempted,” AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said before the vote.

The porn industry, much of which is based in Los Angeles, says the regulations are unneeded, unwanted by its audience and would force filmmakers to either go underground or leave California.

Although porn does gross about $5 billion a year, industry officials say, that’s about half what it took in a decade ago as tastes changed and porn became free on the internet.

Proposition 60 is similar to a measure adopted by Los Angeles County voters in 2012.

Hirsch said the industry was caught off guard by that initiative and wasn’t quick enough to explain to voters then the reason for its opposition.

Filmmakers say they have gotten around it since by moving film shoots outside of Los Angeles County but would have to flee the state if Proposition 60 passes.


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