In addition to some touching support, I’ve gotten a steaming heap of flack for my current Out magazine article in which I examine why CNN’s fabulous Anderson Cooper hasn’t come out or been at least asked about his sexuality in the lengthy but guarded profiles written about him. A lot of the people attacking me haven’t even read the piece, which references my Voice writings and which is not a screed at all—it’s just a questioning look at why Cooper’s open-secret life hasn’t gotten ink, a practice he obviously goes along with.
Still, I’m getting all the same old arguments from the early ’90s and have to drag up all those hoary, old defenses in response. You know: “How do you know he’s gay?” Gee, well, I’m a reporter.
“His off-camera life is private and I don’t care about it.” Good, then I presume you’ll scream the same sentiments at anyone who dares to write about Brad and Jen, Ben and Jen, Katie Couric’s fling, Diane Sawyer’s marriage, Lindsay Lohan’s gropefests, and so on and so on. And don’t let me catch you reading any of those items, by the way. You’re not interested, remember?
“But some of those people have been spotted doing stuff in public.” Well, Anderson’s been seen at gay spots.
“No one’s forced to come out.” I never said anyone was (though they certainly should). In fact, I gently examine the reasons why he won’t.
“But he IS out.” Sort of, but not on the record. And if he IS out, why are you so upset about the article?
“But he never said he was straight.” Yeah, that’s in the article. And I never said he was straight either. I said he was gay.
“Outing is disgusting.” But you didn’t think so with David Gest, Al Reynolds, Fabien Basabe, Mario Vasquez, or even the false rumors about Marcia Cross coming out or all the Jacko jokes (which started way before his public travails). Not one person complained to me about any of those reports. So producers, party boys, singers, “freaks,” and women are OK to report about, just not newsmen (and former Mole hosts)?
“I thought it was disgusting with them too. Outing is just gross.” But what’s gross about saying someone’s gay? It’s OK to be gay, remember? Project much, dear?
“But my cousin was outed and . . . ” Wait, your cousin is not a public figure. There are different rules for celebrities.
“We should only out our enemies and hypocrites.” So I should only reveal when HORRIBLE people are gay? That would really advance the gay cause, wouldn’t it? In my book, outing isn’t only trotted out as a revenge tactic—it’s a statement of equalizing and truth.
“You’re just outing someone to get your activist credentials.” Please—I was doing this before it was cool. I outed Methuselah.
“You’re just jealous of Anderson.” No, I’m actually very proud of Anderson and in fact the article is wildly appreciative of his talent and charm. It’s just saying he’s smart, successful, and happens to be gay too.
“You’re out of line!” But I write about celebrities’ personal lives for a living. To leave out anything gay because it might seem distasteful to someone would be extremely hypocritical. And the media certainly didn’t omit mention of Anderson’s brother’s tragic suicide. Nor do they avoid covering all kinds of celebrities’ adulterous affairs, out-of-wedlock babies, narcotics problems, bad movies, or gross misbehavior.
“But after your writeup, someone on Don Imus’s radio show made homophobic remarks about Anderson.” So I should never say anyone’s gay because someone else might make a dumb comment about it? In that case—you heard it here first—Jamie Foxx is white.
“This will ruin his career.” One 800-word article in a gay magazine? And a pretty gushy one at that? Besides, I’m not making him gay, I’m just saying he is.
“If he came out himself, it could hurt his career.” But the article addresses that. The article, in fact, covers practically all the bases. You should read it.
“You didn’t ask him for comment.” I asked CNN for a comment from Anderson and/or themselves. They apparently didn’t even forward it to him, they just responded by sending me a blanket no comment. Besides, in the past, Anderson’s turned down the chance to be labeled “gay.” And when New York Daily News columnist Ben Widdicombe asked him if he had any comment about the Out piece, he said “No.”
“This is sick!” Oh, really? And you’re on that website all day where the fake Marcia Cross thing started and where they relentlessly out celebrities, including a lot of people who aren’t even gay? I’d say you’re conflicted. Oh, and probably gay too!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 15, 2005