Michael Weinstein Seeks To Appoint Himself California’s “Porn Czar”

Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2016

This man wants to be California's Porn Czar.

This man wants to be California’s Porn Czar.

AIDS hysteria has brought about quite a lot of bad policy proposals over the years. And in California, it has led directly to two truly terrible ballot propositions. In 1986, political nutbag and conspiracy theorist extrordiaire Lyndon LaRouche put Proposition 64 on the ballot which, if passed, would have effectively forced anyone who was HIV-positive out of their homes, jobs and schools and into a quarantine. That cockeyed proposal was soundly defeated, 29% to 71%.

This November, there will be another cockeyed proposal on California’s ballot. Prop 60 is just as nonsensical as Prop 64, and it also feeds on the same kinds of hysteria, demonization and stigma that gave life to the earlier proposal. Worse, it’s being pushed by a man who calls himself an AIDS activist: Michael Weinstein who has deployed the same kinds of stereotypes of irresponsible HIV-infected monsters being turned lose on innocent Americans that LaRouche has. He has campaigned against the CDC’s approval of antiretroviral medications as Pre-Exposure Prophylactics (PrEP), he has vilified people who use PrEP to protect themselves, he has portrayed PrEP as nothing but a “party drug, and his AIDS Healthcare has filed a nonsense complaint against Gilead saying it is guilty of promoting Truvada for “off label use” in an effort to get Gilead to cease funding competing community and AIDS groups. He has even to support the National Health Service’s policy of not providing PrEP to anyone in Britain.

His latest move isn’t PrEP related though, although he does try to dress it up as some kind of a backhanded HIV-prevention proposal. If Prop 60 becomes law, anyone who produces, sells, or profits from adult films, including most performers who do all of that with do-it-yourself internet platforms, will be subject to lawsuits and fines if a condom isn’t visible. Condom use during the filming of porn has been required in California since 1993 by the California Department of Industrial Relations, which base their actions on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 1993 Bloodborne Pathogen’s Standard. Weinstein’s proposal requires that the condom use be a visible portrayal of Weinstein’s only approved HIV-prevention measure, damn the science surrounding Prep. He also makes every viewer a vigilante to ensure that his HIV-prevention measure is always the one being portrayed.

In the era of PrEP, which has a demonstrated 99% effectiveness in blocking HIV transmission, this proposal looks like something from another era. If only it were just that. Eric Paul Leue at HIVPlus sees Weinstein’s latest proposal as something that is far more dangerous:

As an outspoken member of the LGBTQ community and an HIV activist, I see something frightening in Prop. 60. Imagine stalkers, overzealous fans, angry family members, and LGBTQ hate groups being able to obtain legal names and home addresses of people who are open about their sexuality and gender identity. Performers already face daily privacy invasions, harassment, and discrimination — a law giving a digital mob incentives to patrol sexual behavior should raise flags with all LGBTQ people everywhere.

…Unfortunately, we’re seeing these forces rise again in relation to adult performers. Weinstein has called the adult performers “a public health crisis” and stoked fears that they are bringing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, into the larger population. There’s no evidence to support that — in fact, adult performers are possibly the most regularly tested population on earth, and there hasn’t been an on-set HIV transmission in the regulated adult industry since 2004. But why should AHF let facts get in the way

Rather than address performer concerns or develop legislation that performers and groups like the performer advocacy organization could support, Weinstein has repeatedly attacked and dismissed them. Weinstein has filed complaints through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against performers who have spoken out against him, and claimed repeatedly that only his organization — not the performers themselves — speaks for performers. He’s even gone so far as to falsely list a performers’ organization as a supporter of the proposition in an official voters’ guide. (The organization complained, and Weinstein was forced to withdraw the listing.)

Groups opposing Prop 60 include Equality California, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Transgender Law Center, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and both the California Democratic and Republican parties. Take those last two as a hint. When you can get both political parties to agree something is bad, it’s bad. How bad is it? The Mercury News found that the proposition’s text sets Weinstein up personally as the state’s porn czar:

Consider Section 10. The second sentence reads: “The People of the State of California, by enacting this Act, hereby declare the proponent of this Act (meaning Weinstein, himself) has a direct and personal stake in defending this Act from constitutional or statutory challenges to the Act’s validity.”

It gets worse.

The third sentence reads: “In the event the Attorney General fails to defend this Act, or the Attorney General fails to appeal an adverse judgment against the constitutionality or statutory permissibly of this Act, in whole or in part, in any court, the Act’s proponent (again, Weinstein, himself) shall be entitled to assert his direct and personal stake by defending the Act’s validity in any court …”

Weinstein is setting himself up as the state’s porn czar, apparently for life. He could only be ousted “by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature when ‘good cause’ exists to do so.” Funny, there’s no provision for the governor, Legislature or voters to name a successor if Weinstein is removed by the Legislature.

Richard Rush

August 19th, 2016

“Condom use during the filming of porn has been required in California since 1993.”

Are you sure, Jim? Los Angeles passed a condoms-in-porn law in 2012. If there was already a state law in place, why would Los Angeles have passed a separate law?

Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2016

It looks like my original information wasn’t strictly true. It now reads: “Condom use during the filming of porn has been required by the California Department of Industrial Relations, which base their actions on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 1993 Bloodborne Pathogen’s Standard.”

As for the Los Angeles Law, wasn’t that also the result of Weinstein’s lobbying?

Sir Andrew

August 19th, 2016

That is one scary looking dude. He has spent years trying to control the sex lives of others, as well as their medications. He needs to be shut up. Will no one rid me of this troublesome dweeb?, he paraphrased.


August 19th, 2016

As a lifelong Californian, I just despise these propositions. They seem positively to be the worst way to make law.

I wonder if the wording about giving the sponsor of the proposition a stake in the defense of the proposition is fallout from Prop 8. Courts found the sponsors of the Prop 8 did not have standing to defend the constitutionality of the proposition. I also wonder if this sort of wording isn’t included now in all the propositions that I am going to vote no on in November 2016.


August 19th, 2016

Oh boy, here we go. We have no less than 13 propositions on the ballot this November here in CA. As always, some dross will be among them. I better heed my own advice and study early, study often.

And I’m with JohnInTheBayArea. I’ve been over propositions for quite some time.


August 20th, 2016

He embodies the very definition of a nanny state.

If people can continue to drink alcohol indiscriminately, which causes far more harm in its abuse than any of Weinstein’s nightmare scenarios.

Of course, he can’t scaremonger alcohol because he’ll find his money-gathering efforts drying up just as his current organization is, which is why he’s flailing around to have the government step in and legislate his competition away.


August 20th, 2016

I vote no on all propositions unless there is some compelling reason to vote yes. I have never regretted voting no. I have a few regrets about some of my yes votes.

Experience of a long time California voter.

Ben in oakland

August 20th, 2016

John, I too, generally vote no on most propositions, absent a compelling reason to vote yes. Most are not the business of the uninformed to decide. That’s why we have legislators.

Joe Beckmann

August 20th, 2016

Why has there been no movement – on the goodguy side – to promote the positive impact of treatment as prevention, or Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)?? A discount rate for Medicare and Medicaid, for example, or even cheaper driver licences would raise consciousness at low cost for very high impact. Prohibitions don’t work. Incentives are cost effective


August 21st, 2016

For the same reason sex ed in high school hasn’t evolved past information on pregnancy and incentivizing abstinence, Joe.

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