Covid-19 - Adult industry update.
I'm not going to do a political blog about the rights & wrongs of how lockdown is being managed. Everyone has opinions on that. I'm going to outline how I see the adult industry managing with the virus over the next year or so. Or rather, how I will manage my shoots in this changed world & business.
We all look at USA and what they do in a "crisis". This pandemic has affected USA and California in particular very badly. The American adult industry is the largest in the world in terms of revenue & product. Thousands work in it. Currently the FSC (Free Speech Coalition) which sets the standards for the industry has said it is "watching developments" and will make recommendations as soon as it can. In other words, they are still unsure. The performer unions are on "stand-by". Of course, as more businesses re-open and people can meet in small groups, the FSC will offer processes which can be adhered to (or not). Stay tuned.
In the last blog I stated I would not be shooting (or having parties) unless there was some guarantee all involved could prove they are safe - whatever way that is.
Since then I have spoken to a number of figures (performers, producers, camerapeople, photographers and others) to get their take on the possible future of shooting. All agreed that the virus means our methods of working will have to change, until a vaccine is rolled out - so an estimation is two or three years time. There is a difference of opinion on "safety in the workplace" and how to achieve it.
What may be safe for one person is unsafe for another. You run across a busy road and save time. I walk to a crossing and take longer. We all have acceptable risk levels. Everyone in the adult industry accepts performers must be sexually healthy before working. The only difference here is the "window" of time following a health check. In most countries it's 14 days whereas in UK it's 28 days. We all know the risks here. Get your cert on a Monday. Have unprotected sex with a friend on Tuesday. Do a shoot on Wednesday. You already have invalidated your cert and you may have contracted an std. Or not.
Professionals who work in porn know all the risks. They know a cert isn't a foolproof guarantee. But it's the best we can do. If someone gets a virus following a fully certed shoot, it's always followed up with contact tracing and further health checks. If it's a major virus, then the industry closes for several weeks as it did in March 2019.
The three things currently essential on a professional adult shoot are: Performers being certed and providing proof. A model release is signed. Govt issued identification is taken and records kept. These are safeguards.
I believe a new document needs to be introduced. A sort of "legal waiver". Clearly you can't make adult material without the performers making physical contact. Solo shoots are a lot easier! It's vital when preparing for a shoot that all parties agree on the risks. That they could catch Covid. They also agree on all the safety measures on the set such as hand santisers etc. The waiver document should be clear that if anyone involved in the shoot catches the virus there will not be any legal proceedings or similar. They also agree to contact tracing. If all involved are comfortable that the risk management is acceptable then there shouldnt be a reason why the shoot couldn't go ahead. Of course if people have been tested near the shoot date this helps and adds to the safety level. The waiver wording could be incorporated in the Model Release form but it may be preferable to keep the two legal documents separate.
Bear in mind that many performers have underlying health conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease etc) and curvier performers such as bbws need to take extra care. Many will choose to work for whatever reason and they know the risks.
There has been a debate about the test for Covid being acceptable to green light a shoot. We all know about the problems with tests all around the world - many are giving wrong results and, unlike the danger of contracting an sti, you can be walking home from the test centre and catch Covid. Your test would show negative but you are already hibernating the bug! On top of that - if a performer wanted to take a test privately or at home, the costs are in the region of £100-150. Are performers expected to pay this every 2-4 weeks?
An antibodies test was approved by the Govt today. People are hoping this will show if they are immune (or not). But the lead scientist on the antibodies test research said they do not know (yet) if immunity will be proved. It's still all guesswork by virtually everyone.
This blog is directed at adult media. I'll discuss parties/groups on a separate blog.
Summing up my views - I see no reason why shoots cannot go ahead with the suggestions outlined above - as soon as the Govt relaxes the appropriate restrictions. I can't see social distancing being discontinued for a very long time and society is going to have to live with this. The adult industry is very resilient and knows how to deal with viruses. This is another virus and we will adapt to dealing with it. Eventually!
We live with risks every day of our lives and manage them according to choices.
Sometimes good sometimes bad choices.
But that's life.