Gay reporter Rex Wockner just forwarded this story. Rex doesn’t think there’s every been a mainstream-media headline quite like this before. I think he’s right. Why does it matter that Merv Griffin was gay? Because it matters. Meaning, if Merv could marry, and if bashing Merv weren’t one of the top planks of the platform of the Republican party, then Merv being gay would be as significant as his ethnicity – an interesting side note. But being gay isn’t just a side note in America today. It’s still a source of great prejudice, particularly political prejudice from Republicans (or at least the far-right extremists who currently run the Republican party). So until America treats gay men and lesbians with the same respect that it accords other Americans, Merv Griffin sexual orientation will remain relevant.
[UPDATE: Mike Signorile has an excellent synopsis of the whole mess at The Gist.]
NOTE FROM PAM: There’s a lot more to this story, which I’ve been covering over at my pad. The editors at the Hollywood Reporter spent a lot of energy fretting over Richmond’s piece, which confirmed the impresario’s orientation — he had worked with Merv on his talk show and it was common knowledge that Griffin was gay. Discussing this in print, even after the mogul passed away, obviously raised the ire of industry heavy hitters (and likely advertisers) and the Hollywood Reporter pulled the piece, without explanation yesterday, and it disappeared from Richmond’s site as well.
Reuters, by the way, ran it, as well as other outlets, but the news service was also pressured, later adding a disclaimer tag to the story:
“This was a story from The Hollywood Reporter that ran as part of a Reuters news feed. We have dropped the story from our entertainment news feed as it did not meet our standards for news. GBU Editor”
What standard for news did Richmond’s piece not meet? Someone at Reuters had already given it the thumbs up, so it must have passed those heralded standards before the irate calls came. That’s scandalous on its own.
You’d think the matter of an obit about or reminiscence of a public figure wouldn’t generate all this brouhaha, but that’s what happens when the world outside of the closet is so frightening to people in Hollywood that all sorts of insane measures are taken to reinforce the message is that there is something inherently wrong with being gay.