Dustin Lance Black Responds After Alma Mater Rejects Him as Commencement Speaker Over Sex Photos

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is speaking out after his alma mater, Pasadena City College, invited him to be PCC’s 2014 Commencement speaker, and then dropped him after the Board of Trustees was made aware of sexually explicit photos on the internet of Black having unprotected sex.

Writes the PCC Courier: Black

“With the porno professor and the sex scandals we’ve had on campus this last year, it just didn’t seem like the right time for Mr. Black to be the speaker,” Board President Anthony Fellow said. “We’ll be on the radio and on television. We just don’t want to give PCC a bad name.”

The college recently went through two scandals involving professor Hugo Schwyzer, the “porno professor” who admitted to sleeping with students, and journalism instructor Warren Swil, who admitted to showing nude photos of himself to a student.

The administration decided to go forward and invite a safer pick: Pasadena Director of Public Health Dr. Eric Walsh, who accepted and is confirmed to be the commencement speaker, according to Robert Bell, a commencement committee member and vice president of academic affairs and student services.

Black, who "confirmed the invitation, booked the international flights to get back to Southern California, canceled work, and turned down paid invitations" to speak at the ceremony wrote an open letter to the school in response to what he says are the school's attempts to "shame" him.

Writes Black, in part:

For too long now I’ve sat silent on this issue. That ends here and now and with this sentence: I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be shamed for this any longer.

In 2009 a group of people surreptitiously lifted images from my ex’s computer and shopped them around to gossip sites in a money making scheme. These were old images from a far simpler time in my life, a time before digital camera phones and Internet scandals. They were photos of me with a man I cared for, a man who shared my Mormon background, and who was also struggling with who he was versus where he came from. And yes, we were doing what gay men do when they love and trust each other, we were having sex. I have never lied about my sexuality. If you invade my privacy, this is what you will find. I have sex. It brings me joy, fosters intimacy and helps love grow. I hope anyone reading this can say the same for themselves and for their parents.

In 2010 I took the perpetrators of this theft to Federal court and Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled unequivocally that the defendants had indeed broken the law. The details of this case are readily available for anyone to read — including PCC’s leadership and Board of Trustees.

In the eyes of anyone who has seen the devastating effects this trespass has had on me personally, creatively and professionally over these many years, in the eyes of my mother and friends who have held me as I’ve cried, and under the blind scrutiny of the law of this land, I am the victim of this “scandal,” not the perpetrator.

With this cruel act, PCC’s Administration is punishing the victim. And I ask you this: If I was a heterosexual man or woman with this same painful injury in my past, would PCC’s Administration still be rescinding such an honor?

Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:01am ETC by Andy Towle
in Dustin Lance Black, News