Hollywood

Gay as a French Horn, Pt. 2

August 24, 2011

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John Travolta

Or maybe a lot of big names used to be gay but aren’t anymore. These days, we’re not supposed to believe that anybody can change from gay to straight. Yet among one supremely well-documented group—20th-century British writers—it seemed to happen fairly often: e.g., John Maynard Keynes, Evelyn Waugh, and Stephen Spender.

It’s not unknown for women to switch teams, but mostly in the opposite direction. The late Susan Sontag didn’t like being called a lesbian, even though she was in a relationship with photographer Annie Leibowitz. She would explain that after she turned 40, she simply got better offers from women than from men.

Or maybe, and most disturbingly, the ex-gay stars never really were gay. Perhaps they just let gay sexual predators exploit them physically to help launch their careers. It wouldn’t be hard for gay industry insiders to position this as a test of whether an ambitious young man wants a career badly enough to earn it the hard way.

Many young actresses are exploited by heterosexual power brokers in exactly this fashion. So why would it be different for young actors?

This is a possibility we are really not supposed to discuss, because, as everybody knows these days, all gay men just wanted to get married to other gay men and settle down to utter monogamy.

Thus, when 1980s teen idol Corey Feldman spoke up this month to accuse an unnamed Hollywood mogul of causing the recent drug death of the other 1980s teen idol Corey, Corey Haim, the controversy had to be framed for the press as being about a pedophile predator. Yet “pedophilia” is defined as an interest in prepubescent children. Similarly, the Catholic-priest scandals are spun as being about pedophilia, despite obvious homosexual aspects.

Lou Pearlman, who looks like a more obese Karl Rove, is a gay white-collar criminal who concocted two giant 1990s boy bands, the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync. The latter featured Justin Timberlake, who is now becoming better known as a golfing movie star in films such as The Social Network.

We now know a fair amount about Pearlman because his decades-long career was so out of control that much of it ended in legal disputes. For instance, his first marketing venture involved renting advertising blimps to big companies, but four of his blimps crashed. Pearlman is currently serving a 25-year sentence for running a $300-million Ponzi scheme.

In 2007, while under arrest, Pearlman was accused by the mother of Nick Carter, a lead singer for the Backstreet Boys, of sexual abuse. “Certain things happened and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers.”

How common is the Pearlman scenario? Nobody knows and nobody seems to want to know.

Maybe the straight guys who wind up world-famous tend to be the ones so ambitious that, when they were young and pretty, they’d put up with the Pearlman types.

 

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