Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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GOP Attempt to Shame N.M. Candidate for His Gay Porn Past Backfires

Montoya

A candidate for New Mexico's House of Representatives confirmed he has a history of working in gay porn — and he won't back down despite Republican attempts to shame him.

The campaign of Roger Montoya, a Democrat, posted a statement on Facebook Monday in response to allegations from a right-wing media source, Piñon Post, that he engaged in “unprotected sex in multiple gay films” using the names “Joe Savage” and “Eric Martinez.” 

In the statement, Montoya broke his silence on the matter, mention of which had been circulating for several days on social media. He attested that he had appeared in two adult films as a 22-year-old as a struggling college student and dancer in Los Angeles "nearly forty years ago, in a very different time and climate."

"I am not proud of that choice, as I was young and naïve, but those experiences helped me to understand the exploitation young people face," Montoya stated. "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, 59, is a community organizer and the cofounder of Moving Arts Española, a youth center that focuses on the arts, music, and dance. Montoya is HIV-positive — he was diagnosed in 1989 as a professional dancer in New York — and he now helms HIV education classes. He was named a CNN Hero in 2019 for his work.

In responding to the right-wing smear campaign, Montoya reiterated in the Monday statement that he is "proud" of his life's accomplishments.

"Over the past three decades, I have brought people together from all walks of life to tackle some of our state’s most pressing issues," he said. "I’m proud of helping people in rural New Mexico deal with life-threatening illnesses during the AIDS and COVID pandemics. I am proud of bringing arts to the schools in a new and creative way that included an entire community. I am proud of the non-profits I’ve founded and the work they are doing today to inspire our community, to provide food and shelter to our homeless, to feed and nourish, and address chronic substance abuse. I am proud to have worked alongside so many in this community to bring change for the better, and nothing will change that."

Moreover, Montoya, who is running for an open seat in House District 40, said the GOP dredging up this past amounted to a distraction from the real issues at stake in the November election.

"If the Republican Party chooses to focus on something I did nearly four decades ago rather than how hard I will work to bring back our devastated economy, provide healthcare, create new jobs and industries, to improve our public schools, to fix our crumbling infrastructure, and to protect our land, acequias and our way of life, that is their choice," he said. "I trust the voters to make a better choice because we have so much at stake this November."

After Montoya's remarks, the Democratic Party of New Mexico released its own statement supporting him and slamming the GOP for its attempts "to shame a gay man for a choice made in the distant past, while ignoring Donald Trump’s long record of illicit conduct."

Previously, New Mexico Republicans had referred to the videos as “reckless” as well as "unbecoming of any candidate or elected official," which of course ignores the porn videos Trump has appeared in as well as the $130,000 he reportedly paid in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, with whom he allegedly had an affair.

“I believe voters will make their decision on whom to support based on what they can offer their community. Roger Montoya is the clear and obvious choice,” said House Speaker Brian Egolf. “Roger has built a life of service and has worked tirelessly for decades to make the Española Valley and all of Northern New Mexico a better place for all. I support him wholeheartedly and I respect him, his courage, and his commitment to his community.”

Voters appeared to share this sentiment, as Montoya's statement sparked an outpouring of love from supporters. "Honesty, integrity, and action matter to me," Darien Fernandez wrote on Facebook. "What certain Republican operatives have done to attempt to distract from your dedication to the community is despicable. You have my full support and New Mexico will be better off with you!"

"I am so proud to know you," declared Heather Nordquist. "Integrity is something that cannot be faked or bought. Your constituents will be very lucky to have you represent them."

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