HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Lifestyles condoms held a photo opp disguised as a public service rally last night in front of the Hollywood Hustler store on Sunset Blvd.
About 20 “protesters” calling for a law that would mandate the use of condoms – presumably, Lifestyle condoms – on porn sets held signs – promoting Lifestyle condoms – and shouted slogans on the sidewalk in front of the brightly-lit boutique.
Inside the store, Theresa Flynt, the daughter of legendary Hustler founder, Larry Flynt, and manager of the chain of high-end boutiques, spoke with reporters about condom use on adult sets.
The subject has been a hot-button issue this week on the heels of the news that a female performer has reportedly tested positive for HIV. State and county county health officials, as well as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which organized last night’s rally, repeated calls they have made in the past for laws that would force adult performers to use condoms and other protective devices on set.
A smattering of adult industry observers – including the irrepressible Protecting Adult Welfare-founder Bill Margold (left-seated), Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke and FSC Marketing Director Joanne Cachapero, and AVN Senior Editor and FSC Board member Mark Kernes – held court outside the store, engaging demonstrators in debate and soft-pitching occassional retorts in the direction of the protesters while news crews from local stations scrambled to get quotes and B-roll video for newscasts later in the evening. The protest kicked off at about 9pm.
The decision to picket Hustler – whcih has had no connection to the current case – seemed arbitrary. However, according to Theresa Flynt, the Lifestyle condom company – which has a history of distancing itself from the adult entertainment industry – has picketed the Hollywood store before, one of the reasons she refuses to sell the brand in the store.
“I won’t sell their condoms because they show up and picket here and at our building at 8484 Wilshire all the time, so they don’t seem to go away,” she told AVN.
Regarding the issue of mandatory condom use, Flynt told reporters that, in addition to industry-required testing that has been in place for years, companies and performers decide for themselves whether or not to use protection.
“There are studies that our consumer does prefer to watch adult material without a condom but there are production houses that make it with condoms so the choice is up to the consumer as to what they want, either way,” Flynt said.
“We definitely care about the health of everybody,” she added, “and feel that AIM and the process that we have currently in place works, and it was that process that caught this single case that we’re talking about.”