At an event I attended last weekend, I happened to meet an actual, currently-working judge (the first judge I’ve ever met in person.) I asked her for her opinion on Prop 60, and she’d never heard of it, and she had no opinion on condoms in porn. But the more I started telling her the legal details, the more she literally started to both laugh and gasp at the outrageousness and legal absurdity of what she was hearing.
She said laws that encourage so-called “taxpayer lawsuits” initiated by citizens to sue alleged violators of regulations were common. But she had never heard of a law or proposed law that offers large financial bounties to citizens to initiate these lawsuits. She said this was an incredibly dangerous and ominous prospect, because once it passes it becomes standing legal precedent.
Imagine if one single man had the power to censor all Hollywood films showing car chases, in order to promote the message that viewers should always drive 55 MPH. Imagine if this man could censor all films showing drug use, to send a message to viewers to lead clean and sober lives. And he could censor all films showing murders or thefts, to send a message to live on the right side of the law.
In less than a week, Californians will vote whether to give one single private citizen, Michael Weinstein, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, such censorship powers, not in Hollywood, but in the adult film industry.
Michael Weinstein has gone on-record numerous times arguing that porn should be required to show condoms, in order to promote safer sex among viewers. In one Huffington Post article, he wrote, “The fact that most straight porn is made without condoms sends a horrible message that the only kind of sex that is hot is unsafe.”
It’s a great message. But his solution to get this message out might as well be a plot-twist in 1984, with Weinstein playing the role of Big Brother. Via absurdly disproportionate and rabidly aggressive legal manuevirng in Prop 60, is he is trying to bully an entire segment of the entertainment industry into becoming one giant PSA for his preferred message that you should always use condoms.