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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kink Considers Moving to Nevada to Avoid Condom Legislation, Is Hit With New Complaint

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 10:09 AM

click to enlarge MIKE KOOZMIN
  • Mike Koozmin
The legal battle between local porn company and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation over whether porn performers should be required to use condoms on-set has dragged on since January, when complaints filed by AHF with California's workplace safety agency, Cal/OSHA, resulted in $78,710 fines against Kink

Since then, the fight has gotten personal. Kink founder and CEO Peter Acworth has painted a David-and-Goliath narrative in a series of blog posts: He's just a regular guy, a small business owner, and AHF is refusing to negotiate, instead using any means necessary to push him out of business. AHF president Michael Weinstein has, in turn, portrayed Acworth in a series of press releases as a lawless, reckless capitalist who risks performers' lives to obtain his perfect money shots. 

In June, the battleground shifted from San Francisco to Nevada. Slapped with Cal/OSHA fines (which Acworth is appealing) and facing a possible state-wide condom mandate (on Monday, the state Senate placed AB 1576 on the Appropriations Suspense file for further consideration), San Francisco's porn impresario made good on his threats to move his business across state lines. Kink filmed several scenes in Las Vegas and browsed for potential office space.

But when its mouse ran, the AHF cat chased. Yesterday evening, AHF announced that it had brought new workplace safety complaints against Kink in Nevada — which could result in even more fines for the company. 

“Under the guise of his various Kink and adult film businesses and brands, owner Peter Acworth thinks he and his companies can simply ignore the Federal OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard with regard to required condom use in his adult film productions shot in Nevada. This new complaint in Nevada is based on the simple fact that they cannot hide from federal law there, or anywhere in the U.S.,” Weinstein said in a statement. 

Acworth responded: "The complaint is baseless. It wasn't filed by anyone at the actual workplace, but by Michael Weinstein to bolster his current political campaign." He added that the regulations AHF is invoking may not apply to his business: "Current federal regulations make no mention of condoms, and uses standards that were developed in the 1990s for hospital labs, not porn sets. We will continue to work with performers, doctors, and regulators to develop protocols that keep sets safe, and still respect performers' rights."

Weinstein made clear that, wherever Acworth goes, AHF will follow. "When we first proposed the Los Angeles City bill, the industry said they’d film in other L.A. cities," Weinstein said. "When we proposed Measure B for L.A. County, the industry said they’d film in other counties. And when we proposed AB 1576, the industry said they’d film outside of California. Here, Mr. Acworth will no doubt find out that both Nevada and Federal OSHA statutes apply as well.”

Acworth, for his part, also gave a nod to the rough week AHF has had. "In the past week alone, AHF has been accused of over-billing Los Angeles County $3.5 million, faced protests in the LGBT community, had their lawsuit against the City of San Francisco laughed at and called 'baseless,' and had their porn campaign rebuked by leading AIDS and HIV prevention organizations. Meanwhile, they're fighting an ongoing battle against their own workers attempt to unionize. So I can see why they'd want a distraction," he said. 

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About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


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