Even by soap opera standards, everything about Beau Breedlove is implausible, starting with the name. His affair with Portland Mayor Sam Adams quickly embroiled the first openly gay mayor of a city the size of Portland in scandal, accusations of underage sex (which he denies), eye-brow raising political hiring that looked like they were buy-off’s, calls for his resignation and an investigation by the state’s Attorney General’s office– not too mention a recall effort. Beau, who Adams met while he was still 17 and who maintains that he and Adams only had sexual relations after he became an adult, started off with an “Aww, shucks, I just want to live a private life” routine, but as we all know, quickly scooped up an offer to pose naked in Unzipped, a gay porn magazine owned by Regent Media, owners of The Advocate and Out.
Forget for a moment that Breedlove is an obvious opportunist looking to cash in on his fifteen minutes of fame. In fact, more power to him. The shockingly irresponsibility belongs to Unzipped and parent company Regent Media, who, like Sam Adams, show they’re willing to drop their ethics if Breedlove drops his trousers.
Oh sure, Unzipped is a porn magazine and as thousands of Playboy covers attest to, tossing a scandal-soaked naked body on the cover of your rag sells copies. This isn’t your average everyday porn magazine, however. It’s part of the Regent Media gay empire, which supposedly gives a shit about the gay political movement. In fact, just this week, Stephen Macias, Executive Vice President of Regent Media, angrily defended his company on this very site in the comments section on our article about the future of gay media, arguing that The Advocate “cared deeply about our community having a voice” and that this ethos extended to all its brands, saying:
“Regent Media takes the responsibility of continuing that tradition very seriously as well as the responsibility of providing a progressive, secure workplace for its hundreds of employees and thousands of freelance journalists, contractors, and artists. While we strive for perfection every day, we are under no illusion that we are perfect. We try every day to do a better job at what we do and eagerly look for constructive criticism to make our brands better.”
Cue our impersonation of Seth Myers saying, “Really?” over and over again. So, Regent believes the best place for a now 21-year-old who single-handedly brought down what is arguable America’s most prominent– and certainly most powerful — gay politicians is posing naked on the pages of Unzipped? This is responsible?
Don’t think for a second that this is a defense of Sam Adams, whose lying and indiscretion brought his self-inflicted damage on him, but in a very real way, Regent is doing the same thing. If Regent really cares about “our community having a voice”, what message is it sending by telling Breedlove’s story in the context of a jerk-off mag? Breedlove’s a willing participant in the act, but rather than talk about Breedlove and Adams in a serious context, Regent’s message is that political sex scandals are for whacking off to.
And so, you have The Advocate writing breathless advertorial for it’s sister porn magazine, anticipating the mid-April arrival of Breedlove’s butt on newsstands and Unzipped offering up the “exclusive interview”. Something is wrong here. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a trashy, tabloid sensationalistic media organization, but don’t pretend to be standing as a stalwart of the community while doing so. In what way does Breedlove’s porn cover make it easier for gay politicians across the country? In what was does it fight back against the accusations that the gay community is obsessed with sex– especially young sex? What way does Breedlove’s penis give “voice to the community?”
One thing we’ll give Breedlove– he has an uncanny ability to get gays– be they mayors or gay media companies– to readily abandon their self-professed ethical high-ground; all for a little flesh.