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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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Simi Valley Considers Requiring Condoms in Adult Films

As concern about influx of pornography industry to Simi Valley mounts, City Council considers new ordinance requiring condoms.

Officials in Simi Valley will discuss an ordinance Monday evening that would require all male actors in pornographic films to wear condoms.

Simi Valley officials and parents are concerned about the movement of the porn industry from the San Fernando Valley, where 90 percent of the porn in the United States is currently produced, to nearby Simi Valley.

"It's really a message of safety and also a message to the industry that this community is not going to welcome them with any kind of reception in any positive way," said City Manager of Simi Valley Mike Sedell. 

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa passed a similar ordinance in the city of Los Angeles last week, which goes into effect in March. The new law requires film producers who seek a permit from the city to have their actors wear condoms, but permits are not mandatory to film in soundstages or backlots.  

Because it's already a state law for male actors to wear condoms in pornographic films, the  AIDS Healthcare Foundation says the ordinance is simply a stricter enforcement of that law.

The Free Speech Coalition is opposed to the law on the grounds that the government should not be involved in sex between consenting adults, or in the film industry in general.

The AHF supports the Simi Valley ordinance to be considered Monday night.

The foundation's communications director Ged Kenslea adds that the foundation is "not opposed to adult film production. We just want producers to follow existing California state law with regard to health and safety for its workers."

A decision regarding whether or not to pass the ordinance will come at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 13.

In the mean time, concerned city officials and parents will have to wait. City Manager Mike Sedell commented that pornography is "an industry that brings with it some economic benefits and there may be communities that would welcome that. It's not ours, however."


With the abundance of research, history, publicity and fear about the HIV virus, I am absolutely disheartened by the stupidity of the porn industry and its actors, that they do not play a larger role in educating society of such deadly diseases and how to avoid transmission. By glorifying the idea that it is okay to engage in unprotected sex, especially amongst random partners, the industry is only telling the general public that it is acceptable to participate in such risky behavior. I certainly do not understand the risk that these people take with their lives.

Since the beginning, the porn industry has set out to provide its audience with a fantasy world of visual stimulation. The whole idea behind it and the cornerstone on which the industry has built its success, the movies are made to empower the viewer to visualize fantastical experiences that they most likely could never experience for themselves in real life. Whether it is sculpted bodies, taboo environments, or bareback sex, these films evoke different emotion within everyone who chooses to watch them. Even if these real-life acts produce dangerous behavior and put people in potentially risky situations, all the parties involved are aware of the risk and do it for the love of providing that fantasy to the people who watch. Treasure Island is here to help the viewer experience a world that they know they probably will never have.

This seems very peculiar to be odd and particular, particularly not thoroughly thought-out and self-indulgent. If the concern is for the safety of actors and actresses in the industry, and too for the children of Simi Valley, if the industry is not welcome ("an industry that brings with it some economic benefits and there may be communities that would welcome that. It's not ours, however" - although it does not clarify that Mr. Sedell is an official spokesman), if the authorities can rule on what's permissible and what isn't, why then allow the industry in at all? Was economic desirability judged to be a more potent argument than that of the health and well-being of the children and of actors and actresses? Did the democratic vote in Council and outside overrule the health and well-being argument? If it did, surely a corollary to the argument that carried the vote is 'let there then be no attempt to micro-manage the industry, especially considering the costs in time, manpower and money in policing and in prosecuting'. 'Concerned' citizens need to try much harder to ensure a total ban of the industry from the Valley. Without such a ban, a measure like this taken against the industry is faintly absurd because it is a half measure blocking only half the route toward that other side where the ruling is ineffectual because it does not apply - 'in soundstages and backlots'. However soundstages and backlots have been defined to permit them the exemption, it is surely arguably the case that because condoms need not be used here no-one, not the actors and actresses, and certainly not the viewer of the film/s, incuding children, is ultimately protected.

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