Publicist: Carol Channing Loves Her Gay Fans and Friends

***PRESS RELEASE from HARLAN BOLL, publicist for CAROL CHANNING***

“Is a sad statement on our community when they so quickly choose to believe bad things about people without checking the facts. Especially when they are about individuals to whom we have received nothing but support over the years. In this case the less than accurate interview done with Carol Channing comprised of a series of half quotes and twisted statements.

The reporter misquoted Tim Rowe and me and clearly misquoted Carol. Feel free to call me if you want 323-xxx-xxxx or call Tim Rowe the event director at 937-xxx-xxxx.

He says he is quoting from a transcript which he doesnt have. He was asking questions of Carol that were clearly traps. She initially thought she was doing an interview with The Springfield News. I hadnt told her I had switched the two and when the reporter started asking questions about her gay friends, she thought it was going to be one of those interviews where she would have to defend her friends, but when she realized it was a gay trade, her defenses were already up and confusion ensued.

When I spoke to the reporter afterwards he told me that Tim Rowe of the organization producing the Springfield event, had said that because of his interview, Carol wasn’t going to do the event. When I immediately called Tim he said he never said anything of the sort and when Tim spoke to reporter, the reporter told him equally outlandish things that I never said. The comment about how she wasnt going to do any future interviews is crazy, because she did two more immediately following his. The guy was clearly trying to bash an Icon and make a name for himself. Sadly these people with ulterior motives exist and have since before Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper. I suppose this gentleman has a great future at the National Enquirer.

FYI – what she actually said when asked about gay marriage was that she wasnt necessarily pro gay marriage, because why would we want the government involved in our business and most of her gay friends were in agreement – this include myself. She thought civil unions and civil rights were more important, but “if this is what gay men really want then its their business and I dont care, they can take care of themselves.”

With reference to the Bible – she said about gay marriage “You know what the Bible says about it … Nothing.” The interviewer failed to add that last comment in the quote to the interview.

Her history of support speaks for its self. As a gay man myself, who has worked for her for years, she has supported my 7 year relationship from the beginning and of her other gay friends and colleagues agree. For example, longtime friend, Mr. Blackwell, says that she was one of the first to be there for he and his partner Spencer and continues to be for what will soon be their 58th anniversary.”

Comments

  1. jimmyboyo says

    spin spin spin

    Uhm, who is she?

    Anyway; Ok add in the extra bit but uhmmmmm what about the word “BUT” while spinning they forgot to remove the word “BUT” from her quote

    “BUT” I am knee deep in the bible….does not mix well with her added bits

    PS; the bible in leviticus says that she is unclean as a woman and any man who had sex with her (way back when) had to take a ritual bath and kill a couple of animals to make themselves clean again…..everytime they had sex with her. LOL

  2. says

    I can’t help but think the truth lies somewhere in the middle of it all. Surely Channing didn’t set out to be a gay icon, but somehow along the way jumped a’board the gravy train. Doing press for multiple pubs in one sitting has the *potential* to be confusing, allowing a few wires to cross for the 85 year old…

    Regardless, I’m not very impressed with Channing’s publicist.

  3. Allen says

    Whew! I really couldn’t believe it when I read it, so I’m glad it ain’t so. I had to throw out all my CDs by Nina Simone & Brigitte Bardot when I found out how nasty they were about homos, and I’m glad I can still enjoy this legend without guilt!

  4. Neio says

    Surely the reporter must have been taping the interview – I would have thought the easiest way to clear it up would be for someone independent to listen to it and confirm exactly what was said?

  5. Rad says

    She has nothing to prove to me. I always have and always will love her.

    How hard it is for celebrity to exist in this “immediate gratification” world; where people eviserate every single word and intonation that is uttered hoping to find some fault to exploit. For some idiots, they get what they deserve, but for others like Carol, it’s a shame that the matter got twisted around just to made the news.

    Finally, there is something to consider; the generation that borne Ms. Channing and the like. Homosexuality was, as my late father told me, just not talked about. You did not mention it. You tolerated it. This is the generation that was raised to read the Bible as “the good book” and to believe in God. Not to use the bible as a weapon to promote hatred or hegemony. My father, a WWII veteran, barely high school educated and a steel worker, lived his life that “What is my business is my business, what is yours is yours”, and he respected people for what they were.

    Shame this generation can’t grasp that concept.

  6. mark m says

    We need more GAY icons… that is gay men and women who can foster our respect and adoration. Problem is, we as a community are looking for any chance to eat our own. We pick apart their appearance, who they are seen with, what awards shows they attend, or don’t attend.

    Celebrity worship leads to exactly the sort of thing that happened with Channing. I don’t give flying rats ass what this 85 year old thinks about me or my community. The same goes for some 21 year old starlette or a sports figure. Celebrity worship is pointless because celebrities are just flawed people.

    Just because they sing songs that you enjoy or wear red ribbons or run real fast with the football doesn’t mean that they are somehow above the rest of us and worthy of your adoration.

  7. Norm says

    At first, I thought that Carol was becoming demented because she had always supported us. I saw her once at Tommy Tunes’ birthday party and she clearly loved the gays. Thankfully this issue has been cleared up. Shame on that damn reporter.

  8. erik says

    Unless the reporter was lying through his teeth in his article, I find the publicist’s response nearly impossible to believe.

    If you read the actual interview (http://gaypeopleschronicle.com/evenings_out/evenings_out.htm), it is readily apparent that Channing understood completely that she was speaking with a gay publication. If you read the article it’s also immediately apparent that it was not a simple case of ommission of a single word; Channing meant what she said.

    Read the full exchange between the reporter and Channing and tell me if you really think it was twisted out of context:

    =========================================
    Kaizaad Kotwal: You seem to have a very large gay following. Have you ever thought about why?

    Carol Channing: I don’t think about them. I’m grateful that they seem to like me. They’re terribly loyal to me. But I’m knee-deep in the Bible and you know what it says about that.

    KK: Alright.

    CC: Oh, dear. Is this for a gay publication? Have I offended you?

    KK: Yes. For the Gay People’s Chronicle. Right now, it’s really not my job to be offended or not be offended. I am just asking questions and reporting answers. I read that you have fought for gay rights. Do you think that the things gay people are fighting for are important?

    CC: I don’t think about it. If they can’t take care of their own problems, why should I bother. It’s not my problem.

    KK: I see.

    CC: At one time there were seven men doing me in Las Vegas. I began to wonder if I had a glandular problem. But you know that the Bible says that that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
    ========================================

    I dont’ think her publicist can explain this away so easily.

  9. Buffy LSD says

    Remember this, haters: The burden of proof is not on Carol; it’s on the journalist.

    Also, what if she said all that and worse. Was Carol Channning’s views on gays really what kept you holding it together? Sometimes people have an opinion that differs from mine. I can handle it.

  10. erik says

    Well, I’m not trying to be a “hater”, but I can’t square Channing’s publicist’s comments with the actual text of the article. Someone is lying.

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know a single thing about Carol Channing and have no interest in whether she likes me or not. I just get pissed when people try to use/profit from the gays while turning around and disparaging them.

  11. John~in~LA says

    Just for the record and not in defense: Carol’s second husband, Charles Lowe, and her manager for years was a closet gay [apparently even from her] and a control freak. She admitted that she and Charles rarely had sex. He mishandled her income, etc. and all this didn’t come out until after his death. THEN she “discovered” God.

  12. Cory says

    Awww, people give the woman a break, she’s 85 years old and harmless. Who knows who said what and quite frankly who cares, she’s not a politician and she’s never campaigned against anyone or anything…

  13. FunMe says

    The truth is stranger than fiction?

    I really don’t know what to believe now.

    Let’s say the words were correct, then I have to say Carol has a TOP OF THE LINE publicist! (I mean we have gays working for politicians who secretly don’t like gays but love their expertise in whatever).

    The journalist needs to be interviewed too!

    I think the reality is somewhere in the middle.

  14. says

    I’ve read Channing’s book. There is no way in hell she would ever refuse to do more interviews – the woman knows how important it is for a performer to “sell” herself to the public and she’s a freaking genius at it.

    I believe her explanation of her being misquoted on the Bible: “You know what the Bible says about it … Nothing.” – The implied pause and punchline sound like her distinct comic timing – the kind that has given her a career all these years.

    And even if she did say the bit about if we can’t help ourselves, why should she…well, she kind of has a point. It is our battle. I’d prefer her honesty over Brad Pitt’s using gay marriage as a lame excuse for commitment issues.

  15. Zeke says

    It just seems so unreasonable to me to assume that a writer for a gay publication would have gone out of his way to entrap a gay icon into looking anti-gay just to get a juicy story. It seems much more reasonable that he went to promote her and was stunned by the reaction he got.

    The first question he asked certainly didn’t sound like he was setting her up for attack. It was very clear to me that he was asking a legitimate question that would be of interest to Mrs. Channing’s huge gay fan base. It also seems clear to me that his intent was to promote her fan status among his gay readers.

    It is terribly odd to me that any time there is a story here of he said/she said, there is a sizable faction of people here who will inevitably flame, condemn and attack the gay side and support and defend the straight side no matter what the evidence is. There are so many examples that come to mind and it seems that the same people come out of the woodwork to trash the gay person and assume the straight person is faultless.

    I don’t know what the bottom line to this story is but neither does anyone else here. However common sense tells me that it is HIGHLY unlikely, considering how the whole thing played out, that the publicist is being anything less than a publicist protecting his client’s reputation.

    Let’s not forget Neil Patrick Harris’ publicist claiming that Neil was “not of that persuasion” just two days before he revealed that he was in fact OF that persuasion.

    And for those of you who think it’s no big deal; I for one want to know to whom I’m giving my money and support. If you don’t care then ignore the story, no harm no foul, but for those of us who do care I’m grateful to have been informed.

    I hope this reporter recorded his interview so that we can get to the bottom of this he said/she said kafuffle. However, I have no doubt that even if he did, and it were to prove that he was telling the truth, there would be plenty of people here willing to claim that he forged the tape and ready to string him up by his balls.

    I honestly don’t know what leads so many gay people to be so distrusting and antagonistic toward other gay people. I personally hang out with credible, honest, upstanding, thoughtful and kind people, gay and straight. For those of you who have such low opinions of your gay brothers, I suggest that you look within yourselves and look around yourselves to evaluate your friends. There must be some reason why you are so distrusting of others who share your sexual orientation.

    I just haven’t had the negative gay experience that many others seem to have had. Maybe that’s because I choose not to BE or to associate WITH those who are dishonest, spiteful, bitchy, hateful tribe that, according to many here, is the majority within and defines the gay community.

  16. Cory says

    The simplest explanation is usually the right one, and quite frankly I could see a journalist at a gay rag using the current political tension on gay issues (especially between generations) to bring down a known “gay icon diva” to make a name for himself. Rodulfo hit the nail right on the head. Comic timing is exactly right, I can hear her saying “… NOTHING” with an emphasis on “NOTHING” to discredit the right wing conservative religion zealots who say marriage is between a man and a woman as the bible doesn’t specifically damn gay marriage at all. What is more telling to me people, is the over eagerness for EVERYONE above (almost everyone) to pick her apart and tear her a new ass without even thinking first. We (the gay community) is so over-sensitive and so eager to tear someone down so quickly without ever realizing this person is actually someone who supports us and goes to bat for us an an entertainer. Honestly, are we that easy to turn, to turn on each other and those who support us? Doing so will only bring our community down, breeding mistrust and paranoia… think about it…

  17. Jay says

    I spoke to the reporter, Kaizaad Kotwal, the day he had the interview with Carol Channing. He was genuinely stunned by Channing’s comments and wacky behavior; it was not something he made up. He was dumbfounded at how off-the-wall she was. He said the experience was made even stranger by the subsequent phone calls from her publicist who tried to explain that Carol didn’t really mean what she said. It was supposed to be a very routine interview, so he didn’t tape it.

    Why do her fans care if she thinks gay people are going to hell? She was married to a gay man for 42 years. Isn’t that a good enough reason for her gay fans to be loyal to her and feel that she has a connection to them?

  18. Anon says

    Ok, let’s put this in perspective. People are speculating whether an 85 year-old entertainer who was married to a gay guy made comments regarding gay marriage at an event to a reporter who didn’t record the conversation yet based on his “recollection” felt it necessary to print slanderous material from their interview. People really are stupid.

  19. Jay says

    What do you mean you don’t buy it? He doesn’t make a living as a reporter and has no aspirations to be one. As far as I know he just does it to make extra money to supplement his income as a teacher at a local university. He’s done many interviews like this before and they’ve never been controversial and he has no record of courting controversy.

  20. Jay says

    Just to clarify: He’s done many phone interviews with entertainers/artists prior to their appearing in Ohio for a concert, lecture, exhibit, or whatever, and there has never been any controversy over what he has written. Maybe it’s never been his practice to tape record these interviews because they have never been controversial in the past.

  21. RATSASS says

    I really do not give a rat’s ass about what Carol Channing or any other B-list entertainer thinks about gay issues.

    But obviously a number of you do, so therefore she should release an apology (cue for Mr Boll to write something intelligible).

    As for this OBVIOUS SPIN from her publiscist, this a very poor excercise in dammage control…but we can not fault him, he is paid for it.

    Finally, Carol Channing is a gay Icon???? In who’s book??? It must be the over 65 queeny types because no-one I know considers her a gay or even quasi-gay icon. The idea is pathetic

    Sorry but that’s the simple truth.

    PS: Can someone actually give me a list of the overwhelming support she has given to the gay community (other than a hug to her gay employees and friends)?? Has she been active in Aids awarness and fundraising? In equality for homosexuals at the state and federal levels? etc…

  22. chaz says

    It is amazing how spinmeisters win the day. I was going to stay silent because I know Mr. Kotwal, but people accusing him of lying here when they have no idea who he is finally got to me. First of all he DID NOT do the interview from memory. While there is no taping he has taken detailed notes of what she said. I verified this with him since he doesn’t want to get directly involved in this for obvious reasons. What Mr. Bolan is doing to Mr. Kotwal is understandable from his job point of view but it is nonetheless despicable. I am sure eventually Mr. Kotwal will break his silence and tell his side of the story which I have only heard bits and pieces of. This guy has given to the GLBT community through his writing like no one I know in this area and for you guys to smear him based on what some publicist says is troubling. There are writers who do gotcha journalism but I know he isn’t one of them. In fact, prior to the interview he has told me how excited he was to be speaking with such a long performing legend. I know this may seem biased because I know him and which is why I wanted to stay silent to begin with. But you can’t just watch someone’s reputation and careeer being maligned and ruined and not say a thing. Mr. Kotwal doesn’t have spinmeisters to get his story out.

  23. Mark says

    My problem with Kotwai is that he didn’t record the interview. Therefore, working frommemory, he could have missed nuances, forgotten some of what she said or not heard them the first time to to background noise. I don’t know either party but the burden of proof is on Kotwai.

  24. DR C says

    I think RATSASS has pretty well summed it up. I just wanted to add that it reminds me of the Mel Gibson gaff. His excuse was alcohol and stress, her excuse is confusion and entrapment by a gay journalist. They both sound rather silly. Now I know what she really thinks about gay lifestyles and it is not very pretty. Goodbye Carol you will see no more of my greenbacks.

  25. Cory says

    RATASS: She has performed in dozens of AIDS awareness and fund raisers, as well as donating much or her personal income to such causes. I know that is for certain… otherwise I don’t know what else…

  26. Cory says

    and what is all this with people coming out of the woodwork and claiming they personally spoke with this interviewer and are defending him? seriously? I don’t buy it. What I don’t buy either is everyone who is so interested in tearing this 85 year old woman down for some half-assed comment she made. GET OVER IT. There are more important issues in the world than what Carol Channing said to whom. It is ALL heresay, ON EVERYONE’S PART so no one knows the truth and consequently will never know. Leave the poor woman alone already. Lord…

  27. Jay says

    Kaizaad said he took copious notes during the interview which is not the same as “working from memory”. I’m sure he would not have a problem showing them to anyone. Who is he supposed to show them to though? The publicist? I can’t believe that Carol Channing twice said “You know what the Bible says….Nothing” and he missed the part where she said “Nothing” on both occasions.

  28. Steve says

    Jay, what good are his notes? They don’t hold up as proof that she actually said these things, he could have written anything and claimed she said it. Any jurnalist/reporter worth his salt records every interview, regardless of who the interview subject is.

  29. Mister says

    Cory I was trying to answer the question posed by Ratsass (how much real support from Channing to gay community). I came up with nothing after trolling the whole web (maybe I looked in the wrong places). I am neither a fan nor critic of Channing. So thanks for your response – can you give specifics as to what events, when, where, what cause, type of support? Like the one in the photo you must know the details? If her publiscist was worth 50 cents you would think all that would be out there on the web someplace!?

  30. Cory says

    MISTER: Well, for starters, click on the “PHOTO SOURCE” link above, it will take you to the page where Andy grabbed this photo.

    http://flickr.com/photos/yotowoti/12453308/

    The page states: Taken at the Bliss charity event presented by Maitri in San Francisco. Maitri is an organization that provides compassionate residential and hospice care for people living with AIDS.

    So that was at a Charity benefit in which Carol Channing performed for AIDS hospice…

    I’ll look for other articles but most of what I read was through print media…

  31. anon2 says

    Remember, too, that Carol Channing’s particular brand of religion is Christian Science. Although the religion has been homophobic in the past (reflecting the broader culture from which it has drawn its membership rather than the doctrine itself) it is definitely far more new age than fire and brimstone. Christian Scientists are not biblical literalists. Given the fact that (according to her autobiography) even Christian Science was a bit too strict for her, I find it hard to believe that she is a Leviticus literalist.

  32. CHAZ says

    For those who doubt Channing’s bigotry check out what she has said ln Larry King a while ago about why gay’s don’t deserve marriage because they are so promiscuous. She has had a subtle sense of bigotry for a while now. Anyone as offended by the statement in Kotwal’s interview that she understood why she sang and danced so well when she found out her father was black?

  33. says

    Good Heavens! If there’s any theatre icon who just ADORES gay men — it’s Carol Channing! I’ve worked with her and been around her. Look at her actions over the past SIXTY years as a star for the proof you need. She even grand marshalled the LA Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade with Jerry Herman once. She’s sung with the Gay Mens’ Chorus, worked for gay charities… etc. Oy vey, what a stupid journalist that guy is.

  34. Cris says

    If you google the name of the reporter who claims Channing made the negative comments, you’ll find he’s very litigious and has sued and lost racial discrmination suits, even one against someone of his own race!

  35. Landa L says

    Hmmmmmm, when all is said and done… who really listens to what singers actually have to say…. I still love Carol…. she may be dried up, old and a religious zealot but so is Madonna…. bwah ha ha ha ha ha…

  36. jules says

    Ok, so tell me again: Why do gay men need the support of a strong female to be validated? Carol Channing,… (love her), Liz Taylor, Cher…Liza, on and on and on. Who really cares what they think or do. I am who I am. I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about it. Why should it matter what any celebrity thinks or says about what I do? They can’t add anything to me and they can’t take anything away. Why do we think they are important? Does Mommy still have to give us permisson to be free?

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