Mom-Daughter Porn Actresses Want Medical Privacy

Former adult film star Diana Grandmason and officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation i

Last month, former adult film star Diana Grandmason and officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced a lawsuit against Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, or AIM, a Los Angeles-area HIV testing clinic funded by and serving the adult film industry. Grandmason and another former adult film actress, Bess Garren — who is also her daughter — are suing because they say the release forms actors are required to sign at the clinic are too broad. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Damian Dovarganes/AP
Former adult film star Diana Grandmason and officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Last month, former adult film star Diana Grandmason and officials from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced a lawsuit against Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, or AIM, a Los Angeles-area HIV testing clinic funded by and serving the adult film industry. Grandmason and another former adult film actress, Bess Garren — who is also her daughter — are suing because they say the release forms actors are required to sign at the clinic are too broad.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Southern California's adult film industry requires all performers to be tested regularly for sexually transmittable diseases as a safeguard.

But a mother and her daughter — both performers in adult films — say their medical information was intentionally leaked to a blog, and now they're suing the clinic that performed their testing.

'It's Very Scary'

Diana Grandmason is a 50-year-old redhead who once ran an investments business in Florida. Perhaps an unlikely performer in adult films — but until a year and a half ago, she starred in X-rated movies, including Seduced by a Cougar.

Grandmason says she got into the porn business to follow her daughter, Bess Garren.

"Basically, she called me at work and said, 'I'm gonna go do this,' and I said, 'No you're not.' And she said, 'Mom I'm 21, this is a courtesy call, I'm doin' it.' So what choice did I have?" she explains.

But then, she decided to follow Garren.

"Originally it was signing up just so I could accompany her, and then I kinda got sold on the idea myself," Grandmason says.

Like every adult film performer, Grandmason and her daughter were required to get tested every month for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. The tests are conducted by a nonprofit clinic run by AIM, the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. AIM then provides the results online to patients and to adult film producers. The data are supposed to remain private, but Grandmason says hers has gone viral.

"Somebody who claims to be a producer has pulled my information and sent it to a popular industry blog, [which has] posted it online," she says. "So my health insurance and my private information is online for all to see. It's very scary."

Grandmason says she's gotten threats and now feels like she has a target on her back. She and her daughter have filed a class action lawsuit against AIM.

"They used it to damage my reputation. They post my private information; they posted stuff about credit and tax reports; they post nasty, defamatory comments about me; they've linked all my porn work to my real name, and plus a lot of lies," Grandmason says.

But AIM's attorney, Jeffrey Douglas, says the clinic is following health information privacy laws to protect patients. He says the lawsuit is unfounded.

"No one believes that they are providing information willy-nilly to anyone who wants it," he says. "Such an allegation is absurd."

As for medical information being widely available, Douglas points out that all adult movie performers have to sign waivers agreeing their data can be seen by anyone who makes or distributes their films.

"Just being in one movie means odds are, your ID and personal information is in the hands of dozens of entities," he says. "The choice is the performer. Not AIM."

Safer Sex, Too Much Exposure

Some in the porn industry say the lawsuit is more about an effort to force adult performers to use condoms. That's a position being advocated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. In fact, the group's lawyers are representing the women pro bono.

AHF's president, Michael Weinstein, admits that the lawsuit is part of a bigger safer-sex message. "This could be ended today if the industry would agree to condom use," he says.

But most porn producers and production companies balk at such regulations, despite a few HIV scares.

"Everybody's just kind of left the industry alone, because we operate in our own little world and we've mostly contained any problems that have occurred through self-regulation," says Joy King, a vice president at Wicked Pictures, which bills itself as the only condom-mandatory adult film producer. King says most non-gay-porn companies that tried requiring condom use went out of business.

"Sales are definitely affected by condom use," she says. "This industry is largely based on fantasy and people don't want to see condoms in their fantasies."

For Grandmason and her daughter, the fantasy has turned into a nightmare as they argue they've been overexposed in a way they never imagined.

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