Op-Ed: AIDS Healthcare Lauds Mike South's Prop 60 Endorsement

CYBERSPACE—In other "barrier protection" news, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has just put out a press release noting that "respected porn industry blogger" Mike South has come out in favor of California Proposition 60, which opponents assert would install AHF president Michael Weinstein into a lifetime government job unless both houses of the legislature vote to fire him, and would allow any California citizen to sue any adult content producer for failure to use barrier protections in sexually explicit content if Cal/OSHA decides not to pursue the case.

South has a storied history of being wrong with regard to the health of adult performers. In his early blogging days, South claimed, as did notorious molecular biologist , that HIV is harmless and does not cause AIDS—a claim thoroughly discredited by all reputable healthcare providers and researchers. Then, after the 1998 industry HIV debacle involving HIV-positive performer Marc Wallice, when the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM) was formed and set the PCR-DNA test as the industry standard HIV test, South argued fervently that the previously used ELISA antibody test was just as effective—even though that test may fail to detect HIV infection for up to six months after exposure. (AVN published AIM owner Dr. Sharon Mitchell's responses to some HIV health claims by South in its September 2003 issue.)

Or as turn-of-the-(19th)-century American humorist Josh Billings put it, "It ain't so much what people don't know that hurts 'em; it's what they do know that ain't so."

And let's also not forget that South has an openly expressed hatred for Free Speech Coalition and everything it stands for, so opposing a ballot initiative that FSC supports is just icing on the cake for South.

And now South has decided to throw his support behind the AHF ballot initiative Proposition 60—for reasons that many of those had been following the now 8-year-old controversy would take issue with.

For example, South puts great stock in the idea that citizens filing complaints with Cal/OSHA about condomless content will "[put] a fire under Cal/OSHA['s] ass" and somehow force them to investigate and deal with the complaints so that citizens won't even get the chance to invoke the proposition's "citizen attorney general" clause that would allow them to sue the producer on their own ... and get 25 percent of any monetary recovery.

Comments South, "To some degree it even allows performers to make the choice, in that if nobody files a complaint with OSHA … nothing happens."

Of course, since every single Cal/OSHA complaint so far about non-condom adult material has been filed by AHF or its associates, it's a good bet that citizens won't even get a chance to sue—because AHF will be standing in line at the court clerk's filing desk before them.

South also claims that performers who have contracted HIV during their time in the industry can expect no help whatsoever from the industry—another lie which, as Adolf Hitler noted in Mein Kampf, "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success." In other words, tell a lie often enough and people will believe it's the truth.

In fact, despite AIM's limited resources, all of the performers who became HIV positive while working in the industry who actually sought help from industry resources like AIM were helped, though some were dissatisfied and went elsewhere. Current industry testing clinics are ready to assist anyone, industry or not, who tests positive for any STD, with treatment recommendations and help in obtaining actual treatment.

South has lists of people who became HIV-positive that he claims were "abandoned by the industry. Not to be heard from again" or were "quickly and unceremoniously dumped from the industry, never to be heard from again." In fact, most on South's lists never asked the industry for help; they simply left the industry and tried to deal with their infections in their personal lives through their own physicians.

"If you are a performer, make NO mistake about it, should you get HIV nobody in porn is going to help you in any way. PERIOD," South claims. "If you think otherwise ask any of the girls or guys mentioned in previous posts who contracted HIV any way you look at it I think that Derek Burts and Cameron Bay got HIV as a result of the business, they both make that claim and they both cite circumstances that would hold up in a civil trial."

Simply put, this is horseshit. Regarding Cameron Bay, everyone with whom she had sexual contact in the scene where she claims she was infected have tested negative for HIV. Burts has made several contradictory claims about contracting the disease during a gay shoot in Florida, but the fact that he also worked as an escort suggests that his infection happened off-set. In both cases, there is in fact no evidence that either performer was infected on an adult industry set.

South's commentary on Prop 60 can be read on his blog.

"We are glad to let Mike South’s own words—a blistering indictment of the industry, if ever there was one—speak for themselves in exposing the hypocrisy, lies and misinformation continually promulgated by the porn industry regarding Proposition 60 and thank him for his bold endorsement of this important ballot measure," pro-Prop 60 campaign director Rick Taylor.

If the best AHF can do is put forth the ravings of the incredibly ignorant Mike South to support their position, the industry must be in better shape, legally and philosophically, than anyone realizes.