The gay denial is turning into quite the art form.
Let’s watch its progression down the years.
Exhibit 1: Sue-someone’s-pants-off denial. Calling a film star gay can be risky business. Tom Cruise launched two lawsuits in the space of one month back in 2001 to squelch those pesky gay rumours. The first was after an “erotic wrestler” told a French magazine he was the reason for Cruise’s split from Nicole Kidman. “[Cruise] is a great respecter of homosexual rights, but he’s not gay, and he’s ready to prove this in court,” his lawyer said. “Tom is tired of it and it hurts his children. It’s something that will be there forever. And damn it, he’s going to stop it.” He won a $10 million judgement there.
The second one came after Mike Davis, an LA-based publisher said he had video evidence of another of Cruise’s gay affairs. Wham! Cruise sued Davis for $100 million. Davis retracted the story saying Cruise is “not, and never has been, homosexual and has never had a homosexual affair.” No word on what happened to that video.
The other poster boy in this category is of course, Cruise’s fellow Scientologist John Travolta. He threatened to sue Gawker because it published steamy details about Travolta’s alleged exploits in a Los Angeles men’s sauna. Even worse for poor Travolta, the interior designer who spilled the beans claimed that he was a bottom.
Exhibit 2: Nothing-wrong-with-being-gay-but-I-am- not denial. Pop singer Joe Jonas has been unable to shake off those gay rumours despite high-profile relationships with famous women like Taylor Swift, Ashley Greene, and Demi Lovato. Or perhaps it’s because of those high-profile PR-friendly link ups. (It sounds a little too studio-managed Rock Hudson-ish.) “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. But I’m not,” Jonas told Details magazine. Oprah has had to battle the lesbian rumour for years. “I’m not even kind of a lesbian,” she told Barbra Walters. “And the reason why the rumour irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I’m lying. That’s No. 1, No. 2… why would you want to hide it?”
(Note that Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2 are not mutually exclusive. They can often be combined into a single category. For example, Hulk Hogan, big boy of wrestling was accused by his ex-wife, of bedroom romps with his singlet buddy Brutus Beefcake. Yes, Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake – now THAT’s erotic wrestling! Hogan sued his ex-wife AND said “If I was a homosexual I would embrace it. It’s just so crazy to hear, so I have a real problem with it.”)
The problem with Exhibits 1 and 2 in our more politically correct times is that the more you protest there is nothing wrong with it, it implies that is something wrong with it, that being called gay is lawsuit-worthy. But now comes George Clooney with Exhibit 3. Watch and learn.
Exhibit 3: The non-denial denial. First there was a website that proclaimed Clooney was “gay, gay, gay.” Clooney’s response: “No, I’m gay, gay. The third gay – that pushing it.” Now gay magazine The Advocate has asked him about it again. “I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing,” he told the magazine. “My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay?” At no point does he come out and say he is not gay. Neither does he say he is. Or might possibly be. Well played, sir. A master stroke, indeed.
Of course this epidemic of denials is the flip side of the other trend – this epidemic of gay-spotting in show biz, our endless fascination with bedroom lives of our celebrities. Check the National Enquirer’s cover story about Who’s Gay in Hollywood here. Yes, yes, everyone is in there from Zac Efron (too much makeup) to Hugh Jackman (he loves to sing and dance). Whether it’s Hollywood or Bollywood, everyone is gay. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who is getting it on with [Fill-in-the-blank] Khan. It could be another star, a director, secretary or a physical trainer. Ask your source how he knows all this, and he will roll his eyes and say “But darling, everyone knows.”
It’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to have bona fide sexual organs to have your sexual orientation questioned in the media.
Tinky Winky, that purple Teletubby with a triangular aerial on his head, and a handbag came under attack for being gay. The Rev. Jerry Falwell, astute gay-spotter that he is, saw a clear gay agenda there. “He is purple – the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”
Sesame Street Muppets Ernie and Bert have been battling those gay rumours for years.
They are roommates. They sing silly songs. One is obsessed about his rubber ducky.
Gay. Gay. Gay.
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