Justice

James Deen Is in Serious Trouble over Condoms

March 11th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Porn star James Deen's production company is facing a serious problem after California state officials fined his adult entertainment company $77,875 in proposed penalties for safety violations, Buzzfeed reports.

The state alleges that Deen's company neglected to use condoms on set and did not provide performers with the hepatitis B vaccine, according to a news release issued by the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Cal/OSHA issued a total of nine violations to James Deen Productions, aka Third Rock Entertainment, after a January 12 visit to its Woodland Hills location. “Cal/OSHA requires condom use in adult films to protect workers from exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” Cal/OSHA chief Juliann Sum said in a prepared statement. “Third Rock Enterprises failed to protect employees from illness and injury while on set.”

The investigation into Deen's company began in early December. Cal/OSHA reported:

"Third Rock Enterprises is owned and operated by Bryan Sevilla, also known by his adult film stage name James Deen. When Cal/OSHA initially opened its investigation on December 8, 2015, Sevilla and his counsel refused to provide Cal/OSHA with requested safety documentation or permission to investigate. Los Angeles Superior Court issued a warrant which then allowed Cal/OSHA to conduct the January film site inspection."

Condom use in porn is a heated issue.

In 2012, Los Angeles passed a law mandating that porn films shot in L.A. County use condoms, LAist reported. In February 2016, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health's Standards Board rejected a measure that would have required porn shoots throughout the state to use condoms on set, according to the Los Angeles Times.

colorful-condoms

Adult entertainment performers who attended the Oakland hearing at the time voiced concerns that the measure would cause them to lose work, according to an LAist report.

"I ask you not to approve this policy that will endanger me and my colleagues," porn actress Maxine Holloway said, according the LAist, while the board's action was ultimately hailed as a victory for free speech.

Objections to the citations facing Deen dwell in a similar realm. Eric Paul Leue, the executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, told BuzzFeed News that he believed the action against Deen was “politically motivated.”

“I think this is a bit far fetched,” Leue told BuzzFeed News.

“This is more about politics than it is about protecting performers’ health,” Mike Stabile, spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition, told the Guardian. “We view it as harassment.”

James Deen has become a controversial figure in recent months.

In late 2015, numerous women in the adult entertainment industry came forward with sexual assault allegations against Deen after Stoya, a fellow porn actress and former girlfriend of Deen, accused him of assaulting her on Twitter in November.

Though the adult entertainment star denied the allegations, several porn companies chose to end their relationships with Deen, who was previously championed as a feminist and industry darling.

[H/T Buzzfeed]

UPDATE: This story first published on March 10 at 10:25 a.m. PST was updated at 11:33 a.m. PST to include a response from James Deen Productions sent to ATTN: in a press release. The release states that, "at no point was any adult performer exposed to any disease while working for James Deen Productions. At no time did any performer contract any illness or suffer any injury while working for James Deen Productions" and alleges that the fines were due to potential exposure rather than actual exposure to illness. The statement continues:

"In response James has stated, “I am not ok with the government dictating what people are allowed to watch in the privacy of their homes. This is a case of an outside organization pushing their personal desires and agenda on the viewers of adult entertainment. Just because the AIDS Healthcare Foundation decides they are not comfortable with certain sexual acts does not mean is should be deemed illegal.”"