Francois Sagat Opens Up On Gay Porn Suicides And Why He Quit The Business

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from www.queerty.com – For a man with such a robust physique, gay porn phenomenon Francois Sagat chose a surprisingly understated way to announce his retirement from the adult film industry. There would be no going out with a bang. Last week he released a 16-seconds-long black-and-white video in which he turned to face the camera and uttered, “Hello, I’m François Sagat and from this day forward I’ve retired from porn.”

The 33-year-old Frenchman had already used his renown in the porn industry — he’s the face and, let’s face it, bottom of TitanMen — to branch out to a directing career, acting in slightly more mainstream films (Bruce LaBruce’s L.A. Zombies), and serving as a muse for numerous artists, photographers and clothing designers. Having enjoyed his work as a fashion model, Sagat is about to launch his own clothing line, beginning with T-shirts that he designed himself. He recently spoke with Queerty about why he felt it was time to change careers, the suicide of other gay porn stars, and whether the bareback trend in the industry is irresponsible.

Q: What was behind the decision to announce your retirement in the video?

Actually, I stopped doing porn two years ago, but I didn’t make a public statement then. The last one I did was Incubus, which I shot in 2011. Some fans were waiting for new movies and I was a bit embarrassed to tell them that there would be no more. So I made this video that I shot last April at Disneyland to confirm I wasn’t making anymore porn.

Q: Are you sure you weren’t just having a moment at Disneyland while surrounded by all those families and happy children?

[Laughs] No, the decision was made a while ago. I was already moving into directing and taking advantage of other creative opportunities. Before Incubus, I hadn’t done a shoot since 2009. It just wasn’t something I was living for anymore. You know when you don’t want to do something. I like sex, of course, but at some point you just realize you don’t want to do something anymore. I’m almost 34. I don’t think I can make better movies than I’ve already made. A porn career is like modeling in that you see yourself aging year after year. I don’t want to see myself aging this way.

Q: So there’s definitely a shelf life for adult film actors?

I see guys who are 40 years old who still look amazing and are having great sex on camera.

Q: Do you think you’ll return to the industry down the road?

No, no. I think it’s better this way. If I had to do it all again, I would for sure. This is the way I’ve built my image. This is just part of the cycle of life.

Q: You have devoted fans around the world. What kind of transition is necessary to walk away from that kind of attention?

I think there’s no real transition. People will always connect me with porn. It’s the way I’m known and it will always be part of me. I will always be the porn star. If I tried to hide it or reject, it would be worse, I think. Transition is hard. Maybe I’ll lose some fans because they’ll no longer be interested in me. Maybe they still want to see me as a sexual object, which is fine. I completely understand it. Maybe I’ll gain new fans. [Laughs] It’s very pretentious to talk about fans when you’re just being yourself. I’ve had interesting people following me. I’ve been very lucky.

Q: During the past year there have been three reported suicides of gay porn stars — Roman Ragazzi, Wilfried Knight and Arpad Miklos. What’s responsible for this? I wonder if it’s because the porn industry attracts vulnerable men.

I knew all of them. Maybe it’s the gay life in specific cities or countries. They were all from different parts of the world and had very different personalities. I remember that Wilfried was so happy. Everyone is relating their deaths to drugs or steroids, which is so cliché. Maybe it’s the truth, I don’t know.

Q: Do you consider being a gay porn actor a high risk profession?

I don’t think a long-term career in gay porn is sane. I don’t know if it’s destructive, but there comes a moment when you need to move on to something else. The porn industry is very intense. Even if you’re just doing one scene it will always be out there. You have to be really down to Earth about your future. It’s about family. It’s about your vision. You have to be strong.

Q: You’ve survived. Did you have a support system in place?

Well, I’m not dead yet. [Laughs] Maybe it’s because I’m French. Maybe it’s because I don’t hang out with many people in porn. I wish I had more friends in porn actually, because they’re very funny. Outside of all my films and travels I have a very quiet life. In France every weekend I stay at home and there are less temptations.

Q: Bareback porn has become a profitable trend in the industry. Do you see this as irresponsible promotion of unsafe sex?

I think it should stay in the private life. I think it could be very seductive because it’s very primal. But in another way, you burn your hands. It’s a huge issue because they’re making more money than regular porn films. In a way, it’s something you can’t really control. Of course, I’m not OK with this, but there’s no real control.

Q: France recently legalized same-sex marriage. How did you celebrate?

I wasn’t in France when it happened. I’m not someone who wants to get married but having that permission is amazing. In France we’ve seen so many homophobic people and movements against it. It was crazy how people were against it. I thought my country was really progressive, but it was very 50/50.

Q: Are you involved in any charity work or activism?

I work for safe-sex awareness in France. I’m also putting my image on a condom line in the USA. It’s for Titan and my face will be on them.

Q: You’re also launching a clothing line. What inspired it?

I was always modeling for people so I decided I should create a line with my name. I had to have the balls to start something. I’m launching it with a friend, but I’m doing all the designing myself. I think it’s the right time to do it. I’m going to start with T-shirts and if the sales are good, we’ll make accessories and underwear. We’ll see.

Q: Looking back at your entire career, what do you consider your proudest accomplishment?

Last January I did a show on stage and sang three songs, including one by Siouxsie and the Banshees. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in front of an audience singing. I thought I would freeze. It was quite exciting just to sing something and not show by butt on stage.

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