Comedian/talk-show host Kathy Griffin has come forward in the wake of Anderson Cooper’s coming out to say she’s immensely proud of her friend, and that she never would have dreamed of outing him before he made his announcement.In a post on the Daily Beast, the same site Cooper’s coming-out email was featured on, Griffin explained:
Believe it or not, I don’t “out” people. It is neither my business nor my desire. Remember, folks, I am a comedian, not a journalist. These weren’t questions where I could make a joke about Ryan Seacrest getting a mani/pedi. This isn’t a joke I make about whether Oprah and Gayle are gay lovers. I have no idea if Oprah and Gayle are gay lovers. I doubt they are, but as a comedian, I find some comedy in picturing those two girls running the world as a power couple. Anderson is someone who has led a very specific kind of professional life, who never talked and simultaneously exhibited social contradictions. And quite frankly, he never gave me permission to speak about something that represented the one part of his life he was not comfortable having confirmed in the media. But in my dealings with a certain sector of the press, that simply was never good enough.
We accept that Griffin didn’t want to spill Cooper’s T, but isn’t it a little disingenuous of her to say other sectors of the media were hungry for gossip? Fans love Griffin precisely because she dishes celebrities dirt. She may have not confirmed Cooper’s sexuality in her act, but she certainly stirred the pot—with AC, as well as Seacrest, Oprah, Ricky Martin and other stars.
Griffin then goes on to trot out the line Cooper has been using about why he waited so long to come out: That as a global news reporter, he couldn’t risk his sexuality putting him in danger in some far flung corner of the world:
Many of my young gays don’t know about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” initiative, which was developed with the help of some extremist American evangelicals. Many don’t know about Stonewall or, more recently, the importance of Lawrence v. Texas. They don’t know about Cuba’s jailing of HIV patients or even that Iran has sentenced gay teenagers to death by hanging. They don’t know that in large portions of Baghdad, honest LGBT folks are hunted and summarily executed by roving bands of so-called morality police, who kill with impunity both the “out” and those simply perceived to be gay.
What many young people do know is what they read in short bursts on celebrity Twitter posts or on TMZ. And what they read and see is how freeing being honest can be. What they don’t see is that it remains, in many places, very dangerous to do just that. And that dichotomy is deeply troubling to me.
I don’t want my friend to face that part of the world, where he might die a very different kind of death than someone who isn’t quite so honest.
We dished about Cooper’s sexuality like everyone else, but we never thought he owed it to anyone to come out. He didn’t have to come up with a reason for keeping quiet—it was enough that he was bringing stories about bullying, marriage equality and discrimination into the public sphere.
But this “safety” excuse rings a little false: Wouldn’t Cooper be a target of a rebel sniper more because he’s a famous news man—and the heir to a legendary capitalist fortune—than because of his sexuality? Wolf Blitzer didn’t hide his Jewish identity while covering the Middle East, something that surely put a target on his back.
Again, we’re not saying Cooper should have come out sooner, we just wish he—and his good friend Kathy—would be a little more honest about his reason for waiting.