Charlie Crist | Film | Larry Craig | News | Review

Closeted Gay Politicians Hung Out to Dry in Outrage


Last night I had the opportunity to see the first final cut of Outrage shown to the public, before its opening at the Tribeca Film Festival. For those who have not yet heard of Outrage, it's a documentary by Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated) about closeted Republican hypocrites and the way their hypocrisy damages lives — not only their personal lives but the millions of gays and lesbians their homophobic policymaking affects.

Crist_heyniger It's a well-packaged effort covering the Reagan years and the birth of the religious right to the present, wrapping up the stories of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock, former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, Mark Foley, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ed Mehlman, former GOP National Field Director Dan Gurley, former Arizona congressman Jim Kolbe, former Louisiana congressman Jim McCrery, and current congressman David Dreier, into a tightly wound exposé of closeted D.C.

It's the first major piece of media which has painted such a comprehensive, unflinching look at the GOP's closet.

The film shines an especially unflattering spotlight on Florida Governor Charlie Crist, devoting much of its time to the stories that have already been told (by alternative press) about the governor, and his various relationships with women which have fallen conveniently during campaign periods. It also asks why mainstream media has refused to cover them.

The filmmakers attempted to talk to Kelly Heyniger (pictured, with Crist), Crist's last girlfriend before marrying wife Carole Rome in the run-up to McCain's VP pick. His relationship with Heyniger ended in 2007. The filmmakers wanted to ask her about his sexuality.

Heyniger told them: "I think I'll just keep my mouth me in 10 years and I'll tell you a story."

The early efforts of Michelangelo Signorile in outing politicians, and the crusades of blogger Mike Rogers (blogactive) are also highlighted.

Larrycraigmug Dick's deft layering of audio tapes, interviews, and sexual confessions against the anti-gay votes these politicians have made reveals how journalists and the mainstream media, which the film ultimately damns for its refusal to expose hypocrisy, have been complicit in keeping public figures in the closet.

And the tragic and horrific effect the closet has had on LGBT rights and public policy is made all the more clear.

The film features interviews with Jim McGreevey, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff (who tells the story of how he met FOX News anchor Shepard Smith in a gay bar), Idaho statesman reporter Dan Popkey, former Luxembourg ambassador Jim Hormel, David Phillips, the D.C. IT technologist who tells his story about sleeping with Larry Craig in graphic detail, DC City Council member David Catania, former HRC director Elizabeth Birch, BlogActive blogger Mike Rogers, Gurley, Andrew Sullivan, congressman Barney Frank, Michelangelo Signorile, Hilary Rosen, former LCR exec. director Rich Tafel, Tammy Baldwin, Tony Kushner, and many more.

The film opens May 8.

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  1. Thanks for mentioning this movie, there's no chance of it coming to Nashville but I will get it when it becomes available.

    Posted by: Anthony in Nashville | Apr 23, 2009 8:58:15 AM

  2. Jim McGreevey is a democrat...

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 23, 2009 9:19:33 AM

  3. Can't wait to see it...but I can hear the denials right now - and you know the mainstream press is going to do the utmost to completely ignore it. It will be portrayed as lies and rumour mongering - and at the same time the spin will be "we should respect peoples privacy". But of course that is part of the hypocrisy isn't it...

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 23, 2009 9:21:24 AM

  4. Heyniger told them "I think I'll just keep my mouth me in 10 years and I'll tell you a story."

    That pretty much says it all doesn't it? I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Apr 23, 2009 9:23:30 AM

  5. THREE CHEERS FOR THIS. I can't wait.

    Posted by: SAM | Apr 23, 2009 9:26:39 AM

  6. Wish I could get to NYC to see this... wow... It does sound like a great - important - needed movie.

    Posted by: Ron | Apr 23, 2009 9:39:24 AM

  7. I saw it last night too and it's teriffic. Full disclosure: I've known Kirby for years and get a thank you in the end credits as he interviewed me for an earlier incarnation of this project, which at that time was about coming out and "outing" in general. Narrowing the focus to politics puts the entire subject in very concentrated relief.

    The subtext is indeed the disconnect between the "Mainstream" media and everyone else. For those who follow gay politics and gay issues there are few surpries here. Though the retelling of the Larry Craig saga is always amusing. The specifics on Ed Koch and the lover he tossed out of his life (who later died of AIDS) are devestating. He's a throughly despicable human being. As for Charlie Crist this film will mark the end of his presidential aspirations. It goes into his past so throughly there's no way for the "Mainstream" to avoid dealing with it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 23, 2009 9:46:51 AM

  8. I do not approve of outing... except in the case of dickwads like these who have built careers on trashing people like us.

    Posted by: Boxerdad | Apr 23, 2009 9:58:19 AM

  9. It's playing at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, first week of May. Already sold out! Damn it.

    Posted by: secretagentman | Apr 23, 2009 10:01:15 AM


    (Sad I can't seem to find a release date or trailer anywhere...)

    Posted by: MC_BK | Apr 23, 2009 10:11:29 AM

  11. Jim McGreevey is a piece of trash. If he had been a Republican governor we would be up in arms by what he did, which, incidentally, was giving a primo job to his supremely unqualified bf, not coming out as gay. But oh did he distract 'us' with his 'inspirational' "I am a gay American speech." Idiots. He's as bad as Rod Blagoejevich, but he is treated as some kind of hero. Why?

    Posted by: Ugh | Apr 23, 2009 10:26:50 AM

  12. Who treats him as a hero? No one that I know. And I daresay not anyone who reads this blog either.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 23, 2009 10:47:59 AM

  13. It will be fascinating to see if this actually gets coverage in the media. It sure as hell should.

    Being in the closet is perfectly understandable if you are a helpless 12 year old in Kentucky, but when you're a grown ass man with money and any degree of power, you have no excuse. You're just a selfish, lying coward.

    I can honestly say that Michelangelo Signorile's outing of people years back was a great thing. He took a lot of heat for it, but it did a lot of good for a million kids like me growing up and feeling very isolated and hopeless.

    Hopefully this movie will get that ball rolling again and force people to tell the truth and be who they are...and stop undermining the rest of us to cover their own asses.

    Posted by: paul c | Apr 23, 2009 10:48:04 AM

  14. Ed Koch is also a Democrat, isn't he?

    Posted by: RhymesWithClergy | Apr 23, 2009 11:41:31 AM

  15. David Ehrenstein, I know gays who think he's great. I know gays who are FRIENDS with him. And, I 'daresay' that I have most DEFINITELY seen positive comments about him on this blog. Not to mention gay orgs who have recognized him in some capacity. I am happy to hear you don't think he is a hero...because he certainly isn't.

    Posted by: Ugh | Apr 23, 2009 12:28:30 PM

  16. So how exactly do Jim McGreevey and Ed Koch fit into the anti-gay Republican category? Also, what does Shepard Smith have to do with any of this? As far as I know journalists don't write legislation and other than the fact that he works for Fox News he does not have a reputation for making anti-gay statements.

    Posted by: dan | Apr 23, 2009 1:13:09 PM

  17. haha well played Kelly Heyniger..loves it

    Posted by: Ford | Apr 23, 2009 1:23:25 PM

  18. Thanks for the heads up about the Toronto screening- just went over to the site and picked up tickets for myself- there are actually still tickets available for the May 7th show!

    It's about time a film was made about this, and I can't think of a better director after being wowed by This Film Is Not Yet Rated!

    Posted by: happyhappyjoyjoy | Apr 23, 2009 2:43:12 PM

  19. Great fact-checking Towle. Not only is Jim McGreavy a Democrat, but Ed Koch has been a prominent Democrat for 50 years. Of course, both were and are pro-gay, so they really shouldn't be on a list of anti-gay hypocrites. So really your list is an incoherent mess.

    Shouldn't the story be about closeted hypocrites regardless of party?

    Posted by: Danny | Apr 23, 2009 3:04:52 PM

  20. Ed Koch... pro gay?!? DANNY, boy, your brain is an incoherent mess.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Apr 23, 2009 3:16:13 PM

  21. The documentary sounds incredible. The MSM has practiced a double standard with gay people. No het considers which gender they are attracted to as a "very private" or "intimate" fact about them. In fact *all* het politicians prominently feature, publicize, and parade their families.

    Who should really receive gratitude are the activists who laid the groundword for this stuff for decades: THANK YOU Michelangelo Signorile, Mike Rogers, Mike Petralis, Larry Kramer, and David Ehrenstein!

    Posted by: Dean | Apr 23, 2009 4:33:18 PM

  22. Koch was a Democrat but very anti-gay in his policies, particularly in the early days of AIDS. Hopefully this documentary gets its basic facts straight (ha!).

    Posted by: anon | Apr 23, 2009 4:38:49 PM

  23. What does meeting Shep Smith in a gay bar have to do with closeted politicians?

    Posted by: Rodolfo | Apr 23, 2009 4:48:50 PM

  24. And despite efforts like this film, there's a whole new batch of shiny new closeted Republican stars on the horizon.

    Posted by: jimbo | Apr 23, 2009 6:15:51 PM

  25. Anybody ever seen Larry Kramer's extraordinary play THE NORMAL HEART? It includes a scathing indictment of Koch for the mayor's inaction in the face of the early AIDS epidemic. Just in case we forget.

    Posted by: Michael Lassell | Apr 23, 2009 7:40:16 PM

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