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The Coronavirus Is Shutting Down Porn Sets

A leading trade group has called for a voluntary two-week halt to new adult films.

Posted on March 16, 2020, at 8:32 p.m. ET

Courtesy Luster Productions

Porn actors Gia DiMarco, Draven Navarro, and director-producer Fivestar.

Porn may grind to a halt across North America after an industry body has advised producers in the US and Canada to voluntarily shut down production of adult films starting Monday in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), an industry trade association, came after the CDC advised people nationwide to cancel or postpone gatherings of more than 50 people and after California and other states called on nonessential businesses like bars and restaurants to close.

“We ask that producers cancel all shoots through March 31, and recommend that performers immediately stop filming with partners who are not a part of their household,” the FSC said in a statement.

The call to shut down affects the roughly 2,000 performers and the majority of porn production companies in North America that use the FSC’s PASS testing system, which screens for sexually transmitted infections, FSC communications director Mike Stabile told BuzzFeed News.

The PASS system, which plays a crucial role in porn production in North America by showing which performers are cleared for work, will continue to function as usual, meaning that productions that have not shut down will still be able to vet performers for STIs.

“While we are calling for an immediate halt to production, we do not want to compound the situation by removing a critical tool for safeguarding the health of our community,” said the statement.

Performers are required to take a panel of STI tests every two weeks and are not cleared for work if they test positive or fail to take the test.

Some production companies have already decided to suspend operations. In San Francisco, where residents were told to shelter in place on Monday, Luster Productions informed performers on Saturday that it would suspend new shoots.

“It’s an impossible choice. It’s a choice between a health crisis and a financial crisis,” said Fivestar, a co-owner of Luster Productions, using the name she goes by as a director and producer. “We know that a lot of the people that work for us depend on the income they get from us, and that has put a lot of weight on our discussions.”

Fivestar said that the company, which makes woman domination, bondage, and trans content for Kink.com, in addition to independent work, typically produces 10 to 12 movies per month. She estimated that the company would usually employ 30 to 40 people each month, though some of those people would only work for Luster one day out of the year. During the shutdown, the company will continue to do post production and promotion work and was looking for additional projects. Fivestar estimated that she would hire only 4 to 6 people during the shutdown.

Fivestar said that the company had some movies already shot that would be edited and released in the coming weeks, but that the pace of those releases would likely slow. Kink.com CEO Alison Boden told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the company had already alerted members that the site would be updating less frequently.

The industry has shifted dramatically in recent years, with many performers doing solo work through sites like OnlyFans after platforms like Pornhub have made a seemingly endless stream of porn available online for free.

Earlier this month, the FSC advised performers and studios to stockpile video content to release in the event of a shutdown or if they became sick. Some sites like Stripchat increased pay for some performers and offered free tokens to consumers, which Stabile likened to monetary easing.

Fivestar said that Luster Productions planned to promote its performers’ solo content while the shutdown was in place.

“We want to promote them so that fans know where to find everybody, and that they can support them by buying clips, paying for their movies, and giving them tributes,” she said.

“This is the time to pay for your porn,” she added. “I know that there’s a lot of free porn on the internet and you don’t have to, but if you can there are a lot of performers that need your help out there, and this is the time to show appreciation.”



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