Alex Blaze

Australian TV Station Cleared of Charges in Homophobic Bathhouse Sting

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 10, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Australia, bathhouse, david campbell, gay sex, media criticism, reporting, sex, sexy, sydney

Last May a TV news station in Australia staked out a bathhouse and taped transport minister David Campbell leaving. Gay blogs in America were calling it "Australia's George Rekers," even though no one could really show any reason to believe he as a homophobic politician, proving that outing often has less to do with a pol's supposed hypocrisy and more to do with the shock value of exposing the sexy secrets of the rich and famous.

After an investigation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority let the station off the hook for violating Campbell's privacy, even if their reasoning is a bit convoluted. What I've read implies that it would have been wrong for the station to have aired the video of Campbell leaving the bathhouse if Campbell didn't find out about it and resign preemptively. Since he did, the video became newsworthy in that it showed why Campbell resigned.

All I know is that Western culture has lots of problems with sex and wants to regulate sex and sexuality closely, all while people are obsessed with sex and love having sex and have sex all the time, mostly not in one man/one woman, missionary position, within marriage, for-procreation-only arrangements. Privacy is one of the few means we have to negotiate that major conflict. In fact, it's just about the only thing that's keeping our societies from being ripped apart; if everyone's sex lives suddenly became public, we'd have a lot of rethinking to do.

But everyone's sex life is not going to suddenly become public, and people in positions of power in the media aren't going to go after straight sex that is falls within certain, unspoken norms. Gay people will get the raw end of that deal. Just look to the fact that the reporter who broke the story, Adam Walters, accused Campbell of "hypocrisy," not because he was homophobic publicly and privately going to bathhouses, but because Campbell promised his constituents a heterosexuality that he didn't deliver. The reason for reporting, according to him, was that Campbell was scandalously not straight.

Anyway, there is something wrong with going to a gay bathhouse and pointing a camera at the door and seeing who'll come out. While it would probably be good for ratings since there's a market for that sort of voyeurism, but it would end up being an authoritative and discriminatory way to keep people from finding the fulfillment they want.


Recent Entries Filed under Media:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Well lets face it, its not like going to a theater that has a balcony and video tape teenagers walking out with hickey's.
That would just be preverted.

Sex is so scary, isn't it?

Mostly because everybody knows that all the more`s and rules are all contrived to promote boundaries of propriety- although whose propriety and why aren't really addressed properly. Except that procreation needs to be maintained. And we all know there's a problem with that, don't we?

The operative word is contrived.
Just like the justification for this ruling is contrived.

We just need to contrive back.

Yes, Gregory, and more specifically the mores we have are stuck with emanate mostly from the Christian Church (both Roman Catholic and Protestant flavors), whose rules on sex are seriously outdated by technological developments such as reliable contraception, condoms, and better scientific understandings of human (and animal) sexuality. But until more people in powerful positions are willing to acknowledge that people have a right to think for themselves instead of relying on The Church to think for them, new mores will not persolate up to the levels of respectability.

Even now, a gay or lesbian candidate with a monogamous partner might be able to get elected -- but a gay man who openly declares that he visits bathhouses is (almost surely in any jurisdiction other than, say, San Francisco or West Hollywood) not even going to get the endorsement of his political party.

But in the meantime, we joke about Charlie Sheen's heterosexual promiscuity, and Ludacris gets to make money selling songs to grade school kids about his "Sex Room". Go figure.