Roger Montoya, a Democrat running for the New Mexico House of Representatives, has admitted he performed in two gay adult movies as a struggling student in the 1980s.
The 60-year-old, of Velarde, New Mexico, wrote on Facebook that he was “not proud” of his pornographic past, explaining that he made the films when he was “young and naive”.
Reports of Montoya’s involvement in gay porn was first reported by Piñon Post, a conservative blog.
It wrote that a “report done by a prominent investigative firm” had revealed Montoya had starred in multiple gay adult films under the names Joe Savage and Eric Martinez.
Montoya expressed his regret and further explained that his decisions were made in a very “different environment and time”.
“Those experiences do not reflect who I am, and they are insignificant in the scope of my life’s work, yet they helped inspire my dedication to my community and the work I do to make sure that youth have opportunities, support and confidence,” Montoya said.
Explaining that he used the money to support himself as he struggled through college, he added: “Those experiences helped me understand the exploitation that young people face.”
The New Mexico Republican Party wasted no time in reacting, saying Montoya should withdraw from the race against GOP candidate Justin Salazar-Torrez of Espanola.
“This kind of risky and reckless behaviour is unacceptable”, the state party said in a statement.
Party chairman Steve Pearce also commented, saying: “Starring in gay porno films, whether it takes place now or years ago, is unbecoming of any candidate or elected official.”
However, some support was shown for Montoya by high profile Democrats, such as congresswoman Debra Haaland and state house speaker Brian Egolf.
Both Haaland and Egolf accused Republicans of being hypocrites, highlighting Donald Trump’s behaviour toward women as evidence of their double standard.
Last year, Roger Montoya was labelled a “hero” by CNN.
In 2019 Roger Montoya was labeled a “hero” by CNN. Journalists hailed his community work through his non-profit organisation Moving Arts Española, which provides art classes, free meals, tutoring and other support to more than 5,000 young people.
Montoya explained how he was inspired to help others after a turbulent period in the 1980s. He lived for a while in New York and worked as a professional dancer, but returned to New Mexico after losing his long time partner and many friends to HIV, and having acquired the virus himself.
He told CNN: “My soul was really aching with such loss and grief, It seemed inevitable that I would be on that same track.”
“Coming home, with my family, my art, really set the tone for me to begin to heal,” he added. “Art is medicine.”