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Lance Black: “I apologize & cannot emphasize enough the importance of responsible sexual practices”

Lance Black: "I apologize & cannot emphasize enough the importance of responsible sexual practices"

It’s not every day that explicit photos of an Oscar winner hit the Internet. Such was the case yesterday when graphic sexual images of Academy Award winning “Milk” writer Dustin Lance Black emerged on blogs. The apparently three year-old pictures, released by a photo agency, depict an unsafe sexual act between the openly gay writer and a man he was apparently dating at the time. Online buzz forced Black to release a statement late in the day, hours after the photos appeared online.

“It is unfortunate that individuals and other outside parties are trying to profit from material which is clearly private,” Black said in the statement released to E! Online‘s Marc Malkin. “I have had the privilege to speak to people across the country, both gay and straight, on a number of critical issues including safe sex. More important than the embarrassment of this incident is the misleading message these images send. I apologize and cannot emphasize enough the importance of responsible sexual practices.”

The rapidly developing situation yesterday naturally had insiders and folks buzzing on a summer Friday. Initial shock at the public display of such photos, with links shared over IM and email yesterday, led to an eventual ‘who cares’ attitude about the move.

The situation emerged at a time of continued high-profile attention for Black. Last month in Cannes came the news that he would make his directorial debut with “What’s Wrong With Virginia,” a film — executive produced by “Milk” director Gus Van Sant — shooting later this summer in Michigan and starring Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly. It’s being backed by Tictock Studios and produced by Killer Films’ Christine Vachon with Eric Watson.

He was honored earlier this week with UCLA’s Distinguished Achievement in Screenwriting Award, kicking off the 2009 UCLA Festival featuring work by film students. And later this month, Black will be a grand marshal of the gay pride parade in New York City.

Black’s statement to E! Online capped the day with one observer noting that he’s lucky the photos weren’t released online during Oscar season.

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The person who should be apologizing is the skank who sold the photos and high profile bloggers (um, like Perez Hilton) who publish them. Any claim that they are doing so to create a dialogue about the dangers of unsafe sex, or more foolishly, Perez’s tsk-tsk to people who make sex-tapes is ridiculous. Why is no one, including INDIEWIRE, taking a stand against the moral corrosion of our culture that leads to these abhorrent invasions of privacy, and public acts of humiliation. That DLB has to make a public apology at all is a shame but that he didn’t feel he had the right to fire back against lowlifes like Perez and the other half-wit celebrity vultures is really too bad. DLB gave us a great screenplay, that became a great film that has inspired a community at a time of crisis, he has joined the great fight for gay rights, then one of his own (well, in theory anyway) slaps him across the face in public. Thanks Perez. Thanks for that. Anything for a buck. Anything for a scandal, right? Sure, this report claims a “who care” attitude is taking hold. Is it? When are we going to start saying NO to the bottomfeeders?


I’m not sure what Black is apologizing for. It’s not his fault someone released private photos. It won’t surprise anyone on indieWIRE, but seems to surprise many others, to know that adults sometimes have sex and they’re even naked when they do it. Oh, and gay adults have sex too. You could try to imagine it, which most people do their darnedest to avoid, or you can come face-to-face with the truth when you see photos.

I find the melodramatic shock and the criticisms that Black doesn’t seem to be practicing “safe sex” to be very homophobic responses. We don’t know the circumstances of his relationship at the time. Just as heterosexual couples don’t always wear condoms (if they did, world population would be dropping fast), gay couples often conclude that it’s safe not to wear a condom. In fact, not wearing a condom with a monogamous partner whose status is truly known is safer than wearing a condom (that might break) with a stranger. Anyhow, the point is it’s a shame Black feels compelled to apologize. I would be saddened if naked photos are what he’s known for rather than his great writing talent. But given the public’s discomfort with anything gay, it seems they’d do just that if only to keep us in our place.

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