US congressional candidate Antonio Sabàto Jr. has hit back at criticism of his past roles in gay-themed movies.
The 45-year-old Republican was accused of having a "gay porn past" after appearing in erotic gay films during the early 2000s.
The former actor and underwear model, who is currently running for US Congress, has been called on by fellow Republican opponents to suspend his campaign for "spitting in the face of family values."
However, Sabàto Jr. has fired back, insisting he isn't ashamed of his past roles.
Appearing on The Jesse Lee Peterson Show on Thursday (January 18), Sabàto Jr. said: "That was a different time in my life, but as actors, we do roles that are pushing the envelope.
"You want to show off your acting ability, and you want to test your chops, and that's what I did."
He went on: "We don't do every single movie that we're proud of, it's just the way it is," he said. "But I'm not going to sit here and say, 'I wish I did this or I did that,' I mean that's part of my career as an actor.
"I've done a lot of stuff I'm really proud of," he added.
Sabàto Jr.'s film roles include 2003's Testosterone, in which he played a gay Argentine who mysteriously disappears and 2005's TV movie Deadly Skies, which featured gay sex scenes and nudity.
Despite the uproar, the movies are in no way explicit.
The Republican candidate also claimed that his opponents are using his film past against him because they're "scared" of him.
"It's just they're trying to pull all this stuff against me because when you're attacked as much as you can see with our president, it means you're doing something right."