Who better to comment on the gay gossip insanity thats been swirling around Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross than Out and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who has been covering the scene for 20 years. In this exclusive interview, we talk to Musto about the origins of gay rumors, how they spread, and what the juiciest one hes ever heard is.
What do you think of the Marcia Cross rumors?
At this point, its starting to look like it was an unfounded Internet rumor that blew out of proportion. Though the rumor might have roots in the fact that Marc Cherry has said that a character is going to come out. And also, Marcia told me at the Out 100 party that she has a gay uncle, she went to Juilliard where everyone is gay, and she laughingly added, Maybe Ill even turn gay myself. The initial rumor wasnt that it was Marcia, it was just that it was someone on the show. So lets not rule out any number of people. In fact, Id be surprised if someone on that show came out as straight.
Has your phone been ringing off the hook?
Yes. The whole thing started as an anonymous Web rumor presented as fact. It was then picked up in the [New York] Daily News. And then some British rag went with it as if it was fact. Yesterday all the media were calling me, taking the British publication as if it were the bible truth, when they were just picking up thirdhand innuendo. Ive been making the rounds reminding people that this is just a rumor and telling about my encounter from the Out party. But I love how the rumors got so advancedthat not only is Marcia Cross going to say shes a lesbian, but that her girlfriend is Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls. Partly this shows the hunger of people to have out celebrities. Thats healthy because there are so many closeted ones, its understandable that people would like to see more people coming forward.
How do gay rumors get started?
The good thing about Internet gossip is also the bad thing. Its a venue that allows people to print whatever they feel like saying. Ive actually gotten some very good, true gossip from Internet sites. But the downside is that anonymous people can pass on false rumors or play tricks and hoaxes on people by saying anything that comes into their minds.
And the fact that the Datalounge entry also mentioned that the son of Marcias character is going to be coming out [a fact that sources have confirmed for Out.com] just added an air of legitimacy to the whole thing.
It was written in a seemingly informed manner. So I wouldnt rule it out. Ive gotten some decent items off of Datalounge. Its where I first found out that Colin Farrells crotch shot had been cut out of A Home at the End of the World. So I managed to break that.
Is there any effective way to stop rumors?
The only effective way is to call the parties involved, which is what everyone did. The Advocate denied it, and Marcias people denied it. Its a great advance in gossip reporting that gay rumors are being investigated as well as straight rumors. And no one thinks its an untouchable subject anymore. The media now seem to feel that even if someone doesnt turn out to be gay, its OK to investigate the possibility. Gay rumors are not a smear anymore. No one would have gotten near this years ago.
Whats your favorite gay rumor of all time?
That Rock Hudson married Jim Nabors. That Keanu Reeves married David Geffen. And that a certain leading man married a gerbil.
Whats the gay rumor that has revolted you most?
The only revolting gay rumors is when someone who is married to someone of the opposite sex and has long-promoted their heterosexuality turns outaccording to rumorto be in a bearded situation. Of course, thats happened from Rock Hudson on down.