Bryan Porter

The unfinished blow job

2007-06-01 09:05

Bryan Porter

It's been a scary month to be a male celebrity in South Africa, but, I imagine, a thrilling time to be the editor of a tabloid newspaper.

I have no doubt that many an RSS reader has been set to auto-refresh after a self-proclaimed male prostitute launched his one-man blog campaign to out "former clients" with whom he engaged in "rough sex".

The blog was launched in April, and carried the names of 16 prominent South African men, including performers, sportsmen, politicians and members of the clergy. Under each name was a detailed description of alleged sexual acts conducted with the blogger in return for payment. A further 34 names were promised to those reading the blog.

Ex-Springbok rugby player James Small vehemently denied allegations about him in a radio show on 702, and Patricia de Lille slammed the blog, in fact the whole blogging community, after reference was made to a well-known ID politician.

Then yesterday, the country's hoi-polloi uttered a collective sigh of relief, after the blogger, identified only as "Skye" was finally gagged after a team of legal experts representing five of his "former clients" threatened to reveal his name unless the whole blog was replaced with a polite apology.

So. How does a columnist deal with such a deliciously tantalising issue?

I'm stuck.

Casting a bad light

On the one hand, as a gay man, I'm standing up and (literally) screaming about the fact that a person who is unwilling to identify himself is casting such a bad light on the homosexual community.

Slander without retribution is unacceptable in any terms, but in such a conservative community as South Africa, here's a gay man, identifying himself as a prostitute, publicly attacking prominent figures. I can't condone that.

On the other hand, as an editor, I find the prospect delicious. I don't profess to like myself for that fact, but when I read the commentary on blogs and comments about the articles written about this blog, I don't see people condemning the blogger; I don't see hatred. All I see is an audience hungry to get their hands on the blog's URL, which, by law, us editors can't publish.

Whew. A lot said. But, while I'm a gay man, and an editor, I'm human. And a South African. No one deserves to have their private foibles exposed, whether they're a celebrity or a regular joe.

I'm a Facebook addict and if I saw my own, or my friends; skeletons revealed and reviled in cyberspace in such a sordid, exposed manner, quite frankly, I'd hate it.

You should too.

Debora Patta and all that...

Okay, so as chance has it, I met a lawyer last night who represented the "accused". Sigh. The guy is good, really good. But it got us talking. You know how we watch so many American shows all the time? Well, he's no Denny Crane, but dashing enough in his own right, and we got talking. About stuff. Legal stuff. Journalistic stuff.

The press and the legal fraternity see each other as enemies. In fact, comparisons between Debora Patta and Satan were made, but I won't name any names.

Why not work closer? The sub judice rule is considered by this country's lawyers to mean that journalists cannot reveal details of a case that may affect its outcome. As far as journalists are concerned, it means revealing as many juicy details as possible, without naming anyone.

As many columnists before me have said, I digress. The point is this: Lawyers - tell us more. Journalists - stop clamouring for attention, and prescribe some moral decorum, there are real people involved.

The editor of News24 gave me 300 words, I've gone way over, and can only beg his patience. 'Nuff said.

Send your comments to Bryan.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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