Dustin Lance Black | News

Dustin Lance Black Re-Invited To Give Commencement Speech At Alma Mater

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award winning screenwriter of Milk who last month was un-invited from delivering the commencement speech at his alma mater, Pasadena City College, over the 2009 leak of sexually explicit photos of Black having unprotected sex, has been re-invited to deliver the hallmark address at the school’s graduation ceremonies, according to the Pasadena-Star News:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511a26674970c-800wi“(Black) has distinguished himself as a film producer and a champion of equal rights and protections for all regardless of sexual orientation,” [College President Mark] Rocha read during the meeting [Wednesday night]. “The Board of Trustees and college administration deeply respect Mr. Black, his work and his causes. The Board also sincerely apologizes to Mr. Black for any actions that may have caused hurt.”

PCC spokeswoman Valerie Wardlaw said the school has already reached out to Black’s representatives to re-invite him to deliver the commencement speech.

Rocha said the Board should retain the seven other candidates on the speaker short list just in case Black now declines to speak.

“If he can’t, for any reason, then we will move forward, consult with our colleagues and students and conduct commencement exercise that will be friendly to the graduates.

Previously, Pasadena City College (PCC) Board President Anthony Fellow, referencing two sex scandals that had plagued PCC in recent months, said of the school’s original decision to rescind the invitation,

“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…We’ll be on the radio and on television. We just don’t want to give PCC a bad name.” 

Black responded to being pulled from the commencement event by blasting PCC’s decision, declaring “I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be shamed for this any longer.” In his response, Black also pointed out that the sexually explicit photos in question were stolen from him, a fact upheld in a court of law. Black also implied his sexual orientation was a motivating factor in the college’s decision: “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?” 

WalshBlack’s replacement as speaker was set to be Dr. Eric Walsh (pictured left), the Pasadena Director of Public Health. While that seemed an innocuous enough choice at first, it was later revealed that Dr. Walsh is a Seventh-day Adventist who believes, among other things, that, 

“Oprah Winfrey is harboring the spirit of the anti-Christ; Acceptance of homosexuals is a satanic ploy to destroy America; Disney movies, which are loaded with violence, sex and magic, are a satanic ploy to split up families; Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a “satanic belief”; The distribution of condoms to a public in need leads to higher AIDS rates; The pope is the anti-Christ.”

This was enough for some to call for Dr. Walsh to not only resign his post as commencement speaker but also, and perhaps more significantly, his post as Public Health Director of Pasadena. An op-ed in the Pasadena Star-News declared that while Walsh has a constitutional right to free speech, 

“[the] prideful, marginalized and wrong-headed nature [of his small-minded creed] can’t help but affect Walsh’s judgement. It’s a belief system that makes Dr. Walsh incredibly unsuited for public service as the city’s chief health officer. How can he talk about condom distribution in the community or AIDS prevention when he believes AIDS isn’t prevented or slowed by the distribution of prophylactics?” 

The LA Times also points out that Walsh seems to be saving his more radical (and perhaps authentic) self for his Seventh-day Adventist sermons whereas his persona as Director of Public Health is more politically appropriate: “His online bio says he has championed maternal and child health issues, violence prevention and is committed to the ‘highest level of care for individuals infected with HIV.’”

It is not yet clear how Black will respond to his re-invitation.

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  1. I hope he has the dignity to say "No, thank you."

    Posted by: Rad | May 1, 2014 6:42:41 PM

  2. Please throw shoes.

    Posted by: Arrow | May 1, 2014 6:50:48 PM

  3. Dr. Eric Walsh is by far the most actively accurate argument for the use of the white man's religion to put colored folks in their place. Bravo Uncle Tom incarnate!

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | May 1, 2014 6:54:52 PM

  4. FYI, Dr. Walsh just got put on administrative leave in response to the videos of him spewing hate speech that surfaced this week.

    how can you have a Director of Public Health who hates gays?

    Posted by: qj201 | May 1, 2014 7:20:50 PM

  5. "The LA Times also points out that Walsh seems to be saving his more radical (and perhaps authentic) self for his Seventh-day Adventist sermons whereas his persona as Director of Public Health is more politically appropriate...."

    In other words, he lies about what he really believes when he goes to work.

    Posted by: Mike | May 1, 2014 7:39:42 PM

  6. If he does speak, he'll appear really spineless. And what is his great message? It has most likely already appeared on a "Glee" episode.

    Posted by: GB | May 1, 2014 7:58:02 PM

  7. I hope he accepts.

    Posted by: don't a tell la | May 1, 2014 8:09:04 PM

  8. Let's see. They "disinvited" someone because stolen photos of him were published without his consent, and they got a replacement who really had something to hide.

    Can anyone spell "karma"?

    Meanwhile nobody blames large corporations that give their customers buggy software ridden with security flaws.

    Posted by: Bill | May 1, 2014 8:33:11 PM

  9. Sadly, I think he'll accept.

    Posted by: Vint | May 1, 2014 8:33:59 PM

  10. I hope he tells them to f*ck off.

    Posted by: JMC | May 1, 2014 9:03:09 PM

  11. Good. If they can have bloodthirsty War Criminals like Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfield giving commencement addresses at US colleges, why not little old Justin?

    Posted by: Keeping it Real | May 1, 2014 9:20:40 PM

  12. This thug they chose to replace Blakc is the leader of public health in a huge city like Pasadena? DISGUSTING! SHAME ON THIS ONCE LIBERAL CITY!

    Posted by: Mark | May 1, 2014 9:27:05 PM

  13. Religious people have an agenda and California USED to be free of these whack job religious nuts, but they infiltrate. Hence why it's important to combat their bigotry.

    Posted by: Charitys505 | May 1, 2014 9:27:50 PM

  14. I can't believe I'm doing this, but as a former Seventh-Day Adventist, I feel the need to say that Dr. Walsh's beliefs are not typical SDA beliefs. SDA beliefs are wacky, even more wacky that most religious beliefs (in my opinion). But, he appears to have taken an extra dose from the wacky jar.

    Posted by: GeoffreyPS | May 1, 2014 9:31:26 PM

  15. Folks in Southern California...PLEASE read this alarming quote from the San Gabriel Valley Pride president:

    Aaron Saenz, president of San Gabriel Valley Pride, said while he did not agree with Walsh’s homophobic statements, he had not seen evidence that they had impacted Walsh’s work at the Public Health Department.

    “I feel form the research I know I don’t think it affected his work. I think those are just his personal views however he chose to share them and that’s on him,” Saenz said. “I wouldn’t necessarily have a boycott to call for his stepping down unless it started affecting his work.”

    Contact the SGV Pride by visiting their website:

    Or facebook page:


    Posted by: Two Dads | May 1, 2014 9:39:50 PM

  16. This is why we can't accomplish anything as a community, the article mentions how the San Gabriel Pride President is defending the homophobe in charge of interacting and helping those with HIV within the LGBT community. THERE'S WAY TOO MANY UNCLE TOMS IN OUR COMMUNITY!

    Posted by: Cali Dude | May 1, 2014 9:41:02 PM

  17. I couldn't believe the quote by the pride president of the area essentially arguing it's not big deal at all. We've got a lot of uncle toms in our community, I agree. And they sadly do the most damage to us.


    Posted by: Scott Jorden | May 1, 2014 9:48:26 PM

  18. Ok DLB,
    The stage is set. Make us proud with some tactful, meaningful, reconciliation that will put their tails even further between their legs, but at the same time pave the way for a bright future for any LGBT's in the audience. You know what to do. Telling them to F.O. now (you already kinda did that) isn't the right note to leave this on. If anyone can do this, you can!

    Posted by: castaway | May 1, 2014 9:50:08 PM

  19. If Oprah is harboring the spirit of the anti-christ, and The Pope is the anti-christ, does that imply that Oprah is making use of some anti-christ magic to possess said spirit of the currently living Pope? Walsh seems just eat up with the crazy.

    Posted by: Yonah Gefen | May 1, 2014 10:20:20 PM

  20. It's much wiser for him to speak and shame them in his speech

    Posted by: Hughes | May 1, 2014 10:53:08 PM

  21. I agree. Dustin SHOULD speak and SHOULD mention the prejudice by the school in his speech.

    Posted by: Ringo | May 1, 2014 10:53:48 PM

  22. He can't pass a window without looking at his reflection. Of course he'll accept. He is the voice of every queer that never existed.

    Posted by: Bangs | May 1, 2014 11:12:18 PM

  23. If what sterling said was justifiable for him getting fired (and it was) well the public health director saying gays are evil should certainly be suspended. Enough is enough. We've ben treated as second class scum in this country for too long.

    Posted by: Junior | May 1, 2014 11:46:41 PM

  24. If it were me, I'd give my diploma back just because they were going to have Walsh give the commencement speech.

    But it's not me, it's somebody that's just as poo stained as everyone else in Pasadena.

    Great Director of Public Health you've got there, losers.

    Posted by: ToddyOutWest | May 2, 2014 12:34:53 AM

  25. Just my 2 cents, but regardless of whether the photos of DLB were stolen or not, in this day and age, if you let your sex partner film you having sex, then um, you better be prepared to be ok with it if it is made public. Chances are it will be. And yeah, that means you might not get some gigs with some potential employers. I've never been able to view DLB as a "victim" in any issue related to the sex video. He knew it was being filmed, and he participated willingly. He's a big boy. If others or institutions later find it not congruent with their public mission statement, then that's their prerogative, regardless of whether the participants are LGBTQ or straight. I don't agree that the college's choice to dis-invite DLB was automatically an anti-LGBT stance. I believe they would have likely withdrawn the offer to a straight Hollywood celebrity as well. Why does being LGBTQ mean we automatically have to defend DLB on this? If this was my commencement, I'd be kind of pissed that it was being hijacked by DLB's sex life, and I'd hope he'd leave all mention of it out his speech. Ego much??

    Posted by: Michaelsf | May 2, 2014 2:48:50 AM

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