News :: National

College Re-Invites Dustin Lance Black as Speaker

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday May 2, 2014
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Dustin Lance Black
Dustin Lance Black  (Source:AP Photo)

Looks like Dustin Lance Black will have the chance to be his alma mater’s commencement speaker after all.

Last month, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter was uninvited as commencement speaker at Pasadena City College because the school’s officials found out that Black had been involved in a scandal in 2009 where explicit photos of him having unprotected sex were leaked online.

After firing back at officials for being uninvited, school admin have asked Black, 39, back to speak, the Huffington Post reports.

"[Black] has distinguished himself as a film producer and a champion of equal rights and protections for all regardless of sexual orientation," PCC President Mark Rocha said in announcement according to Pasadena Star News. "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."

Black has yet said whether or not he will take up school officials on their offer this time around. According to the Los Angeles Times, PCC officials say the school’s president can invite someone else to speak.

When Black first found out he was rejected as commencement speaker, he responded by writing an open letter in Out magazine:

This morning, I woke up to the headline that I have been disinvited to speak at my Alma Mater. The reasoning: That I was involved in a ’scandal’ in 2009 regarding extremely personal photographs that were put up on Internet gossip sites of me and my ex-boyfriend.

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 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?

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