Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is firing back at his alma mater after the school withdrew its offer for Black to speak at a graduation ceremony. The school says that bare-backing photos leaked in 2009 further tarnishes their already poor reputation. From the student newspaper of Pasadena City College:
Black was the first of eight potential candidates to make himself available as a speaker, but the Board of Trustees were made aware of nude pictures found on the internet of him with a man having unprotected sex and he was dismissed as a candidate because the board thought his actions might inflame the college’s own sex scandals. “With the porno professor and the sex scandals we’ve had on campus this last year, it just didn’t seem like the right time for Mr. Black to be the speaker,” Board President Anthony Fellow said. “We’ll be on the radio and on television. We just don’t want to give PCC a bad name.” The college recently went through two scandals involving professor Hugo Schwyzer, the “porno professor” who admitted to sleeping with students, and journalism instructor Warren Swil, who admitted to showing nude photos of himself to a student. The problem, however, is that Black accepted what appeared to be an official invitation to speak at commencement more than a month ago.
Black has written a lengthy open letter to the school. An excerpt via Out Magazine:
For too long now I’ve sat silent on this issue. That ends here and now and with this sentence: I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be shamed for this any longer.
In 2009 a group of people surreptitiously lifted images from my ex’s computer and shopped them around to gossip sites in a money making scheme. These were old images from a far simpler time in my life, a time before digital camera phones and Internet scandals. They were photos of me with a man I cared for, a man who shared my Mormon background, and who was also struggling with who he was versus where he came from. And yes, we were doing what gay men do when they love and trust each other, we were having sex. I have never lied about my sexuality. If you invade my privacy, this is what you will find. I have sex. It brings me joy, fosters intimacy and helps love grow. I hope anyone reading this can say the same for themselves and for their parents.
In 2010 I took the perpetrators of this theft to Federal court and Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled unequivocally that the defendants had indeed broken the law. The details of this case are readily available for anyone to read — including PCC’s leadership and Board of Trustees. In the eyes of anyone who has seen the devastating effects this trespass has had on me personally, creatively and professionally over these many years, in the eyes of my mother and friends who have held me as I’ve cried, and under the blind scrutiny of the law of this land, I am the victim of this “scandal,” not the perpetrator.
With this cruel act, PCC’s Administration is punishing the victim. And I ask you this: If I was a heterosexual man or woman with this same painful injury in my past, would PCC’s Administration still be rescinding such an honor?