FSC: Prop 60 May Leave Disney, Cable Channels Vulnerable

Proposition 60, the Adult Film Initiative, could require the Walt Disney Company to register with state as an adult film producer

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| Source: Free Speech Coalition

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 03, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California’s Proposition 60 may be aimed at adult production, but in many cases, it would create major legal liabilities for mainstream production and distribution companies, like Direct TV, Time Warner, the Walt Disney Company, and HBO, according to the Free Speech Coalition.

The controversial Prop 60, which seeks to mandate condoms in adult film, defines “adult film” loosely. Thus, any commercial broadcast in which two people engage in actual sexual activity is covered, regardless of whether you can see it, or whether it happens on an adult film set or The Bachelor’s Fantasy Suite.

Any cable provider who broadcasts or distributes an adult film, even an edited version, would face legal liability.

And any reality television programs where contestants hook-up, such as CBS’ Big Brother and ABC’s The Bachelor, could be required to prove condoms were used, or face fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Under the initiative, California-based corporations like The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, could be required to register with the state as an adult film producer.

“While we’d certainly welcome Les Moonves and Bob Iger at our Free Speech board meetings, we suspect their shareholders would not,” says Eric Paul Leue, Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition, the trade group for the adult industry. “Like most obscenity regulation, it’s written broadly: there’s no requirement that the sex itself be shown explicitly. If sex happens on-set, it will be considered a workplace, and reality producers could be sued.”

Contestants for ABC are already tested for STIs prior to filming, and recent contestants have admitted to having sex while on the show, even if the sex itself is often blurred or otherwise obscured by blankets, water, or darkness. While never presented explicitly as traditional adult film, on-screen hook-ups have been a staple of the reality genre from The Real World and Gigolos to last year’s Sex Box.

Premium cable channels such as HBO, Showtime and Cinemax are also liable to face Prop 60 lawsuits, either through reality programs like Real Sex and Sex Now, or through soft-core films available through broadcast or on-demand. While the cable channels rarely show explicit sex, that lack of visibility would, paradoxically, place them in a position to prove, in court, that a condom was used.

Under the initiative, any resident of the state of California can sue any producer anytime they see filmed sexuality activity and can’t see a visible condom. Those who bring successful suits are awarded 25% of any fine levied against the producer, and any legal costs.

For-profit lawsuits against mainstream producers may be more likely than those against adult producers, as those who bring a successful suit are awarded a payout relative to the cost of the original production.

Proposition 60 is the only ballot measure opposed by both the California Democratic Party and the California Republican Party. It has been opposed by over fifty local and issue-based political clubs; over forty five newspaper editorial boards (including each of the state’s ten largest papers); over a hundred HIV/AIDS organizations, doctors and civil rights advocates; and the performers’ groups APAC and APAG. Over the past several months, nearly two thousand performers have actively campaigned against Proposition 60 by speaking out at university campuses, farmers markets and on social media, as well as leading political rallies and protests.

PRESS CONTACT
Mike Stabile
Communications Director, No on Proposition 60
mike@freespeechcoalition.com
818.650.1973