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Apr 16 2010

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Nine Porn Talent Agencies Target of AHF Complaints to California Labor Commissioner

1377778141000-AP-HIV-TestingVia Their Websites, State-licensed Adult Talent Agencies Offer Adult Film Producers Choice of Models and Performers by Graphically Describing Unprotected Sexual Acts their Clients Will Perform in Films

Nine California Talent Agencies that Procure Performers for Adult Film Productions to be Target of AHF’s State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Complaints

By AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Los Angeles, CA – April 15, 2010

WHAT:

Press Conference and Teleconference

AHF to file Nine (9) California State Labor Commission Complaints over State-licensed Talent Agencies’ Procurement of Models for Unsafe Scenes in Adult Film Industry

WHEN:

THURSDAY, April 15th 2010—-10:30 AM Pacific

WHERE:

AHF Executive Offices
6255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 2100 (cross street: Argyle)
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7931503

Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, President
Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Director, Public Health Division, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

CONTACTS:

Ged Kenslea, AHF Dir. of Communications (323) 791-5526 cell (323) 860-5225 office
Lori Yeghiayan, AHF Assoc. Dir. of Communications (323) 377-4312 cell (323) 860-5227 office

As part of its ongoing campaign to reduce the spread of STDs including HIV among performers working in adult films shot and produced in California, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host a press conference tomorrow, Thursday, April 15th at 10:30 AM Pacific to announce its filing of formal complaints with the California Labor Commissioner against nine (9) state-licensed adult-oriented talent agencies who procure performers for adult film productions who the talent agencies advertise as available to participate in unprotected sexual acts that may result in the exchange of bodily fluids. The complaints will be filed in letter format with Angela Bradstreet, California’s State Labor Commissioner (Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement). The nine complaints will be supported with print outs from the websites of each of the talent agencies which graphically describe—often in checklist format—the unprotected sexual acts that the clients they represent will perform in adult films.

“These talent agencies are a pipeline for the procurement of young people for the adult film industry,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It is reckless for these agents to jeopardize the health of their clients by encouraging and profiting from the unsafe, potentially life-threatening behavior of the models and performers they represent. Many of these agents are callous enough to describe the unprotected sexual acts their clients will engage in on a checklist on their websites as cavalierly as if one was ordering off a menu in a restaurant. We are asking the California Labor Commissioner to investigate and crack down on the illegal behavior of these state-licensed agencies.”

The talent agencies targeted in AHF’s labor commission complaints include: A List Media; ATMLA; Gold Star Modeling; LA Direct Models; Lisa Ann’s Talent Management; Metro Talent Management; Spiegler Girls; Type 9 Models, Inc. and World Modeling. The agencies represent anywhere from approximately 30 to as many as 140 models and performers each, with a mix of male and female performers, however far more female performers appear on each website.

In a sample of one of its official complaint letters to Ms. Bradstreet (against “A List Talent”), AHF President Michael Weinstein wrote:

AIDS Healthcare Foundation respectfully petitions the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to open an investigation into the activities of A List Media, Inc. d/b/a A List Talent. A List Media, Inc. is a Florida Corporation doing business in California…

…Most workers in the adult film industry, including those represented by A List Talent, perform sexual acts without any protection from exposure to communicable diseases that may be contained in bodily fluids and discharges. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health (“LADPH”) estimates that condoms and other protection are used in less than 20% of hardcore heterosexual pornography.

…A List Talent is well aware that it is procuring actors and actresses for assignments that will expose them to disease. A List Talent’s website advertises that nearly all of the models it represents are available for hardcore shoots. None of the models represented by A List Talent are designated as “Condom Only.” A List Talent allows potential employers to search for models who are willing to perform specific sexual acts, including acts that have been identified by LADPH as highly likely to result in the spread of communicable diseases. (emphasis added) A List Talent specifically notes the performers who are willing to “swallow” discharges and receive “double penetration”, which places actresses at an extremely high risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. A List Talent advertises female models available for “creampie” shoots, meaning that the women are willing to allow male actors to ejaculate inside them without a condom.

…A List Talent is knowingly facilitating direct health threats to the performers it represents. California law specifically provides that “[n]o talent agency shall send or cause to be sent, any artist to any place where the health, safety, or welfare of the artist could be adversely affected, the character of which place the talent agency could have ascertained upon reasonable inquiry.” (emphasis added) (Labor Code § 1700.33). AIDS Healthcare Foundation asserts that a List Talent is violating this requirement.

Furthermore, Labor Code § 1700.9 provides that “[n]o license shall be granted to conduct the business of a talent agency [i]n a place that would endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the artist.” (emphasis added) A List Talent is not only sending its artists to work sites that are likely to endanger their health, A List Talent is creating the threat itself by creating a website that allows producers of pornography to search for actresses by specific high-risk sexual acts.

As a licensed talent agent, A List Talent is obligated to never “knowingly issue a contract for employment containing any term or condition which, if complied with, would be in violation of law, or attempt to fill an order for help to be employed in violation of law.” (Labor Code § 1700.31).

“After reviewing the business practices and websites of these nine talent agencies, it’s clear that the agencies are violating California State Labor Code,” said Brian Chase, Assistant General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It appears that the State of California is giving out licenses to businesses which then turn around and send people out to get sexually transmitted diseases. We license doctors, lawyers and contractors so they can be held accountable when they harm consumers and employees. This is no different. A state-approved license holder has an obligation to abide by certain rules, and these include the rule not to expose people to the threat of danger and disease. We ask that that California’s Labor Commissioner investigate this matter and take any and all actions that are justified to protect performers from exploitation by any of these agencies.”

Background for AHF’s Complaint to California’s Labor Commissioner

In support of its nine complaints to the California Labor Commissioner, AIDS Healthcare Foundation officials undertook a review and analysis of nine adult-oriented talent agencies that offer adult film producers access to models and performers by graphically describing unprotected sexual acts their clients will perform in films on the talent agencies’ websites. The agencies (and websites) represented in AHF’s labor commission complaints include:

A List Talent

http://www.alisttalent.com/ A List Media, Inc.
d/b/a A List Talent
Talent Agent License No.: 39164

ATMLA
http://www.atmla.com/
Adult Talent Managers, Inc.
Talent Agent License No.: 64484

Gold Star Modeling
http://www.goldstarmodeling.com/index.php?page=models
Gold Star Modeling, Inc.
Talent Agent License No.: 5550

LA Direct Models
http://www.ladirectmodels.com/news.php
Direct Models, Inc.
d/b/a L.A. Direct Models
Talent Agent License No.: 3872
New No.: 42215

Lisa Ann’s Talent Management
http://www.lisaannstalentmanagement.com/casting/casting/
Tim O’Brien and Associates, Inc.
d/b/a Lisa Ann’s Talent Management
f/k/a Clear Talent Group
Talent Agent License No.: 3694
New No.: 42713

Metro Talent Management
http://www.metrotalentmanagement.com/home.html
Metro Talent, L.L.C.
d/b/a Metro Talent
Talent Agent License No.: 91637

SpieglerGirls.com
http://www.spieglergirls.com/html/main.html
Mark A. Spiegler d/b/a Spieglergirls
Talent Agent License No.: 85229

Type 9 Models, Inc.
http://www.type9models.com/
Type 9 Models, Inc.
Talent Agent License No.: 65094

World Modeling
http://www.worldmodeling.com/casting.php?action=search&gender=female&orderby=AKA_First
Jim-Dal Enterprises, Inc.
d/b/a World Modeling Talent Agency
Talent Agent License No.: 2980
New No.: 11077

Background on STDs—including HIV—in the Adult film Industry

AHF’s action today was prompted by the ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in California’s adult film industry. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH), workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at large. LADPH documented 2,013 individual cases of Chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between the years 2003 and 2007. LADPH has observed that many workers suffer multiple infections, with some performers having four or more separate infections over the course of a year. In addition, LADPH has stated that as many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004.

History of AHF’s Advocacy for Adult Film Worker Safety

As part of an ongoing campaign to require the use of condoms in adult films shot in California, AHF has been mounting a high profile advocacy campaign directly targeting the industry, including key players like Hustler’s founder Larry Flynt; it has publicly pressed Los Angeles County political and health officials to comply with the law as far as legal reporting of HIV and STD cases—including those found among performers in the industry—and to require the use of condoms on sets in LA County; and it has also recently sued the County to achieve this aim.

In August 2009, AHF filed sixteen worker-safety complaints with Cal/OSHA over the lack of condom use in adult films made in California. AHF supported its complaints with the submission of nearly 60 adult DVDs filmed in California and in which the performers do not wear condoms. The complaints asserted that the films demonstrated unsafe—potentially life-threatening—behavior in a California workplace, as the sexual acts filmed without participating performers using condoms depict the unprotected exchange of bodily fluids.

Background on AHF’s Petition to Cal/OSHA to Amend California ‘Bloodborne Pathogens’ Code

In December, AHF also filed a separate petition with the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) in Sacramento at the Board’s final 2009 meeting. The petition sought an amendment to California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193 “Bloodborne Pathogens” and asked Cal/OSHA to clarify protections for workers in the adult film industry and to explicitly include a condom requirement. As reported by the Associated Press at the time, (“AIDS group wants rule requiring condoms in porn” AP, 12/16/09) AHF said, “regulations to prevent the spread of bloodborne diseases in hospitals should extend to adult film sets. The current regulations aren’t clear enough.”

At its quarterly statewide meeting in Costa Mesa on March 18th, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted unanimously to convene an advisory panel to determine whether—and how—to amend state regulations.

The Cal OSHA Standards Board’s official decision on the matter noted:

“In view of the fact that the Petitioner does not represent all stakeholders and in view of the complexity of the issues, the possibly differing approaches to potential rulemaking and possible issues regarding federal equivalence, the Board concludes that an advisory committee would be of great benefit in determining the manner (if any) in which Section 5193 should be amended. Labor Code Section 147.1(c) provides, in effect, that the Division is to take the lead in developing and presenting proposed health standards to the Board, in which case, it is appropriate that the Division take the lead with respect to the advisory committee discussed herein.” (Emphasis added)

“In view of the foregoing, the Board grants the Petition that is the subject of Petition File No. 513 to the extent that the Division is requested to convene an advisory committee representing stakeholders in order to consider possible amendments of California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193 as it pertains to employees in the adult film industry.  If determined necessary, regulatory language or amendments should be developed for the Board’s consideration at a future public hearing.”

Permanent link to this article: http://porninthevalley.com/2010/04/16/nine-porn-talent-agencies-target-of-ahf-complaints-to-california-labor-commissioner/

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