Showing posts with label Gay Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Media. Show all posts

September 13, 2018

Ellen Meets Young Valedictorian Who Got Kicked Out by Parents for Being Gay

The gay valedictorian who was rejected by his parents for being gay made an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show on Monday (10 September).

18-year-old Seth Owen spoke to the Emmy Award winning host about how his parents discovered his sexuality, and subsequently sent him to a gay conversion therapy program.
“In my sophomore year of high school, my dad went through my phone and found out that I was gay,” he told Ellen.
“So they sent me to conversion therapy, and then after a few months, that ended.
“The dangerous part about that is, as a patient, I believed that this health care professional was doing what was best for me.”
After asking his parents if he could stop attending the teachings of their anti-gay church, Owen was forced to leave home and stay with his best friend’s parents.
A few weeks later, after Owen received the financial aid package for his dream university, Georgetown, he came to the realisation that he couldn’t afford to attend.
His former teacher and mentor, Jane Martin, then set up a GoFundMe page to raise money so he could attend college.
The story unexpectedly went viral and his fundraising total skyrocketed to $140,000.
Owen revealed to Ellen that he was going to use the remaining GoFundMe money to create a scholarship for other students.
After hearing his story, Ellen surprised Owen with a contribution of $20,000.
“We’re partnering again this year with Cheerios to encourage one million acts of good, and they’re inspired by young people like you,” she told Owen. “They’re going to help you start your scholarship with this check for $25,000.
Watch the moment below.

Published on Sep 11, 2018
Ellen sat down with Florida teen Seth Owen, who after coming out to his parents was kicked out of his home earlier this year after refusing to attend church. As a high school senior, he was named valedictorian and accepted to Georgetown, but his parents are no longer willing to pay his tuition. Friends and family started a GoFundMe for Seth to help him pay for college, and now he wants to help other LGBT kids in similar situations.

December 21, 2017

New LGBT Radio Station Launches in Tunisia Despite Violence

Source: Facebook/Shamsrad

A recently launched Tunisian LGBT radio station is making global headlines.
Named Radio Shams, the network hopes to deal with opposition to LGBT rights in the country by creating a platform for their stories to be told. 
In statements he made earlier this month, Shams Radio's director general Bouhdid Belhadi said
"We are going to touch, through the subjects we treat, everyone living on Tunisian soil. Our editorial policy is to talk about rights and individual freedoms in general, but the focus will be on the LGBT community."
He also explained that the programs aired aim to raise awareness about major issues faced by LGBT people in the country. 
According to Pink News, since the station launched, its owners and managers have received numerous threats from people who oppose its vision.

[Tunisia recently ended forced anal examinations of LGBTQ community members] 

The launch of Radio Shams comes months after Tunisia’s Human Rights Minister, Mehdi Ben Gharbia, announced that members of the country's LGBT community will no longer be subjected to forced anal examinations.
The practice has been defined as torture by activists and numerous international organizations.
At the time it was announced, rights group Amnesty International welcomed the decision but also said it does not go nearly far enough. Sodomy is still punishable by up to three years in jail in Tunisia, and LGBTQ individuals in the country face arrest and significant discrimination.
"Amnesty International welcomed today Tunisia’s acceptance of two recommendations to immediately cease the practice of forced anal examinations and ensure the protection of LGBTQI persons from all forms of stigmatization, discrimination, and violence," the rights group said.
"However the organization deeply regrets Tunisia’s rejection of 14 recommendations relating the decriminalization of same-sex relations by repealing article 230 of the Penal Code," it added. 
Even though members of the LGBTQ community continue to face difficulties in countries across the Arab world, dialogue and awareness surrounding the oppression they face have been gaining greater salience over the past few years. 
Activists, artists and organizations have been challenging traditional societal taboos surrounding sexual identity.
In June, a week-long Pride event was held in Lebanon, drawing wide local and international media attention. 
While this was not the first Pride event to ever be held in the country, to many, it signaled a growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community. 
Similarly, the massive popularity throughout the Arab world of the Lebanese indie band Mashrou' Leila, which sings about LGBTQ themes and has an openly gay lead singer, can be interpreted as a sign that Arab youth are more accepting of a nuanced view of gender and sexual identity.
In the UAE, gender reassignment surgery was legalized in 2016, although the legality of changing one's gender on official documents is still unclear. 
From Iraq to Jordan and Tunisia, LGBTQ groups and organizations are raising awareness and challenging societal misconceptions.

November 13, 2017

Co Founder of Trailblazing Gaydar Dead at 51

Henry Badenhorst, 

 co-founder of the trailblazing Gaydar dating website, has died after falling from a tower block in his native South Africa, close friends of the businessman have confirmed to BuzzFeed News. He was 51.
The cause of death has not yet been formally established, but it is understood he killed himself.
Along with Gary Frisch, his business and romantic partner, Badenhorst founded Gaydar in November 1999. Frisch died in 2007 – he also fell to his death from the balcony of a building.
The couple dreamed up the website after a gay friend of theirs had been complaining about how hard it was to find a boyfriend on existing online dating sites.
Rob Curtis, the current managing director of Gaydar, told BuzzFeed News: “Eighteen years ago, Henry and his partner Gary revolutionized the way that gay men meet, and in doing so created a safer environment for LGBT people everywhere. The Gaydar team is shocked and saddened to hear of Henry’s passing and send our sincerest sympathies to Henry’s friends and family.”
Frisch and Badenhorst had come to London two years earlier to set up a revenue management company called QSoft. But it was Gaydar that made their name and their fortune and forged incalculable connections between gay, bi, and queer men.
Although a few dating sites such as had begun to capitalize on both the new opportunities the burgeoning internet offered and the need among gay and bisexual men to connect, Gaydar revolutionized the way it was done.
Badenhorst and Frisch introduced live chatrooms, sophisticated search facilities – including location searches enabling you to find the nearest gay men looking to meet – and, perhaps most important, profile pages. These provided numerous photographic features and endless capacity for people to convey who they were, what they liked and what they were looking for. It changed everything.
Gaydar enabled gay men in the closet, in the countryside, in countries where it was illegal, and in open, metropolitan environments alike to meet. It influenced a slew of copycat heterosexual sites and paved the way for mobile phone dating apps such as Grindr, Scruff, and Tinder that are today enjoyed by tens of millions. 
At the peak of Gaydar’s success in the late '00s, it had more than 5 million subscribers. The Independent on Sunday named Badenhorst the fourth most influential LGBT person in Britain in 2007. And despite becoming increasingly known as a hook-up tool – as well as a dating site – it broke into mainstream culture, attracting blue chip advertisers from Ford to American Express, such as the draw of the so-called pink pound.
It had its detractors – those who said it was responsible for encouraging a harsh shopping-list approach to sex. Matthew Todd, the author and former editor of Attitude magazine, wrote a darkly satirical hit play, Blowing Whistles, inspired by the new culture born of Gaydar. Various tabloid stories also erupted from the site: MP Mark Oaten met a male prostitute on the site; Boy George met the model he was later imprisoned for chaining up against his will; Chris Bryant MP used the site replete with a picture of himself in his underwear.
But Badenhorst remained proud of his accomplishment. He also expanded the empire, launching Gaydar radio, bringing in over a million daily listeners; Gaydar Girls, a mirror version of the site for lesbian and bisexual women; and the Lo-Profile bar, which closed in 2013, shortly after the radio station. He sold the rest of the company later that year.
Widely acknowledged as a sensitive, sweet-natured man, Badenhorst was in his understated way a quiet revolutionary – a visionary for many. Despite earning millions from his venture, his demeanor was far from the flash entrepreneur one might expect. Twinkly green eyes, a soft voice, and a shy smile greeted those he met.
Badenhorst described the loss of Frisch as the worst day of his life, and according to friends he never fully recovered from it.
Growing up in a conservative, suburban, religious Afrikaans household in Johannesburg, Badenhorst could not have dreamed of what he would later create.
He told me in 2009 while I was interviewing him for the Observer: “When I was a teenager I knew I was gay but I thought I was the only one, but these days boys go online and see there are plenty of gay men.” He also could not grasp the multitude of connections – from fleeting trysts to long-term relationships – he had facilitated: “It’s only when you meet people and they tell you how it’s affected their lives that you go back and think, ‘This is what I’ve done.’”
If anything, this – preventing millions from believing themselves to be alone – is the legacy Badenhorst leaves behind. One of his friends, who did not want to be named in this article, noted the terrible irony of this: that the man responsible for bringing so many together could have left the world so alone. The friend also made clear that he did not want the news of Badenhorst’s death to be broken by anyone outside of the LGBT press after the salacious way in which various tabloid newspapers had treated Frisch’s death a decade ago. He said Badenhorst had been suffering from depression.
A local media report yesterday described the shock of witnesses who saw a 51-year-old man falling from the 23rd floor of the Michaelangelo Towers, a hotel building in Sandton, Johannesburg, at which an array of leading public figures have stayed including US president Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. A close friend of the Gaydar cofounder confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the man who fell was Badenhorst. He is survived by his siblings and parents.

This page is from BuzzFeed and written by
Patrick Strudwick
Patrick Strudwick

August 16, 2017

There is Love in India's New and Only LGBT Radio Station

   Outspoken Indian gay rights activist Harish Iyer is the host of ‘Gaydio’, the first radio show dedicated to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in India. — Thomson Reuters Foundation pic and adamfoxie*blog Int bottom Pic

In MUMBAI,Outspoken Indian gay rights activist Harish Iyer is used to fighting for equal rights but over the last month he has turned into a messenger of love.
He is the host of “Gaydio”, the first radio show dedicated to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in India, where homosexuality is a taboo and gay sex can be punished with up to 10 years in jail.
“As an activist, it is in my DNA to stand up for a cause,” Iyer, 38, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“You hear heart-warming love stories during your activism, but you are busy being the saviour. But on this show, I look at the softer side.”
India’s penal code bans “sex against the order of nature”, which is widely interpreted as homosexual sex, and transgender people face widespread discrimination even though the Supreme Court has enshrined a person’s right to identify as transgender.
The weekly show on commercial radio channel Ishq, which means love in Urdu, was launched in mid-July and is aired every Sunday in the cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata.
Iyer’s guests on the two-hour Sunday show included a Sikh-Muslim male couple who spoke about how they met, their coming-out experience and still going strong after 12 years.
In another episode, a mother spoke with her son’s ex-boyfriend and in the latest airing, a heterosexual man and his transgender wife shared their story.
Iyer, who hit headlines in 2015 when his mother posted a “groom wanted” matrimonial advertisement in a leading English-language newspaper, said people on his show have shared their stories openly.
“The unique religion, caste, gender and familial bonds in these stories are part of the narrative,” Iyer said.

There is no official data on the LGBT population in India, but the government estimates there are 2.5 million gay people, reflecting those who have declared their sexuality to the health ministry.
Campaigners say real numbers are far higher as many individuals conceal their identity fearing discrimination in a country where most marriages still take place within the boundaries of caste and religion.
Shivangini Jajoria, national operations head at Ishq, said the radio station wants to break down boundaries and feature all kind of relationships.
“When the Muslim and Sikh couple shared their coming out story, it made it easier for others to come out,” said Jajoria. “People are also understanding the LGBTQ community better through these stories.” — Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Malay Mail on 

August 8, 2017

Russia Trying to Deport Gay Reporter to Uzbekistan, A Death Sentence

He was an "extremely talented" reporter who spoke "eight or nine languages", Kostyuchenko said, and had written movingly about the refugee situation in Russia. 
"We started out as colleagues but now we are very close, he is so kind," she said. "He has great sympathy for everyone. He always tries to understand everyone."
"He always tries to defend the person in the weak position," Kostyuchenko explained, describing how, when Feruz overheard a man make a sexist remark at her, "he immediately started fighting with him – not physically or anything like that — but he said, 'No! It's is very disrespectful, you cannot speak to her like that.' I was shocked!"
"He's like that: He sees some injustice and he fights it."
"We are so shocked and angry, and we are ready to fight to the end," she said. "Everybody loves him. Everybody signed the petition to our president, I mean from chief editor to the people working in our cafeteria: everybody." 
Kostyuchenko said when she spoke to Feruz earlier he asked her to bring him cigarettes and notepaper. "'Paper?' I asked. 'Yeah, because I am finishing my reporting from here,'" she explained. "He is a true-born reporter and we need him."

"It's as close to a death sentence as it can be," Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's deputy program director for Europe and Central Asia, told BuzzFeed News from London. "The details ... just do not bear thinking about."

"Should he go back, at the very least, he will be subjected to criminal prosecution for being gay, which is a crime in Uzbekistan. It is a crime punishable by prison."
Members of the LGBT community in Uzbekistan face constant threats and abusive from Uzbek authorities. A Human Rights Watch report earlier this year noted that "police use blackmail and extortion against gay men, threatening to out or imprison them". The community faces "deep-rooted homophobia and discrimination".
Krivosheev said that if the deportation went ahead, Feruz "has little chance of justice. He is facing a very real risk of torture and ultimately this would mean many years in a very horrible prison." 
"It is quite unusual that Putin's spokesperson will be answering questions about this, and clearly indicated that Putin is aware of this case."
The Kremlin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, yesterday said that the Russian leader was "aware of the existence" of Feruz's case, and that it was impossible "to close one's eyes" to the situation.

On Friday, the European Court of Human Rights froze Feruz's deportation order, according to his lawyer Kirill Koroteyev.

Koroteyev, writing on Facebook, said that the court in Strasbourg had stated that the Russian court could not deport Feruz. Radio Free Europe reported that the court had given the reporter until the end of September to file a new asylum application.
It follows Europe's commissioner for human rights urging Russia to rethink the decision, and stop Feruz's immediate deportation, earlier this week.
"States have a duty to ensure a safe and enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders and journalists, and to protect them from reprisals," Commissioner Nils Muižnieks wrote on the ECHR Facebook page on Wednesday.
"It should be recalled that international law prohibits sending a person to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person may be subjected to torture or ill-treatment." petition calling on the Russian authorities to reverse the decision has gathered almost 50,000 signatures.

The hashtag, #ОтвалиОтАли, ("Hands Off Ali") is being used by reporters across Russia to highlight the case.

Sources: Independent and Buzzfeed

January 4, 2017

Anti Gay, Homophobic Kim Burrell Disinvited from Ellen Show

Image: Kim Burrell performs on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 9 in New York.

Kim Burrell performs on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 9 in New York. Charles Sykes / Invision/AP

The Evangelist who is said "That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women, and it's caused a strain on the body of Christ," Burrell, a pastor at Love and Liberty Fellowship Church, in Houston, Texas, said in the sermon, which surfaced on YouTube Friday. "You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man's penis in your face, you are perverted ... You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman's breast, you are perverted." 
Burrell had been scheduled to sing a duet on “Ellen" with rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams, with whom she recorded a song for the soundtrack of "Hidden Figures" — the new movie about a black woman's role in the early days of the U.S. space program.

I find it funny that  she was invited to the Ellen show which indicates to me those producers who book celebrities to be talking heads in the shows only care about the theme of the shows and the rating that would bring. There have been exceptions to that when they bring someone who is made great accomplishments or in the way to. Again exceptions. When they booked this woman they figured black, good income, important to many, talk your ear off and people always say amen, bingo!
That she will sing on a sound track? You judge that one.

No one thought, particularly in a show in which the host herself is openly gay that they were bringing (and she had agree to come) a major anti gay homophobe who thinks not being anti gay is to not condemn them to hell. Call them dirt but don’t say hell and you can hold your head high among them. She at lest recognizes is not her call but calls them the meanest, dirtiest things anywhere which will make people assume, those that believe in some type of hell that they are going there if not nobody is (closer to the truth) and I better not get too close or the winds of hell might as well engulf them too.

I for myself would have let her come in and tell me in my face all those dirty things and have the “lets go into the video tape” in case she lied. I will also ask for proof for anything disquieting bad Im being called.

I would let her see me and then judge me like she does., I might even tell her where she gets it wrong in the ‘penis in the mouth’ I think she was talking about straight men with no experience.

I do understand that Ellen is not there to do great things but to have a show even if th President is given her a medal, which was very nice of him. 

Burrell maintained in a second Facebook Live broadcast that she was not targeting gay and lesbian individuals. 

"Have i ever discriminated against them? Have I ever outright told them 'I don't love you and you going to hell?' Why would I?" she asked. "Who gives me the right to say that I'm telling someone that they're going to hell? I don’t get that call?"

She doesn’t get that call, she did get some other calls, as well as Ellen which together kept social media particularly tweeter hot and buzzing. Hope someone gets enlightened. I however felt better from the Flu.

Please register with your email so there will be no interruptions in reading adamfoxie. No spam just a few headlines in your inbox. You also get the headlines first, before the story breaks.

November 13, 2016

Rachel Maddow Gets Emotional Over HIV and Anti Gay Pence

Rachel Maddow has been many times moved by the recent election, but the MSNBC host got particularly emotional Friday night while talking about vice president-elect Mike Pence and his anti-gay policies.

After going over the long, difficult process that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage, Maddow pointed out that in 2013, Pence signed legislation as governor of Indiana to make it a felony to “lie” on an application for a marriage license, which only had space for one man and one woman.

“So, ultimately, marriage equality becomes the law of the land everywhere thanks to the Supreme Court, but in Indiana, under Mike Pence, gay couples faced 18 months in prison and $10,000 for applying to get married,” she says, getting choked up. “Just applying to married put you in jail under Mike Pence.”

Later, the host described Pence being selected as Donald Trump’s running mate.
“When the Republican party picked as their nominee this year Donald Trump, a man who has honestly kind of a confusing, incoherent position on a lot of culture war issues, including gay rights, you would think it would’ve been really huge news. You’d think it would’ve been an acute point of focus in this campaign when the Republican presidential nominee — who has this strange, sort of hard to follow, internally contradictory set of policies on these issues — he picked as his running mate the most vociferously and consistently anti-gay statewide elected official in the country.”

She continued to detail some of his other policies: “Mike Pence said you should not only take away money from HIV and AIDS programs, he said AIDS funding should be taken away from serving people with HIV and AIDS because instead it should be diverted into government-funded programs designed to cure people from being gay, to try to fix gay people. That’s what the government should spend its money on — not this AIDS stuff.”
Maddow added, “Mike Pence is really, really out there.”


October 17, 2016

Fox’s Shepard Smith Comes Out Gay


Fox News anchor Shepard Smith came out as gay in an interview Monday.

In Smith’s sit down with the Huffington Post, the anchor denied that his former boss Roger Ailes ever prevented him from coming out publicly.

“That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father,” Smith said.

Smith indicated that Ailes did not express contempt for homosexuality when he was around him, saying Fox News was a “warm” work environment under Ailes’ reign.

“No, never. He treated me with respect, just respect,” Smith said. “He gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.”

Nevertheless, Smith said trust was lost with Ailes after reports of sexual harassment came to light.
“I trusted him with my career and with ― I trusted him and trusts were betrayed. People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying.”
Smith, never afraid to veer from the network’s orthodoxy, was one of the few Fox News anchors who reported on Ailes’ improprieties, leading the coverage when the rest of the network was neglecting the shameful story.

In his interview Monday, Smith suggested a pathway to a new era of Fox News:

“We have to make sure there aren’t young victims wandering around here who need us. We have to get appropriate counselors in here. We have to make sure legally everybody’s protected and have to make a commitment to be the most transparent, open and welcoming organization of our kind in the world, and I’m determined to be a part of the team that makes it happen.”

Several years ago, Gawker heavily pursued rumors that Smith was romantically involved with a male 26-year-old Fox staffer, and that the right-wing news network might be silencing the relationship to conceal the fact that one of its famous personalities was homosexual.

Why did it take so long?

According to Gawker:

 Why did it take Shepard Smith so long to come out? The affable Fox News anchor has a longtime boyfriend, ranks among Fox’s most senior talent, and lives in New York City. It could be, of course, that he’s just a very private person, or—as the Times argued in October—that public attitudes have changed and nobody cares if a famous figure is gay.

Shepard Smith’s Office Romance: A 26-Year-Old Fox Staffer
Shepard Smith, the endlessly endearing (and easily angered) Fox News anchor, has likened the…
Or it could be that, when Smith tried to come out last year, Fox silenced and punished him.

In the summer of 2013, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their exchange, Shepard Smith approached Fox News president Roger Ailes about publicly coming out. The newly attached anchor was eager, at the time, to finally acknowledge his sexuality. “It’s time,” he told Ailes and other colleagues. “It’s time.”

Instead, Ailes informed Smith that the network’s famously conservative audience would not tolerate a gay news anchor. Ailes’ answer was definitive: Smith could not say he’s gay.

“This came up during contract negotiations,” a Fox insider told Gawker. “Shep wanted to and was ready to come out, and Roger just said no.”

Smith, one of Ailes’s first and most loyal disciples, acquiesced to his boss’s demand, and dropped the matter. But the discussion worried enough Fox executives to prompt Smith’s removal, in September 2013, from the channel’s coveted prime-time lineup. According to a Fox insider with direct knowledge of negotiations, Smith’s desire to come out was a large factor in the dramatic move.

“They tried to play it up as a big promotion,” the insider said. “But everyone knew that Shep was getting demoted. And the coming out thing was a significant part of that.”

It’s difficult to square all of this with Smith’s characterization of Ailes as an uncommonly honest businessman, a second father who would never hurt him. “Roger has always had my back and never lied to me and never told me what to say,” Smith said in 2009.

Yet Smith’s demotion wasn’t actually Ailes’s idea to begin with. Nor was Ailes very surprised when Smith finally approached him. “Roger has known Shep has been gay for a long time,” a current Fox staffer said. So why was Ailes suddenly afraid of everyone else knowing, too?

A few weeks before approaching Ailes about coming out, Smith surprised Fox staffers by bringing his boyfriend, a 26-year-old Fox producer named Gio Graziano, to a company picnic at Ailes’s compound in Garrison, New York. Held annually on Independence Day weekend, the picnic is a small gathering—only executives, on-air talent, and their frontline producers are invited—so Smith likely felt comfortable bringing along his steady partner.

Despite the intimate venue, the new couple put several Fox executives on high alert. According to multiple sources with knowledge of the picnic, the most dramatic reaction came from Bill Shine, the channel’s Executive Vice President of Programming. Shine “flipped out,” one source said, after* Smith introduced Graziano to attendees. (Within and outside of Fox, Shine, who is 50 and grew up on Long Island, carries a reputation for insensitivity toward gay people. “He’s a major, major homophobe,” a Fox insider said.)

Back in New York City, Shine called a meeting among high-level executives to discuss a plan of action regarding Smith. “His fear was that Shep’s audience would implode,” said an individual familiar with the meeting, during which Shine forcefully argued against Smith coming out. His argument was simple: Our audience is not ready for a gay anchor.

Shine’s plea wasn’t particularly well-received. (“Everyone’s jaws just dropped,” a Fox insider said.) But the potential impact on Fox’s ratings was enough to scare Ailes into believing his lieutenant’s apocalyptic scenario. Fox’s unparalleled numbers are, after all, what give Ailes almost complete autonomy over his channel’s content, and immense power within Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

With Ailes’ approval, Shine quickly choreographed Smith’s move from Fox’s 7 p.m. block, where he anchored The Fox Report, to the 3 p.m. block, where he currently runs Shepard Smith Reporting. Anticipating Smith’s desire to come out, Shine also coached Ailes on what to say when Smith finally approached him.

Ailes, meanwhile, ordered the channel’s media-relations shop to control any leaks or coverage of Smith’s romantic life. To this day, a Fox insider told Gawker, “the P.R. department tries to prevent anyone from talking about Shep’s sexuality.”

(Of course, that hasn’t always worked. When Gawker noted in March that Smith wasn’t attending a gay journalists gala sponsored by Fox News, the P.R. shop scrambled to place Smith on the guest list. “Gawker’s reporting obviously caused them to do that,” said a source familiar with the shop’s decision, which turned out to be less bold than it seemed: Smith showed up with three Fox minders to insulate the anchor from any reporters.)

Shine’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering troubled many at Fox. “It’s totally backwards thinking,” an insider at the channel said. And it flew against the gay-friendly image Ailes had worked so hard to construct among New York’s media elite. The image was always cynical—if Ailes sponsors the N.L.G.J.A., or blurbs Rachel Maddow, both will naturally think twice before criticizing his channel. But it depended on the basic assumption that Ailes didn’t mistreat actual gay people in his immediate vicinity. (He merely employs hosts who bemoan the Girl Scouts’ “homosexual overtones.”)

Smith seems to have brought Ailes, and Fox News, to an impassable contradiction: Either embrace the anchor’s wish to come out (and risk the audience’s revolt or desertion) or completely reject it (and risk Fox’s acceptance among a community for whom coming out is an immutable right). Up until now, very few have known that Ailes even had to make such a choice.

Smith, Ailes, Shine, and Fox News all declined repeated requests for comment.

* Correction: Shine tells TVNewser that he did not attend the picnic. The sentence has been corrected to reflect that Shine negatively reacted after learning that Smith brought his boyfriend to the Independence Day picnic.

Update 1: Smith and Ailes provided TVNewser with the following statement:

This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication. As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally.
Update 2: In a statement to Politico, Fox clarified the timeline of Smith’s negotiations over his contract and revised role. Smith renewed his contract on June 7, which Fox noted in a July 2 press release about Megyn Kelly. Over two months later, in mid-September, Fox announced Smith’s departure from the channel’s prime-time block. At the time, Smith told Business Insider that he and Roger Ailes began tentative discussions about a new role for Smith in late April.

November 12, 2015

Another First Between Obama and the Gay Community: Front of Out Magazine


President Barack Obama is the first sitting president to cover an LGBT publication, a historic moment for both OUT magazine and the nation. The President was named "Ally of the Year" in the magazine's annual OUT100 issue due to his positive stance on marriage equality and his support for the LGBT community.

Not only is the President on the cover of the popular gay and lesbian magazine, the issue also features a candid interview with him about the people who influenced his positive relationship with the community, including his daughters. Obama states that Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 14, have shown him that there has been a big shift in how people address homosexuality across generations.

 "To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn't make sense," the President tells OUT. "It doesn't dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends' parents who are same-sex couple should be treated any differently. That's powerful."

President Obama also talks about how his mother inspired his support for LGBT rights. He states that Dunham, who passed away in 1995, taught him that "every person was of equal worth," something that prompted him to focus on the rights of the gay and lesbian community during his administration.

Obama hasn't always been on board with same-sex marriage. According to CNN, the President has flip-flopped about it since he was a state Senate candidate in 1996. During his 2008 presidential campaign and up until 2012, he voiced his opposition to marriage equality, despite his support for it back in 1996.

It wasn't until 2012 that Obama fully supported the right of same-sex couples to get married in the United States. In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, he stated that he initially "hesitated on gay marriage" because he thought civil unions would be good enough, but was "proud and happy" when the Supreme Court's decision came down.

"I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free when all of us are treated equally," Obama told Roberts. "I was proud to say that love is love."

April 26, 2015

Unflappable, Smart, Gay and CNN Anchorman Don Lemon

So maybe he's not Walter Cronkite. Maybe he's done some famously awkward interviews, gotten his facts wrong, and made CNN the butt of more than a few jokes. But that won't stop Don Lemon. Because here's the thing: He can fill hours of nothing with a crisp, news-like something. No matter what he says, no matter how badly he screws up, he never blinks. That’s his gift: He just keeps on going 

So I say to Don Lemon, I say, let's do it, Don Lemon, let's have dessert. We've been here awhile, eating lunch, and we're having a good time, so likable is Don Lemon, so open is he to my questions, so warm is his smile. And maybe he can be coaxed into it. We are at the restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art, and the portions are modern-art-sized, and he just had his photo shoot yesterday—he'd suspended all manner of salt and other bloateries in the days leading up to it and would love to cut loose a little. But he still needs persuading, since it is a known thing that dessert is one of the principal sacrifices of people who regularly appear on TV. But he relents, because Don Lemon is not the kind of guy who will make you eat dessert alone. The negotiation: He'll do it, but it'll have to be light. I look up and down the menu and suggest that the sorbet looks promising, given his totally understandable criteria.
He leans in, big warm smile, not wanting to correct me, but needing to: "Sorbette," he says, like a news anchor. "It's pronounced sorbette."
"Sorbette," I repeat, shaky. I smile, not quite understanding the joke.
"Sorbette," he says with the confidence of a man who informs hundreds of thousands of Americans each night about what is happening across this land as well as many others. "It's pronounced sorbette." Sorbette! Could he be right? I've been saying it like a French word for years, like a complete asshole. Have I, a native English speaker, a graduate of a four-year college, a frequent eater of frozen desserts, been mispronouncing it all this time?
Or we can leave room for the possibility that he is just plain wrong. This is Don Lemon, after all, the news anchor whose name has become associated with what might politely be called missteps,like asking an Islamic scholar if he supports the terrorist group ISIS, or declaring on the scene at Ferguson that there's the smell of marijuana in the air, "obviously." This is the guy who asked if a black hole could be responsible for the disappearance of Flight MH370; who asked one of Bill Cosby's alleged rape victims why she didn't stop the attack by, as he put it, "the using of the teeth."
Yes, we have to allow for the possibility that Don Lemon might be wrong.
And yet, and yet: When Don Lemon says this to me, I am sure that he is sure of it. And who can we turn to if not our news anchors?
But now here comes the waiter, and he asks if we've decided, and Don Lemon asks for the sorbette, and the waiter looks at Lemon like, Are you joking? I give the waiter the silent, wide-eyed micro head shake—No, he's serious, proceed with caution—but the waiter has guts that I don't, and so he says, "It's sor-bay, sir."
Because of course it's sor-bay. I am shaken from my stupor and remember that yes, for sure, absolutely, it is sor-bay. I am right. The man sitting across from me, smiling and confident—he is not right. And so I am relieved, but also nervous about what will happen next.
But Lemon is not embarrassed. "Oh," he says, and then nods, because you learn something new every day, and he doesn't look at me to say how embarrassed he is, he doesn't look with a gulp at the tape recorder, he doesn't attempt a joke to clean it all up. He just says, "That's what I'll have, then." And we move on. That he can say it, recover from it, and move on without needing to know what I think of it—this is sort of everything you need to know about Don Lemon: Don Lemon is human, and Don Lemon is not perfect, and Don Lemon is so much more fine with his humanity and his imperfection than anyone I've ever met.
True fact: After this photo shoot, Lemon asked GQ's photographer if he did nudes. 
Don Lemon has a fitness tracker that he wears on his wrist, and he uses it for sleep monitoring. He's a lifelong insomniac, and his work schedule—hosting CNN Tonight at 10 P.M.—doesn't make things easier. Also he's dating someone now, a lawyer who understands his schedule, and it's going well—they spent Valentine's Day at a concert by the gay country singer Steve Grand—and there aren't enough hours in the day, are there? He shows me the tracker's attendant iPhone app, and his sleep patterns are impressive in a bad way: three hours sixteen minutes here, four hours there, two hours just a couple of nights ago. And that's total sleep, not what the device calls "restful" sleep. In the weeks of data he shows me, the total never goes above six hours.
You wouldn't know it. Throughout our interview, Lemon, 49, is smiley and gregarious and energetic, alert but mostly expressionless, which probably comes from years of having to listen to people say crazy things on-air. He's an exceptional listener, my meandering questions returned in the complete sentences of a newsman who knows the power of a sound bite. He is focused when we talk, never strays for a minute; once, when I pivot away from a topic, he suggests that I might have ADD. This affable bluntness might help explain why he is so ascendant at CNN. His ratings are pretty close to Anderson Cooper's numbers at 8 P.M., and they have already eclipsed those of Piers Morgan, who was on at 9 P.M. until, mercifully, he wasn't.
As far as I can tell, the great Don Lemon gaffe-spotting fest that has become such an Internet phenomenon and journalistic pastime began on July 27, 2013, and it began not with a gaffe but with an unexpected rant about racial mores. He was anchoring the weekend desk, and he played a clip of that bastion of modernity and multicultural wisdom, Bill O'Reilly, explaining everything that's wrong in the black community. This was shortly after the George Zimmerman trial, and rather than lash out at O'Reilly, Lemon claimed that he hadn't gone far enough. He then addressed "black people" with his own list of solutions: (5) Pull up your pants. (4) Stop using the N-word. (3) Stop littering. ("I've lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life. I rarely, if ever, witness people littering.") (2) Finish school. ("Stop telling kids they're acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English.") (1) "Just because you can have a baby, it doesn't mean you should."
You can bury that kind of lecture on a weekend afternoon, but a shitstorm will still ensue. Critics pounced on Lemon, accusing him of blaming blacks for institutional racism. Lemon was surprised; he was just giving his point of view as a black man. "I'm speaking to the people from where I came from," he explains to me. "I didn't think I was saying anything bad. Just: Always respect yourself. Go to school. I mean—" and here he laughs a little—"I think they're used to me just having a one-way conversation, just reading the prompter and going, 'Okay, what do you think? What do you think?' Maybe they were just sort of surprised that I actually have a point of view."
Soon his platform grew. In March 2014, Malaysian Flight MH370 disappeared. He got the call that network president Jeff Zucker wanted to use the 10 P.M. slot for a nightly one-hour special to discuss new theories about where the hell that plane went, and he wanted Don Lemon to host it. (Good cocktail-party trivia: Nightline began the same way—a nightly update on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis that became a TV-news institution.)
Here was his chance. Each night, he hosted a panel of aviation experts and theorists and gave updates on searches, but soon the searches were over, and so the updates gave way to just talking, and the hour became the sort of hour at which CNN specializes: long conversations that took the place of actual news, of which there was usually none. From a pure ratings perspective, it was a smart bet. Lemon immediately began crushing poor Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC (still does) and even regularly held his own against Sean Hannity (ditto).
But it came with costs. CNN had installed its CNN-iest talent to anchor an hour of television that came to embody all the things that people loathe about CNN—the empty news-like product: questions, but no answers. Who knew anything new by the end of those hours? CNN's Malaysian-flight coverage became a punch line of flood-the-zone cable-news excess, and Don Lemon was the face of it.
Don Lemon knew he was gay for as long as he could remember. He knew it when he was watching Tom Jones on TV with his grandmother in his hometown of Baton Rouge when he was 5 or 6, and he knew it when he would watch Robbie on My Three Sons or the guys on Emergency! But he also knew that it was information he should keep to himself, because that's what you did in Louisiana in the 1970s.
As a child, he was molested by a teenage boy who lived nearby. He didn't tell anyone until much later; in fact, he came out publicly as a survivor of sexual abuse spontaneously and casually live on CNN, while he was doing a segment on another sexual-abuse case. That afternoon his bosses called to see if he was okay. "Of course I am," he answered.
He didn't have many close friends in high school. The black kids didn't think he was great at being black, and the white kids didn't want to bring a black kid into their sphere. Still, he was elected senior-class president: accepted by none but liked by all.
Lemon knew he'd leave the South eventually, and he had always wanted to be a news anchor. His journalism teacher at Louisiana State told him he was aiming too high, that he'd never make it on-air, which Lemon interpreted as being put in the "black box"—his term for the limitations others place on people of color. It didn't stop him, though. He got hired at Fox and shuttled between affiliates in St. Louis and Chicago for a few years, then jumped to NBC stations in Philadelphia and Chicago. He picked up an Emmy for a report on the real estate market and an Edward R. Murrow award for coverage of the D.C. Sniper in 2002. (Yes, Don Lemon has an Edward R. Murrow award.) In 2006, he jumped to CNN.
He claims not to have a political affiliation—he voted for Barack Obama in the past two elections, but in college he was a Republican and he voted for Reagan once, before Reagan's treatment of the AIDS crisis disenchanted him. But that doesn't make him a Democrat. "People expect me to be liberal because I'm gay," he says. "And I'm not liberal." But over lunch, when I describe his values as conservative, he objects to that, too. "You keep saying I have conservative values. I don't. I think I have values that are important and realistic. And they're not necessarily spoon-fed by someone. I thought out what my values should be." He brings up the example of family: He was raised by a single mother, and he loves her, but he thinks a family should have two parents. “Even now my mom would say, 'I wish I had had some help.' "
Lemon has spent a lifetime so far out of sync with people's expectations of him that he seems unconcerned with them, sometimes even oblivious to them: of how a black man should act, how a gay man should act, how a survivor of sex abuse should act. All this—high school, the black box—made him into the man he is today. Someone who has learned that there are no guidebooks for a man as ambitious as he is, and who has no fucks left to give about what anyone thinks of him.
"Let me put it this way," says Jeff Zucker. "There's certainly a lot of interest in Don Lemon, and that's a good thing for Don and for CNN. You know, Don is a little bit of a lightning rod. Frankly, we needed a little bit of lightning."
Lemon's executive producer, Jonathan Wald, told me that "none of the alleged dings at Don's performance have hurt his credibility or his appeal." Lemon's gift, Wald says, is "having a conversation, and that's really the guts of this show." It's the mantra of all of CNN: Keep going, keep talking. People don't walk out on conversations.
"When you're a network-news anchor, you have a twenty-two-minute news hole, and you read not even five minutes of copy, if you read that much," Lemon tells me. "When you're a cable-news host, you're on for hours and hours and hours live. Right? Sometimes there's nothing in that box, no words."
I went and watched those clips again, and it turns out none of them are quite as dumb as advertised. The black-hole question wasn't actually Lemon's question; it was submitted by a viewer over Twitter, and he passed it along to an expert, calling it "preposterous." In Ferguson, when he said "obviously," he was just (he tells me) employing one of many of the filler words an anchor uses when he has to fill in dead air. His ISIS question was intended as a point of clarification: "His answer was so nebulous," Lemon says of the Muslim human-rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar, who, yes, if you watch the clip, is not completely clear. Given the context, Lemon's follow-up—"Do you support ISIS?"—was only moderately daffy: Iftikhar was trying to give a nuanced answer, and there's no room for nuance on CNN. CNN is a place for sound bites. When I ask Lemon about his interview with the alleged Cosby victim and why he asked about the "usage of the teeth," he gives me a long answer about how the incident started a conversation about sex abuse. But it didn't do that, I tell him—it started a conversation about people who say the wrong thing to victims of sexual abuse. And shouldn't he have known better? After all, he was a victim, too. He smiles and shrugs and eats his food. Later, after dessert, I ask him again, and finally I get the real answer: Lemon tells me that when he was a child and was being forced to perform oral sex on his abuser, he told that fucker that the next time, he'd bite his dick off, and that's when Don Lemon stopped getting molested.
There's a thing we do now in the digital age where once we turn on someone, we find fault in everything they do, and in Don Lemon's case it seems to come from a less noble place than his not insignificant imperfections. Sure, he's said some dopey things, but lots of cable-news anchors say lots of dopey things. Why him? There's also something going on, something almost impossible to wade into and untangle, about a black gay man breaking with the rules of both groups, and so it becomes okay to make fun of Don Lemon in a way that it is not currently okay to make fun of any other black or gay public figure in America right now.
And so here is maybe where I should confess to some sympathy. If you saw the transcripts of my interviews, you'd wonder if English was my first language. Many of us who tell stories to the world have the luxury not just of an editor but also of a fact-checker and a copy editor. And how about everyone else? Very few of us have our conversations laid bare every single night. Hardly any of us are being recorded for stupid-thing-we-said Vine posterity. Most of us get to sound more or less how we want to sound; most of us get to backpedal. Not so on live TV.
And remember, this is cable, not network news. Lemon's directive in many cases is to get up there and talk. On ratings-hungry CNN, there is virtually nothing you can say that is worse than silence.
One night, as I was writing this story, my Twitter feed came alive with two Don Lemon-related threads: first, that he had said, live on-air, "Two hundred and sixty-two people are being held by ISIS, many of them men, women, and children," and second, that he was interviewing a llama.
I turned on my taped version of the broadcast, and it was immediately clear that Lemon had just misspoken: He had already said the phrase "ISIS now holds more than 260 Christian hostages—men, women, children, and the elderly" during that hour—it was only the second time that he absently substituted the phrase "many of them." And for the record, he didn't interview the llama; he interviewed the llama's handler, because earlier that day the world had been captivated by an animal escape ("llama drama," in CNN parlance) in Arizona.
A memorable recent moment: Llemon scores an excllusive with a llama.
But look at the pictures of Lemon next to that llama. They're irresistible, both of them staring at the camera, both of them expressionless. They are begging for a hashtag. This is 2015, and we live in an age of tweets and GIFs designed to make jokes out of people, and Don Lemon seems custom-built for perpetuating what we've decided is his essential Don Lemonness. As he stood next to that llama, I detected something like regret or humiliation behind his eyes, but he'll never let us see more than a flicker, if that. No, Don Lemon isn't Murrow or Cronkite. He may not be the steady, infallible news anchor America needs right now. But he sure feels like the anchor we deserve.
We turn on who we turn on, I guess, and we delight in other people's mistakes, all the more so when there doesn't appear to be much contrition or self-awareness about their impact. And anyway, no one is perfect. Not him, not me with my flawless dessert pronunciation. That afternoon at the restaurant, Lemon checked out a couple of cute waiters, making aren't-you-delicious noises as they walked by, loudly enough for me to hear, still not giving a shit. Then he put his sorbet spoon down on his plate and smiled and said, “That was good," and that was that.

Featured Posts

Ways {{FIVE}} to Prevent and Prepare for The Corona Virus

NPR   As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.   ...