St. Louis: City Investigates Charge Safe Sex Event Featured Gay-Porn Actor
October 29, 2002
St. Louis health officials are investigating allegations made by two former employees of Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS who say federal money was used to hire a gay porn actor who stripped and engaged in sexual conduct with guests at a safer sex event. Health Department Director Dr. Hugh Stallworth told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the allegations are "quite serious" but declined to discuss them further.
BABAA attorney Bruce Hopson called the allegations false. He said the group paid actor Edgar Gaines of Memphis $500 to speak at a July gathering held in the home of BABAA Executive Director Erise Williams Jr. He said that while Gaines did appear at the event wearing only a towel and boots, he "did not strip for anybody and nobody touched him."
Gaines was paid from a $96,000 grant issued by the CDC to fight syphilis. Stallworth said the Health Department could freeze the grant and require BABAA to reimburse inappropriate spending.
Kevin Coleman, the group's former youth center director, said he complained to Williams on the night of Gaines' presentation. Coleman said he was later fired after complaining of sexual harassment to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Coleman said he then filed with the city a detailed account of what he saw. Another fired employee corroborated Coleman's story, the Post-Dispatch reported. He said he watched a young man fondle Gaines, who was not wearing a condom. The two former employees said about two dozen young men attended the gathering. Hopson said no one under 18 was present.
Gaines said he spoke about safe sex at the party: "That was basically it. I am retired from the movies, but people look up to me, so I can be a good voice to inform people to practice safe sex."
Hopson said the group invited Gaines "because he's a name draw. He's somebody that the people we're trying to reach can relate to. When we try to reach people, the standard clinical setting sometimes doesn't do."
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.