On Condoms, Porn, and Billboards: Proposition B in Los Angeles
I pass this sign every morning on my way to work, and I still can’t get over how bizarre it is. At first glance, it may seem to be promoting a “No on B” stance. After all, it is relaying that pornographers, the people most affected by this law and who this law is intended to protect, are against it. But if you look at the fine print, it is paid for by the “Yes on B” campaign. What the ad is telling you is that pornographers “Say No on B,” and I guess the “Yes on B” people assume that no sane person would knowingly have any opinion in common with a pornographer. Which I suppose might be a legitimate tactic in some dry county in Alabama or something, but this is on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
Proposition B would, in an effort to curb STD’s and promote safe sex, require porn actors to wear condoms during filming. Actually, it requires that porn-makers to apply for health permits from a government agency that can be revoked if they do not comply with the condom rule, among others. Yet again, government interferes with the consensual exchanges of free people for their own good. If this was something the porn industry or the porn-patronizing public wanted, it would already be taking place. And, because it is in their best interest to run a clean operation, the porn industry has checks in place to ensure their actors stay safe. Indeed, because of its regular screenings, there hasn’t been a case of HIV in the industry since 2004 - and porn stars have lower infection risks than the public at large.
But like all laws that meddle in the peaceful interactions of free people, if this proposition passes there will be unintended consequences. Instead of the desired outcome (of increased condom-use in porn), most filmmakers will simply move their operations where they can more accurately craft that which their customers demand:
bareback shtupping. Many of the same meddlesome statists will no doubt weep at the lost tax “revenue” such departing businesses will represent.
Of course, this proposition isn’t only about potential health risks to the tiny community of porn actors and their sex partners. There’s also an element of legislating morality, one bureaucratic paper-cut at a time.
So I guess it’s fitting that stupid people use stupid billboards to promote stupid laws…