Gay Oligarch Dan Cochran Refuses To Acknowledge Homophobia In Russia: “Count Me Out”

43_danielcochranThe opening gala at the Metropolitan Opera is widely regarded as a playground for the rich and famous. This year, the powerful guests in attendance will be treated to Eugene Onegin, an opera composed by none other than the late and openly gay Tchaikovsky. The performance will be conducted by Russia’s Valery Gergiev.

The selection has understandably raised a few eyebrows in our current boycott-everything-Russian state, so a petition has been launched asking the Met’s Board of Directors to simply dedicate the lavish performance “to support of LGTB people.”

What may have been a simple request has snowballed into controversy as The Met made a total dick move by ignoring the petition altogether.

What’s more, the only member of the Board of Directors opposing the petition is an openly gay man! What gives?

Last week, local hero and prolific adult director Michael Lucas posted an impassioned plea to his Facebook wall. As an openly gay Russian expat, Lucas appealed to Greg Sutphin, boyfriend of Dan Cochran (above), former Amherst College cheerleader and current member of The Met’s Board of Directors.

It read in part:

I grew up in communist Russia, and I felt the pain of officially sanctioned homophobia. Let me tell you, it made my teenage years hell. I am deeply troubled, therefore, at the recent official reinstitution of homophobia there, via laws that tacitly condone violence against gay people (which inevitably means violence against young gay people, who lack the protection of social position or official connections).

Did you see the photo in the Times of three crying, bloodied boys in the hands of paramilitary police? Nobody should have to live through that.

Lucas says “Russians will not challenge these laws,” and The Met essentially has a duty to stand in solidarity with Russian LGBTs by dedicating the opening gala performance. After all, almost everything involved in the night’s performance will be screaming “Russia!”

He makes clear his wishes:

This petition is not asking that the performances be canceled. What it does ask is that the Met, one of the bastions of gay New York, make a symbolic gesture: a gesture that shows that our opera house is on the side of decency, and atones for the fact that our opera house is employing artists tainted by homophobia.

And finally, a personal plea:

Your boyfriend, Dan Cochran, is on the Met’s board of directors, and as such is in a position to make a real difference if he chooses. I know that he considers himself a pillar of the gay community; now would be a good time for him to demonstrate the strength of his support by endorsing the peaceful, powerful statement that this petition proposes.

I hope that you and Dan will consider this issue carefully and maybe remind the Met’s management that it has a broader role in society than just putting on nicely decorated evenings of pretty singing.

Sutphin’s response, IN FULL:

I don’t agree that you are fighting Russian homophobia by requiring the MET to take part in the LGBT event.  You can count me out.


Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Oh, maybe that’s it? Your Jurassic Blackberry doesn’t translate “compassion”?

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  • enfilmigult

    “Take part in the LGBT event”? What is he talking about? It’s like he read every third word or something.

  • 2eo

    I hope someone is looking into where these two have money invested. I’m not directly implying they have money invested in Russia or anything, just merely stating that’s a great reason to abandon our community.

  • Cam

    It’s the same reason that Jodie Foster defends Mel Gibson, or Why Whoopie Goldberg defends Polanski.

    The rich, or famous, or Rich and Famous consider THAT to be their primary label, anything else comes second. It’s why Paula Dean wouldn’t have dark skinned blacks serve in her restaurant but she’ll sure as hell sit on Oprah’s couch and make nice-nice.

  • crowebobby

    Does anyone know of a link to the Times photo of the three boys?

  • dontreadthecomments

    Why does the title take a quote from Greg Sutphin and attribute it to his boyfriend Dan Cochran? Why is there even a picture of Dan Cochran to begin with when he’s not an actor in the reported events?

  • EManhattan

    Yes, none of this is about Cochran – the letter was to Sutphin, the text was from Sutphin. All you can legitimately say at this point is that Cochran’s partner, Sutphin, is a jackass.

  • Stache1

    @Cam: Yup. Spot on.

  • snj29

    To be clear…a look at the Met’s website shows that Dan Cochran is one of 50 members of their “Advisory Board” not one of the 30 “Members” of the Board of Directors or the 41 “Managing Directors” who really seem to run things.

    There is no evidence in this article that Dan or Greg do not acknowledge homophobia in Russia only that they do not wish to engage the Met in responding to it. Agree or disagree with their position, Queerty should report this more accurately.

  • jwrappaport

    Ironic considering that James Levine, the genius and musical titan who made the MET what it is, is gay. This is exactly why Beethoven despised the aristocracy: they usually sponsor the arts to the extent that it aggrandizes their egos. So many (though certainly not all) of these “board members” and honorary bureaucrats can’t tell their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to opera, yet they are the ones calling the shots.

    Also, minor quibble: the phrase “the late” refers to someone recently deceased, not someone who has been pushing daisies since the Romanovs ruled Russia.

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