Mary Cheney Surfaces: The Veep's Notoriously Silent Gay Daughter Takes a Job at AOL

Article excerpt

She's helped a beer behemoth repair its image, directed operations in her Republican father's reelection campaign office, inked a million-dollar book deal, and remained steadfastly invisible during a national tempest over same-sex marriage. Now Mary Cheney will be working for America Online, a company with as controversial a history on gay rights as her own [see sidebar].

The gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney has joined AOL's Audience Business, a marketing division that promotes Web offerings such as MapQuest.com and MovieFone.com. She will assist in managing advertising, e-commerce, and search engines.

"AOL is thrilled that Mary Cheney is joining us in a position where she'll be reporting to [Vice Chairman] Ted Leonsis," spokes man Nicholas Graham told The Advocate. Cheney herself, who has been turning away the magazine's interview requests for years, was not available for comment.

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, a public relations and marketing company specializing in corporate issues, said Cheney is certainly qualified for the position and doubts her family connections had anything to do with her hiring. "I think it's very risky to hire a family member and assume you'll get access [to the family]," Witeck said.

AOL's hiring of the 36-year-old Cheney comes as rumors swirl that corporate parent Time Warner is looking to unload the company, which plans to lay off more than 700 employees.

But working for an employer under a cloud is familiar territory for Cheney. During much of the 1990s she was a gay and lesbian outreach coordinator for Coors Brewing Co., once boycotted by gays because of the Coors family's multimillion-dollar support for conservative, often antigay, activism. …

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