Monday, May 14, 2007

Rosie vs. Ellen: Sign away the gay?

And she was all, and I was all, and she was all...As you probably already know, late last week the Lesbian Titans of Television (TM pending), Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres, had a testy tête-à-tête via blog/publicist (since, really, who actually speaks face-to-face anymore?). A chronological recap for those who have better things to do with their time than troll the internet for pseudo-feuds between power lesbians. On Thursday in a video post on her blog, Rosie said that Ellen was contractually obligated to not speak about being gay. As she does in these vlog sessions, Rosie and Co. answered reader emails and the question in question went: “Why do you talk about being gay all the time? And the subject of gays all the time. Ellen never mentions it.” To which, Rosie responded:

“Ellen is not allowed to. She signed a contract that said she wouldn’t. [To which her blogging cohort respond with stunned: “She really? She did?”] It was on the heels of my show -- so that’s why she doesn’t. But you know what, she also paved the way for a lot of gay people, especially on TV. There were no gay shows on TV. She was pre-“Will & Grace,” remember that. So, you know, I talk about gay because I like to. And she doesn’t talk about it because she doesn’t want to or she can’t. But who cares? It’s fine. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay.”

Well, wow. That was quite a bombshell. The next day TMZ contacted publicists for the producers of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” asking if Ellen was indeed being muzzled. The response:

“She’s gay? Who knew? Ellen is free to talk about whatever she wants and we encourage her to do so.”

Then on Friday, Rosie posted an apology on her blog in her normal not-quite haiku, not-quite e.e. cummings style that “according to jim,” and a couple other people we don’t know in the least, “no contract - ever did or would prevent ellen from saying anything in any way shape or form.”

a correction
4 all
my apologies

Well, wow. True or false, Rosie’s claims are deeply disturbing. If it’s true that Ellen really can’t talk about her sexuality on the air, then it is a sad day for free speech and gay awareness. But if it’s true that Rosie was wrong when she aired her contractual conspiracy theory, it proves that the former Queen of Nice should probably be called the Queen of Speaking Out of Her Ass instead.

Where does the truth lie? I tend to believe that Ellen wouldn’t flat-out sign a contract saying no lesbian business on the show. She fought too hard and endured too much to go back into that kind of Hollywood closet. Did producers/executives maybe ask her to, possibly, tone down the gay? Perhaps. But, then again, Ellen’s act her never been overtly sexual, even after coming out. Plus Rosie has a history of playing fuzzy with the facts. And while I appreciate her openness and outspokenness, I do not appreciate her openness to being outspoken when it comes to outrageous, unsupported claims.

Anyway, so now I’m going to go off on a somewhat-related, entirely-more-enjoyable tangent and say, check out the guns on Ellen! On Friday she taped an outdoor segment with Kelly Clarkson (airing today) where The Great Panted One became The Great Bermuda-Shorted One. Plus, her short-sleeve shirt gave us an inadvertent (and rare) peek at her muscley goodness. [Click below to get your own tickets to the gun show.] I opened the picture and went all Joey Lawrence, “Whoa!” CLICK TO GET YOUR TICKETS TO THE GUN SHOW


aaronjasonsilver said...


When one takes a very close and open minded look at all of the men in high profile positions that have been outed should lead one to believe that simply condemning homosexuality does not work in stopping or preventing it. Many of these men are members of the clergy. It obviously will never work in preventing or stopping homosexual behavior or orientation given the many facts we have available if we dare look. If the clergy themselves who vehemently condemn homosexuality on the pulpit but then in private engage in homosexuality and fantasy I believe provides some important evidence. The evidence of which I speak is that homosexuality goes much deeper than simply acting out physically. There is not a gay man that I have ever talked to that hasn’t admitted to trying or wanting to change their homosexual fantasies even before they have their first experience. We, as gay people learn very early on what behaviors are considered normal and which are considered not only abnormal but abhorrent. I, like so many other young children tried with all of our might to pray these powerful yet disdainful feelings away. Many clergy members choose the clergy for the very reason of trying to rid themselves of these overpowering natural urges. They privately hope that if they join the clergy they will be closer to God and then perhaps he will rid them of these feelings. This is what is meant by “the closet”. The closet is an emotional place that many homosexuals choose to live in, in order to prevent anyone from finding out or discovering their deeply hidden feelings. Both men and woman often do this. In fact most gay people start out in the closet once they have been socialized enough to understand that society does not permit these types of activities or feelings of same sex attractions. Instead these young boys and girls are forced into pretending that they have “normal” feelings of attraction like all the other kids. Unfortunately many choose to live in the closet for long periods of time causing more emotional harm to themselves and more victims of the deception.

The length of time one chooses to live in the closet has to do with so many variables. Some choose to live in the closet for religious reasons. They may be from deeply religious and socially conservative families. They may feel that by exposing their true nature that they may lose the love of their parents, families or their caretakers and are terrified of being shut out in some way such as losing their love or being punished for their feelings. They may also choose the closet for professional reasons. They may carry fear of losing their jobs or have fear of moving up in a company. Therefore economics can be a very powerful reason for staying in the closet way into their adulthood. I believe strongly that the topic of “the closet” needs to be addressed and understood. I believe it is essential to discuss “the closet” to provide the necessary context from which to view this issue and the many scandals. Particularly now however I am speaking of men at this time. The reason being is because I believe men use the closet even more often than woman because of societies more narrow view and expectations of what behaviors are considered acceptable and “normal” for men. This discussion needs to be civilized, and our knee jerk reactions and judgments held in check. We need to discuss this subject with compassion because there is a lot of emotional pain involved in living in the closet. We have to discuss this with a very sincere desire to try and understand why so many men are seemingly suddenly becoming gay. Of course this is an impression to some but far from the truth. These men have been living extremely lonely double lives, riddled with guilt in “the closet”. Woman can be tomboys much easier than men can be sissies. Of course not all gay men are effeminate by a long shot but that is a stereotypical image of gay men and therefore many men attempt to cover up any behaviors they may have and believe may bring unwanted suspicion onto them. Therefore men, whether they be gay or straight, will practice stereotypical masculine behaviors to thwart any suspicion out of fear and/or necessity. This is especially true if they feel pressure to do so to protect their careers, career advancement, fear of social denunciation or they have difficulties reconciling their religious views with their natural inner feelings and same sex attractions etc. These are however the most common reasons for men to join the astounding numbers of other men that are also hiding in the closet.

The fear of being discovered can be enormous and absolutely terrifying. These men will often then do whatever they believe society expects from them. They will marry and have children out of desperation in an always unsuccessful attempt at suppressing these natural longings and hoping that they will eventually go away. To Gays these attractions feel perfectly normal and are. Would we rather they try and unsuccessfully continue to hide by getting married and have homosexual secret liaisons with men and feel terrible guilt in doing so. They will do their very best to compartmentalize their lives and be successful at it for awhile but not forever. However I believe and have found while researching my book that the longer one stays in the closet the more damage is done. It is generally very difficult to compartmentalize ones life for long without some emotional problems developing in varying degrees and manifesting in a variety of ways. Many closeted men develop coping mechanisms such as addictive behaviors of all sorts whether they are alcoholism, prescription or non prescription drug abuse. They may develop addictions to pornography, sexual addiction or other self-destructive ways of acting out. Once again unfortunately the longer one stays in the closet there will then also generally be more victims because of their closeted lifestyle choice. This is the only place where the word choice can be used correctly within the context of this subject. They can either “choose” to live in the closet or “choose” to live out their truth of who they really are. The victims may be their wives and children, their friends, parents and siblings. All feeling like they have been betrayed and deceived when the closeted individuals true nature is discovered as it was for ex-governor of New Jersey, Mr. McGreevy, ex-congressmen Foley and now the president of the Evangelicals, to name just a few of the staggering number of men that have also been hiding their true selves. I feel very sad for the victims as well as I very much understand the humiliation, despair, and profound depression that the closeted individual feels that soon follows once that door to the closet is flung open. For some, the shame and fear is just too unbearable and suicide seems like the only alternative to ending their unbearable pain and shame.

Society needs to take some responsibility with this matter of the closet by being more accepting of alternative lifestyles. Without the closet, try and imagine how much less pain many people and families would have to endure. Not only the ones that feel that living in the closet is their only alternative, but for the victims that find themselves feeling betrayed and the breaking up of families that soon follows. We as a culture have some soul searching to do on this matter and not be so self-righteous. There are a variety of ways of loving and living. We need to accept the fact, that which seems to be normal for some is not necessarily normal for all. However, as I said the closet can cause deep and very troubling emotional problems that can eventually manifest in abhorrent behaviors. Unfortunately homosexuality is still frowned upon by many in American culture, which in turn renders same sex marriage completely out of the realm of possibilities for especially the conservative religious right.

For gays that feel the need to come to terms with their same sex attractions, I generally do not recommend discussing these issues with clergy. The reason I feel this way is because it can cause further damage due to their religious agendas which can deepen one's guilt, shame and depression. This is a very complicated issue that society has to become more compassionate about. If we do not, we will continue to shame many people with same sex attractions enough that will perpetuate their confusion. It will also inhibit many from being true to themselves from the beginning and also prevent them from seeking the appropriate help for any specific personal issues in which they may be struggling with. Thank you, Aaron Jason Silver

Leila said...

uh, don't you think, mr aaronjasonsilver, that if The Dorothy or anyone else wanted to spend hours reading your blogs or your book, they would do so. No need to post a book report and pretend it's a comment. You get an A for effort, but a D for plagiarism. Yes, you can plagiarise yourself. So gay.

Anonymous said...

Yes, ajs I believe that your point in a nutshell with a link to your blog would suffice.

Back to Dorothy - what is with Rosie? Does every thought that crosses her mind have to be uttered? She and Ellen used to be pals, but I'm not sure they are anymore. Remember the "lebanese" exchange? Funny. I mean funny ha-ha.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog on Ellen/Rosie, Dorothy! Agree with everything you said. I can't see at all Ellen signing a contract limiting her freedom of speech as that would totally negate all that she's accomplished. It's her right to talk or not talk about gay issues and it's cool with me. But yes, it's nice to see her loosening up and inviting more gay actors to her show and mentioning Portia more often.

Anonymous said...

aaronjasonsilver .. i can't take the time to read your novel/comment. With respect to Ellen, she mentions Portia frequently enough ... and has gay actors on speaking about their experiences with "coming out". Her show is entertainment ... not to talk incessantly about being a lesbian .. and if she did that, the show would be a big ol' bore.

Anonymous said...

I've Tivo'd Ellen's talk show from day 1. This season especially, she's mentioned being gay and has discussed coming out issues.

Anonymous said...

Ellen came out publically before Rosie and Rosie was not supportive on her show when Ellen came out - so who's the biggest hypocrite! Damn Rosie why would you say anything about Ellen - sorry but I find Rosie to be an idiot at times. she is not the voice of all things gay she only thinks she is, IMO.

Anonymous said...


(Apologies...I'm wading in the shallow end of the gay pool this morning.)

Anonymous said...

Umm, you know those aren't guns right? That's flab fo'sho.

Anonymous said...

mmm...I say guns, and I bet they're better than yours. Anyways, I'm not going to concern myself with your negativity. I'm just going to go right back to enjoying the photo!