Blogs Battle to Out Anderson Cooper
"Is Anderson Cooper gay?" That's the big question once again circulating around the Web ... only this time it's not so much is he, but who is he dating and why hasn't he come out yet. Last week, Gawker, Page Six and Perez Hilton started buzzing about supposedly closeted Cooper's rumored new beau (who, to be fair, Michael Musto has been blogging about for more than a month), and the glut of attention was accompanied by an almost crushing sense of déjà vu. Why? Because Cooper's sexuality is hardly a fresh topic. As Gawker's Brian Moylan said in an October 29th post on the subject: "Saying Cooper is gay is no longer a scoop. It's not a scandal." So, to get to the bottom of A-Coop's long-debated sexuality, PopEater decided to talk directly to those trying to out the Silver Fox. The chats about Cooper's "glass closet" after the jump!
Contribution to the rumor mill: Hilton basically re-reported a Page Six piece (which was re-reporting Michael Musto's scoop) that described Coop's Indian vacation with alleged boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani. He did draw a heart on a photo of AC, though, which was very nice.
Why is it important to cover Cooper's sexuality?: "It's not important to cover it, it's just another aspect of who he is. I mean, I don't treat him any differently than I do anyone else," Perez tells PopEater.
Why do people care so much about his romantic life?: "Maybe because he's so secretive about it, it's having a reverse effect. If he just came out, there might not be as much interest. You don't ever really see people talking about Neil Patrick Harris's boyfriend or anything along those lines. You don't see them that often in paparazzi pictures. I mean, sometimes [Harris and his boyfriend] go to events together, sure, but I think if he came out then there would be less interest in his personal life. He would be freer to be himself."
Do you think it's OK for the blogs to out him?: "[The blogs] are not outing him, they're just reporting the facts. That's what I call it, you know. He's just not ever publicly said the words, 'I'm a gay man.' But he's also never said, 'I'm not a gay man.' He's living in a glass closet, so it's all fair game."
Contribution to the rumor mill: Brian Moylan's initial post, in which he entreats Cooper to "man up and be our Jackie Robinson," a comprehensive profile of Maisani, pictures and, now, shirtless pictures. In short, Gawker dished a dump truck's worth of dirt.
Why is it important to cover Cooper's sexuality?: "Everybody knows, so why are you keeping up this facade about not talking about it? A lot of people say that it's his private life and he shouldn't have to come out and so on and so forth, but we live in a society, unfortunately, where everyone's assumed to be straight until they said otherwise. I think that a lot of this coverage has to do with the fact that he won't talk about it, and maybe if he just answered the question once and said, 'OK, yes, I'm gay,' then people would stop asking and paying so much attention to who he's going on vacation with and so on and so forth," Moylan tells PopEater.
Why do people care so much about his romantic life?: "I think that there are plenty of gay kids out there who need positive role models and I think that Anderson Cooper would definitely be an excellent one to follow. And I hope that he will show everybody the strength and courage to be an openly gay person in today's society."
Do you think it's OK for the blogs to out him?: "The most recent things we've done haven't outed him whatsoever. He outs himself by going on vacation with his boyfriend. He's a public figure, like it or not, and if he's going to lead the life of a openly gay person, then he is, in fact, outing himself."
Contribution to the rumor mill: Editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin's controversial 2007 ''The Power 50' issue cover, which featured a model wearing a Cooper mask and gave us a visual metaphor for the newsman's obfuscated sexuality.
Why is it important to cover Cooper's sexuality?: "I think we need to reach a tipping point, and until more people come out, we're not going to reach a tipping point. The tipping point is about there being enough out mainstream celebrities that it no longer seems unusual or strange or distinct. For better or worse, somebody has to be the first or the second or the third until we get to that point."
Why do people care so much about his romantic life?: "Anderson Cooper is interesting because he so clearly doesn't go to great lengths to hide his sexuality. He's obviously comfortable in his own skin. He's not someone who's waiting to come out to his friends and family. I think that's why people are baffled by the fact that he won't publicly acknowledge his sexuality. That's why he's such a target. That's why so many people are disappointed that he won't make that relatively small step of just acknowledging his sexuality and moving on."
Do you think it's OK for the blogs to out him?: "I think it's really important to draw the line between what we were doing with that piece and the kind of stories you're reading about Anderson Cooper on Gawker and other Web sites. We couldn't care less who Anderson Cooper's boyfriend is. That's not my interest any more than it would be my interest to reveal the private details of someone else's relationship. What my interest is, is to expose what I think of as the sort of phony argument around the closet and outing people. I mean, the concept of the closet and outing is a product of homophobia. The closet and outing people can only exist as long as homosexuality is seen as abhorrent and wrong. And since I don't see homosexuality as abhorrent and wrong I don't have any scruples calling it as I see it. As the editor of a gay magazine, I feel that it's incumbent on us to challenge the sort of preposterous nature around the phony outrage of outing people. I mean, switch homosexuality for religion and you begin to see how ludicrous it is."
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