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_POSTEDON 2003-01-28 18:56:45 by jimmyd

The Jiz Biz jimmyd _writes "Thought I'd reprint a portion of a lively discussion that's going on at the JIZZ BIZZ MESSAGE BOARD. Plus I'm pretty busy and have no time to write anything myself.

Houston Don posts: Greg, sorry if I remembered it wrong-I have no desire to reopen old wounds of yours; it happened long ago and the details were never all that clear to me. I do understand how covering only the people in bad health would be prohibitively expensive but liability is not limited to just HIV infections and my concern is that "big brother" will step in if the industry doesn't take some better precautions in the future. If you think a civil lawsuit has the potential to damage companies, what do you think about various health dept's (city, county, state) or the fed's giving them grief?

I'm curious though, how much would it cost to cover everyone in the business at this time? I understand the general costs involved but what'd be a ballpark figure, off the top of your head, and what would it take to implement?

Greg Zeboray posts in response: Better poor a cup of coffee … this is going to be long … lol

First, I have no doubt that “big brother” is on his way. For years, the industry (led primarily by the FSC, and to a lesser extent AVN) has begged the government and mainstream media to recognize them as the equivalent of a widget manufacturer – a normal everyday business that pays its taxes, has its own political lobby, contributes to the economy, and produces product that is in demand. I also have no doubt that the industry is not going to be happy with the results. When a business is fully ‘legitimatised’, things such as payroll taxes, workers compensation, and the health and welfare of its employees become the main focus. People can argue until they’re blue in the face, but I will always maintain that the cast and crew should be paid on W-4 withholding and be covered by work comp. For some reason, many in the industry still believe VCA, Wicked, Vivid and a few others operate under this policy because they love to throw money away –does anyone really believe those companies became rich by throwing money away? As for the industry’s position that it provides for the safety of the performers by requiring a monthly HIV test, is nothing short of a joke. There will be another large HIV outbreak in the business (if things continue as is) – maybe this year, maybe 04 or 05, but it will happen, and to some extent the current test requirements will share some of the blame. Go on any set today, and after a scene is completed ask the performer if the person they just worked with was HIV negative: the typical answer you will get is “yes. I just saw his/her test, and it’s only a week old”. That does not mean the person is HIV negative, yet everyone has been lulled into a false sense of security. All the test really means is that at the very minute the blood was drawn, there is a very good (but not certain) chance the person was HIV negative. Facts are facts: a person could contract the virus the night before their HIV test, and armed with a negative result, unknowingly go out and spread it like crazy for the next month or two. If anyone can rest easier, it’s the person who worked with said performer prior to the time the blood was drawn. I do however, support the continued testing, as a way to A) prevent infected people from entering the industry, and B) prevent a newly infected person from continuing to work. I do not however, support the test as an excuse to work without condoms. I guess I’m publicly acknowledging my support for 100% condom use on all sets – it’s the only responsible alternative.

I got off the beaten path here, but as for ‘big brother’, are you aware of supervisor Burke’s proposal to the County of Los Angeles? If not, here is what she presented on January 21st (before the Primetime show aired, btw):

“Recommendation as submitted by Supervisor Burke: Instruct the Director of Health Services to consult with County Counsel to determine the appropriate regulatory entity, at either the State or County level, to oversee the adult film industry to ensure the protection of its workers and limit the spread of communicable diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases; and to work with the Chief Administrative Officer and the County's Legislative Advocates in Sacramento to advocate for any State legislation needed to implement the regulation.”

Her proposal may not go anywhere, but I have no doubt that it’s just the start, and I have no doubt that laws regarding safe sex on porn shoots are coming. Brazil made condom use mandatory by law, and ultra-liberal California will too – you just watch!

As for the cost, I am assuming you mean a group policy with 500 or more people on the plan. My guess is that premium for a plan like we used to have would be in the 180 – 220 a month ballpark, per person. Note that group plans are more expensive in California then individual coverage, because of the guaranteed issue laws.

What would it take? It would take the unionization of talent, and it would take the union committing to covering and paying for each of its members. You may ask why a union: because the only way to guarantee the carrier that they would get all performers on the plan (as opposed to just unhealthy ones) is when there is a written agreement between the union and producers stipulating that they will only hire union talent – exactly like SAG. Without this, there is no incentive to guarantee 100% participation by the talent. Ditto for the reason why the union would have to pay the premium: if the talent were asked to contribute, participation would be extremely low. Additionally, I suspect that any carrier who agreed to write this union would require that the union agreement with producers stipulate 100% condom use on all sets.

In a nutshell, here’s what I’m saying:

- Big brother is coming (invited by the industry);

- Mandatory payroll taxes and work comp is coming (California needs that money);

- Mandatory condom use is coming;

- A union (which I oppose) won’t happen for at least 5 years – if ever;

- To try and organize a group health plan for all talent is a pipe dream – trust me, I did it for years, and it’s a waste of time and financial resources. I wouldn't touch it again, unless a union existed and I had a chance to compete ofr their business.

Still awake? I’m done now! … lol

jimmyD sez: Food for thought, if you're brain's hungry.


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