IUC Exclusive: The Ethics Of Outing…Please Read This!

Posted on February 9th, 2009 by HisHighness in IUC:Entertainment, IUC:Exclusive, IUC:Gay
My regular readers have noticed that since the passage of the vile hate legislation, Proposition 8, in November, I have been outing prominent figures more often than Angelina Jolie adopts babies (speaking of Angelina, she may be a phony, but at least she had the courage to publicly reveal her bisexuality).
My decision to out people like Jake “Toothy Tile” Gyllenhaal, Will Smith and others has sparked an ethical debate about outing. In a previous post, I explained that I can no longer remain silent while hundreds of teenagers kill themselves each year because they are gay and tens of thousands more are suicidally depressed. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide and gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth.

I believe that if these youths and their tormentors knew that their role models (athletes, actors and talk show hosts) were gay, it would go a long way to eradicating the homophobia and the shame. I especially believe that straight, progressive people like myself have an obligation to devote as much effort to stamping out homophobia as we did to combatting segregation and Apartheid in the 20th century. Where were most of the straight liberals, especially in California, when Prop 8 was marching to victory last year? Out knocking on doors for Obama, whose victory was a foregone conclusion. Brave.

There are many good reasons why gay people choose to remain in the closet (family, employers, religion) and I would never advocate outing the everyday citizen whose decision to come out is a very personal one. But when public figures choose to remain closeted, those who profit from their deception, especially those who go to absurd lengths to present a straight front, then I believe they are fair game.

There are those who will argue that my rationalization is simply an excuse to gain notoriety, even though I chose to disguise the names of the many gay Hollywood actors I discovered when I infiltrated Scientology a couple of years ago posing as a gay actor for my book Hollywood Undercover, despite the fact that naming names would have guaranteed an international bestseller. Proposition 8 changed everything. When I realized that the Mormons and other hatemongers were headed to victory while most of Hollywood’s closeted actors remained silent, I was shocked.

Whether or not people doubt my motives, I would like to share a very poignant comment I received this weekend from an IUC reader named Tom:

Great job Ian. I couldn’t agree with you anymore. If anyone recently saw Prayers for Bobby which was a true story, people would understand what you are saying. It happens everyday. I just wish I had gay heros to look up to when I was a kid. Movie stars and Baseball players were my outlet when I was a kid. If just one had stood up and said I am proud to be a gay man, my childhood may have been a little less difficult. I commend you and I hope what your doing convinces these celebs, especially Jake, how much they could help. There is certainly more to life than money. Powerful studios like Disney are the real bad guys. For sure the Homophobic money hungry men who run these studios could care less about kids like Bobby.”

That’s enough to convince me to keep up my mission, even if I have to spend every dime I have defending myself against lawsuits.

Peace out, Ian
  1. Keane said on February 9th, 2009 at 8:43 am

    I don’t think it was that brave of Angelina, she uses her bisexuality to make her seem more sexy/edgy, it’s just another marketing strategy. And men are turned on by it but know she’s still available to them – everyone’s a winner. So I don’t think she’s brave at all, just using her sexuality as another thing to make us think she’s more exciting and special than the average person. Portia de Rossi is much more brave and commendable in my view.

    Reply
  2. mike said on February 9th, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Great post Ian! the worst is when celebrities profit from a fraud while helping an outdated closeting system like Hollywood to continue.

    Reply
  3. leia said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Ok you “out” them and after???????
    Will Jake,Will,George, leo …. make excuse tomorrow saying ” oh I am so sorry , yes it’s true i am gay and I have to come out now for the honor of hundreds of teenagers who kill themselves each year because they are gay and tens of thousands more are suicidally depressed.” ???? NO

    Clooney loves rumours, Jake loves Toothy and basically majority of Hollywood uses gossip to stay in mags and blogs hits!
    Bad or good pub, what’s matter it’s people talk about you on.

    Reply
  4. chocked said on February 9th, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Is it true in one of your book , you claim Tom cruise and Kevin spacey are straight???????

    Reply
  5. section9 said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I’ve always been intrigued by the case of Condi Rice. While most members of the gay community insist that she is gay and closeted, as is her successor, Hillary Clinton, there may have been a compelling reason for her to remain in the closet: who she had to deal with. As a female secretary, she was dealing with some of the most mysoginistic cultures on Earth, societies that had yet to come to terms with the notion of a woman with power and responsibility. Throw in the deeply sexual connotations of lesbianism and that would complicate diplomatic efforts for the U.S. Government. The same holds true for Hillary Clinton, if your earlier reporting about her is correct.

    That said, your comments about role modeling for young gay men is clearly insightful. The lesbian community appears to be farther along, as younger lesbians can look up to the Ellens and Martinas of this world. Not so with young gays, who have an entire community in Hollywood that is frightened to come out.

    And for a serious reason: there is an entire list of A-list actors whose financial future, and that of the studios who have invested in them could be open to question if they come out. Will alone has made hundreds of millions for the stuidos. This kind of thing is not done lightly.

    Reply
  6. Moody Blue said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    That guy protests too much, with pathetically lame arguments. Does he even know that George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey (among many others) have all been speaking publicly against Prop 8? That’s more helpful than any wild “outing” campaign.

    Reply
  7. Goran said on February 9th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    @section9:

    Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton are lesbian? ROTFL! Gimme a break, will you? Why not the Virgin Mary? Oh, wait a minute… Marilyn Monroe was a lesbian too, right?

    Reply
  8. Kate said on February 9th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Ian, you can not be serious? You are paying homage to Angelina Jolie for her courage, what a load of crap. You of all people know that right now she has said that she has given UP women for Brad and her S&M when YOUR own sources have told you that she still is doing chicks, so what tell me is BRAVE about that She is the biggest FRAUD of them all. She wants it both ways. She ways to court her gay and lesbian fans, she wants to to have her Saint Angelina image for her huminitarian, for Colin Powell, for ,for General Pateus, for her ties to Clinton, to her political aspirations,her have her “I have only slept with 4 men, and 2 of them I married image” , “I have never slept with married men image” well someone is going to blow that image for her whether it is you or Mr. Brett. He tells a different story. How much courage does it take for one who is smacked out all the time and flying on highballs to admit they are sexing out with chicks and guys. She loves the attention. She sat right on the BBC and told a 55 year old man he needed more sex when she was in her mid 20’s, nothing embarrasses this girl, and she does it all for marketing. Courage has absolutely nothing to do with it. Please do not insult your readers like that. Keane is right. She uses it to suit her purpose. She had her interviews edited, so it read she gave up girls for Brad, when in fact what she said was, she does not have have for them “when he is around” Lets report the truth here. She has NOT given up girls, and yet SHE claims to the masses she HAS. So what does that make her IAN? A liar?

    It is all about image, money and power, and she and her partner are the worst offenders of them all. They donated $100000.00 to Prop 8, and yet LIE.

    JMO

    Reply
  9. Keane said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Goran – if you don’t know Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton are both gay then you really must have been living on Mars for the past decade or so? Remember what Bill said to Monica Lewinsky when she had “sexual relations” with him, that Hillary had had more women than he had. There’s has always been a marriage of political conveninece. And does Condi look like a heterosexual lady to you? And are you seriously asking whether MM was a lesbian? Haven’t you heard/read the interview with her shrink when she discusses having sex with Joan Crawford and how her drama teacher taught her to do it? From the horse’s mouth my friend! Plus her drama coach talked about their affair in her book and how she lost her to other women. This is the problem with the fact that the majority of Hollywood is closeted, straight people simply do not believe that there are so many gay people in the world and that we really aren’t any different from straight people. You would have no idea from looking at me or talking to me that I am gay but I hate to break it to you but lesbians look exactly the same as straight girls. I just think unless people in the public eye don’t start fessing up to their sexuality the world will still be full of hopelessly naive people like Goran!

    Reply
  10. Patricia said on February 9th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I think that exposing the Hollywood closeting system is what would make a difference. The idea that coming out would be career suicide for an actor has to be challenged. Hollywood is an industry that sells a dream, so it’s believed that the audience won’t be able to project their fantasies if they know the actor is gay. That is so narrow-minded and stupid. It would be a good idea for a documentary exposing the homophobic world of Hollywood, managers, studio executives, PR people, etc who pressures actors to stay in the closet and beard or they careers will be over. The reality behind the carefully orchestrated PR image should be exposed. Outing one or two actors won’t make the difference because the system will remain. Hollywood needs a charismatic gay actor (who is marketed as a sex symbol and with A-list potential) who is brave enough to be honest and come out and who has the personality to be up to the challenge to show everybody that it is possible to be gay and successful in movies. In the past, I thought Jake would be that man and make a difference. He chose the easy bearding PR path with one of the phoniest actresses ever (Reese) and he turned into an average tabloid product targeted for Middle America encouraging the same lie. Perhaps one actor from the new generation will make the difference. It’s incredible that in this age the words of Rock Hudson are still true: “In Hollywood, you can keep a mistress, or a boyfriend, maybe both. You can go gay, -bi, or pan-sexual. Just don’t tell anybody, and don’t get caught”.

    Reply
  11. Tina said on February 9th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I say out them all BUT ONLY AFTER gay and straight actors will have the same career opportunities in Hollywood.

    Reply
  12. Keane said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    The reason movie “stars” can’t be open about their sexuality, as opposed to movie “actors”, is because people watch them not to see what a great, convincing performance they deliver, but because they want to fuck them. That’s what Hollywood leads are, they’re people we project our fantasies on to, people that when we go home after watching in a film we imagine taking home with us. Film is a very sexual medium, its voyeurism. Some films are about great stories but others are just about watching people we fancy. Let’s face it, despite their recent awards nominations, neither Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie can act for shit, they’re sex symbols, nothing more. And so are/were Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, River Phoenix, Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johannson, Natalie Portman, the list goes on. Some of them are great actors yes, but our interest in them is first and foremost about how sexually attractive they are, and if they can act a bit as well then all well and good. This is the problem with movie stars coming out of the closet in Hollywood, it sort of disqualifies them from the job.

    Reply
  13. Lani said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    What I would like to know is, is Ted C still your friend because after outing all these people he will not have any blind items left to play with lol

    Reply
  14. Mel said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Fantasy is about imagination. It doesn’t matter what is the real sexual orientation of the actor.If they are sexy they are sexy, and the audience will be able to project their fantasies on them whatever their own orientation. Actually mainstream audiences are already lusting over gay movie stars without knowing it! What if someone tells them the truth, will they stop lusting over someone afterwards? If they are good actors and sexy in the closet, they are the same good actors with the same sexiness out. The issue is that as soon as a gay actor is out, he would be stereotyped by Hollywood on only getting gay roles. That is really unfair. An actors’ sexuality wouldn’t be a factor to limit his opportunities to play all type of roles. It’s a barrier that has to be broken. A few years ago nobody would have believed that a black actor would be a big box office movie star, now there are actors like Will Smith or Denzel Washington among many others to prove it is possible. What comes next is breaking the sexual orientation barrier.

    Reply
  15. Keane said on February 9th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Mel that sounds lovely but I’m afraid nothing could be further from the truth. If you’ve ever broken it to someone that their favourite male star may be bisexual or gay then you will have found that their reaction is generally horror and outrage. People fall a little bit in love with certain stars from a distance and have romantic feelings towards them, if you tell them they like to get down and dirty with members of the same sex the illusion and their fantasy is broken. Whether we like it or not I’m afraid it does make a huge difference to a star’s popularity if they are gay or straight and it is far from just cowardly studio bosses refusing to give gay people leading roles that’s the problem. People are usually more interested in a star’s personal life than they are in the performances they deliver in their films and it is for one reason and one reason alone, fantasy projection. Are you really telling me that the legions of young (and old) fans who worship the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Jonny Depp, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford and Paul Newman would still be in love with them if they knew they were gay? Do you think Rupert Everett comands the kind of adoration that his straight or straight-acting counterparts do? We all know he doesn’t because women know he wouldn’t be interested and that’s the end of that. Sorry but in Hollywood sex is and always has been everything.

    Reply
  16. Kate said on February 9th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    @Keane:
    I don’t know , most are aware that Leo is bisexual, that is hardly secret. Same with Tom Cruise. Now Brad has built such a fake persona of the family man around him that is what might be hard for some to buy , but prior to that, just look at his Rolling Stone photo shoots and tell me that people did not think he just might be ..I tell you what makes it hard to accept, is if they are ugly, truth in fact, as bad as that sounds, no one wants to watch to ugly people get it on. or old or out of shape. Pretty people can get away with almost anything.

    Reply
  17. Goran said on February 9th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    @Keane:

    “And does Condi look like a heterosexual lady to you?”

    Truth be told, she never looked like a “lady” to me. She’s a hard-headed, harmful politician, that’s all. I have no fantasies about her sexuality, sorry.

    “And are you seriously asking whether MM was a lesbian? Haven’t you heard/read the interview with her shrink when she discusses having sex with Joan Crawford and how her drama teacher taught her to do it? From the horse’s mouth my friend! Plus her drama coach talked about their affair in her book and how she lost her to other women. This is the problem with the fact that the majority of Hollywood is closeted, straight people simply do not believe that there are so many gay people in the world and that we really aren’t any different from straight people.”

    Don’t patronise me, honey, please. I have gay and transsexual friends, but I am lucky enough to live in a more tolerant society than yours apparently, where they can be open about their sexuality without feeling compelled to turn into aggressive zealots, contrary to the American LGBTs (well, some of them, at least).

    “I just think unless people in the public eye don’t start fessing up to their sexuality the world will still be full of hopelessly naive people like Goran!”

    But they do, dear, they do. Look at Ian McKellen, Rupert Everett, Neil Patrick Harris, Clay Aiken, Lance Bass, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, etc. However, I hope you’re not so delusional as to expect all the most bankable Hollywood actors to “come out” just to make the gays feel better. Let’s face it: most of them are heterosexual despite all those well-orchestrated rumours. The gay press and the professional gay gossipists are very active, and then there are lots of people like you who think they have a mission to spread that touching wishful thinking. Good for you, but you should be aware it’s a double edged sword. Sensible people don’t take you very seriously, as a matter of fact. I’m afraid your proselytising might turn out to be counter-productive for your cause. Just a friend’s advice.

    Reply
  18. Keane said on February 9th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Goran that was priceless, thanks so much for the laugh!!! Just to quickly point out you are most certainly not my friend, I am not your “dear” and I have no interest in or desire to take advice from someone who is clueless enough to be surprised about the sexuality of Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice and MM when they have been very well documented. Here’s my advice for you instead sweetiepie, take your blinkers off, open your mind a little and realise that most of what we know about people in the public eye is tightly controlled by their extremely powerful PR to sell whatever product they’re pushing, the truth is a very different story indeed. Not sure where you think I live but my town is probably one of the most forward-thinking and tolerant places there is in the world (that’s London FYI) so your theory about living in a more tolerant society than mine is utter shite. What you said just highlights the ignorant view of some straight people who believe that all people who are gay are happy and comfortable enough to be open about their sexuality. Thereality is this is far from the truth and there are far more gay people within your circle of acquaintance than you would necessarily know, either because they don’t want to admit it to you or because they don’t want to admit it to themselves. To say you live in a society where everyone can be who they are is I’m afraid your delusion. And if you think that paltry handful of openly gay people in the media industry you mention are in anyway representative of the actual number I can only assume you have about as much contact with the worlds of theatre/television/film/music as your average suburban housewife. I also loved your comment that you classfiy yourself as part of the “sensible” majority of the world who refuse to believe that a high proportion of people in the entertainment industry are gay (poofs in the theatre – who’d have thought it?!), its the kind of thing my mum would say! Yes Goran dear, you are so sensible you have failed to see what has been widely reported and has been staring you in the face for a very long time, how goddam sensible of you! And let me just make one more thing clear, just because I’m gay and want the world to be a place where its as accepted to be gay as it is straight does not mean I have a mission or a cause (another misassumption of yours). I simply have a desire to see change. So all in all your post was a laugh a minute, thanks awfully Goran! Keep up the good work believing the whole world is straight, society is fair, that I’m a crazy gay on a mission to out the world and that I would give a flying fuck about you or your pathetic friendly advice. I tend to take advice from people who’ve exhibited a small degree of insight into the world and wisdom to tell the truth, and in you Goran I’m afraid that is sadly absent.

    Reply
  19. Fresh said on February 9th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    oh dear.

    I love the L Word.

    Reply
  20. Goran said on February 10th, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Ha, as a matter of fact I was prepared to that very predictable rant. You have all the answers, haven’t you, and of course I am the delusional one. Well, thank you for the amusing caricatured projection you treated me with, must have taken some time, I’m flattered. But don’t insist, I won’t tell you the heavenly place I come from, ’cause we don’t take the likes of you here… unless they accept to question their own narrow system of thinking, which I’m afraid is not going to happen to you any time soon. One thing, though: from where I stand, the U.K. is far from being “one of the most forward-thinking and tolerant places there is in the world”. And something else: I am working in the arts actually. Anyway, my LGBT friends and I send you all the best. Take care.

    Reply
  21. SadieS said on February 10th, 2009 at 6:13 am

    > Are you really telling me that the legions of young (and old) fans who worship the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Jonny Depp, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford and Paul Newman would still be in love with them if they knew they were gay? >

    Ahem… Keane, are you insinuating that all those actors are or were actually gay?! LOL.

    Reply
  22. Moody Blue said on February 10th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Sorry, Mr. Ian Halperin (or whoever you are) but I don’t think “outing” harmless celebrities – rightly or wrongly – will do any good to the gays in their daily life. The right thing to do, actually, is to educate the people so that they don’t care about those things. But a little bird tells me you’re just using that sudden “outing vocation” for self-advertising. In case you don’t know, Prop 8 was 3 months ago. Where were you when the stars I mentioned in my previous post were speaking out against it, eh?

    Reply
  23. Suzy Q said on February 10th, 2009 at 10:17 am

    @Keane:

    From NNDB:

    [Monroe describes a sexual liaison with Joan Crawford in audio recordings of her psychiatry sessions, released in 2006: "Next time I saw Crawford, she said she wanted another round. I told her straight-out I didn't much enjoy doing it with a woman. After I turned her down, she became spiteful."]

    In my understanding, Marilyn only had one homosexual experience in her life, like many of us, and obviously it was not her cup of tea. So she was definitely not a lesbian at heart. But if believing it makes you happy, I personally don’t mind. Everyone is entitled to their fantasies. :-)

    Reply
  24. Keane said on March 28th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    @ Suzy Q – oh Suzy Q, how interesting to see you here and talking to me again, what a surprise. Thanks for your authoritative views on MM but as someone who has done a fair bit of reading on the subject I can assure you that Joan Crawford was far from MM’s one and only lesbian experience. In fact, if you read the transcript from which you are quoting in its entirety, MM discusses how she learnt her oral sex technique from her acting coach (female). And if you read up a bit more, you will find that her acting coach has talked about her experiences with MM and how she later “lost her to other women”. So no she didn’t just have one sexual experience with women, you need to check your facts a bit first before you act so smugly knowledgable about something you clearly know anything about. And no, I don’t think she was a lesbian, Goran did. She was, like a lot of HW types and people in general, bisexual. So no thinking MM was a lesbian does not make me “happy” because a) I don’t think that and b) why would I care what a long dead celebrity did and with whom? Keep trying though Suzy Q, you’ll make a good point one day.

    Reply
  25. Aleisha said on January 28th, 2010 at 7:00 am

    That’s probably a good reason to out people – to show those who are gay that it’s okay….

    My reasons for wanting to know who is gay is probably less noble – I want the truth, I hate lies and I find it really boring that Hollywood needs to make believe so much that people who are gay cant be open about it… sooo, I study the body language, the facial expressions and had friends in the LA social scene who knew who was doing who, which was very educational to say the least…. lol

    Reply
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