Mounting HIV cases have porn industry questioning its own trade group

With a third Los Angeles-area porn performer confirmed as HIV positive, and reports of a fourth having the virus, the very trade group that is supposed to speak for the industry has increasingly found itself under fire from within adult entertainment.

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult entertainment industry organization, has been the primary source of information to the rest of the world about the infections—and has set, lifted and reset moratoriums on film shooting. But the FSC’s handling of the health care crisis has widened a schism that was already forming within the industry about its effectiveness and the level of support it provides.

At issue, in many minds, is the speed in which the first moratorium was lifted. Within one week of the first diagnosis, the coalition issued an all-clear to studios. Six days later, another case was reported—and the group did not call for a halt to shooting. The second shutdown came when a third performer announced on Sept. 6 that she had been infected. That shutdown remains in place now.

But some within the industry say the all-clear was premature given the health considerations at hand, and they question the coalition’s motivations.

“It concerned me greatly when they said everyone is fine,” said Scott Taylor, president of production company New Sensations. “I don’t want by circumstance to be party to something that might put somebody at risk. … I had conversations with others within the industry, and I felt that there was pressure. We had agents telling us ‘it will be over by Friday.’ ”

Diane Duke, the coalition’s executive director, denies there was any outside influence on the decision.

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