Officials fired over porn actor's appearance

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 08 2002 12:00 AM ET

Two top officials of a St. Louis AIDS agency have been fired for using public funds to hire a gay-porn actor to appear at an event promoting safer sex. Both the St. Louis comptroller's office and the St. Louis Health Department are investigating whether Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS improperly spent some of its $96,000 federal grant to fight syphilis--and whether the star acted appropriately during his presentation. The actor's dress at the event also prompted the St. Louis Health Department to cancel the remainder of BABAA's grant, which amounts to about $6,000, said Mark Pasewark, attorney for the agency.

BABAA's board voted unanimously Friday to fire its director, Erise Williams Jr., and senior director, James Green. The two had hired porn star Edgar Gaines, whose film name is Bobby Blake, to speak at a July 20 event at Williams's downtown St. Louis loft. Gaines was paid $500 from the federal grant. Two former employees of the group alleged that the actor stripped and made sexual contact with some of the two dozen guests at the event. Bruce Hopson, BABAA's lawyer, denied the allegations but acknowledged that the porn star appeared wearing only a towel and boots during part of his presentation.