Edward Scissorhands, The Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow are out and proud!
In an interview with Patti Smith for the January issue of Vanity Fair, Johnny Depp quipped that none of his big screen alter egos are straight.
The 47-year-old actor said Disney “couldn’t stand” his take on Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but that he only made matters worse after Disney heads asked if his most famous character was gay and claimed he was “ruining the movie”
“I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite…’But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’” he said, “which really made her nervous.”
Depp explained that his most famous character, which he has played three times and will next show up in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” in 2011, appealed to the Bugs Bunny inside him.
“Somebody once asked [Hunter S. Thompson], ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping, Hunter?,’ and he smacked him,” Depp said. “Captain Jack was kind of like that for me.”
The actor said that he took on the role in “The Tourist” because Frank Taylor is an everyman who simply gets caught up in a crazy situation.
“I was always fascinated by people who are considered completely normal, because I find them the weirdest of all,” Depp said, before adding that all his oddball characters, which include a man with scissors for hands and “Alice in Wonderland” nut the Mad Hatter, remain with him “on some level.”
In the surprisingly frank interview, Depp also revealed that acting was an “odd deviation” from his original plan in his late teens and early 20s to be a musician.
“I had no desire, no interest, really, in it at all,” he said of acting. “I was a musician and I was a guitarist, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Though Depp appears to have played every character under the sun, there is one last role he would love to inhabit.
“[Marlon Brando said,] Why don’t you just take a year and go and study Shakespeare, or go and study Hamlet,” he told the magazine. “So what he was trying to tell me was: play that fucking part, man. Play that part before you’re too long in the tooth. Play it. And I would like to. I’d really, really like to.”
from The New York Daily News
Archive for November, 2010
Edward Scissorhands, The Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow are out and proud!
The marriage of a gay Texas couple that wed over Skype has been annulled.
Mark Reed and Dante Walkup got the news last Friday, two weeks after they had walked down the aisle in a Dallas hotel and up to a projection screen displaying their D.C.-based officiant.
“You are required to perform the marriage ceremony within the District of Columbia with all parties in physical attendance,” the letter from a Superior Court judge states.
It was crushing news for those who thought technology had created a loophole in the nation’s scattered approach to same-sex marriage.
“We got so many messages from people saying that we inspired them,” Reed said. “I’m sure there are going to be a lot of disappointed people out there.”
Reed said their decision to marry in Texas, after traveling to D.C. to pick up their marriage license, was “absolutely an act of activism.” He believes that the Supreme Court should intervene to legalize same-sex marriage.
The couple may be headed back to D.C. for a face-to-face ceremony if their lawyers cannot find a way for them to challenge the judge’s decision.
“We knew going into this there could be a possibility of it getting challenged,” he said, adding, “We will definitely get married way or the other.”
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the City of Miami Beach and two of its police officers for allegedly wrongfully arresting a gay man in February.
Harold Strickland claimed officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi were beating and kicking a handcuffed man as he laid on the ground in Flamingo Park. Strickland called 911, which was when the officers approached him and told him to hang up his phone.
“We know what you’re doing here,” Strickland said the officers told him. “We’re sick of all the f***ing fags in the neighborhood.” He was then arrested and allegedly subjected to the officers’ gay slurs.
The charges were later dropped, and Hazzi and Forte were placed on desk duty.
The ACLU has been involved with the case from the start, but only now has the organization filed an official lawsuit.
“For years the ACLU has received reports that Miami Beach police have targeted gay men near Flamingo Park for nothing more than being gay,” Shelbi Day, an attorney with the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT Advocacy Project, said in a statement. “When the police become the problem rather than part of the solution, the entire community suffers. It is time for the City to end the discriminatory policies and practices of its police force.”
Evidence for the case includes Strickland’s 911 call and cell phone record as well as the officers’ incident report, in which the ACLU claims the officers lied to cover up their misconduct.
Though the ACLU recognized that Police Chief Noriega had initiated improvements between the police and the gay community, the organization claims that Forte and Hazzi have still not been punished.
“With this lawsuit,” Day said, “we hope to vindicate Mr. Strickland’s rights and send the message to the City and the police that it will be held responsible for misconduct and discrimination.”
In response to the lawsuit, the Miami Beach Police Department stated that “it is not the City’s policy to comment on pending litigation or open investigations” and that they continue to “work closely with the City’s GLBT community.”
from NBC Miami
An anti-gay application for Apple has been removed from the Apple Application Store after it was reported to have received criticisms.
HuffingtonPost first made the report of the said controversial application that is called the Manhattan Declaration. This manifesto labels itself “as call of Christian conscience”, and condemns gay marriage. The exposed application sparked outrage from many sectors. Part of that is that groups started to come up with online petition forms compelling Apple to remove the purported anti-gay application.
The Manhattan Declaration application basically invites users to affix their signatures over a long declaration. The declaration is said to have been authored by clergy and calls out to defend the sanctity of life. In particular, part of the declaration says that it speaks “in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.”
The anti-gay application was released on October. It was said to have been approved by Apple to be made available on its Apple Application Store as it found no problem with it and actually giving it a 4+ rating. But only days after a public outrage emerged calling the Manhattan Declaration as a homophobic application, Apple quietly removed the application on its store
Apple so far has not yet issued an official statement regarding this controversy.
from Batangas Today
A gay rights activist has criticised Kenya’s prime minister for threatening a crackdown on homosexual people.
David Kuria from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya told the BBC that Raila Odinga’s comments would encourage people to extort money from gay and lesbian people.
On Sunday, Mr Odinga warned that men or women found engaging in homosexual acts would be arrested.
He later said he was only saying the constitution bans same-sex weddings.
Mr Odinga was heavily involved in campaigning for the new constitution which was passed in a referendum in August.
He said rival political leaders had said the new document allowed gay marriages.
Homosexual acts are illegal and can be punished by up to 14 years in prison.
It is believed to be the first time Mr Odinga had made such comments.
Mr Kuria told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that he did not know why Mr Odinga had made the statements in a speech to his constituency in the Nairobi slum of Kibera.
He said most African leaders who condemned homosexuals were trying to gain political leverage but he said Mr Odinga was already popular so his statement was “surprising”.
An MP in neighbouring Uganda last year tried to introduce the death penalty for some homosexual acts, sparking international condemnation.
The BBC’s Caroline Karobia in Nairobi says gay people are largely left alone in Kenya as long as they do not draw attention to themselves.
The city is home to some well-known gay pubs, she says.
Mr Odinga said on Sunday: “We will not tolerate such behaviours in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared.”
Mr Kuria said the prime minister’s comments left him “full of sadness”.
“We thought in this country we had made a lot of headway,” he said.
“People will succumb to extortion, blackmail and violence.”
In February, five people were arrested near the resort of Mombasa after reports they were trying to organise a gay wedding, sparking local protests.
from The BBC
The Southern Poverty Law Center will designate the Family Research Council, a powerful conservative advocacy organization, as a hate group next year because of its anti-gay views. For its part, the council is already firing back in a statement calling the announcement a “smear campaign.”
In the most recent edition of its publication “Intelligence Report,” the SPLC included its analysis of 14 years’ worth of hate crimes data. The study concluded that gays were more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group. As part of its study, the SPLC made a list titled “18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda.” The SPLC said it would designate 13 of the 18 groups on the list as “hate groups” in 2011, including the Family Research Council.
The SPLC’s criteria for listing these organizations was “generally… based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities – and repeated, groundless name-calling.”
In making its case against the Family Research Council, the SPLC cites the work and comments of several people associated with the influential conservative group. According to the report, Robert Sprigg, a senior research fellow, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” The report also alleges Sprigg opposed allowing gays to openly serve in the military because it would “lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.”
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins blasted the SPLC report and called for an apology. In a written statement, Perkins says “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing. This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC.”
“The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It’s a sad day in America when we can not, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling.”
Full statement from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins:
“Family Research Council has, for nearly 30 years, advanced faith, family, and freedom in public discourse. We do so with civility and compassion. We hold to the indisputable fact that the family – a Dad, a Mom, and children – is the best building block of a good society, which is why we oppose efforts to transform it based on personal sexual preference.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing.
“This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC. The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It’s a sad day in America when we can not, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling.”
“The Left’s smear campaigns of conservatives is also being driven by the clear evidence that the American public is losing patience with their radical policy agenda as seen in the recent election and in the fact that every state, currently more than thirty, that has had the opportunity to defend the natural definition of marriage has done so. Earlier this month, voters in Iowa sent a powerful message when they removed three Supreme Court justices who imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Would the SPLC also smear the good people of Iowa?”
“Family Research Council will continue to champion marriage and family as the foundation of our society and will not acquiesce to those seeking to silence the Judeo-Christian views held by millions of Americans. We call on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.”
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After an awkward appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Jim Carrey, 48, insists everything between him and the host is absolutely fine.
While on the show last week promoting his new movie I Love You Phillip Morris, David Letterman, 63, asked Carrey, “Do you worry about your image as a heterosexual leading man playing a homosexual?”
Carrey responded, “We haven’t grown at all, have we? We’re still children in the schoolyard.”
However, at Monday night’s NYC screening of Carrey’s comedy (hosted by Cinema Society and DeLeon Tequila), the funnyman said there are no hard feelings.
“You know what he said to me?” Carrey told UsMagazine.com. “He honestly said to me that he’s been watching me for a long time and that this movie was really special and he thought it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“[Letterman] was super, super, super supportive of it,” Carrey added.
from US Magazine
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Harvard University’s president on Wednesday invited the U.S. military to restore a training program at the college once a ban on gays serving openly is lifted.
“A ROTC program, open to all, ought to be fully and formally present on our campus,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. She made the comment to welcome an evening speech by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer.
Faust drew applause from the audience of several hundred for the offer to restore the university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program. A previous version ended at the school in 1969, sending cadets to a similar program at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At the time objections to Harvard’s ROTC program centered on the Vietnam War, but have since shifted to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy prohibiting openly gay men and women from serving.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week denied a request to lift the ban, sending the issue back to a divided Congress. Mullen has supported ending the ban but wants the change to be made by Congress to show it has political support.
After Faust’s remarks, Mullen said: “I think it is incredibly important to have ROTC units at institutions like this. I would do all in my power to make that happen.”
Faust has made a point of forging closer ties with the U.S. military, which sends many officers to courses at the school.
The man who was attacked on Facebook this week by Willow and Bristol Palin tells us he does NOT accept their apology … claiming Willow uses homophobic language so often, she could be a homophobe.
TMZ spoke with “Tre” — the person who Willow called a “Faggot” after he criticized “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on his Facebook page.
Tre — who tells us he’s not gay — claims he was offended by the comments and felt bullied by both women … saying, “Willow called me a faggot in front of the whole world and my family.”
When asked if he thought Willow was a homophobe, Tre replied, “I think she might be … She says ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ so much … so probably … maybe.”
Although Bristol issued a public apology through Facebook on behalf of her and Willow — Tre says he’s yet to hear from either one of them. We asked Tre if he accepted the online apology and he told us, “No way … Maybe if it was sincere and honest from them straight to me, I would consider. But it would have to be direct.”
Tre concluded, “People are saying these are baby grizzlies defending Mama Bear … but how is she defending her family by calling us queers and low-lifes and faggots?”
MONROVIA, CALIFORNIA – A Monrovia Police sergeant who was accused by a former jailer of sexual abuse was cleared of the allegations by investigators and has returned to active duty, authorities said Wednesday.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Sgt. Daniel Verna, who was accused of sexually abusing Rudy Ramirez, a former police department employee. Ramirez sued the department for harrassment in 2008, alleging that Verna began abusing him while he was a minor working as a police explorer for the department in 2000.
The city settled the lawsuit in September 2009, paying Ramirez $320,000 while admitting no liability.
A criminal investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department into Verna’s actions “cleared [him] of any wrongdoing,” Monrovia Police Chief Roger Johnson said Wednesday.
Verna had been on paid administrative leave since the allegations were raised in June of 2008, but Verna returned to active duty earlier this month after being cleared by the sheriff’s department and the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office.
The Monrovia Police Department also conducted its own internal inquiry that recently cleared Verna, Johnson said.
“The independent evaluations and investigations indicated that Sgt. Dan Verna had not done what the individual Rudy Ramirez had alleged,” Johnson said.
Verna has returned to his regular duties working patrol, Johnson said.
Glenn Stern, Ramirez’s attorney, said he was “flabbergasted” that Verna was allowed to return to the force. He said the sheriff’s department did not interview key wtinesses in its investigation, including a Sheriff’s deputy who found Verna alone in a parked car with a known gang member in Fish Canyon in 2006.
Stern said he could understand that criminal wrongdoing may have been hard for prosecutors to prove because of the elapsed time since the alleged abuse, but he called the department’s internal inquiry should have at least resulted in Verna being terminated from his position.
“They could have fired him in a heartbeat,” Stern said. “He’s a predator. They just whitewashed that internal affairs investigation in my opinion. And they’ll do it again.”
Verna did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment on this story.?
Ramirez’s lawsuit was one of three harrassment lawsuits filed against the police department by former employees between 2006 and 2008 that were settled by the city.
The city paid former Officer Michael Solarez $242,500 to settle his harrassment lawsuit in 2007. Solarez claimed he was harrassed by supervisors after they discovered he was gay.
In 2008, the city settled a lawsuit brought by former Officer Glenn Cobb, who alleged he was subjected to harrassment because of his race. Cobb, who is black, was paid $125,000 and will receive more than $30,000 annually for the rest of his life under the settlement agreement.
from The Patch
A federal appeals court Wednesday authorized the televising of a Dec. 6 hearing on whether Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, should be struck down.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request by C-SPAN to broadcast the two-hour hearing, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The court said C-SPAN would provide its tape to other broadcast media that receive court permission to televise the hearing.
The 9th Circuit is hearing an appeal of an August ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who presided over a trial that examined such questions as whether homosexuality could be changed and whether same-sex parenting harmed children. Walker wanted to broadcast the trial on the Internet, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to ban cameras on the grounds that witnesses could be intimidated during testimony.
The December hearing will involve legal arguments by lawyers, not testimony by witnesses. The 9th Circuit has said the first hour of the hearing will examine whether the sponsors of Proposition 8 and Imperial County have legal authority, or standing, to appeal Walker’s ruling.
Standing generally requires an appellant to have been directly affected by a court decision. The state has standing because it enforces Proposition 8, but Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to appeal. The second hour will be spent discussing whether the gay marriage ban violates equal protection rights.
from The Los Angeles Times
An Australian artist is seeking $US160,000 in damages from Mexican immigration authorities after he was detained for four months on an expired tourist visa.
Stephen Compton, 46, said immigration officials detained him last November when he approached them in an Acapulco hotel for information on a program to legalise undocumented residents who have legal work.
His tourist visa had expired in 2005, but he met the conditions needed to legalise his status.
The Australian painter was freed in March after a judge recognised “violations in the migratory administrative procedure carried out against him”, according to the Sin Fronteras IAP, a Mexican non-governmental group.
Compton, who is from Dalby in Queensland, is now a legal resident in Mexico.
Compton was illegally deprived of his freedom and was not informed of his rights, according to the group, which seeks to improve migration and asylum conditions.
“The hardest thing was that they gave me no official explanation on my detention,” Compton told Agence France-Presse, speaking in Spanish.
The Australian also suffered discrimination as he was separated from other detainees for being gay, said Perseo Quiroz, his legal representative.
“They say they separated him to protect him, but they were actually discriminating,” Quiroz said.
Mexican immigration officials imprisoned some 100,000 migrants per year between 2007 and 2009, and restricted their rights, including to freedom and correct judicial procedures, according to the NGO.
from The Sydney Morning Herald
Victoria Kolakowski declared victory Monday in a tightly contested race for Alameda County Superior Court, making her what is believed to be the nation’s first transgender judge.
In the final, uncertified tally, Kolakowski defeated John Creighton by 51 to 48 percent, the Alameda County registrar of voters said. She received 162,082 votes to 152,546 for Creighton.
Kolakowski, 49, has 21 years of legal experience, including stints as a private attorney, corporate attorney and, currently, administrative law judge. She argued during the campaign that she would bring professional diversity to the bench, where many judges are former prosecutors.
Creighton, 58, an Alameda County deputy district attorney, countered that his background as a prosecutor made him better suited for the job.
Kolakowski said Monday that the election outcome “speaks well of our ability to look past differences and look to the things that matter: our ability and experience.”
Creighton congratulated Kolakowski.
“I feel like I conducted the best campaign I could,” he said. “I wish Ms. Kolakowski luck in her position.”
Kolakowski transitioned from male to female in 1989 during her last year in law school and had sex reassignment surgery in 1991.
Statewide transgender-advocacy groups paid for robo calls and mailers supporting Kolakowski’s candidacy and helped get out the vote for her Nov. 2.
“There’s never been a transgender judge that anyone we know is aware of,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group that assigned volunteers to call its 32,600 Alameda County members and urge them to vote for Kolakowski.
Her election, said Kors, “shatters a glass ceiling.”
from The San Francisco Chronicle