Christian leader tells ‘rentboy’ not to talk to the press
Revealed: Florida AG paid $60,000 for Rekers’ testimony against gay adoptions
The case of a Christian leader who claims the male prostitute he hired to accompany him on a ten-day European vacation was only along to carry his luggage grew more complex on Thursday, as Family Research Council cofounder and anti-gay activist George Alan Rekers threatened to bring a lawsuit for defamation against the Miami New Times.
The New Times, which originally broke the story of Rekers’ trip on Tuesday, quickly struck back by revealing that Rekers has been advising his traveling companion, “Lucien,” to keep quiet about their encounter.
In addition, it was reported early on Friday that the office of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum had paid at least $60,900 to for Rekers’ “expert testimony” in a case defending that state’s ban on gays adopting children. A judge later rejected Rekers’ testimony, saying it was “far from neutral” because of his “strong ideological and theological convictions” and that she could “not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”
On Thursday afternoon, Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel reported that the Miami New Times was being threatened by Rekers with a lawsuit. “I have been advised to retain the services of a defamation attorney in this matter,” Rekers wrote in an email to Weigel, “because the fact is that I am not gay and never have been.”
In his response to the New Times story, Rekers asserted, “My travel assistant called me this afternoon earnestly asking me to clarify on my website that he worked for me as a travel companion and not as a prostitute.” This was followed by a series of statements from Rekers, allegedly based on that phone call, saying “Together we agreed that I in fact hired him to lift luggage … that my travel assistant did in fact lift my luggage … that I did not hire him as a prostitute for any sexual purpose … that I explained the Christian faith to my travel assistant in conversations on several days.”
Just a few hours later, however, the New Times casually demolished Rekers’ claim that his “travel assistant” supported his version of events with an article headed, “Things Rekers Said To Lucien When He Didn’t Think We Were Listening.”
“Lucien” is the name being used by the New Times to refer to the young man, whose family does not know he is gay.
“What the minister … likely didn’t realize is that Miami New Times reporters were sitting beside Lucien during a candid conversation over speakerphone,” Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp explain. “During that talk — which took place at about 1 a.m. Thursday in a Fort Lauderdale home — Rekers told Lucien several times not to talk to the press.”
According to the Bullock and Thorp, Rekers told Lucien that a “friend in the media” had advised him to avoid contact with the press. “Tell them you don’t want to do interviews,” Rekers urged. “Just say ‘no,’ and just say ‘I’ve already [indecipherable] to the press and that’s it.'”
Rekers also suggested that the uproar over his trip was being created by “activists with an axe to grind” and would die down if Lucien just kept quiet. He told Lucien not to make a statement to the press because “it just causes more harm,” adding, “We have to deal with the situation that we have, and make sure it doesn’t get worse.”
By the end of the call, Lucian was becoming increasingly upset, despite Rekers’ assurances that the scandal would just die down. “I’m getting pressured out of the gay community!” he told Rekers. “If I ever wanted to be with someone — it wouldn’t work out! … I’m 20 years old! If you’ve been through this, you shouldn’t have gone to that website, you shouldn’t have hired me — why did you make so many choices [for me]?”
“The conversation was too sad, by then, and we couldn’t bear to follow it,” the New Times reporters concluded. “The whole thing felt pornographic. One of us took a bathroom break; the other of us left the couch and stood by a window.”