Tag Archives: Huffington Post

Prop 60, Part One: No More Debate

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

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Everyone knows by now that California voters rejected Proposition 60 last November. So, no condoms in adult film going forward!

But questions linger. How important was Prop 60’s defeat and what does it say about political activism in porn?

At the AVN trade show I decided to ask around.

Answers varied, as did opinions, and a sampling appears here.

First, however, performer Casey Calvert provides some background on the issue that has roiled the adult industry.

Measure B to Prop 60

The ruckus over Prop 60 began a few years ago in 2012 just when she entered the business, Casey remembers. The political dustup then was Measure B that required condoms for filmed sex in LA County.

img_0515-2“My first porn shoot was in November 5, 2012. Measure B passed in LA County on Nov 6, 2012, and I watched it on TV and thought, ‘What the fuck did I just get myself into?'”

Little changed, actually. The law was never really enforced, Casey points out.

“They don’t have the money to make sure porn stars are wearing condoms. LA as a political entity and a public service entity is stretched so thin,” the native Floridian explains and adds that the law is still around but is “unenforceable as written.”

Undeterred, the Aids Health Foundation’s  Michael Weinstein, who was behind the initiative, turned his attention statewide. Next came AB 1576 that did what Measure B advocated, Casey continues, and it, too, failed in the state legislature mainly because of cost.

Finally, Weinstein went the ballot route in the election and collected enough signatures to bring his proposal before the voters.

However, it expired at the ballot box because it was flawed.

“The issue with Prop 60 was less about condoms and more about enforcement and how every private citizen in California could sue a porn production company if they watched a movie shot in the state without a condom,” Casey says.

2017-01-18-07-18-13-3Evil Angel owner John Stagliano agrees.

“Prop 60 was a horribly written law,” he says, pointing out that it established Michael Weinstein as “the porn czar” with the power to “prosecute cases and collect his expenses from the state.”

Despite the proposition’s shortcomings, effort and planning was required to ensure its demise.

Political Unity

Unwilling to take chances, the industry fought the initiative. Ela Darling, the current President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) comments, “APAC and the FSC (Free Speech Coalition) and a large number of performers did everything they could to defeat Prop 60 and we won, we got it!”

Casey Calvert reminds us that this was “the first time that porn stars actually rallied for a cause and we owe a lot of that to the Free Speech Coalition.” She talks about industry people using twitter and doing interviews to get the story out.

“I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which I heard was very impactful . . . I also spoke on the radio,” Casey adds.

Ela and Casey give performers Julia Ann and SiouxsieQ and Free Speech Coalition’s Eric Leue much credit for organizing and leading the charge.

John Stagliano steps up to put Chanel Preston on the worthy list. “Chanel did some great interviews . . . She was very effective and active [in defeating Prop 60].”

And, everyone thanks California’s Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian Parties and the LGBT organizations for speaking out against Prop 60, a rare instance of political unity.

Activism

Ela talks about the lobbying in Sacramento.

2017-01-18-09-23-25-2“We spoke to legislators, we spoke to Senators . . . anybody who would give us time. Quite a few did. I got to be the voice of the industry to speak to the caucuses and the Democratic convention in Long Beach. It’s been a really big grassroots effort,” she says. Porn people even “led a protest through Hollywood.”

“I’ve never seen the industry aligned so strongly on anything like they did on Prop 60. It was refreshing, it was empowering, and amazing.”

Performer Derrick Pierce presents an unvarnished view of the campaign.

The FSC built a winning coalition of ” both talent and producers and production teams.” People “who are typically fragmented in nature” were on the same political page, Derrick remarks, because “even though we are socially amongst each other we don’t really function in that capacity.”

He characterizes the industry’s victory as a “David versus Goliath” fight.

In doing his part, Derrick went on Facebook to check postings from major media outlets where he found lots of comments.

“I literally went through every negative or misinformed comment and rebutted it. And who knows, maybe it reached five people, but that’s what was needed from every person who had a vested interest in this.”

But he had his doubts. “I’m glad that it was defeated though I was thinking that we were going to get screwed.”

Derrick interprets the victory as more than just a defeat for  poorly written law and its sponsor AHF.

“It wasn’t so much that prop 60 and us moving to Vegas or another place was necessarily the problem, it’s that it set precedent. That’s huge because, there’s no more debate.”

In other words, should similar issues arise with CAL/OSHA and safety regulations,”Now you just have to implement what’s already been said.”

Know the Process

Next Derrick sticks a dagger in the heart of deceit.

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“I would love to see what Weinstein’s real issue is. I know what he’s written and some of the things he’s said and I know who his donors and backers are.”

Moreover, the top male performer understands what spurs politicians and reformers.

“Anything to do with the adult business is a wonderful soapbox. You stand on it and preach to the people this is immoral, we have to protect these people [porn performers] that don’t know any better.”

He also calls out talent to educate themselves.

“Half the people don’t know what our testing process is. You should know because if you’re going to argue the point then you should know what the hell it is we’re doing. [Most performers] don’t know how many tests are done on us every two weeks . . .and they should.

“Know the process and how it works so  you don’t sound like a bumbling idiot when you talk about it.”

Derrick asserts that just screaming performer rights  “doesn’t mean anything” when it comes to debating health issues.

A Reminder of Reality

Finally, Briana Banks brings up a point that may have swayed some voters. She’s happy, of course, with the outcome but there is bit of reality that may have been missed when assessing the defeat of condoms.

Briana shot for the condom-only Vivid for eight years and her movies sold well, she says. But when she put up a recent condom clip she did for her website, her fans panned the scene.

2017-01-19-04-27-29-2“My fans were disgusted. They really were. We’ve put it out there so much of not using condoms that now if you use a condom, people watching porn can’t get past it.”

But there is something else at work here, Briana thinks.

The condom is a shock because of the reality it represents.

“Seeing a condom makes them think of STDs and HIV that they don’t think of when watching a porn movie.”

Condoms remind fans of the risks they take in their own lives, Briana believes. “To watch a porn star use a condom makes them think about the reality of life in general.”

Interesting. Maybe it’s something everybody missed in this battle. Porn is just fantasy and Prop 60 was about to take that away.

For the industry, however, there could be a darker underlying message hidden within this victory. Does it suggest that some fans may unconsciously regard porn performers as expendable?

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Next we’ll look at how the defeat of Prop 60 is seen as a game changer for the industry, if indeed it is.

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Because We Want To

by Rich Moreland, April 2014

The Belle Knox story has sparked renewed interest in who shoots porn and why they do it. The Duke freshman is all the rage, touting the idea that porn girls can be educated and make smart self-empowered decisions.

While many of her Duke classmates have luxuriated in sanctimoniously skewering Belle, the media is marketing her with gusto. The New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Howard Stern, TMZ, and an upcoming online reality show, “The Sex Factor,” are part of the seemingly endless Belle Knox saga.

I’m guilty of same, by the way, my column in Adult Industry News posted when the story first broke is available here for anyone inclined to read one more article about her.

Belle Knox Photo source unknown

Belle Knox
Photo source unknown

Make no mistake, I wish Belle the best and I’ll probably run into her sometime at an industry event. Regardless of where she goes from here, we need to remember Belle is a teenager who has come under tremendous scrutiny at a time in life when most girls are trying to figure out their own sexuality and where they want to go with it. In fact, there are some in the adult industry who believe that filming anyone under twenty-one needs to be reconsidered. Perhaps Belle shouldn’t even be on a porn set in the first place.

Nevertheless, before the Belle Knox media hangover sets in, a dose of porn reality is needed. It has arrived via Casey Calvert, whose blog post about Belle speaks volumes.

Magna Cum Laude

I have an immense respect for Casey. She entered porn in her early twenties with a maturity that supported her love of anything sexual. A two-year veteran of the industry (a lifetime by porn standards), her intelligence and on-screen performances are unsurpassed. If every girl in the industry had Casey’s work ethic accompanied by her professional responsibility, the industry would run like clockwork. Just ask any cinematographer or director who has hired her.

Casey Calvert Photo courtesy of Naughty America

Casey Calvert
Photo courtesy of Naughty America

Casey is always honest and in response to the hype around Belle Knox, she presents a cogent analysis of what the public lacks: an understanding of why people perform in the industry. Porn myths abound because it’s obvious that no one would really want to have sex on film unless they were psychologically broken, financially desperate, hooked on drugs, or too lazy to get a real job, right?

In her essay “Porn Stars R Stupid,” Casey points out that  in the popular mind, a middle class and educated Belle Knox is surely a porn anomaly. But in reality, that is a gross misperception. Having a college degree is not unusual in the adult film universe, she says, and there are smart women in the industry who espouse sex-positive feminism’s politics of pleasure.

Casey is bothered by the same question that concerned me when I first read the April 14 Huffington Post article in which Belle said she would not do porn unless she was paid. Questions about her claim to feminism and empowerment arose. Is a girl’s sense of having choices and acting on them driven by money?

A University of Florida graduate, Casey relates that she recently faced the same issue during a presentation at the University of Toronto. “‘If money were no object, do you love your job enough to continue doing it?'” she hypothetically asks, correctly suggesting Belle’s response would be “no.”

“Because Belle is seen as the voice of our profession, her answer implies that all of us are here solely for financial reasons,” Casey writes. “But that is not the case at all.”

Casey concedes that indeed “a few” performers have a history of drug use, sexual abuse, and financial need that drives their participation in the industry. She also mentions that some models are simply not very bright and porn provides a decent income that demands little intellectual output. I could not agree more.

Explaining that her career brings her immense satisfaction, the Florida native is openly sexual and loves the choices she has. No justification or rationalization needed. Casey likes who she is and is satisfied with who she is.

For the record, Casey Calvert’s magna cum laude degree offered her graduate school and career options, but the sexual kept its hold on her and she followed her bliss.

In the meantime, Belle makes it perfectly clear that lawyering is in her future; once her education is finished, so is porn. It’s the old tale of a means to an end.

Magna Cum Laude Photo source unknown

Magna Cum Laude
Photo courtesy of Twistys

When I think of the A-list porn stars I have met—Penny Pax, Chanel Preston, Dana DeArmond, Jesse Jane, and Tasha Reign come to mind immediately—Casey’s words ring true. These women are in charge of their careers and committed to the industry.

Have doubts? Listen to what they have to say. Tasha Reign defines her porn shoots as an atmosphere of “free happy sex,” while Chanel says with a smile, “I love getting gangbanged.”

Casey Calvert stands squarely with these superstars because she is the consummate adult film professional: smart, reliable, a hard worker, fair with her opinions, and gloriously sexual.

This sultry brunette speaks for a community of entertainers when she says,

“Many of us do porn because we want to.”

 

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