Is Kink breaking up with SF?

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The armory.
SF Examiner photo by Mike Koozmin

Tales of local porn-purveyor Kink.com’s demise were reported early yesterday by Uptown Almanac, whose story, “Freak Flag May Not Fly Forever Over Kink’s Castle,” sounded the alarm. 

“It seems to have become not a question of if, but when there will be no more porn in our beloved Porn Castle,” reporter Jackson West wrote. To the uninitiated, the Porn Castle to which West is referring is known as The Armory, a brick fortress with histroic designation on 14th Street and Mission where the ever-adventurous pornographers at Kink.com film their wonderful smut (a term we use as endearingly as possible).

The planning department document West posted posted to his article show Peter Acworth, founder and CEO of Kink.com, requested the city to convert the basement, “drill court,” second, and third floors of The Armory into office space. The document also shows a need for an environmental review before conversion. (Side note: Gee, wouldn’t you love to be the city worker who had to inspect The Armory? “Hell of a day at work today honey, I was so tied up. Well technically, this guy wearing clothespins was tied up.”) The planning department told the Bay Guardian we could inspect the documents for ourselves tomorrow, but were unable to supply them for viewing today.

So, is it true? Is Kink.com fleeing our quickly gentrifying city?

Not to ball-and-gag West’s reporting, but we went straight to Kink.com owner Peter Acworth, who told us Uptown Almanac’s article is “half-correct.”

Firstly, the conversion of the first floor drill court into office space was a long time in planning, multiple sources (including Acworth) confirmed for us. Kink.com intends to use the space for its community center, as well as to rent to outside vendors.

But Acworth did admit that conversion of the rest of The Armory into office space was a preliminary move to vacate The Armory — but that it’s a last-ditch move he hopes he won’t need to make.

kinkac

Peter Acworth and Princess Donna. Photo by Pat Mazzera.

“I would still think of Kink.com production moving out as a question of ‘if’ as opposed to ‘when,’” he wrote to us in an email. “This move represents an insurance policy.  If the various regulations that are being considered currently in Sacramento and by Cal-OSHA become law, we will likely have to move production out of California to Nevada.”

The regulations he’s referring to are a statewide version of the recent Los Angeles condom law, AB 1576, Introduced by Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III, (D- Los Angeles), as well as new Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards legally requiring porn actors wear protective goggles to protect their eyes from STDs that may be present in ejaculate.

Kink.com was fined $78,000 by CAL/OSHA earlier this year for workplace hazard violations, according to a report by SF Weekly. Kate Conger writes, "The majority of the fines were for allowing performers to work without using condoms, while a $3,710 portion of the total fine was for additional violations, including improperly placed power cords, an absence of first aid supplies, and missing health safety training materials."

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also told SF Weekly they filed violations because, they alleged, two actors contracted HIV in connection with their performances in Kink.com shoots. At the time, Kink.com spokespeople denied the claims had merit.

[Update 8:20pm: Shortly after this story was published, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation published a press release announcing the state bill to mandate condoms in pornography made progress today. From the release: "Assembly Bill 1576, Rep. Isadore Hall’s bill to require condoms in all adult films made in California cleared the Committee on Labor and Employment in the California Assembly in a 5 to 0 vote (with 1 absence & 1 abstention) today and now moves on to the Assembly Arts & Entertainment Committee.

“In the last year, at least two additional adult performers—Cameron Bay and Rod Daily—sadly became infected with HIV while working in the industry,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AB 1576 expands and broadens worker protections for all California’s adult film workers on a statewide basis."]

For Acworth, the passage of either of the statewide reforms in porn would be too prohibitive to do business in California. He’d then move the whole kinky company to Nevada, as many of his fellow pornographers have already done.

“We hope this never happens and that the new regulations are reasonable, but if it does happen over the coming years, we would like the option to rent out The Armory - or portions thereof - to other users.”

The planning review process takes 18-24 months, so in the short term, everyone can calm down. But for the long term, you’ll know Kink.com is ready to move by watching the progress of statewide porn reforms. If porn actors need to wear goggles in productions, it looks like we’ll say goodbye to Kink.com.

Below we've embedded the planning department filing from Acworth, obtained by Uptown Almanac.

Planning Department File on Kink.com by FitztheReporter

Comments

good riddance

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

I was interviewed by Kink twice. Both times I was dumbfounded they asked the standard idiotic corporate questons. If you can answer these asshole questons correctly I would never hire you because you would be a moron.

Thankfully I didn't get the job, I have a much better job where I don't have to speak happy talk to repulsive sex positive types who speak corporation idiocy. I was over qualified and am better off working for a company that doesn't ask these moronic shit-head corporation questions.

"what is your biggest weakness?"

The inablilty to not laugh at what assholes you all are.

"Tell us about your greatest success in your professional life?"

I don't spend my time with you assholes.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

So what? Sounds like they're a normal company with every day business practices. What did you expect? Interviews conducted in the nude and a mandatory fucking machine session to test your "fitness" for the janitorial position you were applying for?

You're just upset that you weren't invited to their office parties.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 10:12 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 4:35 am

I forgot to mention their obviously impeccable judgment in hiring decisions. Whatever questions they ask, one can see that they obviously come to the correct conclusions about who not to hire.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 7:00 am

it actually occured to me that the questions were a formality.

No doubt simply by a cursory observation of the candidate they saw in him the same dissipated nature that they instantly recognized: all-too-similar to that of the previous janitor who they'd had to let go after constantly finding him hiding behind the set decor rubbing one out when he was supposed to be attending to his work.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 11:18 am

LOL bitter much? Also, your "over qualified" self needs to proofread....

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

for mandatory re-education sessions required for all residents of our city - complete with dioramas of the oppression of cis and trans sisters which occurred within its walls. And an organic vegan cafe.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

A center for the city to educate colored children of color and others about how the government knows best.

Studies professionals like Eric Mar will speak truth to power by telling underclass peoples about how the government is better at running your life than you are.

Free soda will be replaced by a free sense of entitlement to tell you how to live your life.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 7:47 am

per-capita income level. And lots of parking for bikes.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 11:54 am
Posted by GuestD on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 6:35 am

One would think that with the rise of HIV prevention to another level with PrEP and PEP that the laws on this matter would be loosened rather than further restricted.

As Homer Simpson said last weekend, Rio de Janiero is now the world's naughtiest city since San Francisco got all nerdy.

We now live in a nanny city where sin taxes on individuals, alcohol and sugar shift the load form government and corporations which in turn are permitted to rampage while basic government services that we pay for are consumed by corruption.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 8:01 am

NA, NYC and Vegas are all bigger in that regard.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 8:46 am

You mean LA?

The problem is that this law would affect LA as well, on top of the already onerous regulations that the LA City Council passed on its own. They've already driven the porn industry out of LA, which is why a lot of producers are being forced into second-rate cities like Vegas.

NA indeed.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 10:16 am

Some significant percentage of the business product of western SOMA and the North Mission has been and is porn production. Clearly their prudishness trumps their free market credentials.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 5:50 pm

Kink's a good company. They took over a building that no one else wanted, they provided jobs -for locals -and tax revenues for the community, and they were a good corporate citizen unlike many. They gave back to the the community, never asked for a tax break, never cheated on their taxes, never treated their workers poorly, never tried to rig our democracy, and they didn't kill or blow anyone up. It's sad that we welcome bad corporate actors like PG&E, Uber, and AirBnB, but we chase good companies out. But in spite of the hostile reception from city government, they stayed. But if that idiotic bill becomes law, the entire industry will have to leave California. I'm fine with sensible regulations, but this will literally destroy the whole industry. Which I guess is what they want to do. Like the regulations in Texas against abortion clinics which have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with destroying access to abortion, these regulations are meant to destroy the adult film industry. I can't believe we're even talking about this in the 21st century in California!

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 8:17 am

Throw in a bitter hatred of cops and asians, and there you have it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 8:44 am

never works. It just means you're the last victim instead of the first. Kink did everything right yes - but many on the anti-sex left and right were always biding their time and waiting for a chance to shut it down. Now they've succeeded.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 9:08 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 9:14 am

next time the trolls whine about San Francisco taxing the tech industry. San Francisco wanting to get a business to pay its taxes results in trolls wailing like stuck pigs, but legislating a whole industry out of existence is A-Ok.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 10:42 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

I think many of us will remember how stupid your comment is.

Insisting that an industry be subject to normal worker safety protection laws is not "legislating out of business" any industry. Porn companies have made millions of videos with actors wearing condoms and taking other precautions. The idea that only condom-less sex scenes sell is a false. Moreover, with contemporary video editing technology scenes can be shot with actors wearing condoms and then can be edited out later if someone really needs to see someone engaging in unprotected sex to get their rock offs while masturbating.

If Kink cares so little about the safety of its workers, then good riddance--I hope the door slams them hard on the ass on their way to that shithole state of Nevada (and my apologies to all the shitholes I have insulted by comparing them to Nevada). California certainly does not need such companies.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

Performers are not workers they are independent contractors. It makes no sense to regulate paid performance in ways where individuals could legally engage in the same conduct on their own time.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

that enables them to pay them so little

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

Since when was acting a guaranteed full time job?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

Are you the world's first progressive who hates sex workers?

Won't they take your money?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 8:39 am

Your claiming that these people are exploited does not make it so.

Your argument by asserting a "progressive norm" and threatening to revoke my "progressive credentials" for not meeting your arbitrary standard is not worth considering as it a form of ad hominem and does nothing to speak to the substance of the matter at hand, generally a thick milky white substance.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 9:05 am

It doesn't matter whether you or I think that they are.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 9:57 am

I'm sure that some sex workers think that they're being exploited. All work at some level is exploitation. I'd wager that most all sex workers don't think that they're being any more exploited than is inherent in the line of work that they're in or of work in general. Sex workers can speak for themselves.

It is fascinating that you only focus on those in front of the camera instead of the fulltime workforce behind the camera that produces and distributes the product. Your concern is not for worker welfare at all, your concerns are prurient.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

pay them so little? A typical scene the female actor gets $1200 for the day.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2014 @ 3:03 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

Marcos, if it were a fast-food chain, or a retail store, or any other mega-corporate industry (and porn is a HUGE industry) trying to avoid paying decent wages, providing fair employee benefits, evade overtime labor requirements, and avoid following worker safety laws by MISclassifying workers as "independent contractors," all while making huge profits (which they don't share with their "performers"), then you wouldn't be trying to stick up for them. So, why stick up for some douchebag porn producers that exploit their workers?

California is right to increase regulation and protect workers and the porn producers who exploit the individuals in their films while making hunderds of millions of dollars off their bodies can go stuff it. If they want to flee to Nevada, fine, they don't need to exploit individuals here in California.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

porn and filth are "cool", they give kink.com a pass for employment practices they would scream blue murder about if it were any other business entity

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

Are you suggesting that most porn performers work schedules like workers at a fast-food chain, 40, 30, or even 20 hours per week of performing in porn?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 5:22 am

No, but many porn workers depend upon making porn for their livelihood (and some use it to promote other sex work which they engage in to make a living). Why should they be taken advantage of? Do you support worker protections or not? It is a yes or no question--there is no weasel room.

Where is this anti-worker attitude coming from? Do you only have convictions about workers' rights when it comes to an industry you dislike or are indifferent to? When did you become a corporatist apologist?

Shame on you, Marcos.

In any event, I've taken a screen shot of your posts, which I will be glad to use to remind you the next time you try to flash your faux Progressive credentials on this site.

Posted by Chris Brown on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

taking opportunistic potshots at anyone and everyone without any real regard for consistency.

He's an ex-activist who lost and is angry and bitter. Not worth the effort.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

Evaluating porn work using the same toolkit as one would evaluate an assembly line or a fast food restaurant is laughable.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 2:08 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

Marcos, unfortunately, you seem to lack enough awareness to realize that you have destroyed any credibility on political issues that you may have possessed.

Responding to me with evasive answers does not address the points I have made. One does not have to view a porn work as equivalent to assembly line work to believe porn workers are worthy of worker protections.

A secretary or retail clerk is not engaged in the same sort of work as a fast food or assembly line worker either, but he or she is generally entitled to the same worker protections you seem to think porn workers do not deserve.

Also, neither you or Greg has been able to explain how requiring porn workers to use condoms in any "destroys" the California porn indusry or prevents one from making porn.

If you want to actually respond to any of the points I have made in a rational and intelligent matter I am fine with continuing our communication. If not, I have better things to do with my time.

Posted by Chris Brown on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

The people who work as employees in the industry tend to work behind rather than in front of the camera which seems to consume you.

The reason to require performers to use condoms is to prevent transmission of fatal STDs. Now that there is post-exposure prophylaxis and pre-exposure prophylaxis that appears to be as effective as condoms at preventing transmission, the public interest in protecting workers from fatal STDs is not as critical as it once was. Science has advanced but apparently you prefer to lag behind.

Adults get to choose which line of work they get into. If one is a firefighter, cop or trash collector, one knows that one will take on a higher risk of on-the-job injury, possibly disabling or death at the workplace than if one works in an office. The same holds for performers as the conduct that would take place on a condom free set is the same conduct that could take place legally behind closed doors at home. What is the difference that someone is getting paid to perform that conduct or not?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

Marcos your argument seems to be predicated on the belief that entertainment is worth risking human lives and well-being--it is not. Firefighters are doing a job that must be done to protect people--that is the only justification for putting themselves in harms way.

Again, you can keep dodging the question (since I think you have no real response to give), but I will ask it once more? HOW does requiring porn actors to wear condoms either (A) "destroy" the porn industry in California or (b) prevent anyone from making porn? You have no answer to this simple question. If the desire is to show "condom free" porn, this can be done quite convincingly with today's CGI post-production. There is no legitimate reason to put human lives or well-being at risk, period.

Also, nothing "consumes" me other than getting a straight answer from you, which you seem determined not to give. I guarantee if this were a different industry you didn't feel so biased toward, you would be singing a different tune instead of trying to argue that a multi-billion big corporate industry should be exempt from sensible government regulation.

You don't want to respond to my question above (about how condoms prevent porn from being produced), so we have nothing more to discuss. I have stated my position and I stand by it. I do not agree with you, and you apparently do not agree with me. I think we both have better things to do with our time (or at least I do) then engage in a fruitless discussion.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

There is no longer a compelling public interest in regulating condom use by performers. Given that, we don't even get to the point where we ask how mandating condom use will impact the industry.

There are risks in all aspects of life. The risks posed at this point in time from sex work without condoms don't rise to the level of public concern. Your efforts would be better spent needling the City to keep the streets safe and run Muni like a transit system as that is a more pressing danger to sex workers than HIV transmission in the age of PrEP.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

It is your opinion that "there is no longer a compelling public interest in regulating condom use by performers." (Which is an interesting opinion to have in light of the recent cases of HIV infection in the porn industry). You start with an unsupported conclusion that forecloses any further discussion.

If we were discussing women's rights, I could say (and this is not something I actually believe) "there is no legitimate reason women should be treated equally to men," and that would similarly end the discussion.

Again, you don't want to acknowledge your own bias that prevents you from addressing my question (i.e. How mandatory condom usage in any way prevents porn from being made, especially when many porn films that have been produced actually show performers using condoms). It is a question you refuse to address, so our discussion is done.

We will have to agree to disagree.

Posted by Chris Brown on Apr. 06, 2014 @ 9:21 am

Please provide me the evidence that those actors seroconverted due to activity on the set. My understanding is that the actors were male tops. Do you have any idea of the difficulty of transmission to an unprotected top? Your anti-sex prurience is all you've got there.

Condom use had rightly been the standard up until the med situation changed. Much het porn had been without condoms without significant incidence over the past decade or more.

Now that the situation is changing, policy should in turn change.

But you're stuck in 1986 worshipping Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon, listening to Max Headroom and Duran Duran, trapped behind the Berlin Wall of your own making.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 07, 2014 @ 5:21 am

all suddenly come out of the woodwork and become labor rights activists. Reminds me of all those Texas evangelicals who suddenly developed a concern for women's health.

Just as the real purpose of requiring hospital admitting privileges and vaginal ultrasounds is self-evident, so is requiring goggles for porn actors.

Goggles!

There's an agenda here, and it ain't worker safety.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

with fetishist adherents leering at prudes from behind their plastic eye barriers... oh wouldn't that serve them well!

...but that aside, of course you are absolutely correct in all you say. This safety talk has exactly the same lilt as that of racists who decry racism. Naked opportunism completely free of Intellectual integrity is all it is.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 10:07 am

protections because the employer is in porn.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

What comments of mine specifically support your accusation that I have never cared for workers' protections? Or, anyone else posting for that matter?

Also, are your convictions so flimsy that you make exceptions for certain industries? In other words, are you hypocrite?

Porn is a multi-billion dollar corporate industries. It is not operated primarily by mom and pop operations.

There is no agenda here except treating workers fairly and ensuring their safety. Again, explain how requiring porn actors to use condoms prevents anyone from making porn? You have not addressed that question in any of your long-winded responses, and stupid attempts to try to equate regulating porn with regulating abortion (shame on you, too, for trying to attach yourself to women's rights while you advocate for the exploitation of workers).

How much are you getting paid to be a shill for the big profit capitalist corporate porn lobby? When did you decide to sell-out workers' rights? I hope they at least offered you a decent sum of money to sell your soul.

Posted by Chris Brown on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

Are you honestly, with a straight face, trying to tell us that you believe requiring goggles is about worker safety?

You have not addressed that question in any of your long-winded responses.

Please, stop insulting our intelligence.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 04, 2014 @ 10:45 pm

My question posed was how requiring CONDOM usage prevents porn from being made. You refuse to answer that question, so we have nothing to discuss.

Stop wasting my time and your time.

Kink will soon be gone, and apparently Nevada is the new "progessive" state and free bastion of porn (and I have nothing against porn having had both friends and lovers who have been performers, only against companies that put performers at risk and exploit them while they make billions, which go to the 1% owners)--feel free to move to Nevada

Posted by Chris on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

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