Anderson Cooper Formally States It to Andrew Sullivan in Email: I’m Gay (UPDATED with Blog Reaction Roundup)
Unless you’ve been on Mars, way out there living next to Donald Trump, if you watch TV, read news stories and read blogs, or do a Google i search on his name, it has been suggested and stated that CNN’s Anderson Cooper is gay but he has never made any big announcement. And (for most Americans) it has been No Big Deal. Now, Cooper, in an email to Andrew Sullivan, has openly confirmed it in a move that will be applauded by many.
Here’s part of Sullivan’s intro:
Last week, Entertainment Weekly ran a story on an emerging trend: gay people in public life who come out in a much more restrained and matter-of-fact way than in the past. In many ways, it’s a great development: we’re evolved enough not to be gob-smacked when we find out someone’s gay. But it does matter nonetheless, it seems to me, that this is on the record. We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these “non-events” are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.
All of which is a prelude to my saying that I’ve known Anderson Cooper as a friend for more than two decades. I asked him for his feedback on this subject, for reasons that are probably obvious to most. Here’s his email in response which he has given me permission to post here:
And here is part of the email:
Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.
But I’ve also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.
I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally.
And further down:
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.
Go the link to read it in its entirety.
As I noted, this isn’t big news, except that he has publicaly acknowledged it — which given the “stigmas” in decades past would have been big news. CNN’s Don Lemon’s revelation in his superb auotbiography didn’t impact his career, or his popularity. Add to that President Barack Obama coming out in support of same sex marriage, the elimination of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and there has been a quickening pace of developments.
It’s a sign of rapidly changing times — even if there are some who are resistant to the changes for religious, let’s-hate-someone, or let’s-whip-up-resentment-and-get-votes reasons.
But many young people in their teens and 20s who don’t have the same hangups and biases as many of the old fogies clinging to societal power in the world would today say about Cooper’s admission:
“And so the point IS?”
UPDATE: Here’s a…less than enlightened…response to Cooper’s email to Sullivan.
Most of us – no, let’s make that everyone – would like a measure of privacy, whether it’s about our sexuality, our eating habits or our taste in TV shows. But Cooper, like a bunch of Hollywood male movie stars and one or two powerful people in the entertainment industry that many of us can name, has never been given that luxury. Type “Anderson Cooper” into Google, and it gives you the option of autocompleting “gay” before spewing out pages of innuendo, rumor and ridicule.
“There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand,” writes Cooper in his email. What he doesn’t complain about is that he has been a personal victim.
Cooper has been harassed to come out for years. By Gawker, by Out magazine and by Twitter – to name some of the worst offenders. (Gawker’s founder and proprietor, Nick Denton, still found fault in Cooper’s declaration: “The choreographed publication of a private letter from Anderson to Andrew Sullivan has so much in common with Obama’s mealy-mouthed statement of personal belief on afternoon TV: both are missed opportunities,” he wrote.)
But, as Cooper says in his email to Sullivan, he was actually never “in”: “I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues.” He never tried to hide his sexual orientation, as he has been accused of. He just didn’t think it was the public’s business.
And why should it be? Why did Cooper have to be so bullied? He never pretended to be straight. He just chose not to address the issue. Why did that enrage people? Shouldn’t the increasing acceptance of gay lifestyles, the growing legalization of gay marriage, the realization that 21st century families come in all shapes and sizes, mean that Cooper should have been left alone? Of course it does. Why should anyone care about this? What’s it got to do with you or me? Are you NOT going to watch him on TV now that you “know”?
CNN has to be a little pissed off at Cooper for coming out to a blogger. Their ratings are so low that they could use the boost in viewership an big announcement might have brought. It will be interesting to monitor how heavily they cover the story. More coverage = ratings desperation
Ten years ago, there was no way this announcement wouldn’t have been a bombshell, and most likely, in a negative way. Now? I’m predicting the usual suspects**** will be clutching their plastic pearls in distress at how teh geyz R IN UR BASE, KILLIN’ ALL UR DOOOOOODZ, but that the general public will mostly shrug its collective shoulders and continue to watch Anderson Cooper 360.
This is progress, and this is us winning. Equality for LGBTQ folk will be a reality in the near future.
It’s easy to become discouraged in the middle of the fight when things like NC passing the constitutional amendment that enshrines bigotry into law happened recently. If a similar amendment passes in my state in November, I will definitely be demoralized, disgusted, furious, and a whole plethora of negative things. It will fucking suck, and I will want everyone who voted for the amendment to die in a very hot fire, but it won’t be the end of the fight if the amendment does pass – no, it’ll just be the beginning.
We will win the fight for equality eventually, and when we do, it will be in part because of people like Anderson Cooper being willing to come out in such a public way.
It’s a rather unremarkable piece of news, to be completely honest. Like I said, rumors about Cooper’s sexuality had been circulating for years now despite the fact that he had never spoken about it publicly, so this isn’t exactly breaking news. Nonetheless, the general impression I’m getting from Twitter and most of the blog posts that I’ve seen about this is mostly be characterized as a collective shrug. We seem to have come to the point in society where someone saying that they are gay isn’t really seen as being any more remarkable than saying that they are left-handed. It’s a fact about them, but not one that they ought to be judged on in one way or the other.
It wasn’t always this way, of course. People like Rock Hudson kept their sexual orientation a secret precisely because it would have ruined their career if it had become public. When Ellen DeGeneres reveal she was a lesbian 15 years ago it became a major story in the media, led to the end of her ABC sit-com, and sent her career into a period of stagnation. For the most part, though, I would argue that we’re now at the point where most Americans greet news like this with a shrug, if not of indifference then at least in recognition of the fact that it’s not really news that they consider important, salacious, or scandalous. And that’s a good thing. In the end, whether Cooper is gay or not is as irrelevant to the quality of his reporting as the question of whether he’s left or right handed, or lactose intolerant. If we are reaching a point where the reaction to news like this is a collective shrug, then I would argue that we’ve made significant progress because in the end, it shouldn’t matter who Cooper, or anyone else, loves and has a relationship with.
Anderson Cooper’s gayness has been an “open secret” for years, but the famed CNN anchor has officially gone on record as being out of the closet, which is still a great thing.
Anderson Cooper, for a very long time, was believed to have stayed closeted not because he was ashamed of his sexuality or afraid it would impact his image, but rather for concern that speculation on his personal life would distract from the “story,” the story being the news he preferred to report upon and not star in.
But Cooper was spotted around New York with the man thought to be his partner, Ben Maisani, and local rags like the New York Post and Gawker often insinuated quite heavily that the anchor and the bar owner were an item.
Still, Cooper didn’t rise to any of the bait, keeping much of his personal life under wraps — to the degree it was possible to when your mom is Gloria Vanderbilt. But pal and fellow media gay Andrew Sullivan was recently corresponding with Cooper about a story in Entertainment Weekly focusing on public figures being quietly gay, and Cooper finally says in plain English that yes, he is indeed a gay.
Mr. Anderson’s admission, which didn’t come as a shock to most, was prompted by an Entertainment Weekly story that ran last week about the emerging trend of gay people who lead a public life coming out in a more restrained way than in the past. Mr. Anderson responded to the article via an email to the writer and gave Mr. Sullivan permission to print his response.
…..Mr. Anderson’s sexuality has been a point of discussion in the past, with Out magazine featuring the anchor’s face on the 2008 cover of its “Glass Closet” issue. It’s unlikely there will be much fallout from Mr. Anderson’s statement, as he joins other news anchors including CNN’s Don Lemon and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who are also openly gay. CNN’s ratings have been struggling, with the cable news network hitting its lowest level since 1991 in the second quarter.
The best thing about the Daily Beast breaking the Anderson Cooper story is that nobody tweeted “Stand by for news…”
Longtime CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has finally said it: “Fact is, I’m gay.” In an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Cooper declared, “I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter.”
Well, in that case, Cooper fails, despite his claim “I’m not an activist.” His work on gay issues hasn’t had fairness — matching an aggressive pro-homosexual bias at CNN – perhaps in part to keep angry gay activists at bay….
…..Cooper self-deports himself from Truth-land when he says he has no cause, but just paragraphs before, he says he had to come out of the closet to advance “greater inclusion and equality for all people,” to advance “the tide of history.” CNN and many other liberal journalists have granted a large berth to gay activists with “the tide of history” in their minds.
The fan site All Things Anderson counts Cooper as an “undying champion” of the LGBT crowd: “Today when we read Anderson Cooper’s public acknowledgment that he is gay we were elated. Elated not only for him and for the LGBT community, for whom Cooper has been an undying champion, but also for his fans.”
Finally. Like there was anyone left on the planet that didn’t know; but until any person actually makes a public statement saying “I’m gay” — all that exists is speculation. Anderson Cooper, who was socially out but professionally closeted, gave friend Andrew Sullivan permission to publish an email that kicks open the closet door. It’s a thoughtful missive that is worth the read…
….It’s why I am out of the closet, as a black lesbian living in the South. I certainly don’t have the privilege or wealth or celebrity of Mr. Cooper, but it’s important to be visible and speak out for those who cannot, as well as for those who are on the edge of coming out but don’t know what lies on the other side. If living out didn’t mean anything, I wouldn’t have had readers coming up to me, or receiving emails or Facebook messages from people thanking me for being out and proud, particularly during the marriage amendment battle here in NC. I take it seriously. The need for visibility is particularly acute for LGBTs living in the South (or anywhere that’s not a gay metropolis). LGBTs of all stripes, particularly people of color in the closet, need to be able to see images of themselves, the possibility that they can live their lives out of hiding.
I expect that Anderson Cooper will hear from many young people thanking him for what he has done today. Good on him.
Times Public Editor ?@TimesPublicEdit
CNN is reporting that Anderson Cooper is straight
40m Tone Capone ?@tonybalogna
It’s kinda nice that Anderson Cooper finally feels comfortable, but kinda pointless since everyone knew already. Plus no one’s business.
1h Eli Yudin ?@eliyudin
Mitt Romney was supposed to appear on Anderson Cooper tonight, but it’s cancelled after he shoved Anderson into a locker before AP Biology
Everyone says it’s “no surprise” that Anderson Cooper came out, yet everyone’s buzzing about it.
1h Barack Obama ?@ThePresObama
It’s ok Anderson Cooper. We already knew. By the way, do these shoes go with this tie??
I guess Anderson Cooper was waiting to come out until Tom Cruise was single.
1h Sarah Brown ?@sarahjoybrown
I have so much respect for people who are not afraid to be who they are. #Respect @AndersonCooper! Thank you for standing up proud!
RT @Tymlee: RT @BorowitzReport: Anderson Cooper says he didn’t make his announcement on CNN because he wanted people to hear about it.
Rob Scheer ?@ClooneyDisciple
Anyone saying Anderson Cooper coming out is “old news” is part of the problem. Visibility is what’s important, not the element of surprise.
2h Paul Ford ?@ftrain
Wait, Anderson Cooper is white?
2h Doug Osborne ?@seriousfun8309
BREAKNG: #FOX reports that Anderson Cooper is a tax.
2h mia farrow ?@MiaFarrow
In a better world a persons sexuality wd be irrelevant MT @Slate: Why Anderson Cooper’s decision to come out matters: ame out.” – No
3h Matthew Ryan ?@MatthewRyan101
Good for Anderson Cooper. But what a sad world when being one’s self and declaring it is an act of bravery because of resilient ignorance.
3h suzanne ?@globetrottgirl
CNN reporting that Anderson Cooper is a Scientologist.
3h KGTrashTalk ?@KGTrashTalk
Anderson Cooper had the balls to do it. @chrisbosh
3h Mike Birbiglia ?@birbigs
Now that Anderson Cooper came out of the closet, do you think Sean Hannity will?
3h Adam Carl ?@AdamWearsPants
Anderson Cooper’s a Vanderbilt. He didn’t come out of the closet, he came out of an antique armoire made from rare Southeast Asian agarwood.
4h Arielle Cohen. ?@ariellecohen
Hey instead of wondering why it took so long for Anderson Cooper to come out, lets focus on creating a society where its easier to do so!