Gays of a certain age will remember the furore Jason Donavan made way back in the 90’s when The Face magazine suggested he may not be straight. At this stage in his career Donavan was a bit of a heart-throb, with a good few many gay men buying his CD’s and spilling out their pink pounds to see him waltz around on stage in his amazing multicoloured dream-coat as he swished around as Joseph.
On hearing what the style icon magazine The Face had printed a story suggesting Donavan was gay, instead of giving a wink and moving on Donavan decided to take out a lawsuit against the magazine and sued them for £200.000 (with the magazine ordered to pay a further £100.000 in legal cost. The outcome was a bit tragic for all concerned, with the magazine asking its readers for donations so they could carry on printing, while Donavan tried his best with a damage limitation exercise by not taking the full amount owed him and spoke out saying he was neither homophobic or suing for the money, the damage was done.
In hindsight it seems rather odd that The Face should have run with the story, but what was even more tragic was Donavan’s reaction which saw him wandering in celebrity obscurity for a good few years, getting messed up with cocaine use, until realty TV stepped in and offered him away back into the nation’s heart with a stint on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Celebrity Come Dancing. In his defence Donovan would later say that sueing The Face wa sthe biggest mistake of his life.
How refreshing it was then to read an interview with George Clooney in the American gay magazine The Advocate. Ever since his days as an actor, (we’ll make a surgical bypass Clooney’s early work with the likes of, Return of the Killer Tomatoes and start with his role as Dr. Douglas “Doug” Ross in ER, men and women of all sexualities sat up and took notice and so began the question, “Is Clooney gay?” Unlike Donavan or the countless other people in the spot light who have gone Baltic at such a suggestion, Clooney has continuously ignored the question, until now. When asked why he hadn’t gone out of his way to say stamp out the gay rumours, he’s reply was:
“I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, “These are lies!” That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.
At a time in America where the presidential race is being fought on the back of gay hate by far right Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, it is important that high-profile figures like Clooney stand up and say he defends gay rights as people who may not engage with or know anyone LGBT personally, will take notice of what people like Clooney are saying and listen.