For the third time in three years, adult movie studios have largely shut down production as a precautionary measure after a performer was diagnosed with a potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease but didn’t immediately disclose it.
A male performer in the Los Angeles porn community was reportedly diagnosed with syphilis last month, but apparently hid the fact from producers, prompting fears of a spread among other actors and actresses. Several big studios have voluntarily suspended production for an unspecified period, while the Free Speech Coalition (a trade group that represents the adult entertainment industry) has called for a moratorium on filming until all performers have been re-tested for the disease.
Generally, the porn industry doesn’t shut down unless there is a confirmed case of HIV (which happened in both 2010 and 2011). Syphilis, of course, is a curable disease, but can be fatal if left untreated. And since the performer worked several times with a doctored sexually transmitted infection (STI) test before coming forward, there are fears about the disease spreading.
While the porn industry is under significant financial pressure due to piracy and the rise of “amateur” Web sites, insiders say this shutdown should not have a noticeable effect on revenues at major studios. Big players in the porn industry typically have a large stockpile of films awaiting release and can ride out a shutdown.