California safety board rejects condom requirement for porn films


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California officials in charge of workplace safety voted down a proposal Thursday that would have put condoms on porn actors, heeding the call of scores of industry officials who said doing so would force them to make films nobody would watch.

The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health's Standards Board voted the measure down when only three members supported it, Cal/Osha spokeswoman Julia Bernstein said. Four yes votes from the seven-member board were required for passage. The vote was 3-2 in favor, with one member absent and one board position currently open.

The board will now begin considering a new worker-safety measure for the porn industry, Bernstein said.

Board members appeared influenced by the dozens of porn industry representatives who filed to the dais during a public hearing in Oakland, California, to argue forcefully but politely that adopting the condom measure would either destroy their multibillion-industry or force it underground. Doing the latter, they said, could make it more dangerous to performers by eliminating safeguards such as the industry's requirement that actors be tested every 14 days for sexually transmitted diseases.

"I know you guys work really hard and have our best interests at stake, but we need you to work with us to find a solution," said porn actress SiouxsieQ, who also reports on the industry for various publications. "When you criminalize sex work in any way, you make it more dangerous."

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