Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Cruising out of Control

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Cruising out of Control

Article excerpt

Recently I appeared on Bill O'Reilly's cable talk show to talk about a piece I'd published in this magazine on gay celebrities and why they have an obligation to come out of the closet. O'Reilly and I disagreed amicably enough. But after the show, I felt the inevitable esprit de l'escalier and kept kicking myself for not making the retorts that came to me in droves after the fact. There was one in particular that, in light of an event since the show, I most wish I'd made.

The event is this: Tom Cruise has filed a defamation lawsuit in Los Angeles superior court against porn star Chad Slater, also known as Kyle Bradford, who, according to a French magazine, claimed to have had an ongoing sexual affair with Cruise. Seeking $100 million in damages, Cruise's lawyers said that "because Cruise is a motion picture actor, he is dependent upon worldwide public acceptance of his films. Losing the respect and enthusiasm of a substantial segment of the movie-going public would cost Cruise very substantial sums. While the plaintiff believes in the right of others to follow their own sexual preference, vast numbers of the public throughout the world do not share that view and, believing that he had a homosexual affair and did so during his marriage, they will be less inclined to patronize Cruise's films, particularly since he tends to play parts calling for heterosexual romance and action adventure."

Now, this argument sounds strikingly similar to one O'Reilly made to me on his show. "I know five big, big-name actors," he said, "who get romantic leading roles. I don't know them personally, but I'm pretty sure they're homosexuals--just based on eyewitness things that have come to me over the years. If any of these five men came out and said they were gay, those roles would dry up immediately ... because Americans are judgmental, and the majority of American people, when they're seeing some guy kiss some girl or in bed with some girl, they want to believe that it's true. It's part of the fantasy. And if the guy is going out with somebody named Lenny, it ain't going to be the same."

At the time, I said that this was precisely the reason gay celebrities should come out. …

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