Roger Montoya watering MAE garden

Roger Montoya waters the garden at Moving Arts Española in this 2019 photo. The state House District 40 Democrat candidate is dealing with the backlash after a right wing website revealed he'd acted in  gay pornographic films in the early 1980s.

    In January during the weeks leading up to democratic candidate Roger Montoya declaring his candidacy for the District 40 state house seat he had several conversations with key state politicians about a secret he had kept for almost 40 years. It gnawed at him.

    For 30 years Montoya has been the consummate activist, in perpetual motion to advocate for a community he loves. He knew if he ran for public office, Republican opposition would dig up this secret and not only use it against him and his campaign but could also possibly harm some of the many organizations in the Española Valley to which is name is attached. There are many.

    In 1980 or ‘81 Montoya was playing volleyball on a beach in Los Angeles.

    “It was the late ‘70s, early ‘80s” Montoya recalled in a Monday interview. “It was before AIDS. I had this dancer’s body and we were just playing volleyball.”

    Two men from Falcon Studio approached Montoya and told him he should be in their films, pornographic films.

    Modern dance trained, Montoya was no stranger to working on films. While in Los Angeles he did choreography work for Prince and Madonna. He worked with MTV and was in an Advil commercial.

    “I did some concert dance work on stage because of my acrobatic skills,” he said. “I even did a B movie.”

    But the jobs weren’t the stuff of careers and it was difficult to pay rent.

    “The stress of paying rent got the better of me and I agreed,” Montoya said.

    He did the first movie under the stage name Joe Savage or Eric Martinez. Montoya said he did not recall the movies, nor stage names.

    “I did the first film and didn’t like it, but I got that check,” he said. “I paid two months rent in advance and it solved a lot of problems.”

    He did not remember how much he was paid but he said his rent was $600 a month for a studio apartment.

    That choice as a young man came back to roost after Piñon Post, a conservative right wing propaganda web site blew the whistle on Montoya’s brush with the pornography industry.

    The Post alleges Montoya did several films. The web site states a private investigator provided the information but does not provide the documents or investigation results.

    Attacks and push-back from the right and homophobes is part and parcel for Montoya. But he said running for public office would be a new level of attacks.

    Following the Piñon Post’s story Montoya was proven correct. Tuesday he received death threats.

    State Republican party leaders are calling for Montoya to pull out of the race. However, Montoya’s Republican opponent Justin Salazar Torrez sees it differently.

    “You know Matthew Gonzales (Montoya’s primary opponent), Roger and I spoke from the beginning and agreed to run a clean race and our team has maintained that,” Salazar Torrez said Tuesday. “That’s their issue to deal with not mine.”

    Montoya said the recruiters at Falcon Studios stayed after him. He got into another rent jam and agreed to do the second film.

    “The money was even better,” he said. “It covered a year’s worth of rent.”

    However, aside from being uncomfortable with the work, he didn’t like what he saw while working on the larger project.

    “What I learned (on the second film) was I saw up close and personal the exploitation of runaways and the drugs,” he said. “It was so poignant that I was not that.”

    Montoya said Falcon Studios pursued him for five years. He maintains he worked on two films for two days and never went back.

    “I had bigger things happen,” he said. “My partner died.”

    AIDS had been identified and recognized as a virus transmitted by sexual contact.

    “Fortunately, my brother David lived in New York City,” he said. “He told me, ‘You’re modern dance trained. You belong here.”

    Montoya moved to New York and enjoyed a successful dancing career there. But he said when he tested positive for HIV, he gained a sense of who he wanted to help and how.

    “When I moved back here to die, I knew I had to prioritize my life,” he said.

    Montoya found his activist and advocate shoes and worked to enlighten people about HIV and AIDs. He worked to get art back in the schools. His work has repeatedly been recognized locally and statewide. Most recently he made the CNN top 10 Heroes.

    When State Rep. Joseph Sanchez, D-Alcalde, decided to not pursue re-election and go after the U.S. Congressional District 3 seat, Montoya’s phone rang. His impressive resume and accomplishments had not gone unnoticed.

    “About 15 months ago I got a call from the speaker (state House of Representatives Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe),” Montoya said. “He said the governor is on the line and we’d like you to run for Sanchez’s seat.”

    Considering Egolf’s request, Montoya spoke to his family.

    “They said, ‘Are you crazy?’” Montoya said. “They worry about my safety and health.”

    Montoya had his secret to consider also.

    “But I have to think about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life and help and my community, “ he said.

    While he percolated, he received a call from U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico). Montoya said he and Heinrich had “a beautiful 30-minute conversation.”

    “He laid out for me why I should run for Joseph’s seat,” Montoya said.

    But there’s his secret.

    “So I told him (Heinrich) there’s a skeleton in my closet,” Montoya said. “I divulged it to him. He said, ‘Given who you are, your experience and the level of community service you can bring if it’s found out, it’s not going to be as big a deal as you think it will be.”

    Heinrich’s press secretary took a message Tuesday morning for him and called back in the afternoon but the senator did not call by press time.

    Montoya said he told Heinrich that he believed he should divulge his work in pornography at the start of his campaign. Heinrich told him not to and Montoya took the elder statesman’s advice.

    “After my current experience, I would hope he would not give that advice again,” Montoya said.

    The House speaker pressed and Montoya also told Egolf about his pornography work. Egolf was not concerned. So Montoya decided he could do more good for the community working with politicians and so he declared his candidacy.

    Egolf confirmed Tuesday he had the conversation with Montoya but was not swayed by Montoya’s concerns.

    “I truly don’t remember the timeline, but Roger did mention his concerns about his work in adult films,” he said. “I believe it was June of last year.”

    Egolf said campaigns are about who you are and what you can do for you community.

    “It’s not about what you did 40 years ago,” he said. “I told him Roger, ‘People look up to you, your selfless life, your service. People are gonna see that and if folks become aware of your past, they’ll make a decision.”

    Montoya released a statement through Facebook Monday. He admitted a lapse in judgment and acknowledged his embarrassment.

    “I spoke to the speaker last week and he said he and the governor are behind me 1,000 percent,” Montoya said.

    Monday he said he had received a lot of support. Also the Republican party has stepped up its attacks, including upon Moving Arts Española, which Montoya said he could not yet explain.

    “In the arc of all of this (the right’s attack) it’s the Tanya Harding to the knee,” he said.

    State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce did not return muitiple calls Tuesday.

    Montoya remains animated and positive about the future. He has plans bubbling in his head that spout out as he speaks about collaborating with three different entities (for and non-profit) to serve an unserved segment of the community.

    “My mother was dying in January and I sat with her, asking whether I should run or not,” he said. “She knew everything I had gone through and she just said, ‘Do it if it’s in your heart.’”

    He has spent many road trips and hours crossing the Sangre de Cristos to visit the other half of District 40. He said he’s brought conservative land grant members to tears.

    “I bring people together,” Montoya said. “I look for ways to help people and my past has brought me to that.”

    Salazar Torrez said Tuesday candidates were given surveys by many media outlets and given opportunities to reveal past indiscretions.

    “We all had the chance to reveal our skeletons,” Salazar Torrez said. “But I really don’t care that he didn’t.”

    He said when someone runs for public office the focus is on you and you have to be ready for that. Montoya said you can’t be.

(2) comments

SSerrano

eeeewwwww pornography being promoted by our sundevils

third time trying to post***

GGAllin

Now who’s the hypocritical closet case that FOUND the p*rn 🤔

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