News Round-Up: May 4, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

Monday Memory: I came across this photo (above) from a couple of years ago when Michael, I and some friends were invited to the opening of a new club in Las Vegas. We got there kind of early I guess as not many people were there. A photographer told us to pose for a pic laying down and flexing. For some reason, I (top right) was more fascinated with my cocktail than my bicep.

Boy Culture: Matt Rettenmund reminisces on Madonna making her Broadway debut in David Mamet’s acclaimed play, Speed-the-Plow, thirty-two years ago.

NBC News: On April 20, Trump estimated the death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus threat could be 50,000 to 60,000; by that point, there had been 40,000 U.S. deaths related to COVID-19. Earlier last week, he spoke of 60,000 to 70,000 deaths. During a Fox News town hall Friday night, Trump shifted his estimates to perhaps 100,000. At this writing, there are over 68,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US.

Gay Star News: Reports of Tunisia recognizing a same-sex marriage have put LGBT+ people in danger. Tunisian LGBT+ organization Mawjoudin – We Exist – told GSN the reports were probably based on an administrative mistake. Moreover, they said the reports have caused ‘a wave of queerphobic speech, attacks, and bullying’.

Twitter: Star Trek star George Takei jokes about people disregarding social distancing guidelines, “I’m starting a rumor on the Breitbart (conservative website) chats that Covid-19 turns you gay. That should keep a lot of these idiots at home.

Instinct: Trenton Councilwoman Robin Vaughn became unhinged during a city council conference call and launched vicious, homophobic personal attacks against Reed Gusciora – Trenton, New Jersey’s first openly gay Mayor. The slur-laden screed included calling the mayor a “pedophile” and “bitch-ass.” Gov. Murphy has called for her resignation. You can hear the conference call here.

Pink News: Homophobe Franklin Graham has been asked to pack up his tents and leave New York after exploiting the setting up of a tent hospital during the coronavirus crisis to discriminate against gay people and evangelize.

People: And finally, something uplifting to end this round-up. Check out the video below 🙂

Trump Unveils New Space Force Logo (Something Seems Familiar Though)

Donald Trump proudly announced the new logo for the Space Force, the newest branch of the U.S. military.

Clearly, the graphic designer boldly went where someone else had gone before:

Folks immediately noticed something familiar about the design.

News Round-Up: May 25, 2018

Hot, handsome, woofy guy
(image via kenneth-in-the-212)

Some news items you might have missed:

• I don’t know who this guy is, but Kenneth-in-the-212 found him and I just had to look at him some more… 😉

• Even with the recent announcement that the NFL will fine players who take a knee during the national anthem, New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson says he’ll pay any fine levied against his players.

• Out country artist Ty Herndon talks about the upcoming Concert for Love & Acceptance.

• LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.

• George Takei says he bears no ill will towards his accuser who has now walked back his accusation that Takei sexually assaulted him almost 40 years ago.

• Here’s the setup: On the UK series Celebrity Juice, TV personality Mark Wright and comedian Joel Dommett complete an obstacle course while passing a banana between their mouths because…?

Who cares?

George Takei’s Accuser Changes His Story Of Drugged Sexual Assault

George Takei (image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Months ago, as the #MeToo movement was heating up, many folks were surprised when a former model named Scott Brunton came forward to accuse Star Trek actor George Takei of sexual assault dating back to the early 1980s.

The impact on Takei was immediate as the story went viral. Suddenly, social media’s wise “gay uncle” had been tarred and feathered as a sexual predator.

Takei, wounded, issued a clear denial of the story:

Now, Brunton has spoken to the New York Observer’s Shane Snow in a lengthy interview where the former model now admits he doesn’t remember Takei groping him.

In fact, Brunton walks back several talking points about the night in question and his tone has softened regarding the allegations.

In the article, Brunton admits that, upon arriving in Los Angeles in his early 20s, he “became very wary of people—men—who may have wanted just to get into my pants.”

And yet, it was in 1981 that Brunton, having broken up with him boyfriend at the time, found himself out one evening for dinner and a play with the Star Trek actor which ended in Takei’s condo having cocktails.

Brunton’s says after two drinks he stood up and became dizzy. Takei led him to a bean bag chair where Brunton believes he passed out for a moment. When he came to, he says Takei was attempting to remove his pants.

Although Takei reasoned he was trying to make the younger man more comfortable, he got up and drove home.

Brunton would later tell The Oregonian that, “I know unequivocally he spiked my drink.”

But Snow spoke to two different medical toxicologists who ruled out the idea of a spiked drink.

“The most likely cause is not drug-related,” said Lewis Nelson, the director of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “It sounds like postural hypotension, exacerbated by alcohol.” Postural hypotension is a sudden decrease in blood pressure that can occur when a person stands up quickly—and can make one dizzy enough to pass out even without alcohol. Brunton had made it clear to me, twice, that dizziness hit him only when he stood up.

“The alcohol alone, if drunk quickly, could account for [his browning out], particularly if there was a bit of postural hypotension,” said date-rape expert Michael Scott-Ham of Principal Forensic Toxicology & Drugs, a consulting firm in London, who has testified in criminal cases for 35 years. “To recover so speedily doesn’t sound like the actions of a drug.”

According to experts, victims of the date-rape drug Rohypnol (“roofies”) describe the next day as the worst hangover of their lives, and have little to no memory of what happened while drugged.

Nelson added that there were no drugs available in 1981 that could have done what Brunton claims.

When Snow shared that info with Brunton, the former model admitted he felt better about the incident in that “it makes him a little less sinister.”

Snow also notes that Brunton’s story about being groped or fondled changed over time. In an interview with CNN, Brunton didn’t mention touching at all.

Snow directly asked Brunton about the issue:

I asked him to clarify the issue. “Did he touch your genitals?”

“You know…probably…” Brunton replied after some hesitation. “He was clearly on his way to…to…to going somewhere.”

We shared a pause.

“So…you don’t remember him touching your genitals?”

Brunton confessed that he did not remember any touching.

“There’s nothing to prosecute here,” former Senior Deputy District Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez told Snow. He said that taking off someone’s pants is “making a move,” and making a move isn’t a crime if the instigator backs off when told “no.”

Brunton asserts he felt “betrayed” by his friend Takei for hitting on him and he still wants an apology from Takei.

“I just want him to apologize for taking advantage of our friendship,” Brunton said.

For Takei’s part, a personal friend told Snow, “This has been the worst thing to happen to George since the internment camps.”

In the end, Snow characterizes Brunton as “a sympathetic and well-intentioned man, would go on to walk back key details and let slip that, in his effort to be listened to, he’d fabricated some things.”

And while not dismissing the idea that Takei could have done something inappropriate almost 40 years ago, Snow’s take after surveying what he’d learned was, “We—both public and press—got the George Takei assault story wrong.”

George Takei To Howard Stern: Sometimes You Have To “Persuade” Men Who Are “Skittish” About Sex

George Takei

In the midst of the ongoing allegations of sexual misconduct flying all over, I was surprised as many were to hear George Takei accused of sexual assault from back in the early 80s by former model/actor Scott Brunton.

As I reported last week, Brunton says he passed out after a couple of cocktails at Takei’s apartment after a date in 1981, and when he came to his pants were around his ankles and Takei was trying to remove his underwear.

Takei vehemently denied the entire event. He also says he doesn’t remember knowing Brunton.

But folks have found a recent interview segment with Takei and Howard Stern, and the chat was downright prescient.

In an interview with Stern just last month, Takei and Stern were chatting up the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations when Takei was asked by Stern if he ever “hassled” or grabbed another gay man inappropriately.

Here’s how it went down:

Stern: “You never sexually assaulted anyone…..?”

Takei: (long pause) “Hey, boner” (laughs)

Takei: “Some people are kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.”

Stern co-host Robin Quivers: “But you didn’t do this grabbing at work?”

Takei: “It was either in my home. They came to my home.”

Stern: “So what do you mean, there’d be some guy who was hesitating to have sex with you and then you gave’em a gentle squeeze on the balls or something?”

Takei: “More than a gentle…. [laughs] but it didn’t involve power over the other.”

Listen below.

(h/t Towleroad)

Podcast: LGBTs Notch Historic Wins In Political Races; George Takei Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

In this week’s podcast:

• Political history was made in elections across the country this week by LGBT candidates

• A new poll in the UK shows gay men have an issue with masculinity

• Australia looks poised to legalize same-sex marriage, but there could be a snag

• A Las Vegas father shoots and kills his 14-year-old son for being gay. Click here to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign aimed at helping pay funeral expenses.

• Pro soccer player Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay athlete in one of the “big four” professional sports, announced his retirement

Star Trek star and LGBT icon George Takei accused of sexual misconduct

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

Bernie Sanders Supporter George Takei Calls For Democrats To Unite Behind Hillary Clinton

TV icon and political activist George Takei posted a video to his Facebook page yesterday calling for all Democrats to unite behind Hillary Clinton as the presumptive presidential nominee after her huge primary wins on Tuesday night.

As a Bernie Sanders supporter, Takei points to the obvious delegate math saying Hillary Clinton will most likely be the nominee and we should all take a pledge to #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.

From Raw Story:

“Ultimately, we Democrats know that a bit of a tussle isn’t a bad thing — it makes us stronger. Keeps us sharp,” he said. “And really, it’s like a family squabble, where only family — those very close to us — can truly get under our skin. But remember this, too: it’s precisely because we like and respect each other that the words and criticisms sting as much as they do.”

In the video, he noted that both candidates agree on issues like womens’ reproductive health, LGBT rights advocacy, separation of church and state and supporting the Affordable Care Act. He also recalled Sanders’ statement last November that if Clinton won the general election, she would be “an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day.”

“If Bernie believes that, his supporters can, too,” Takei said.

One fan suggested Takei for veep, but he declined saying such duties wouldn’t leave him “as much time for cat memes.”

Video Highlights From The Upcoming Broadway Musical “Allegiance”

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Check out George Takei and Lea Salonga in ALLEGIANCEGeorge Takei, Lea Salonga & Telly Leung pledge ALLEGIANCE to Broadway!Posted by Broadway.com on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Directed by my friend Stafford Arima and starring George Takei in his Broadway debut, alongside Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.