“…We believe that the health and safety of performers is important and that the control of STDs is crucial to the public’s health, including yours. We do not believe that getting paid to do a job means that performers have to risk their lives or their health.” - Michael Weinstein

XBiz and AVN Fight over Foundation Advertisement

An ad by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to promote condom use in porn filmmaking has been rejected by Xbiz.com, one of the nation’s leading porn news and entertainment sites. Its refusal to run the ad has brought the company a swift rebuke from Michael Weinstein, the President of AHF, and created a torrent of controversy in the adult film industry.

“XBIZ’s rejection of AHF’s open letter to the adult film community about our public health campaign to require the use of condoms in the production of all adult films is the height of hypocrisy given the fact that the industry continues to wrap itself in first amendment and free speech arguments to head off a requirement that condoms be used in all adult film productions,” Weinstein declared.

Contending that the ad details AHF’s specific efforts to require condom use in order “to address high rates of STDs among performers” and “better protect those performers from risk to their lives and health,” Weinstein announced in a Business Wire press release that “we are saddened and outraged that XBIZ has chosen to blacklist our ad and block our ability to speak directly to their readers who may work in the industry with our message on this important issue.”

Another major porn portal, AVN, the Adult Video News, has agreed to run the ads for AHF, however. Meanwhile, Diane Duke, the Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition, has come down on the side of Xbiz.com, stating that “Weinstein has launched a number of attacks against the adult entertainment industry,” including, she said, filing  “countless, frivolous lawsuits and complaints against the industry, Cal/OSHA, and Los Angeles County..neither the industry nor its performers want anything to do with AHF or its sensationalistic grandstanding," she contended.

Tom Myers, Chief of Public Affairs and General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation countered that “XBIZ likes to see itself as a journalist, using its magazine to defend the free speech rights of the adult film industry. In this instance however, XBIZ has abandoned that pretense, and clearly decided to take sides with the industry by shutting down AHF’s freedom of the press and our free expression. This is wrong.”

Alec Helmy, XBIZ's president and publisher, responded to AHF's charges, claiming the media company has aggressively covered the issues of adult performer worker-safety through the years and that it feels AHF's attempt to regulate the adult industry is misguided.

"We feel that the solutions AHF has proposed are unrealistic and problematic," he said. "We have given equal weight to their argument in all of our online and print news coverage,” he stated in a press release of his own.

The advertisement, incidentally, urges industry leaders "to begin the process of instituting the necessary changes to make the industry safe." Weinstein told SFGN in a recent interview that “adult performers have 10 times the rate of STDs than the general population.” Mr. Weinstein cited the Los Angeles County Health Department for that statistic.

“But the other issue is that [the industry] is sending a terrible message out there; that the only kind of sex that’s hot is ‘unsafe’,” continued Weinstein, “particularly for young people who may get their sex education from Daddy’s DVD or from the internet or cable.”

Satyr Films, however, which specializes in “hardcore” condom-less porn, disputed the notion, arguing on their website that mandating condoms in pornography could lead to a decreased interest in testing or a false sense of security amongst performers.

“Well, we’re an advocacy organization,” Weinstein responded. “One of the great things that we’ve been able to do in the last year is to have visibility through advertising because HIV- even in South Florida- has been treated like a dirty secret and now it’s sort of out in the public realm.” Weinstein concluded by asserting that he will maintain his posture of allowing for AHF to speak out “for the safety of sex workers in the porn industry.”

 

“…We believe that the health and safety of performers is important and that the control of STDs is crucial to the public’s health, including yours. We do not believe that getting paid to do a job means that performers have to risk their lives or their health.”


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS