Lot’s of followup on yesterday’s shocking (uhm…not) news of Clay Aiken’s coming out.
People posted an excerpt from the magazine story this morning. In the excerpt, Clay describes coming out to his mother, Faye Parker, 4 years ago. He hopes his fans know that he never intended to lie, and that if they leave the fandom, “I don’t want them to leave hating me.” Clay tells People, “It was the first decision I made as a father… I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn’t raised that way, and I’m not going to raise a child to do that.”
After the jump: Clay thanks his fanbase. Simon Cowell weighs in. So do some Gay organizations. Micheal Slezak writes a heartfelt essay, Jim Cantielo recounts an embarrassing moment. And me. I post my opinion. Please post yours in comments.
More after the JUMP…
Simon Cowell weighs in:
“Good for him, ” Cowell told TV’s Extra. “If he said it, it’s the right thing for him.”
Cowell, 48, says he doesn’t think Aiken’s sexual orientation will matter to the performer’s rabid fan base. “I don’t think anyone cares, ” Cowell said. “Let’s face it. It’s 2008. You know. Who cares?”
Cowell couldn’t resist showing his sarcastic side to the TV program when he feigned surprise at the news that Aiken, 29, came out of the closet: “Wow. That’s a shock, ” he said. “It’s like being told Santa Claus isn’t real. Unbelievable.”
Clay responded to his fans on his official forum last night.
“We’ll ‘talk’ more later, ” Aiken, 29, writes on his Web site‘s message board. “but, suffice it to say, for the first time in recent memory, I am speechless. I’m so proud to know and love all of you.”
He adds, “My family is so much larger than Parker, Jaymes, mom, Brett, etc. It extends to each of you. And I couldn’t be more blessed.”
Gay groups respond:
“We congratulate Clay for making this decision and for setting an example for others and his family, ” Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Tuesday morning. “As we’re seeing, more and more gay people, including celebrities, are living openly and honestly, and this has tremendous impact in terms of creating awareness, understanding and acceptance.”
Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Equality Council, also chimed in: “Much like Rosie O’Donnell, the announcement that Clay Aiken is gay reinforces a simple reality: the American public can no longer say it does not know a gay or lesbian parent.
Michael Slezak of Entertainment Weekly congratulates Clay:
And yet I also recognize that as a milestone in the life of Mr. Aiken — and perhaps in the lives of the thousands and thousands of folks across this nation who, for whatever reason, have two very small, very significant words (“I’m gay”) caught somewhere in their throats, or further down in the knots of their stomachs — the People cover is, in fact, a big deal. Of course, in the coming days and weeks, we’ll hear folks yell things like, “keep it to yourself, Clay, we don’t want to hear about your private life!” Yet I suspect such vitriol will come from the same folks who have never once railed against Elisabeth Hasselbeck or Kathy Lee Gifford or Kelly Ripa for yapping incessantly about their husbands and kids — their private lives! — on daytime talk shows.
And Jim Cantiello of MTV recounts a very uncomfortable interview he conducted with Clay two years ago.
My interview with Clay was about as difficult as one would expect. He was thrilled to talk about his upcoming cover album (a poetically appropriate term ‘ cover album ‘ given the circumstances), but as soon as the topic turned to his personal life, things became more awkward than a Paula Abdul QVC appearance. And the awkwardness was thanks to me, mostly.I present to you the full, uncut Q&A with Clay in all its cringe-inducing glory. Seriously. Trying to get Clay to come out of the closet on camera was one of the lowest points in my career. What was I thinking?!
Of course Clay is gay. Duh. Does anybody care? I sure don’t. Coming out is a big step, but I think Clay will find life initially a little harder, and then a hell of a lot easier. The truth sets people free. In the long run I truly believe coming out will help his career.
Not helping his career? Those fans who went apesh*t every time a poster, blogger or journalist dared suggest that Clay could be *gasp* gay. You’d think he was being accused of eating a puppy or axe-murdering a family the way some fans carried on. That general hysteria might have kept him in the closet a little longer. I’m just sayin’.
Well, y’all can calm the eff down now. The boy is out and kudos to him for finally finding the courage to let his freak flag fly. And I mean that in a good way. Congratulations Clay. On everything.