Juan Melecio (aka Antonio Biaggi) Faces Uphill Fight in Political Race

Wednesday October 28, 2020

Juan Melecio
Juan Melecio  (Source:Instagram)

In this busy election year, why is a local contest in the Florida city of Wilton Manors getting renewed attention?

The answer is the candidacy of Juan Melecio, the 42-year old former salon owner who is running for one of the city's two open city commission seats.

Melecio's name doesn't likely ring a bell, but his adult male doppelganger likely does — Antonio Biaggi, who, according to a report this week in the Miami New Times, "consistently ranks among the top 25 most-watched gay performers on the adult content aggregation site." Biaggi has some "25,000 subscribers on PornHub, where his videos have amassed more than 44 million views."

And while he calls himself a liberal who "regularly lambasts the current administration on his social media, there exists an almost Trumpian essence to Melecio's public persona," Miami New Times writes.

"Bombastic, unapologetic, and regularly touting his status as a political outsider, Melecio sees himself as the fix for a local governing body hobbled by bureaucracy and an old-guard mentality."

Or, as he puts it: "If you're tired of the fucking liars, you vote for me."

Nor does he see that his adult male career should influence voters. "I don't know why people would feel uncomfortable if I'm dressed up at a podium, doing laws and regulations," Melecio says. "I'm not having sex up there, for god sake. Like, I'm not having sex all day long."

Adding, "It's a regular business," he tells New Times. "[Porn actors] get paid to entertain you, to do your fantasy, and other than that, other than the two, three hours they do filming, the rest of the time they have a regular life like everybody else."

Nonetheless, his adult male career continually comes up during his campaign. In July at a candidate forum in July with Wilton Community News, he addressed how his experiences in porn have "changed his life."

That transformation began when he was living in San Francisco in 2008. He had moved to the city from Puerto Rico, where he was raised in a conservative Catholic household. The idea of having sex on camera "terrified and electrified him," Miami New Times writes; but he signed with SF-based studio Raging Stallion, where he earned $2,800 each for the 12 scenes he was required to do over a year.

"It was very uncomfortable for me just to be in front of a camera for the first time," he explained at the July candidate's forum. "It was a, you know — it was a process of getting used to it."

He quickly became one of the industry's biggest stars, appearing in hundreds of videos as well as modeling Andrew Christian underwear and appearing in a video for a Cher music video, 2013's "Take It Like a Man (7th Heaven remix)." Since leaving Raging Stallion, he formed his own production company, Biaggi Productions, where he continues to perform and produce porn, as well as a traveling one-man comedy show, "Naughty and Nuts."

Nor does he plan on making any changes with his career, even if he wins the election next week. "What his would-be constituents need to realize, he says, is that it's not Antonio Biaggi who will have a seat in city hall," writes Miami New Times.

But it may not be his adult male career that is hurting his candidacy, rather his claims that Wilton Manors, a small city "with just over 12,000 people, has one of the greatest populations per capita of LGBTQ residents in the U.S., second only to Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 2018, it became the second city in the country to elect an entirely LGBTQ governing body, a city commission comprising an openly gay mayor and two gay commissioners," reports Miami New Times.

Rather Melecio "in candidate forums and interviews, Melecio has offered up a frank indictment of the city: It's 'too gay.'"

"Everything is too concentrated on the gay community," he says. "Meanwhile, this is a city that 60 percent of the population is straight," he tells Miami New Times. (Actually, it's closer to 85 percent, according to the most recent Census data.).

"Melecio's platform centers primarily on diversifying Wilton Manors' tourism attractions and downtown businesses," adds the Miami New Times. "He's mused publicly and in interviews about the perceived lack of daytime tourist offerings. Melecio contends the Drive lacks businesses that appeal primarily to women — unless you count 'the grilled cheese shop attracting straight girls' after nights out at the nearby bars...

"I'm happy to be living here, that I can walk with my husband holding hands to the restaurant, and nobody's going to bother me," he says. "But at the same time, I don't want straight people to feel uncomfortable in their own town that they cannot even go to Wilton Drive because everything is too gay."

His campaign remains a long-shot at winning. He has no endorsements and "a meager $3,180, the second-lowest total of the six candidates." He also raised eyebrows last May when he put up a GoFundMe page to raise money, which brought in $2,560.

Nor has his candidacy been without controversy when it was revealed that in 2016 he "was sued by a Black police officer in Richmond, Virginia, who accused him of making racist remarks, including allegedly telling the officer to 'go pick cotton you n-----. LMFAO,' federal court records show," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

"The officer, Centell Colonzo McNeil, filed a defamation lawsuit, alleging Melecio falsely accused him on social media of threatening him. Melecio said the case was settled after McNeil apologized and Melecio paid his attorney fees.

"Neither McNeil nor his attorney could be reached for comment. A woman who identified herself as McNeil's mother at his home said there was a gag order on the settlement and the family would not comment," continues the Sun-Sentinel report.

"When the allegations against Melecio came to light during his political campaign, he was widely criticized and accused of stoking bigotry amid a national reckoning on racial injustice," the Miami New Times report continues.

He also faced criticism for a since deleted tweet about Beyoncé that read:

"I'm so afraid of the beehive (crying emoji. middle finger emoji) keep twerking and Voguing (face emoji) that will play for your KFC (laughing emoji. Middle finger emoji) on my way to one of my three business great day"

At the forum with the Wilton Community News this past summer, Melecio was asked why he invoked racist tropes when criticizing Beyoncé.

"Because she is a Black girl," he responded. "If I were talking about Jennifer Lopez, I would've said, 'There's tons of Puerto Rican girls that could sing way better,' which is true because Jennifer Lopez doesn't even know how to sing — she only knows how to do stupid little movies that you can see on Sunday."

Pressed by the moderator to offer a "full-throated apology," Melecio offered a half a shrug.

"Nowadays, people are offended by anything. Everything that I do, people love it, people hate it," he said. "I can't please everybody," he told Miami New Times.

He also feels that if he loses, That's the city's loss.

"If I don't win, I'm concentrating on myself," he says. "For me, it's like, I really do want to do this, but if they don't want me, I'm not going to force you. I'm not going to give the ideas to somebody else."

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