Archives for posts with tag: Nick Denton

 

Between oysters and pizza at Gjelina and sultry nights in Hollywood the whole gay world went cray cray…

In less time than it takes to come up on Bath Salts the sex lives of some very powerful gay men in Hollywood changed dramatically.   The unfettered and often illegal activities those Peter Pan like older men were so used to getting away with… ceased… forever.

During the week hundreds of lurid photographs surfaced of a puffy faced Bryan Singer and his friends holding onto young boys at restaurants, in private jets and at clubs.  I wagged my finger at my lap top.  I told you so!  It was only a matter of time before Bryan’s life exploded like a ripe zit all over the internet.  Times they are a’changing.

Written by outsiders the Singer scenario seems absurd.  Bryan’s friends have names like second rate gangsters or third rate porn stars: Wayne Castro and Tommy Johnson.  Brazenly, flagrantly, indiscreetly photographing themselves with boys and more boys… willow thin, pale and hairless.   Funneling boys into Bryan’s world: club promoters, model agents and studio executives.

The scale of Bryan’s boy network, his boy compulsion can only be guessed at.  It is without doubt an addiction over which he is powerless… his life unmanageable.  Yet, to many… perfectly normal.   An addict amongst addicts.

He says, “I don’t see the point of knowing anyone unless I’m going to have sex with them.”

After the premiere I am invited to the Ritz in New York.  When I get to the room they’re there… it’s one of those parties… the men and the boys.  Snorting coke, drinking beer, young boys sitting on the laps of those revolting, sour men.  It makes me sad and angry.  When I write about their party the following day they are outraged, they tell me to take it down…  I mean, I’ve been to straight parties and met trafficked eastern european girls… hookers.  I feel the same sadness.  They are a long way from home.  They sit with me until they realize I am useless to them.

A young, straight actor/waiter tells me proudly that Bryan takes him to an apartment, gives him drugs and alcohol, hires a pretty girl prostitute and throws himself into the mix as the boy fucks the girl.   The boy tells me that Bryan tapes the encounter.  He has a big smile on his face, this was the role of his lifetime.

By mid week the Singer scandal gains traction and the true colors of the gay community reveal themselves… unsurprisingly they were not the colors of the rainbow flag.

The first reaction from the gays, found in anonymous comments all over the gay online press, was more favorable toward Bryan rather than Michael Egan his accuser.  The gays huffed and puffed about Egan having taken so long to come forward, that he must have known what he was getting himself into and generally blaming the victim for his pubescent naivety.

My Bryan Singer blog piece went viral and Egan (who alleges rape) named three other predators… one of them being Garth Ancier who was once a Facebook friend.  During the press conference Egan’s mother sits by her terrified son.  She is crying.  She blames herself for not doing more.

I realized that even though ‘everyone knew’ about Bryan and his hedonistic mates indulging in the joys of trafficking young flesh… it turns out that this lifestyle is in fact a fantasy that many Hollywood gays aspire.

They want what Bryan has: the parties, the money, the drugs and the sex.  Bryan, they concluded, was living the gay dream.

I spoke with Lucas John who writes the well read blog WeHo Confidential.

Even though Lucas has written terrible things about the gays and their behavior in his blog (he boasts that the gay mafia live in fear of photographs of their parties ending up on his site) he reassured me that WeHo Confidential wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, it was ‘a game’.  Lucas was shocked that anyone was taking Michael Egan seriously, that the wider world might now have a negative opinion about his ‘friend Bryan’.

Lucas vehemently stands by Bryan Singer.  This strident support is not unusual amongst the gays.  The support Bryan receives from the gays sounds like the support Sandusky received initially from Penn State, the support pedophile priests garnered from their reeling congregation and the Vatican.

The opinion from the ‘wider world’, as it turns out, is mixed.  Many news outlets are covering the story tentatively.  Why the caution?   They don’t want to be accused of homophobia.  They don’t want to get it wrong or upset their homo-collegues.   Gay news proprietors like Nick Denton at Gawker are trying to treat this gay tabloid story as they would a straight tabloid story but their readers think him a traitor.

LA gays are shocked and confused that their sex conduct could be considered somehow… wrong.  Those rules, they squealed, don’t apply to us.  Fucking a persistent, consenting 15-year-old wasn’t pedophilia, they scoffed.   It’s fun!  Don’t shame us!  Without a hint of irony they argue that the victim ‘could have said no’.

The victim could have said no.  The predator could have said no?  No.  The logic of the gays.

The truth is:  many gay men willingly had sex with older men (in lieu of our peers) when we were teenagers.  We liked it, we wanted more.  Most gays can’t understand why Egan is complaining.  After all, he got to hang with celebrities, taken on a private jet and all the drugs he could manage.

Gay men can’t get their heads around the reality of man/man rape.  It’s a total mystery to them.  Rape is what happens in porn films or to women or closeted straight men who can’t face the truth about their first anal experience.

Some gay men can’t make a connection between the girl held down and raped by the lacrosse team and the boy held under water and raped by the studio executive and his friends. There is a disconnect for most gay men between these two narratives.

The gays operated, until very recently, in the shadow of heterosexual society, where they evolved their own rules, their own standards, their own language.  The gays must now learn to live in the light and dance to a different tune.  For some this is a hard transition.  Facing the responsibilities equality affords us.  Like willful children holding onto old ideas.

Gays: It’s time to grow the fuck up.

On Wednesday I was hounded by Buzzfeed to tell what I knew about Bryan but generally I kept myself to my blog.  The comments section on Gawker lit up with the usual kind of screaming homo hate I have long been used to.  They claimed I was a hypocrite for ‘discrediting’ Bryan when I have a hairy 25-year-old boyfriend.  The difference?  My boyfriend and I have monogamous, consensual sex and have done for the past 8 months.

In other news, my old buddy the teen loving Dustin Lance Black hit the headlines again this week because his former college in Pasadena thought it inappropriate for an ex student who took pictures of himself having anal sex (with a porn star without a condom) lecture their students.  Black cries Homophobia! and Shame!   Yet another entitled white gay men who lives beyond the consequences of his actions.

I mentioned this to one of the bone fide journalists I met with this week.  I explained what I had seen, innocent boys being trafficked from model agencies in New York to the hot tubs of Hollywood.  He asked why I wanted to get involved… why I wanted to share my own story of gay Hollywood, knowing how unpopular my opinions are to my fellow tribe members.

I told him this:

When I was 8 years old I ran away from home, away from my abusive father.  When the police caught up with me I told them what was going on.  They took me home and told me if I ever repeated those allegations against my powerful and well-respected father they would fall on me ‘like a ton of bricks’.  This terrible injustice shaped my view of authority.  After the policeman left I suffered 6 more years of merciless brutality… in silence.

The gays have no sympathy for the abused because they have always felt abused,  they say: Suck it up, stop complaining, boo hoo.  They have learned to forget their miserable past, their bullies, their abusive parents.  They have learned to ignore what I refuse to ignore… that things must change… and the only way that is going to happen?

We talk about the abuse/rape/pedophilia… we go on talking about it until it stops.

Until we can learn to say no without shame.

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The small screening room on Greenwich Street in Tribeca was packed with worthy NYC based gays.  Sweaty, moustached Gawker hacks.  Vanity Fair worthies.  Fledgling, GQ wet mouthed boys.

A fairly obvious NYC taste making, career determining gay crowd skillfully imported for the screening by Adam Kersh, the eager beaver publicist.

I arrived with Benoit Denizet-Lewis and the Little Dog stuffed into his traveling bag.

I had heard ahead of time that The Weekend by Andrew Haigh was ‘severely flawed’, so not to expect much.

Immediately it started I was drawn (homesick) into the spare, urban, British landscape.  Set in the east Midland town of Nottingham.  The neo-brutalist, ex-council estate provides a gritty working class back drop for this very British film.

The concrete tower blocks and congested ring roads determining the drama as much as the delicious dialogue.

It’s Friday night and Glen and Russell have met for the first time.   They do what so many of us do…pack an entire relationship into one weekend.

Russell, late twenties, is a charming, meticulous man who likes ‘old things’.  He never came out to his parents because, as a foster kid, he never knew them.  Glen, a more experienced, angry man (also in his late twenties) has been severely hurt by a lying, cheating ex lover and is unwilling to let himself believe that he can love again.

They burn through the weekend with passion, drugs and frantic conversation.  They fuck and suck and talk and snort and smoke and gaze.  Like so many gay men they are just trying to work it all out, what it means, where they are going…who they are.  In less adept hands these long, rambling conversations might have seemed pretentious, stilted or boring but Andrew Haigh is a skilled film maker and there is a palpable tension throughout the film that made it compelling and at times…glorious.

Americans have exalted the performances which are indeed pitch perfect but as a Brit I really wouldn’t expect anything less.  These actors are trained at what they do.  It never amazes me when I see a good British actor do his thing.  I expect it.

Americans slaver over the ‘realism’.

When the film ended Benoit introduced me to the nay sayer.

“You thought the film was bad?’  I asked him.  He nodded.  “You’re an idiot.”  I snapped.

The Weekend is an elegant, charming portrait of something many of us do and few of us bother remembering let alone shaping into a work of art.  The film could be defined by the small amount of money that made it.  Static shots, minimal coverage etc. but it shouldn’t.

If you have the inclination, please see this film.

We headed to Spring Street where the after party took place at ex pat Nick Denton‘s (owns Gawker) large Soho loft.

The gays settled into their cocktails.  They talked about the film, were amused by the differences.  “Nobody ever made me a cup of coffee and brought it to me in bed.”  one sneered.

I thought to myself, how sad, I love a cup of tea or coffee in bed after a long night of passion.

The gays noticed the instant coffee.  I noticed the saucers.

They didn’t understand British drug nuance.  Bowl verses rolled joint.  They were a little taken aback by the real bodies of two ordinary men who obviously don’t spend hours in the gym.

Nobody really talked about the conversations these men were having.

I met the director Andrew Haigh who knew my films and was very sweet to me.

We talked about The Film Council, BAFTA etc.  It is a delight to see him doing so well.  Being so well received.  We talked about how they gush over you when you first arrive in America.  Their compliments seem disingenuous.

We laughed that at home in Britain both of us were told that our work wouldn’t ‘mean anything’ to anyone other than ourselves. That’s what they say at home…then suddenly you’re at Sundance and they change their minds.

We both won the Outfest audience award.

I was proud of him.  I know what it feels like to make that first film.  To have it well received.

There is a moment when the two men, in bed facing one another, role-play a ‘coming out’ for Russell who doesn’t have parents.  It is touching and beautiful.

After the after party I took the Little Dog home and then uncharacteristically decided to go out again.

I hung at The Standard with Benoit’s gorgeous friends and drank expensive diet coke.  It was total freak night at The Bain.  Like a Nina Hagen tribute party.   I flirted with the beautiful blond, met a photographer I thought I knew.  Two black boys came up to me and asked if I was ‘Duncan from the ‘A’ List New York’.

The view over Manhattan from that roof top is sublime.

I took a cab home at 2am.

I was glad that I had met Russell and Glen.

I had identified with both of them and had healed for doing so.

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