US porn filming suspended over new HIV scare

A+
A
A-

Derrick Burts, 24, the actor whose HIV positive test sparked a temporary shutdown of the US porn filmmaking industry called for mandatory condom use on set, in his first public comments on the scare during a press conference in Hollywood, California on December 8, 2010. Burts said he had only worked in the porn industry for seven months before being told during a routine test at the AIM clinic on October 8 that he had contracted the HIV virus, which leads to AIDS. AFP FILE PHOTO

LOS ANGELES—US porn movie makers have suspended filming after an actor reportedly tested HIV positive, reigniting a dispute over the use of condoms on screen in the latest AIDS scare to hit the industry.

The multimillion dollar US adult film industry is complying with a call for a moratorium, even though the new HIV case — which comes after that of another actor last year triggered a movie set shut-down — has not been confirmed.

The Free Speech Coalition (FSC) said Wednesday it learned of a possible HIV exposure at the weekend, and called for an industrywide moratorium “to err on the side of caution and to eliminate any possible risk to performers.”

“We have no authorized information confirming that a performer or any performers have tested HIV positive. However, there was enough of a concern for us to call a moratorium,” Coalition spokeswoman Joanne Cachapero told AFP.

The trade body noted that the latest reported incident occurred outside of California, where the majority of US porn films are made in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.

“However, the Los Angeles production community has voluntarily submitted to the moratorium as an appropriate response to the current situation,” it said in a blog update Wednesday.

Porn film producers including industry leaders like Vivid Entertainment referred media queries about the suspension to the LA-based Free Speech Coalition, which counts them as members.

The trade body would not forecast how long the filming suspension would last, saying the moratorium “should remain in place until primary reports of any exposure are confirmed.

“In the event of the necessity for first and second generational testing, a list of any individuals that may have been exposed will be compiled and the moratorium will then be evaluated by our medical and legal advisors,” it said.

Last year at least four major film producers suspended filming for several weeks from October after a porn actor, 24-year-old Derrick Burts, tested positive for the HIV virus which causes AIDS.

In December, a clinic for actors in the lucrative industry was ordered closed after Burts blasted it for failing to help him properly.

After reopening it finally closed for good in May, the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) finally closed for good in May, facing mounting legal and financial woes.

The Free Speech Coalition lamented the clinic’s closure, which it blamed on pressure from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a group which has long campaigned for mandatory use of condoms in porn films.

The AHF launched a new broadside Wednesday, filing a “sanitary nuisance” health complaint with the Florida Department of Health and a similar one with federal authorities against Brazzers, a Montreal-based porn company.

“When will it end? This is yet another suspected case of HIV infection in the adult film industry,” said AHF boss Michael Weinstein, accusing the FSC of a “full-scale cover-up” in the case.

“This latest outbreak underscores the urgent need for immediate action by government… The claim that HIV testing is an adequate substitute for condom use has once again been proven false,” he added.

But within hours the FSC blasted back. “This is another prime example of AHF and its president Michael Weinstein’s outrageous grandstanding, which is completely false and baseless,” FSC executive director Diane Duke.

“AHF has a history of spreading misinformation in order to further their agenda to force government regulation of sexual behavior. Apparently Mr. Weinstein will stop at nothing… in order to call attention to AHF’s agenda.”

Last year’s HIV case was the first in over a year in the industry, and comes six years after up to 14 actors tested HIV positive, forcing several film firms to close.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Anonymous

    Is this news?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94