Above is the speech Dustin Lance Black gave this morning at Equality California’s Harvey Milk Day session, just before volunteers headed out to canvas the Los Angeles area to remind residents why gay rights are important and stuff. Shortly after the speech, EQCA dis-invited Black from tonight’s party at Sharon Osbourne’s estate. Because, Queerty has learned, they wanted gay stain Perez Hilton there instead.
It goes without question that Black has been EQCA’s biggest advocate and (unofficial) public face. More than executive director Geoff Kors ever will be. The Academy Award-winning screenwriter has lobbied on EQCA’s behalf and lent his name to their efforts and email blasts, as he’s done other groups. But rather than acknowledge Black’s record in working with (and defending to critics) the organization by including him at Sharon and Kelly Osbourne’s soiree (event page on Facebook here), where EQCA will earn $150-2,500 per head, they opted to invite Perez Hilton — and told Black not to come.
Why? Because Hilton and Black aren’t exactly friends, which can be tied back to the X-rated sex photos of Black that Hilton published last year. (This website also reported on them.) We’re told EQCA wanted to avoid any drama the confrontation might create, and chose the fauxtivist over Black. Ahem: Everyone remembers it was Black who wrote a little movie about Harvey Milk, right?
(Black refused to comment on what transpired between he and EQCA, but confirms he was asked not to go to this afternoon’s event.
We reached out to EQCA’s media contact and have yet to hear back. Update below.)
It’s an interesting choice to outsiders, since plenty of regular gay Americans and activists would agree Hilton is actually bad for gay rights and isn’t the example of Gays Doing Good anyone should push forward. While Hilton (real name: Mario Armando Lavandeira) invoked a spirited post-Carrie Prejean debate about gay marriage, his willingness to throw around the word “faggot” as an insult has turned off many. But not Kors’ EQCA, which sees the publicity opportunity involved in bringing Hilton to the Osbournes party.
For his part, Black tells Queerty he’s still got a speech to deliver — and instead of giving it at the Osbournes’ party, he’ll be doing it later tonight at Madame Tussaud on Hollywood Boulevard. “For me, this is such a great day, I’m going to focus on the other stuff going on tonight,” Black says, like a pro.
UPDATE: EQCA sends us a statement from Kors. Turns out, Hilton didn’t even go to the event, so they lost both high-profile guests: “Yesterday, for the first ever Harvey Milk Day, LGBT people and our allies celebrated Milk’s legacy across the state. We appreciate that there are lots of differences within our community, but this day for recognizing Milk’s legacy is bigger than any of us. We didn’t disinvite Dustin Lance Black from EQCA’s Harvey Milk Day event held at the home of Sharon and Kelly Osborne. We invited him to every one of our Harvey Milk Day events and really appreciate his joining us to kick off a door-to-door canvass in Los Angeles in the morning, speaking at Los Angeles City Hall with the City Council and Mayor on Friday, and working for weeks to help us make our statewide field effort a big success. He also lobbied with us to pass the bill creating Harvey Milk Day. Without his advocacy efforts and his historic screenplay Milk, we’re sure the Governor would never have signed the bill. We did let Black know that Perez Hilton might be attending the event as a guest of the Osbornes out of courtesy, as we know that there is tension between them (of which the Osbornes were not aware). Hilton was also on the media lists for other organizations’ Harvey Milk Day events. We would never disinvite anyone from our events, and our Harvey Milk Day events were open to the press. Hilton did not attend the event. We did let Black know that Hilton wasn’t coming, and he sent me a text saying that he didn’t think he could make it to the event before it ended. We would never disinvite someone from an event who has done as much for the LGBT community as Black has. We’re incredibly impressed with Black’s advocacy for LGBT rights and hope to continue working with him in the future. He is a great champion for our community. Harvey Milk Day is now over, but we must keep ourselves focused on the real work at hand: moving people to support marriage equality, electing 100% pro-equality candidates and passing legislation to secure LGBT rights.”
UPDATE: Here’s Black’s speech at Madame Tussaud (via):