A new movie, “Outrage”, directed by filmmaker Kirby Dick, essentially “outs” gay politicians who have voted against gay rights legislation and related law (e.g., support for AIDS research, the unfortunately named “gay adoption”). According to this website (where you can also view a trailer for the film), men interviewed in the film report homosexual encounters with former New York mayor Ed Koch, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, and former Senator Larry Craig. The conceit is that these men “hinder gay rights during the day” while enjoying the benefits of a “gay lifestyle” afforded by the work of gay activists “at night.” (My quotation marks here are meant to indicate that I’m para/quoting from the linked website for the film and hoping that some gay people have sex during daylight hours.) The movie premiered last Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival and will enjoy a limited release in several cities, including Washington, D.C. (on May 8). At least one reviewer feels the film is largely successful in achieving it’s aim that “those who write the law should be subject to it”.
This Reuter’s report includes an interview with the director in which he claims all allegations within the movie (against Koch, Crist and Craig) are true, and that he has a (constitutional) right to make them, but also that a legal challenge would be welcome because it would drive up ticket sales and bring attention to the film. Not said, but surely also true, is that a legal challenge would enliven the debate around civil rights and homosexuality.
The question of how successful this movie will be as a movement strategy is one I hope experts will answer. The question of how ethical it is to “out” someone on film…well, I think that’s a different story. If these accusations are true, than I agree these politicians are hypocrites and this hypocrisy should be brought to light (given that they are or were public servants). On the other hand, doing so sets a standard of behavior that may limit the movement itself, if and to the extent that it relies on friendly, but closeted allies–in politics or any other field.