Clothier Sends Mixed Safer-Sex Messages
A popular clothing company involved in a safe-sex campaign has recently touted its work with a bareback porn actor.
Andrew Christian, Inc., which is well known for its scantily clad male underwear models, has recently been involved in a campaign to promote condom use during sex.
But in a May 6 news release, the company announced its "Miami Car Wash" promotional video featured a well-known bareback porn performer. The ad shows about a dozen buff guys showing off their skivvies as they use one man's body to scrub a red convertible.
"Andrew Christian turn (sic) up the Latin heat with super hung bareback porn star Antonio Biaggi," stated the news release.
There's plenty of foreplay and bare butts in the video, but no actual sex.
Asked about the mixed messaging regarding safe sex, Andrew Christian spokesman Jeff White emailed a statement to the Bay Area Reporter that said, "We were not trying to make any statement about bareback porn, we don't recommend having bareback sex, and obviously our videos aren't any endorsement of bareback sex."
The company chose Biaggi, who's 34 and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, because "we wanted to cast some sexy 'Miami looking' Latino actors who could really fill out the underwear," explained White's statement. "We also liked the fact that [he] was a little older than most of our models and he is super masculine, which also fits the 'gay-for-pay' roles that we were casting in this video."
The message also said that since early February, Andrew Christian has been including a postcard in customer shipments that encourages condom use. The postcard was produced in conjunction with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The clothing brand has also distributed more than 27,000 condoms donated by Wet Lubricants to customers.
Jim Key, chief public affairs officer for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, said in a phone interview that he doesn't know anything about Biaggi and "I make no judgments against him personally."
However, he said, "What concerns us is when a company that explicitly markets to gay youth touts and promotes in its marketing materials that it's turning up the heat by featuring a bareback porn star, in essence glorifying the acts of someone who has unprotected sex on camera, that concerns us, and it surprises us considering their partnership with AIDS Healthcare Foundation."
In a response to a story that ran on the website Queerty, Biaggi himself addressed the issue on his blog.
A scene from the video "Miami Car Wash" produced by clothier Andrew Christian that features a bareback porn star.
"I guess you think that Im (sic) a bad influence by been in (sic) a Andrew Christian (video), and that me been in (sic) that underwear video promotes bareback sex, really how stupid can you be, there is no BB sex they are doing a underwear video (sic)," Biaggi wrote in a May 13 post.
Asked in a Facebook exchange with the B.A.R. about Andrew Christian being hypocritical by promoting safe sex and then touting his status as a bareback porn star, Biaggi said many people are hypocritical in the porn industry "that start promoting safe sex and they do partys (sic) and behind scenes they are into bareback, I don't think [Christian] is a hypocrate (sic), they are intelligent business people they know that it will create controversy and more eyes to there (sic) company."
Biaggi, whose last name appears on Facebook as Biaggi Segundo, said he gets tested for HIV every month. He said he uses condoms with his husband "all the time" and only has sex outside the relationship when he's making videos. Biaggi is a top, which he said puts him at less risk for getting infected.
"In the bareback industry people know everyone's status," Biaggi said. He added that he doesn't care whether someone's HIV-positive or negative, and he's dated two HIV-positive men.
"I never got HIV from them, people are ignorant and thats why all this tabu (sic)," he said.
Biaggi doesn't have a contract with Andrew Christian but is "doing some shows around the country" with them, he said.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been vocal about the need for porn stars to use condoms on shoots. It was a main sponsor of Assembly Bill 332, which would require condom use in all adult films produced in California.
The proposal, modeled after an AHF-sponsored ballot measure that Los Angeles County voters adopted last fall, has stalled in the Assembly, the Sacramento Bee reported last week.
Asked about Andrew Christian promoting Biaggi's status as a bareback star, AHF spokeswoman Lori Yeghiayan would say little other than, "We don't really think there's a story here."
Yeghiayan said she's "not aware" of what the current status of AHF's partnership with the clothing line is.