Photo by David Shankbone
Yesterday the New York Observer's Daniel D'Addario told the story of a handsome young movie star "who’s been involved with several starlets despite whispers about his close relationships with other men," wandering about a crowded movie premiere with a well-groomed gent. It seems this gent gave D'Addario the stink-eye, "as if to say, 'Step off,' or perhaps, 'Don’t you dare write about this.'"
Despite D'Addario's apparent telepathic abilities, he's not a very good liar: "Nor did we," he writes, "since the question of whether it is news that a virile young actor was enjoying the company of one man—if not the company of men—is very much still open." Yet at the very end of the article he reveals that the handsome young movie star is indeed Chace Crawford. Doesn't that count as "Writing about this?" Just sayin'.
To be fair to the Observer, D'Addario uses the incident without immediately naming Crawford to launch an interesting treatise on the evolution of actor "outing" in media. Hitting up relevant editors and media figures like Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, we see that the attitude towards "outing" is one of removing shame, not causing it. “I call it truth telling,” Naff tells the Observer, "...The fact of being gay is not a private fact. Being straight is not a private fact.”
While there are many who might disagree with that, Brian Moylan — currently at Hollywood.com but once the epicenter of gay reporting at Gawker — points out, “You don’t write a profile about Chris Evans being in The Avengers without asking who he’s dating. You ask Daniel Craig about his recent marriage—and he gets pissed off, but you report the answer. Not asking people about who they’re dating is discrimination."
Moylan's old boss, the Gawker czar Nick Denton, agrees with this and takes Anderson Cooper as an example:
“People will tell you, ‘Why would you want to report that? Everyone knows it already.’ No, they don’t! Most people in America do not know that Anderson Cooper is gay. So if you judge the differential, the gradient, between insider knowledge and public knowledge, there is still a gigantic gap." Denton points out that the next five years will be "much more significant than what’s happened so far,” in terms of gay visibility.
Even Dustin Lance Black weighs in on the topic, saying he is bothered actively closeted actors who are out on the gay party scene: "...they’re taking advantage of the bravery of men and women so we can have bars," says Black. However, Black is not one to starkly paint an issue: "...well, we have a right to privacy,” he admits.