Pride in the Park 2019

Pride in the Park is continuing as planned Saturday, June 4, at Pine City’s Robinson Park, despite some concerns over one of the scheduled performers. 

The host/emcee of the East Central Minnesota Pride event is Martina Mayotte, who’s stage name is Martina Marraccino. Mayotte has had a career in the adult film industry; some expressed this history was morally incompatible with an event that included children’s activities. 

Julie Redpath, an ECM Pride organizer, issued a statement saying after learning of the concerns, “Last year, Martina Marraccino emceed their event to rave reviews. He was delightful, was so well received, and did such a professional job that we invited him back again this year.”

The Pine City executive committee, consisting of acting mayor, Steve Ovick, and council member, Mary Kay Sloan, held a special meeting last Tuesday, May 24, to discuss the concerns. The City is a financial supporter and host to the event.

After the meeting and reviewing the issue with their attorney, Pine City Administrator Scott Hildebrand said, “The city does not have any plans to revoke the park reservation for the East Central Minnesota Pride in the Park event scheduled for June 4.”

Hildebrand additionally stated on behalf of the city: “While members of the city council and staff may/may not support East Central Minnesota Pride in the Park, they do recognize the longstanding relationship with Pride and respect that many Pride members reside in Pine City. Both sides hope to see that relationship continue for the future.”

He said, “Pride has worked diligently to build a positive relationship with the city and the city trusts they will withdraw any individual, who proves to be a danger, from the event.”

He added that the City did not make the decision without discussing many options/concerns, one of them being a background check for any party performing on city property. However, he noted, that every party performing on city property would need to be screened which would come at a considerable cost to the city and eliminate many events that come to the parks. 

Mayotte (Marraccino) was scheduled to perform at a Pride event in the city of Bloomington, Minn. Bloomington Mayor Jamie Verbrugge issued a statement saying that the city became aware of allegations that one of the performers booked for the Pride event has a social media presence that includes explicit material. The city independently verified that the allegation was factual. The city decided to not have that individual among the performers at the Pride event on August 14, 2022. 

Mayotte told the Pioneer he is always happy to talk about his history and experience, stating, “I will start by quickly verifying that I have, in the past, acted in the adult film industry, and that my performer name was Adam Divine. I also want to clarify right off the bat that my work never involved, implied or claimed to involve underage persons.”

Mayotte said he has never been charged or convicted of illegal activity and that participation in adult films does not automatically imply sexual misconduct. He said he feels that does not exclude him as being a trustworthy and effective educator and hopes to help the next generation “make wiser and healthier choices.”  

“I’m comfortable sharing that I wish that I had made safer choices in regards to jobs and financial planning so I didn’t have to resort to work that I didn’t ever intend to do,” said Mayotte.  

Mayotte said “it’s nobody’s business but their own and not open to judgment from outside opinions. For people who desire films featuring actors pretending to be related, I feel there should be no stigma or prejudice tied to it, and therefore, I was just as willing to fill that role as I was any other role I played over my career,” he added. 

The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) and the Clean Water, Land, & Legacy Fund requested to remove their support on the advertising of the Pride event saying they “would be taking immediate steps to understand the allegations being made so we best know how to handle the East Central Minnesota Pride grant project moving forward.”

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