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.