The Porn Industry Condom Debate: A Double Standard With Hollywood?

The Porn Industry Condom Debate: A Double Standard With Hollywood?

Adult film advocates say the measure, approved for the ballot Tuesday, singles them out. "When's the last time you saw Brad Pitt stop in the middle of a love scene to put on a condom?"

With a measure requiring condoms for porn shoots set for the ballot in Los Angeles County, adult film industry advocates point to mainstream filmmaking in Hollywood as proof they're being unfairly singled out.

"When's the last time you saw Brad Pitt stop in the middle of a love scene and put on a condom?" asked Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved its placement on the Nov. 6 ballot at Tuesday's meeting after proponents of the measure, led by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, gathered enough signatures to qualify it. The debate over the measure hinges on a number of issues.  Whether enforcing such a law — if it's even possible — is worth the money for the cash-strapped county may be the biggest questions for voters.

Another argument in the debate is that adult film actors are setting a bad example.

The porn industry is "sending a terrible message to the world that the only kind of sex that's hot is unsafe," AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein (right) testified before the Board of Supervisors recently.

Also read: State to Study Enforcing Condoms in Porn

If porn actors are sending a bad message when they have unprotected sex, aren't some Hollywood films doing the same thing?

"Let's be clear," Weinstein told TheWrap, "the intent with a porn film is different than a regular feature film. An incidental scene of people having sex in a Hollywood movie is a whole different situation than a porn movie where people are having real sex and getting real diseases."

He said he believes the measure will find backing in Hollywood.

"I would hope the industry, which is filled with socially conscious people, would support this measure," Weinstein said. "It's about protecting the young people that are in these films."

Duke disagrees, saying the testing requirements in place for sexually transmitted diseases have proven effective. And there could be ramifications for the film biz if the measure is approved in November, she said.

"This could be the first step down a slippery slope that could significantly impact our mainstream counterparts over the hill in Hollywood," said Duke (left), whose group speaks for the largely San Fernando Valley-based porn biz.

Also read: 3D Porn Movie in Works, 'Very Graphic'

For the most part, Hollywood's record is less than sterling when it comes to portrayals of safe sex.

Frequently, condom use is used as a comedic device for awkward first-encounter moments, as in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" or "American Pie." In "Knocked Up," the fun begins after Seth Rogen's character fails to use a condom.

Even way back in 1991, Leslie Nielsen's was mining laughs with a full-body condom in "Naked Gun 2 1/2."

There have been a handful of films in which the sex portrayed has been safe, including "The Good Guy" and "Love and Basketball." And way back in 1991, Julia Roberts insisted on condoms with Richard Gere in "Pretty Woman." 

Hollywood needs to keep its guard up against regulatory intrusion, Duke said.

"If local municipalities start regulating permits on social issues, what happens on a number of fronts .. .animal rights, smoking, drinking, even eating junk food?" wondered Duke. "What kind of example do those people eating junk food on TV set for our obese kids?"

But Weinstein denied Hollywood had anything to be concerned about.

"We're not against pornography, we're not trying to censor anything," Weinstein said. "We just want to see the same sort of workplace safety standards applied to that workplace as every other."