Ricky Martin Blazes New Ground In More Ways Than One
By Mike Ryan Posted Mar 30th 2010 09:08PM
In a way, it's quite admirable that he never made his sexual preference public knowledge (even though, you know, it was) before he was good and ready. Once those questions start, those in the public eye have few options in dealing with them. They can pretty much (A) ignore the questions and continue on with their lives -- like, until now, Martin; (B) admit the rumors are true and continue on with their lives, as Neil Patrick Harris has done; or (C) deny the rumors and file a lawsuit.
What's interesting about Ricky Martin's case is that he has now run the gauntlet on all three of these options. This is the same guy who, when asked about his sexuality, responded, "If I were gay, why not admit it?... I am a normal man. I love women and sex. I am a real hot-blooded Puerto Rican, but I have never been attracted by sex with a man."
Lately, he seemed quite comfortable in the role of a gay man that just never discussed it publicly, until, quite surprisingly, he mentioned it at the bottom of a post on his blog. And even more surprisingly, as far as we can tell, nothing triggered this announcement. He, apparently, just felt it was time.
This is in contrast to Neil Patrick Harris. It's easy to forget now, but the gossip blogs were swirling with rumors before he gave his interview to PEOPLE magazine. He felt that the rumors were distracting from the show he was (and still is) on, 'How I Met Your Mother.' Even easier to forget: The speculation that his announcement would somehow prohibit viewer's ability to still accept his 'HIMYM' character, Barney Stinson, as a ladies' man. Thankfully, this question has long been settled.
Interesting, though, that Harris' Twitter account didn't exist (nor did Twitter as a whole) when NPH gave his interview to PEOPLE. That's what makes Martin's announcement notable -- he completely forwent the television or magazine interview. Martin used his own forum to discuss his life.
Now, of course, social media services like Twitter are used regularly by celebrities to communicate directly with an audience -- usually to promote their latest project or complain about a simple peeve of daily life. It's still quite rare for an announcement of this magnitude to be delivered by this kind of a platform.
Is this the future? Possibly. More and more actors, athletes, reality stars -- whoever is in the public eye -- are bypassing the (as they would assume) sometimes skewed slant of the media to deliver their message directly. In the past, there was really no way to accomplish this. Now, someone like Ashton Kutcher can make any extremely important announcement he wants on Twitter (which most recently, was "Happy Passover" -- but you get the idea) to around 4.7 million followers.
Why would Martin -- or any celebrity in the future -- need to subject himself to an interview when, with one little sentence on his own Web site, we are all reporting on it regardless? And you know what? Good for him.
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