No, I’m not really shocked; more like bemused…
I’d fallen out of favor with Howard Kurtz years ago, so I wasn’t too surprised when I learned he actually didn’t do thorough research on Jason Collins’ announcement on Monday that he’s gay.
But, I admit I was mortified and offended by Kurtz’s callous, heteorsexist, white male privileged perspective on Collins’ coming out. Kurtz erroneously wrote that Collins’ failed to mentioned he dated a woman for eight years and was actually engaged.
Imagine that: a man actually dating and potentially marrying a woman before coming out the closet.
Kurtz claimed Collins “downplayed” the detail and proceeded to recount an interview CNN’s Piers Morgan did with Carolyn Moos, the woman Collins dated for eight years:
And when did she find out about his homosexuality? A few days ago.
“It’s very emotional for me as a woman to have invested 8 years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate, and best friend in him,” Moos told TMZ.
Moos recounted her ex’s admission this way to Hollywood Life: “I have something very important to tell you I need you to sit down,” she said. “This is something that I’ve been discovering for a very long time and I’ve also supressed for a very long time.”
She would not tell CNN’s Piers Morgan whether Collins had apologized to her.
Now the relationship that Collins had with the woman who thought they were getting married until 2009 is between him and her.
But Collins was hailed by the media and other public figures for having the courage to tell his story. He mentioned the engagement in his Sports Illustrated essay, but didn’t dwell on it.
I’m sure it wasn’t easy becoming the first male athlete in a major sports league to come out as gay. But I have to assess a foul for the incomplete nature of the disclosure.
Did Collins think his longtime squeeze was just going to stay silent?
Perhaps in his next interview, as he tries to get another basketball team to pick him up, Collins can tell us the rest of the story.
I should note that at the end of the article on The Daily Beast, a correction appears, stating “An earlier version of this story erroneously said that Collins had not mentioned his engagement in his Sports Illustrated essay.”
Kurtz and his co-host Lauren Ashburn mused over what they no doubt view as Collins’ deception with their homophobic, white privileged, hetero-centric spin, joking about Collins “playing both sides of the court.” In the video (which is not on Daily-Download, but can be viewed here), Kurtz notes Collins’ not mentioning his engagement “muddies the whole plotline.”
But, as we all know, Collins did mention he’d been involved with relationships with women.
When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.
OMG, he was actually telling the truth!
It would be nice if these media folks actually held themselves up to the same holier-than-thou standard they regularly bash and criticize others in their industry for failing to adhere to.
Also? I’m going to need for Kurtz to get his act together. If he’s going to rebuild and maintain any credibility he has left as the most popular and widely read media critic, he needs to never repeat this sloppy rendition of media analysis.
But, this isn’t Kurtz’s first time with getting facts completely wrong or oversimplifying things, so again I can’t be too surprised.
Furthermore, for Kurtz and Ashburn to sit from afar and judge whether Collins’s story met their full disclosure threshold literally takes the cake for me. Straight people have no right to judge how, when and where GLBTQ folks come out of the closet. We do not have to negotiate heterosexuality, cissupremacy and cissexism, so we have no right to tell people like Collins how they should come out.
We have no right to lecture Collins on whether he should have notified his ex-fiance. That’s completely his decision and does not make his story any less monumental or somehow deceptive. People like Collins have the ultimate authority to decide who they want to come out to and we straight people have no right to sit in judgment of their decision.
The brazenly and unapologetically heterosexist perspective flaunted by Kurtz and Ashburn pretty much reduced Collins’ decision to mere entertainment for them and was yet another example of how marginalized bodies continue to be disrespected and shunned by mainstream America. Not only did their actions reduce Collins’ decision and its impact on the lives of young GLBTQ people, it also trivialized and erased Collins as a person who actually had to weigh the pros and cons of making his announcement.
What are your thoughts on Kurtz’s piece and his video with Ashburn?