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Porn company fined $78,000, accused of workplace safety violations

EntertainmentMoviesOccupational Safety and Health AdministrationHIV - AIDSFirst Aid

State regulators cited a Bay Area-based adult film company over workplace safety violations, assessing fines of more than $78,000.

Cal-OSHA opened an investigation into San Francisco-based Kink Studios, which runs a network of sites, in August, in response to a complaint filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation's complaint related to a July 31 shoot involving actress Cameron Bay, who tested positive for HIV shortly thereafter, bringing filming in the adult industry briefly to a halt. The complaint said the production involved acts "considered high-risk for the transmission of HIV."

Bay later said publicly that during the shoot, an actor got a cut on his penis but continued performing without a condom.

The other performers involved in the shoot subsequently tested negative for HIV, and the adult industry has maintained that Bay -- and her then-boyfriend, adult film performer Rod Daily, who tested positive for HIV soon after Bay did -- contracted the virus in their personal lives.

The OSHA citations issued Thursday named a range of violations, including improper use of extension cords, and failure to have on-site first aid materials approved by a physician. But the bulk of the fines -- $50,000 -- related to allegations that the company failed to protect workers from blood-borne pathogens.

Kink.com officials said they would appeal the fines, which they called "excessive" and "politically motivated." The company said its performers are all told they have the right to use condoms on the set.

“The complaints which prompted the inspection were not made by actual employees, but by outside groups with a long history of opposition to adult film," Kink owner Peter Acworth said in a statement.

Los Angeles County voters in 2012 passed an AIDS Healthcare Foundation-backed measure requiring condom use on all adult film shoots in the county, although the mandate is still tied up in court and is not being actively enforced.

Attempts to pass statewide legislation have so far not succeeded. OSHA has proposed new regulations that would require not only condoms but, in some cases, eye protection and mouth barriers for porn workers.

Advocates for a condom mandate say porn workers should be protected like those in any other high-risk industry. But adult industry groups say their current STD-testing protocols work and that a condom mandate would drive production underground or out of the state.

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Twitter: @sewella

abby.sewell@latimes.com

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