News Round-Up: December 27, 2019

(image via Instagram/Chippendales)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: My brother is in town for the holidays, and that means we have to head down at some point to see the world-famous Chippendales (above) at the Rio Hotel here in Las Vegas. The sold-out show totally rocked. If you can’t get to Vegas, the Chipps just announced a 30 city tour beginning in late January. Click here for dates and tix. #Grrr

JoeMyGod: A teenage boy who alleges sexual abuse by a priest killed the priest by shoving a crucifix down his throat.

The Gaily Grind: Disney has cut a brief scene featuring Star Wars’ first same-sex kiss from its new movie “The Rise of Skywalker” in Singapore, a country where same-sex marriage is illegal and sex between men is punishable by up to two years in prison.

KIT212: Kenneth has the lowdown on the what’s what in gay rags across the country like Chicago’s GRAB Magazine celebrating ‘The Men of Bullies and Biceps.”

Washington Blade: Amid speculation Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave his position to pursue his old job as U.S. senator in Kansas, Donald Trump is considering U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell –  who’s also the highest-ranking openly gay person in his administration – as a replacement.

NY Times: Foreign teachers at some private schools in Indonesia have been required to answer questions and many more like them in what has been billed as a psychological exam to determine teachers’ sexual orientation and attitude toward gay rights. A 2015 government regulation prohibits international schools from hiring foreign teachers who have “an indication of abnormal sexual behavior or orientation.”

HuffPost: Donald Trump likes to brag that he donates his $400,000 annual salary as president to charities. But according to folks tracking the Trumpster’s golf habit, his passion for the links has now cost taxpayers $118 million – or about 296 years of that presidential salary. Remember when he said if elected he’d “never leave the White House…?”

Semi-Nude Social Media Took This Poet Off The Shelf

Author Ben Kline (via Tumblr)

Ben Kline, a poet, was recently thrilled when he was informed a chapbook of his poetry was accepted for publication.

A chapbook is a small book, generally in the range of 20-40 pages. They are a useful format for emerging writers to introduce new work to the world and give voice to writers who may need it.

In this day and age of shrinking attention spans, chapbooks are used to showcase top-shelf poetry or short stories in a format that one can finish in a single sitting.

Kline’s collection, Sagittarius A*, was accepted, and according to a recent post he made online, he spent a week with an editor from the publishing house discussing edits, release date, cover design and more.

He also pulled the chapbook from consideration with two other possible publishers.

But then came an odd twist in the tale of Kline’s chapbook, which he shared in an essay on his personal website.

Kline writes that he received a disconcerting email informing him a woman in the publisher’s office took a moment to check out his Twitter account.

That led to her perusing his Instagram account where he apparently had been posting nearly-nude photos that were usually coupled with poems which “delved into contemporary matters of queer life.”

From the email:

Yesterday, a woman at our office did a Google search of your Twitter handle, pinecreekpoet, which led to your Instagram account, which we all saw at the office and mostly didn’t think twice about at first—however, a couple of hours later, we found her seven-year-old daughter crying with her mom’s phone, having seen your entire account. She was very, very upset and confused and upset about all the nudity, and this led to a long talk about what is and isn’t appropriate for an adult to post on a public, family-friendly website and what does and doesn’t fit [our publisher’s] image, especially because we have our first children’s books in the works right now.

The email went on to say the powers that be asked some of the authors on their roster how they would feel being on the same imprint as “someone who has posted hundreds of public nude selfies?”

Mind you, Instagram doesn’t allow full-frontal nudes, and most of us have seen the eye-candy/beefcake posts on Instagram…

The answer, it appears, is some of the ‘other authors’ (especially women, per the email) felt a “bit creeped out” by the idea.

Further, the publisher shared that if the photos were “somehow connected to your career, etc…we’d have no problem with it, but being connected to an author who has posted public nudes/semi-nude photos nearly every day for the last seven years with no obvious reward other than personal satisfaction is something that makes us all feel uncomfortable.”

The email closes with rescinding the offer of publishing Sagittarius A*.

Kline has since taken his social media private “to avoid them attempting to smear” him with other publication companies.

Sample from Kline’s Instagram (via Alan

The story leaves me with some questions.

One, how and why did a 7-year-old come upon a phone (don’t these things lock?) with the images readily available?

And seriously, what 7-year-old becomes “very, very upset and confused” to the point of crying because of a semi-nude body on Instagram? Again – there are no full-frontal photos on the Insta.

Two, what would it matter if a collection of astrophysics-inspired poetry penned by a guy who has posted semi-naked photos on his social media were to be published on the same imprint as a children’s book? Who is going to connect one project of a completely different realm to the other?

Three, it would be one thing if Kline were seeking a job in the field of teaching or at a conservative law firm. But poets and poetry cover a wide-ranging world of words and creative thought. Why would his Insta-thirst traps have anything to do with other authors at the publishing house?

Kline ends his essay saying he felt offended by the “tone/language/implications” of the email in a homophobic vein.

“There are lots of queer poets who have queer and/or sexualized content on their social media,” writes Kline. “My selfies on IG were almost always paired with poems that delved into contemporary matters of queer life. They were not just images posted ‘with no obvious reward other than personal satisfaction.’”

Finally, as Kline resumes submitting Sagittarius A* to publishers, I want to share the cover of Kline’s Going Fast In Loose Directions.

Surely the image itself, which the publisher had to have come across, was a clue to the writer’s style and predilections?

(image via Amazon)

(h/t Boy Culture)

News Round-Up: October 31, 2019

Joe Blizzard (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Joe Blizzard (above) looks a little too scared to venture out on Halloween, but looks just fine where he is…

LGBTQ Nation: LGBTQ members of Congress speak out on the Donald Trump impeachment resolution.

Back2Stonewall: Delta Airlines, which has scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) multiple times, apparently edited out all gay references and a same-sex kiss from the Elton John biopic Rocketman.

Throwback Thursday: Camp, camp, camp – Florence Henderson performs “That Old Black Magic” on the uber-gay The Paul Lynde Halloween Special October 29, 1976.

2020 Battleground States: A new NY Times/Siena University poll shows voters across six important swing states support the House impeachment inquiry 52-44 percent. However, at this time, a majority of those voters (52-42) oppose removing Trump from office.

OUT: After the dismal failure that was the Boston ‘Straight Pride’ Parade, the folks behind that debacle now plan to head south to Dallas, Texas,  to hold another bullsh*t anti-LGBTQ event there.

New York Times: A National Security Council aide, Timothy Morrison, testified on Thursday that a top diplomat close to Donald Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating Trump’s political rivals, corroborating earlier impeachment inquiry testimony.

Global News: Global Calgary meteorologist Jordan Witzel showed up dressed as a mystical unicorn named Ferdinand for Halloween 2019, and no one on set could stop laughing as he tried to report the weather in his magical ensemble.

Trump, Of All People, Denounces “Censorship” In Morning Twitter Rant

Donald Trump, who earlier this week took away former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance as punishment for speaking out against him, took to Twitter this morning to denounce (of all things) "censorship."
Donald Trump

Donald Trump, who earlier this week took away former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance as punishment for speaking out against him, took to Twitter this morning to denounce (of all things) “censorship.”

Claiming “social media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” the Trumpster lamented that “Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad.”

This probably has more to do with nutjob/InfoWars host Alex Jones being shut out of practically all social media for his continued baseless rantings.

Remember, Jones is the guy who claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was faked. He publicly called out to Trump to save him from being cut off of social media.

This looks like his request has been answered.

Note: Trump appears to have tweeted these missives right after Fox & Friends discussed the issue – more proof that Trump has never had an original thought in his life.

Instagram Deletes The Warwick Rowers

Without warning, the Instagram account of the uber-popular Warwick Rowers disappeared from the social media platform.

The rowing club of athletic lads from Warwickshire in the UK has produced a cheeky calendar since 2009.

Proceeds from the calendar benefit the Rowers’ outreach program, Sport Allies, which works to eliminate homophobia in sports through education and support of young LGBT athletes.

The team tweeted yesterday that the Instagram account had been ‘deactivated’ without warning. “We’re hoping this is a mistake and are waiting for them to allow us back on the platform to keep spreading our message,” wrote the rowers.

Before the account was deleted the athletes had amassed over 180,000 followers on the social media platform.

The Warwick Rowers have appealed the suspension multiple times to Instagram.

The rowers and Instagram have a long history of disagreeing on the content guidelines for the photo-sharing platform.

Instagram’s content guidelines state that they will remove images of “sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.”

The vast majority of the Warwick Rowers content conforms to those guidelines.

Here’s a promotional video for their 2016 calendar.

UPDATE: Just hours after news of the deletion from Instagram, the Warwick Rowers’ account is back.

The guys posted the below photo with the caption, “Back on IG got us like: woop woop #bunsout.”

A post shared by The Warwick Rowers (@warwick_rowers) on Jun 19, 2018 at 10:08am PDT

(h/t Pink News)

Grocery store covers same-sex wedding pic on Milwaukee Magazine cover

The current March cover story of Milwaukee Magazine examines the possible economic benefits of same-sex marriage should the state of Wisconsin were to legalize it. The headline on the cover – “For Love & Money: Same-sex marriage is big business and Wisconsin is losing out on millions.”

A customer to Sendik’s Fine Foods in Brookfield, Wisconsin, took the photo above showing a black card had been placed in front of the magazine in some form of censorship. When the customer asked why the black card, a clerk said the ownership deemed the cover photo ‘inappropriate’.

Milwaukee Magazine editor Kurt Chandler told the blog Romenesko:

We anticipated there would be reaction to the cover photo and the story. I’m disappointed the reaction in this case came in the form of censorship. More constructive would be an open dialogue about Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage.

NBC edits out IOC anti-discrimination statement from opening ceremony at Sochi Olympics

Deadspin reports that NBC edited out IOC president Thomas Bach making a “strong statement against ‘any form of discrimination’ and in favor of tolerance.”

The world heard Bach’s statement, but Americans did not. Here is the edited out portion of the speech:

Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone. Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet. From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes.

You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream. The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is.

You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.

Head over to Deadspin where both the full version of the speech and the edited version (with a cut-away shot) are posted.

Boo on NBC. This is going to be a story…

(via JMG)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s staff scrubbed positive Facebook comments about same-sex marriage

Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued an apology on his official Facebook page today after accusations that he and/or his staffers had scrubbed  pro-equality comments from his FB page following the Supreme Court decision this week.

From Pence’s Facebook page today:

“I believe that civility and respect for the opinion of others is essential to the democratic process. I also believe in the Freedom of Speech. Over the past 24 hours, I became aware of concerns that comments responding to my statement of support for traditional marriage were being deleted from this Facebook page because they disagreed with my stated position.

Our longstanding policy, on this and other social media sites, has been to delete inflammatory comments that include name-calling, vulgarity or comments personally insulting to others. It was my understanding that the comments which were deleted all met this standard.

On careful review, it appear that this was not always the case and some comments were being deleted simply because they expressed disagreement with my position. I regret that this occurred and sincerely apologize to all those who were affected.

I have instructed our staff to review our policy and develop a standard of conduct similar to that of other elected officials and news organizations in the days ahead. We will post that policy prominently on this site. Hoosiers expect our public debate to be open and respectful and we will ever seek to live up to that standard. In agreement or disagreement, I respect the opinions and the freedoms of all the people of Indiana.”

The censorship is still being documented by an online site called Pencership.

(via Towleroad)