A California government agency issued several citations today against porn star James Deen's production company for, among other things, failing to use condoms during a recent film shoot. The proposed fines amount to nearly $80,000.
In a press release, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), which governs workplace safety, said it received a complaint against Deen's company, Third Rock Enterprises Inc., and launched an investigation on December 8. A Cal/OSHA spokesperson declined to say who had filed the complaint, but the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has campaigned against the adult film industry for not using condoms, previously said that it filed a complaint against Deen's company in September.
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The December investigation came 10 days after Deen's former girlfriend, Stoya, took to Twitter to accuse him of rape. In the days that followed the initial accusation, several women came forward with additional allegations of abuse, both on and off set.
On January 12, Cal/OSHA obtained a warrant and inspected a Third Rock film set. Investigators found that performers were not using condoms and that producers "did not provide a vaccine or follow-up medical examination to employees who were potentially exposed to hepatitis B," according to the press release.
"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 the release. "Third Rock Enterprises failed to protect employees from illness and injury while on set."
The agency issued citations today for nine violations, four of which are considered serious enough that "death or serious harm" could have resulted, according to Cal/OSHA. The proposed penalties total $77,875.
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In response to the citations, Eric Paul Leue, spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry's trade association, told Vocativ, "While we can't speak to the particulars of this case, the fine is only a preliminary assessment, which is often quite different than any final number. Nor does the fine necessarily relate to an actual danger on-set, or threat to performers. In fact, upon closer inspection in similar cases, Cal/OSHA has deemed failure to use a condom to be a 'not serious' violation, with fines in the hundreds of dollars."
In August of last year, a Cal/OSHA panel decided that porn company Treasure Island Media's decision not to use condoms during a shoot in 2009 was not a "serious violation" and levied a $685 fine. The original proposed fine was $18,000.
Nevertheless, Cal/OSHA's press release on the matter ends with a warning to porn producers: "Employers in the adult film industry must also know how to protect their employees from health and safety hazards and understand the consequences of failing to comply with state regulations."
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