Glen Maxey is certainly a character. The Texas activist, who recently claimed GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry is hiding gay skeletons in his closet (among other cadavers), personally commented in our story on why the Huffington Post killed a planned story on his findings.
So we e-mailed him to get more details about his book, Head Figure Head, and find out what the blowback has been from his revelations. “There are lots of balls in the air,” he joked. “None of them the good kind.”
Below, Maxey responds at length to our inquiry, confirming some rumors about the book and denying others. Does he convince you his claims are valid—or raise more doubts? Holler out in the comments section.
Who was the reporter from “a national news outlet” you worked with on this story?
Glen Maxey: Jason Cherkis from Huffington Post. In all cases when I found a source, I asked Jason to interview him first because it was evident nothing said to me would ever be able to be reported until the source said it first hand to the journalist.
Jason is a highly professional journalist. We exchanged hundreds upon hundreds of emails, texts and phone calls. We are good friends personally and professionally now. He really was treated badly in this deal because the journalists above him, all the way to the top at Arianna Huffington, signed off on his submitted article on a Saturday. He told me to expect publication on the next Tuesday. On Monday he told me Arianna had nixed it after she conferred with the people in New York. [Ed’s note: We reached out to Cherkis for comment but did not hear back.]
Have you had any contact with Lin Wood or any of Rick Perry’s legal team?
I have not heard a word from Lin Wood. I am aware of the demand letter sent to Huffington Post after the story outline was sent to the Perry campaign for comment. That exchange was at least a month before. At that point Arianna was more determined to publish, I was told. It was weeks later, with a rewritten story, that the approvals were made and then the story was killed.
I have heard not a peep from [Perry’s legal team]. I will not be sued—it’s unwinnable for them because Perry is a public figure and they have to prove I published this with malice. To prove that, they must prove I knew the things in the book to be false and published anyway. I solidly believe, after talking to hundreds of people, that these stories are true. I believe the men who told me to my face in 1990 that Rick Perry was having sexual encounters with them and their friends. I welcome a lawsuit: I’d like to have the opportunity for my lawyers to depose, under oath, Rick Perry and the dozens and dozens of sources I have.
Were there any rumors about Perry, sexual or otherwise, that you weren’t able to include in the book, for whatever reason?
Absolutely there are more stories: Some were not far enough along in the investigation and the comfort level for the sources to talk yet. I have actually found more promising leads from sources since publication.
What do you say to Arianna Huffington’s allegation that there was no substance to allegations—”no there there”?
I’d first say that her writer, his editor, and the chief editor all believed there was sufficient “there there.” And I was told she did, too—until something happened in New York at the corporate offices of AOL. I am not in their loop, so I am sure someday that will be explained.
You say you want the mainstream media to take up the reporting from here. How can we corroborate Joey the Hustler’s story and those of your other sources?
Joey (his pseudonym) met with a lawyer in Austin I asked to be recruited for him, and his Austin lawyer recruited a national lawyer who, to the best of my knowledge, still represents him. I am not convinced that Joey won’t speak when the time is right for him. If you are asking about being involved in further investigation, that would be a conversation off the record. I welcome discussions with legitimate journalists or others who wish to continue this effort, to contact me. This is not a finished effort.
Why did most of the reporting take place via Facebook and text message?
If you find a “friend of a friend of a friend” who hooked up with someone, you have to identify each level of that genealogy. I spent many hours talking to all the Facebook friends of a source or someone who alledgedly had sex with Perry. Sooner or later, I would find someone who had information. That lead would start another round of questions for friends of these men on Facebook. Joey the Hustler only would communicate by text message. In the book, you get the full drama of those messages over the months.
There’s been a lot of controversy about the allegations in this book, but only the say-so of various first- and secondhand sources. Is there a smoking gun somewhere?
Of course there are smoking guns. When a person has been rumored to have sex with Rick Perry, and Glen Maxey finds three or four men who have known that person for the last decades, and all of them independently without knowledge of the statements of the others, tell the same story that the subject of the “hookup” relayed information to his friends about his relationship with Perry, then there’s smoke.
Keep in mind, I know some of these characters personally. One of the men in the book who I believe to have had relationships with Perry, I have known for over 30 years. Another for 20. And a third for a decade. These are not random people in the shadows.
Austin is a small town in some ways: The intersection of the political world and the GLBT world is Glen Maxey’s world. And Rick Perry’s world and my world overlap.