You might know British YouTuber Calum McSwiggan (keyword: might) from his inspirational music-laden videos tackling subjects like queer heroes or coming out to grandma, but it’s his latest video — I Did Gay Porn & I’m Sorry — that’s stirring up conversation.
For months, rumors circulated online that McSwiggan once had an online persona that was decidedly at odds with his advertiser-friendly, wholesome LGBTQ role model image — namely that he’d appeared in a series of live unprotected sex videos with two other men when he was 19.
Chalk it up to either teenage naiveté about the ways of the web, or just a decent-enough sounding story, but Calum says he didn’t realize the videos might find a permanent home online.
“I’d like to apologize for the fact that they’re out there,” he tells BuzzFeed News. “I want to be a positive role model for people so these images aren’t what I want people to be seeing.”
He goes on to explain that after he suffered the double-whammy of being bullied for being gay at his college job then being fired when he reported it (not cool), he was hard-pressed on funds.
But here’s were his logic gets a little fuzzy. Claiming he was “really scared about going back into [a normal job] in case things [the bullying] repeated,” he turned to a different sort of opportunity.
“Two friends suggested we try out webcam shows. They’d seen people making money off it and hoped I would do it with them as a threeway.” What began as one performance turned into many, and the money proved all-too enticing.
The issue McSwiggan faces now, aside from the copious shame he thickly doles upon himself, is that the sex in the videos is unprotected. He strongly advocates condoms in many of his YouTube videos.
“Although we were all tested before we did it and knew we were negative, when you watch the videos there’s no context to that, it just looks like we’re having unprotected sex, and that’s not something I want to promote,” he tells Buzzfeed. “I promote the opposite – it’s something I say in my videos: ‘Don’t bareback, make sure you’re using protection.’ I don’t want this to damage my reputation and all the things I’ve worked so hard to do.”
Ultimately, he takes something of a victim’s stance on the experience, claiming he wasn’t equipped to make thoughtful decisions at 19.
“There are so many 18-year-olds in porn, and yes, you’re legally able to consent at that age, but do you really have the right head on your shoulders to make that decision?” He asks. “I certainly didn’t.”
Don’t worry, Calum, you can still be a role model — it’s not as dire as you think. And hey, if anything, at least we’ve heard of you now.
Here are a some safe-for-work stills from the one of the videos, circa 2010-ish.
Below, Calum discusses the story on his channel: