Anderson Cooper did it. Frank Ocean did it. The past month has seen two of America's most prolific celebrities in their respective fields, the former a CNN anchor and the latter a singer/songwriter and member of controversial rap collective OFWGKTA, come out of the closet and publicly declare on their sexuality. In the middle of all this, a man who's own sexuality has been the topic of furious discussion, renowned actor John Travolta, continues to inspire intense media focus.
Allegations that Travolta is gay, despite his 20 year marriage to actress Kelly Preston and the fact that they have two surviving children together, are no new thing, but more fuel for the rumour mill's fire was added when his former assistant backed claims that he had endured a six-year long affair with his gay pilot, Doug Gotterba. After this came reports that Gotterba talked of how the actor had been 'grabbing at his genital area' and that it was 'lucrative' for him to be Travolta's homosexual partner. All this unsurprisingly, was said to be putting strain on the Travolta-Preston marriage and the couple recently holidayed in Mykonos, the gay capital of Greece (make what you want of that), to distance themselves from the stress. However, a rumoured tell-all book to be released by Gotterba could be the last straw.
But so far, all the key gossip media buzzwords are firmly in place amidst the incoming reports - 'rumoured', 'alleged', 'reportedly'. What has been denied by his legal team has not actually been spoken about by the man himself and, considering he's still bound in a 20 year marriage, it's highly unlikely that he'll be announcing any sexuality-based revelations any time soon. There's far too much hearsay and too little fact, but should we really care? The press have long made it their mission to be as closely involved in the lives of celebrities as possible but it comes to a point when public interest becomes a full on manhunt.
Anderson Cooper chose to speak out after years of speculation because he didn't want people to think he had anything to hide. "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," he wrote. It has also been acknowledged that it took Frank Ocean a lot of courage to reveal his bisexuality to the world, especially for a hip hop artist working in an industry where such a thing is a rarity. Vin Diesel and George Clooney have faced similar allegations, the latter most probably because of his apathy towards marriage. Clooney refuses to deny rumours for some pretty classy reasons: "The last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, 'These are lies!' That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. ..I'm not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I'm gay?"
Those people in society who attract the public spotlight shouldn't be forced to deny gay rumours, as if being homosexual is wrong, or involve themselves in sham relationships in an attempt to deflect speculation. It's this kind of excessive scrutiny into their private affairs that makes it difficult for those who want to be more open to take that plunge, or allow people who find it hard to understand why it's any of the media's business (and frankly, so do we) to live their lives hassle-free. Save the media circus for the real news - channel ORANGE, anyone?
Angie Moneke (@angiejudeLDN)