LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has learned that in a first-of-its-kind legal ruling against a California adult film production company, California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Appeals Board (Cal/OSHA), has rejected an appeal of several workplace safety violations issued by Cal/OSHA against Treasure Island Media, Inc., (TIM) a Bay Area adult film production company that primarily serves and produces condom-less, or ‘bareback’ films for the gay market. In a landmark—and at times graphic—36-page ruling filed with the Department of Industrial Relations’ Los Angeles Legal Unit on January 8th, Cal/OSHA Administrative Law Judge Mary Droyovage issued a broad rebuke to Treasure Island Media, finding that the issues in Cal/OSHA’s original bareback porn film citations against the company are “serious.”
“For the first time ever in California, Cal/OSHA’s Appeals Board has, in a formal trial of an appeal of several safety violations lodged against a California adult film company, overruled the appeal and upheld the citations and fines originally issued to Treasure Island Media for its condom-less porn productions,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Treasure Island has been quite outspoken in its opposition to condom use in the company’s films. That is partly why we filed workplace health and safety complaints with Cal/OSHA: to press for the enforcement of existing state and local workplace regulatory guidelines which require the use of condoms in their—and all—adult films produced in California. After Treasure Island took its OSHA case to trial, claiming that the performers in their films were independent contractors and that the section of the regulations regarding Bloodborne Pathogens did not apply to the adult film industry, the court sustained Cal/OSHA’s citations after testimony and evidence were presented. This ruling is a milestone for workplace safety in California, and the first time OSHA has had the opportunity to weigh in so clearly and forcefully on workplace safety on adult film sets.”
In February 2013, AHF filed several ‘Notice of Safety or Health Hazards’ complaints with Cal/OSHA, the state’s health and safety regulatory and watchdog organization, over the lack of condom use in adult films produced by Treasure Island Media, Inc. over its production of condom-less gay adult films. AHF’s complaints asserted that the films demonstrate 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.
The Treasure Island complaints were AHF’s first in a series targeting producers of bareback gay films. AHF filed similar worker safety complaints with Cal/OSHA beginning in August 2009 against 16 California-based adult film companies, and in the years since, filed additional complaints specifically targeting Steve Hirsch’s Vivid Entertainment as well as Larry Flynt’s Hustler Video. To date, Cal/OSHA has opened investigations into several of the companies, has cited and fined several, and is still evaluating and considering additional investigations of some of the remaining companies.
Several of Treasure Island’s Cal/OSHA citations arose from one 2009 film submitted as evidence by AHF in its ‘Notice of Safety or Health Hazards’ complaints to Cal/OSHA last February. The film depicts unprotected sex involving several men, as well as scenes depicting one of the men receiving the previously collected semen of over 1,000 men into one of his body orifices.
In sustaining Cal/OSHA’s workplace safety citations against Treasure Island Media, Administrative Law Judge Droyovage found that:
Section 5193 (of the Bloodborne Pathogens statute) applies to the adult film industry;
Barrier protection is the only workplace safety equipment that will satisfy the standard;
|3.||Performers in Treasure Island Media’s films are employees;|
They (film performers) were exposed to bloodborne pathogens;
Treasure Island Media violated section 5193 and did not have any of the following at the time of inspection:
|a.||An exposure control plan|
|b.||Minimize or eliminate exposure by using protective equipment|
|c.||Provide Hepatitis vaccinations|
|d.||Conduct and document exposure incident evaluations|
|e.||Communicate hazard information in the form of training, signs and labels|
|f.||Maintain medical and training records|
The violations were serious in that there is a “substantial probability that employees would suffer serious exposure resulting in serious physical harm or death if violation occurred.”
“This Cal/OSHA ruling against Treasure Island is a milestone in three important ways,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “1) the ruling unequivocally states that the adult film performers are employees, not independent contractors, as the industry regularly asserts, and as such are indeed covered under OSHA workplace safety statutes; 2) it was the first time an adult film company cited has actually gone to a full trial for appeal with Cal/OSHA instead of settling, paying—or ignoring--its citations; and 3) it is the first time an adult film company has also lost in this precedent-setting court ruling.”
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to nearly 279,000 individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare