PREACH IT! Are there more Ricky Martins out there? We could tell you -- but then we'd have to kill you
There was a loud reaction, and it was a reaction in two parts. The first part came from sanctimonious hausfraus, who clapped and cried and praised the singer for his “bravery.” (Martin sure would have been brave if he’d come out before he made all his money.)
The second part of the reaction was more like a collective Hey Wait a Minute.
Hey! Wait a minute! How come the press never told us this before? We know exactly where and when Lindsay Lohan went to rehab, and almost the precise nanosecond when LeAnn Rimes started cheating on Dean Sheremet with Eddie Cibrian, and who was on the guest list for Amy Adams’ baby shower, but Ricky Martin has been famous and gay for, like, decades? And nary a single press expose?
The press silence on The Gay may seem odd to civilian gossip hounds, especially given how aggressive the tabloids are about every other aspect of Hollywood's personal lives. But there’s a reason: the law.
Libel law outlines specific allegations that can trigger a defamation lawsuit, and -- antiquated or not, the argument could be made -- homosexuality is on the list. So is drug use, which is why so many celebrity-addiction rumors are reduced to blind items in the gossip rags. So what does all that mean? It means that, yes, a news outlet could run a story saying So-and-So is a closeted gay person. But most news outlets simply don't want to deal with the legal risk that comes with an allegation of being gay, even if it's true.
Does that mean that celebrity reporters are keeping a lid on many, many more gay relationships in Hollywood? Yes, yes, it does.
And don’t bother to ask. Our lawyers are watching.
-- Leslie Gornstein
Photos: Ricky Martin performs in Mexico City, top left, on May 17, 2008, and at the Los Angeles Coliseum, right, on July 29, 2006. Credits: Miguel Tovar / Associated Press, top; Chris Polk / Associated Press, right.
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