News Ticker

C.J. Asher Interviews Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition

NEW FSC LOGOFrom Officially founded in 1991, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is the trade association of the adult entertainment industry based in the United States. FSC’s mission is to protect and promote the well being of adult industry businesses and its members. In the mainstream spotlight now more than ever, the contradictions embodied by the multi-billion dollar pornography media industry are overwhelming. It is a creative, communicative industry, both reviled and adored by popular culture, protected by the First Amendment, yet systematically attacked by law enforcement. Commercial pornography appeals to individualists, attracted by the outlaw image and the promise of access to wealth. But the very existence of that industry depends on the ability to work collectively. FSC is honored to serve the adult community – past, present and future.

C.J. Asher – Tell me about yourself, your background and how you got involved in the Free Speech Coalition.

Diane Duke – I received an MBA from the University of Oregon. I have a background of nearly 30 years of working with nonprofits, including the YMCA, the American Heart Association and Planned Parenthood. My wife suggested I apply for the position at FSC and the rest is history.

C.J. Asher – I read that you were formerly senior vice president at Planned Parenthood Health Services of Southwest Oregon.  How difficult was it to make the transition from Planned Parenthood into the world of adult entertainment advocacy?

Diane Duke – Not very difficult. When talking about sex whether it be reproductive rights, sexuality education or adult entertainment, it seems people have a lot of baggage. I lost the radical feminist types as far as support, but that’s okay they really aren’t much fun anyway.

C.J. Asher – In your own words, what is the objective of the Free Speech Coalition?

Diane Duke – We are the watchdog for the adult entertainment and pleasure products industry; the front line of defense for businesses and consumers.

C.J. Asher – What does “free speech” mean to you?

Diane Duke – Everything. Individual thought, freedom from oppression and creativity.

C.J. Asher – Tell me about your sponsors and how they support your efforts.

Diane Duke – With resources of time, money, courage and conviction.

C.J. Asher – How can individuals, either inside or outside of the adult entertainment industry, support your cause?

Diane Duke – Our budget is miniscule compared to that of other entertainment trade associations. We can always use more funding. Also, we need folks who are willing to stand up for the industry and write their elected officials.

C.J. Asher – Do you find that legislators and the court system in the United States are more favorable to the adult entertainment industry now versus in the past?

Diane Duke – It always depends on the legislator and the judge.

C.J. Asher – What services do you provide to the adult entertainment industry to comply with laws and regulations regarding adult film production?

Diane Duke – We do legal referrals and we are currently involved in two lawsuits against over burdensome government regulation – federal regulation 2257 and LA County’s Measure B.

C.J. Asher – What are your thoughts on the current rules and regulations requiring mandatory condom usage during adult film productions?

Diane Duke – Limiting prevention solely to condoms sets a dangerous precedent and ignores other proven effective options. Performers in this industry should have absolute control over which effective method of prevention they choose to best protect their personal and sexual health.

C.J. Asher – What is the current status of regulations such as Measure B, which would require the use of condoms during adult film productions?

Diane Duke – We’re currently in litigation against LA County.

C.J. Asher – What legislation or proposed legislation is the Free Speech Coalition currently engaged in efforts to appeal, prevent or reverse?

Diane Duke – Measure B, 2257 and CalOSHA regulations.

C.J. Asher – What adult entertainment conventions do you exhibit at?

Diane Duke – We’re at the Adult Novelty Manufacturers ExpoXBIZ, International Lingerie Show and the Adult Entertainment Expo.

C.J. Asher – What efforts do you undertake to prevent the exploitation of minors within adult entertainment?

Diane Duke – I co-authored a paper with ASACP on how to protect children online for a policy conference in the UK.

C.J. Asher – Do you have alliances with other groups such as those who support the rights of sex workers and those who promote gender equality?

Diane Duke – Sex and Censorship, Woodhull Foundation, ACE and Eros.

C.J. Asher – What’s the most positive experience you’ve had during your work for the Free Speech Coalition?

Diane Duke – Knowing, working with and befriending Christian Mann.

Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition

Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition

C.J. Asher – What message do you have for the anti-adult entertainment establishment?

Diane Duke – It would depend on their issue with our content, but overall that pleasure products and adult content contribute to the quality of life and are part of a normal and healthy lifestyle.

C.J. Asher – What efforts do you take to prevent HIV transmission amongst adult entertainment performances?

Diane Duke – PASS (Performer Availability Screening Services), our state of the art testing protocols for performers.

C.J. Asher – How has the film and books of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon affected the censorship debate?

Diane Duke – Not that much for censorship but is had a significant impact on the sales of pleasure products.

C.J. Asher – Tell me about Michael Weinstein’s ballot measure and campaign against the adult industry in California.

Diane Duke – Here is an overview I created:

—Dangerous for Performers, Dangerous for California
Mike Weinstein, CEO of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has filed a ballot initiative with the Secretary of State to begin gathering signatures for the ballot in the 2016 election: the “ADULT FILMS. CONDOMS. HEALTH REQUIREMENTS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.”  While on the surface condoms in porn sound like a good idea, this ballot measure poses a dangerous threat not only to adult film performers, but also to the state of California.

The adult film industry employs rigorous testing protocols that have effectively protected performers for over a decade.  As a result of these protocols, there has not been an onset transmission of HIV in over 10 years.  To put that number in perspective, in LA County alone, there are approximately 5 new cases of HIV reported daily.  The proposed initiative requires performers to utilize protection methods from the previous decades, essentially ignoring the advances of this and future decades.  Current standards are not anti-condom, rather pro-choice for performers concerning the variety of risk reduction methods for HIV, STIs and other infections.  Performers have the right to choose the proven safety method that works best for them.

The proposed initiative requires that producers keep medical records of performers for 30 years.  Many smaller producers, as well as performers who have content trades with each other, would be required to keep these records.  Performers and small producers do not have the infrastructure or medical record expertise to adequately protect patient privacy.  Performers’ medical information and personal information would be compromised, leaving them vulnerable and open to attacks from stalkers and others who would wish them harm.

Weinstein’s initiative allows any California citizen to file a lawsuit against a producer, director, distributor or performer if a condom is not visibly present during the viewing of an adult film.  Tens of thousands of scenes are shot annually.  Additionally, the lawsuit is initiated not from the time of filming but from the time the viewing.  Therefore California courts could be paralyzed by millions of frivolous lawsuits filed annually.  With an already strained California Judicial system, this initiative could bring California justice to a screeching halt through the sheer volume of cases.

The summary form the California Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance have estimated that Weinstein’s initiative would cost California tens of millions in lost tax revenue as well as millions each year to implement the proposed law.  California’s budget is already critically strained.  It doesn’t make sense to waste tens of millions of California tax dollars annually to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Adult performers will not benefit from this bill, but our local police, fire departments and schools will suffer from the significant loss of tax dollars.

Weinstein—the initiative’s proponent—has written in the ballot initiative that if California’s Attorney General does not defend this initiative in court, then Weinstein himself will be appointed an agent of the state—pseudo Attorney General—only to be removed by a vote of both houses of the Legislature.  Additionally, the state will have to pay Weinstein and his representatives “attorney fees” for their efforts. On April 7, 2015 three top managers from Weinstein’s nonprofit filed whistleblower’s complaints against Weinstein and AIDS Healthcare Foundation for fraudulent charges to the Federal Government of nearly 100 million dollars!  It is not in the best interest of Californians to pay tax dollars to hire Weinstein—accused of millions in fraud toward the federal government—to act as an agent for California.

About cjasher (1591 Articles)
C.J. Asher is a blogger on various subject matters and trending topics related to sexuality, such as prostitution, women's rights, sex trafficking and LGBT issues as well as the adult entertainment industry, having interviewed celebrities such as Dennis Hof and Joanna Angel. C.J. currently resides in Philadelphia, PA and his blog can be found at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: