HBO Examines The Hypocrisy Of Gay Politicians in `Outrage` Documentary
Posted: 09/21/2009 - 13:29
• They fight against same-sex marriage. They fight against funding for AIDS research. They fight against adoption by gay parents. Are they fighting against themselves?
Award-winning filmmaker Kirby Dick (HBO’s Oscar®-nominated “Twist of Faith”) takes a look at the hypocrisy of closeted politicians who continually vote against gay rights and actively campaign against the LGBT community they covertly belong to when OUTRAGE debuts MONDAY, OCT. 5 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: Oct. 5 (2:30 a.m.), 8 (1:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m.), 11 (10:30 a.m.), 14 (4:25 a.m.), 15 (6:00 p.m.), 20 (3:30 p.m., 12:05 a.m.), 24 (6:30 p.m.) and 30 (4:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Oct. 14 (8:00 p.m.), 22 (12:05 a.m.) and 28 (11:00 a.m.)
An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country’s most powerful policymakers – from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy, to current Florida Governor Charlie Crist – and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media’s complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to “out” them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.
Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, “There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law.”
The film also spotlights Michael Rogers, a gay activist and founder of blogACTIVE, a Washington, D.C.-based website dedicated to outing closeted public figures. Rogers feels it is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of those who may live one way in public and another way in private, explaining that his work is not about outing people who are gay, but rather about “reporting on individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them.”
Politicians featured in the film include:
Larry Craig – A Republican senator from Idaho for 18 years, Craig was widely accused of hypocrisy when he was arrested for lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom in a Minnesota airport in 2007 – and continued to deny he was gay. “When you live in a closet you do crazy things,” says Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade. Adds David Catania, a Washington, D.C. council member, “Self-hating gay people in the closet are most vicious towards other gays and lesbians.”
Charlie Crist – Running for Florida governor in 2006, Crist reminded voters that marriage is a union between a man and woman. Yet his opponent, Max Linn, told news outlets that Crist twice said he was gay – an allegation Crist continues to deny, though it has been supported by two sources who talked to Broward-Palm Beach News Times columnist Bob Norman. According to Norman, two men linked to Crist abruptly left Florida and did not return until after he was elected. There have been no mainstream press follow-ups. Crist, who was on John McCain’s short list for running mate, is a front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He also recently got married.
Terry Dolan – Founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, Dolan was one of many closeted gays who rose to prominence during the AIDS-averse Reagan years. Larry Kramer, founder of ACT UP, noted that while Dolan was “raising up money to kill us,” he was a frequent reveler at D.C. gay bars. At one gay party, Kramer threw a drink in his face. Dolan died of complications from AIDS in 1986 at age 36.
David Dreier – The ranking Republican on the Congressional Rules Committee, Dreier was reported to have a romantic relationship with his longtime chief of staff, Brad Smith. But according to journalist Mark Cromer, Dreier, whose voting is “a matter of record,” has been “hostile to gays” since joining Congress in 1980. In 2005, Dreier was a top contender to become House majority leader, but didn’t get the job because he was “too moderate.”
Ed Koch – Mayor of New York from 1978 to 1989, Koch “refused to answer any question about his sexuality,” according to The Village Voice’s Wayne Barrett, and “didn’t lift a hand to help gay people.” According to gay rights activist David Rothenberg, Richard Nathan, a lover, claimed Koch forced him to move to Los Angeles when he became mayor, threatening him if he ever went public. Koch has strongly denied these allegations.
Jim McCrery – A congressman from 1988-2009, McCrery was outed by Gary Cathey, founder of ACT UP, Shreveport, who said McCrery used his Louisiana college fraternity as a front for gay activity. According to Chris Bull of The Advocate, four others have corroborated Cathey’s statement. At the time of his retirement in 2009, McCrery was the ranking Republican on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. McCrery has denied being gay.
James McGreevey – Following nearly three years in office, the New Jersey governor resigned in 2004 after admitting to an extramarital affair with a male advisor. The confession liberated McGreevey, who today urges politicians to exercise truth and honesty. Noting that “the closet gives you skills, sadly” to spin lies, McGreevey recognizes that many such leaders aren’t coming out anytime soon.
Kirby Dick is an award-winning documentary film director whose last release, 2006’s “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” was a breakthrough investigation of the secretive MPAA film-ratings system. His 2005 HBO film “Twist of Faith” received an Oscar® nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Dick’s other films include “Derrida,” a portrait of the French philosopher, and “Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist,” which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and the Grand Prize at the LA Film Festival. Among his other HBO/Cinemax credits are 2003’s “Showgirls: Glitz & Angst,” 2001’s “Chain Camera” and 2004’s “The End.”
OUTRAGE was written and directed by Kirby Dick; producer, Amy Ziering; executive producers, Tom Quinn, Jason Janego, Ted Sarandos, Chad Griffin, Kimball Stroud, Bruce Brothers and Tectonic Theater Project; co-producer, Tanner Barklow; editors, Doug Blush and Matt Clarke; music, Peter Golub. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.
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