Peter Tatchell of gay rights group OutRage! considers why Robbie Williams took the decision to sue over allegations relating to his sexuality.

Whatever Robbie Williams’ intention, his legal action has created the impression he thinks it is shameful to be gay. If he sees nothing wrong with being gay, why did he sue for libel?

Robbie comes across as two-faced. In the past he has made statements suggesting he might be gay. Now he has the temerity to sue a newspaper for making similar suggestions.

He has previously teased his gay fans with comments appearing to confirm that he has had gay relationships. In the light of his legal action, were these teasing remarks a cynical attempt to exploit the gay market?

Robbie may claim he did not sue over allegations of homosexuality; only over allegations he lied about this sexuality. But the court case contested allegations of gayness, as well as issues of deception. Regardless of Robbie’s professed aim, many people will see his libel action as having a whiff of homophobia.

When pop singer Jason Donovan sued The Face magazine in the early 1990s over allegations he was gay, it badly damaged his career. Robbie may suffer a similar big loss of support. How can we respect someone who apparently regards it as a slur to suggest he fancies men?

Robbie wanted to prove he is straight. Instead, he has alienated many loyal gay fans and liberal-minded heterosexuals. He seems to be saying that he regards the allegation of homosexuality as a stain on his reputation – a blot that requires legal action to refute. This smacks of collusion with homophobia.

I don’t know whether Robbie is gay or straight. It is irrelevant. My concern is that he feels libel action is appropriate to counter suggestions that he might be covering up homosexuality.

If Robbie wants to make amends, and reassure his gay fans, he should donate his libel winnings to a gay charitable organisation.

The opinions expressed above are that of the contributor, not necessarily those of PinkNews.co.uk.

For more information on Peter Tatchell and OutRage! visit www.outrage.org.uk

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