Controversy ensued in March when gay couple Dennis Mayer and John Hart were caught having sex on the balcony of their stateroom aboard an Atlantis Events cruise in Dominica. After being arrested, pleading guilty to indecent exposure, and being judged by the media and Internet, Mayer and Hart (above) reached out to Queerty to share their side of the story.

Here it is, in their own words:

Let’s set the record straight. We’re not addressing this to bash or tell people to boycott Atlantis Events. We’re not suing anyone nor are we looking for fifteen minutes of fame.  I can think of far better ways and in a much better light if that were the case.  We simply went on what should have been the vacation of a lifetime but instead, it turned out to be a very frightful nightmare.  When you have these types of incidents, people just want to talk about the salacious details.

So let’s talk about it: Yes, we were having sex on the balcony. We were fucking.

There, I said it.

The complaints came from Dominica dock workers, who were offended. I’m sure if it had been a naked women they would have continued to stare and most likely would have commented on her breasts.

This is something that we could not previously address or admit to. Many have taken this as an opportunity to attack our character and integrity. We were originally charged with “buggery,” which is equivalent to sodomy.  However, the charge was later reduced to indecent exposure, a lesser-inclusive charge.  We were represented by counsel who had advised us not to speak or admit to anything we were not being charged with.

Yes, we were having sex on the balcony. We were fucking.

Had we been found guilty of buggery, we were facing a prison sentence of up to 14 years in a Third World country. We have never denied our responsibility for our indiscretion. We entered a guilt plea to the charge of indecent exposure.  The Magistrate excepted our guilty plea, set a fine in the matter and then released us from custody.  In addition, we were expatriated and deported from their country at our own expense.

The media and others have reported we were engaged in sex in front of women, children and out in the city streets.  That is simply not true.  We were on the privacy of our stateroom balcony as the ship was being moored into port.  You can see it in the infamous photo that Queerty published, which we are neither offended or ashamed by.  If so many were reported being offended, then why take photos or videos and continue to watch us in the first place?  Apparently, many did to their sheer enjoyment of what they were viewing.

The complaints came from Dominica dock workers, who were offended. I’m sure if it had been a naked women they would have continued to stare and most likely would have commented on her breasts.

It was also reported that fellow passengers on board complained, which we find hard to believe because most passengers on board are doing the same thing we were. Albeit, not in port or on their balcony, but when the ship is out at sea. They are out there with their partners or some hookup at the nightly circuit party or under the cloak of darkness on their hands and knees on the “13th” deck, looking for a dick to put into their mouth or up their ass.

That is why people go on these types of cruises. Let’s not kid ourselves: the promoter and CEO of Atlantis Events, Rich Campbell, markets these cruises and events with sex, with advertisement taglines like “Anything Goes” picturing scantly clad men promoting the circuit-party lifestyle.

Let’s get back to what my partner of 17 years (a fact that was not reported) and I were doing:  This was not some hookup the way it was portrayed.  We were on vacation enjoying the company of each other and not putting on a show for anyone. When you pay the kind of money to have a Sky Suite, you have an expectation of some level of privacy.  We were six stories up and approximately 150 to 200 yards from where the ship was anchored.

The real question is not what we were doing on our balcony, but why is one of the largest promoters of gay cruises and events taking folks from the LGBT community to these countries with laws against homosexuals on their books?  Why are they financially supporting these countries? These countries have laws against consenting adult gay men and women who engage in intimate contact and in some cases just for the existence of their sexual orientation.

We are not ungrateful people. We are very thankful for the help known and unknown to us by Atlantis Events, CEO Rich Campbell and others. At the same time, he was also throwing us under the bus with his press releases and comments on Facebook.

I’m also disappointed with myself for not trusting my own instincts when I agreed to let Campbell handle the situation with a Third World government. I asked Campbell prior to us being taken into custody and escorted off the ship to contact the U.S. Embassy on our behalf and inform them that two Americans were being arrested and taken from the ship against their will. Campbell asked that we not involve the U.S. government and let him handle the situation. It was not until the Dominica government backed out of their original agreement to just interview us and, once we were in their custody, that the American Embassy was later contacted.

It should also be made clear that there were no Atlantis Events or Celebrity Cruise line attorneys there to assist us, which had been reported. There were some ancillary staff with us during the first few hours of us being detained but they were basically there to report and inform Campbell and the ship’s captain of the status of the situation.  When the cruise sailed away at 6pm, so did they.

We hired our own local gay-friendly attorney on Dominica.  It was the law offices of Norde and Lambert Chambers who worked diligently on our behalf. They advised us and secured our release from custody.

It was reported that Atlantis Events paid our legal fees, court fines and airfare to return to US territory, but that is totally false.  We paid all of our expenses. Dominica media published a photograph of us being escorted by the police to a local bank so we could purchase their currency with our credit card to pay for our fines, etc.  However, Campbell did give us some consideration while we spent two days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after our release, which we appreciated.

When you have these types of incidents or even the article that Queerty published, you are going to have detractors and supporters. Everyone has the right to their own opinions and we are the first to support their right. I personally believe that had we been a heterosexual couple, the incident would not have been blown out of proportion to such a degree. There have been many egregious, horrendous and obnoxious acts perpetrated by reportedly gay people other than us having sex on our private balcony.

And as for the two haters who contacted our local media to give their statements with their ignorant statements [like] “they ruined our vacation,” “they give gay people a bad name,” “they got what they deserved.” We don’t recall them being detained or arrested or locked up in a holding cell when the ship that they were on sailed away without them. All they did was add to an existing lack of integrity and their credibility. Both the haters and supporters couldn’t wait to search the Internet in the privacy of their home to locate pictures of the two gay American men having sex on the balcony of a cruise ship. The hypocrisy is reprehensible.

So what have we learned from this misadventure? Don’t trust the travel company to lookout for your safety and your best interest. Do your own research of the countries’ laws that you plan to visit. Most importantly, should something like this happen to you, act as your own advocate. Do what is in your best interest. Don’t leave it up to others and settle for the outcome, make the best outcome for yourself. I did what was right for my partner and my own safety. We can’t say that we have any regrets. We went on vacation and a lack of better judgement placed us in a bad situation. We did what we needed to do to get back to our own country and our lives.

Just like anyone else would have done had they found themselves in our shoes.

Dennis & John

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