Lack of condoms not a serious violation, panel says in three judge ruling
SAN FRANCISCO — A three person panel has ruled that Treasure Island Media’s failure to use a condom in a 2009 adult shoot was not a “serious violation” of Cal/OSHA regulations, and assessed the company a mere $685 — a reduction of 96% from an original fine of $18,000. The ruling is precedent setting.
Attorney Karen Tynan, who tried the case for Treasure Island and performed the appellate work, says the ruling a game changer for the adult industry, and a sharp rebuke of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which brought the complaint.
“For the past six years, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has wasted Cal/OSHA’s time, resources and patience for the regulatory equivalent of a missing Band-Aid. This is a huge win for Treasure Island and the adult industry,” Tynan said. “Hopefully, this is also a win for Cal/OSHA, since AHF no longer has much credibility in bringing these cases. They’ve been wasting millions of taxpayer dollars a year that could be going to actual prevention.”
Over the past decade, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has filed numerous complaints against adult companies for failure to use condoms in adult film, often without any interest from the performers involved in the shoot. Treasure Island’s film, which involved not only condomless sex, but a turkey baster and a two gallon jar of semen, was an extreme test case for the Cal/OSHA regs. Still, the panel ruled the lack of condoms was only a minor infraction.
“We’re very pleased with the Cal/OSHA ruling,” said Matt Mason, General Manager of Treasure Island Media. “At the end of the day, the agency was just doing their job in responding to a complaint. I suspect they’re as annoyed with AIDS Healthcare Foundation as we are.”
Treasure Island founder Paul Morris defied AHF by funding the defense with revenue from another controversial release, The 1000 Load Fuck.
Mason, Tynan and Morris resisted calls from Cal/OSHA to settle the complaints early.
“Paul Morris funded a trial and allocated the resources to give us this success” said Tynan. “After a four day trial against two Cal/OSHA attorneys and two inspectors on the case, for the penalty to be $685 is just terrific.”
“This was a matter of principle, not money,” said Mason. “This was an attack on our rights, and the rights of our models. Michael Weinstein may not like what we do, but he has no business telling us how to do it.”
Written by Mike Stabile TWITTER: @mikestabile