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May 09, 2004 12:00am
Dave Cummings Voices Concerns, HIV Changes Adult Industry
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Dave Cummings

Personal Thoughts and Opinions About the Situation Surrounding the Recent Adult Industry HIV "Scare"! Note: I'm writing this on the evening of May 9, 2004. Yesterday, Ron Jeremy, Mary Cary, Angel Cassidy, and I were contracted to do the appearance "thing" at a San Diego event... I asked him [Ron] if he wanted me to include a comment to the effect that "Ron Jeremy and I agree in large part"----Ron said "No, it's not just in large part, Dave, it's Exactly"!

1. With the exception of the larger companies which appear able to participate more fully and easily in distribution to the cable markets and other sources of revenue, not a lot of adult film production companies seem to presently be making the massive amounts of money that some media folks and others (including some of us talent members?) seem to think is happening. Some companies are doing fine, some are doing Ok, and some seem to be financially struggling?

Besides a possibly-growing glut of amateur footage and DVD releases from Internet-only content shoots, as well as foreign and Internet streaming video availability beginning to impact the present and future market, the many wannabe "producers" of the present and past few years who have purchased 3-chip camcorders and set out to get themselves laid under the guise of film-making have contributed to a glut of "companies", footage, and productions which has driven down the sales numbers and profits for some companies.

Heaping additional costs upon the aforementioned companies for talent health care, talent residuals, payment of testing fees, government mandates, etc,--- be it the result of City of Los Angeles Health Department/State/OSHA/other (e.g., a "talent union")---might be the straw that breaks the back of some existing companies, thus driving down their ability to stay in existence and contract/employ talent and crews at the rates and fees that they presently pay. Might not talent fees have to be cut and/or production budgets tightened up even more for some companies to comply with any new governmental requirements, or talent "unionizing"?

2. Because anal creampies seem so HIV risky, perhaps they should no longer be made or distributed in America (or elsewhere)? Enforcement would probably require either some type of leak-proof Industry-wide self-regulation with distributors/stores refusing to accept such releases (or, if the Industry can't police it adequately, a law or medical regulation making anal creampies illegal to produce/sell might result?). An unknown here is the possible need for some type of adequate control in order to prevent "leakage" from Internet and/or foreign sources trying to continue catering to those viewers wanting to see anal creampies in spite of the health dangers to talent.

3. Mandatory condoms/Dental dams? Yes, some companies have survived and prospered in spite of voluntarily using condoms--from a health viewpoint it's been a plus for their talent members, but financially one might wonder if such companies could have had even better sales and profits if they didn't have a condom-only production policy? Some comments I've been reading speculate that condoms diminish the fantasy of viewers, and some renters/buyers might boycott America-California productions in favor of European and other foreign releases if condoms were made mandatory? I'd be concerned that government imposition of a tariff on imported foreign porn would only result in very few tariffs actually being paid, but lots of pirating and distribution of European product taking place! I also understand that some Industry people are concerned that mandatory condoms might drive some productions "underground" or out of California (or even the United States?), thus possibly raising medical risks and costing thousands of jobs, the loss of tax revenues, and other adverse economic impacts! If the only way to prevent a government condom mandate requires some sort of negotiation and give and take, perhaps the industry should not only stop doing anal creampies, but also consider agreeing to condoms for anal penetration---but not for oral/vaginal?

4. The most recent attempt at creation of a talent guild/union failed to adequately succeed; it was in the pre-Viagra era. For reasons mentioned in the first paragraph herein, and given present circumstances, I sense that "unionizing" might possibly be self-defeating to some extent. Further, the present availability of a variety of erectile dysfunction medications to future wannabe male talent makes it easier for replacements to be contracted/employed in place of union guys; and, the "mainstreaming" and more societal acceptance of porn as a part of life has provided a deluge of new female talent in the past few years. How would a union survive if talent demands financially jeopardize the existence of porn companies, and if union members could easily and quickly be permanently replaced?

5. AIM has done an admirable job; I feel considerably safer now than I did pre-AIM!

Note: I'm writing this on the evening of May 9, 2004. Yesterday, Ron Jeremy, Mary Cary, Angel Cassidy, and I were contracted to do the appearance "thing" at a San Diego event. Because the crowds were so large, we had little/no time at the signing-appearance to adequately chat about the above matters amongst ourselves; however, Ron Jeremy and I ended up at the same event later in the evening where we chatted at length about the present HIV situation, and found that we agreed considerably. I mentioned to Ron that I might write down my thoughts, and since he was so definite in his comments, I asked him if he wanted me to include a comment to the effect that "Ron Jeremy and I agree in large part"----Ron said "No, it's not just in large part, Dave, it's Exactly"!

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