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Browne: Being gay in business “was simply unacceptable”

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Reader comments

  1. Radio interview this morning on the Today Programme:

  2. Lord Browne sounds like a nice bloke. As alway its the former lover who make me want to vomit.


  3. What a hypocrite
    Even after everyone knew he was gay and met people in the park for sex he still got a job as charman of the Tate
    He actually did better after all that ugly business became public so how can he say he would have done better straight?
    He should have resigned like anyone else caught picking up prostitutes would have

  4. Tigra, I doubt you have listened to the interview or read the article. If so I think you would have a little more compassion and understanding of his circumstance and generation. He grew up the son of an Auschwitz survivor who’s life experience was that to ever stand out meant you were vulnerable. He hid the reality of his self in denial and engaged in clandestine encounters as a closeted gay man as a result – a very common practice for gay men of his generation. He overcame what could only have been significant self esteem issues and emotionally draining duality to become a very successful business leader.
    His coming out was forced upon him by a partner angling for financial reward. He now acknowledges how much better his life is as an out man and wishes he had been out earlier – a powerful message to folk in the closet. To suggest, as you do, that he should not be allowed to work again as Chairman of the Tate when he is clearly a guy of talent is punitive and judgmental. His world experience as a 60 year old gay man operating as a top exec in a global company is a world away from most of our experience and his message today is to be out and proud of who you are which is positive. He acknowledges his mistakes and the fact that he would have been unlikely to ever have led a life of deception if he were comfortable with his sexuality in the past as he is now. We should, I believe, acknowledge his journey as tale of the power of honesty and pride in who you are.

  5. The Halcyon 8 Feb 2010, 6:07pm

    The overall problem is that a lot of the larger public and private organisations are still run by “the old boys network” and have a very narrow world view. Fortunately their days are numbered but they’re still going to be an influential voice in decision making and operations.

  6. Well really i never really thought about that Stewart, i was commenting on the fact that he was rewarded for socially un acceptable behaviour just as Fred Goodwin has been with his new job
    And i suppose it is hard to meet other gay people, although i still don’t support meeting in parks
    …But it is different being the minority where you can’t assume you are surrounded by the same people and have to resort to meeting in the woods like you have a club

  7. Sister Mary clarence 8 Feb 2010, 9:53pm

    He was a lovely, lovely guy, and it is an incredible loss to both BP and British industry as a whole that he no longer holds the commanding position he did.

  8. @ Tigra (6): you must remember that, unlike Goodwin, Lord Browne was not thought to have done his job badly or to have profited at others’ expense; most people say he was excellent at his job, he just (admittedly foolishly) lied about the way he met his partner, in a way understandable in someone of his generation and origins.

    I seem to remember that by resigning when he did, he lost some £15m of his expected pension, so I hardly think (financially, anyway) being chairman of the Tate can be seen as a ‘reward’.

  9. Harry Morgan 8 Feb 2010, 11:15pm

    People who criticise him are being terribly ignorant about the hostile environment that still exists in the city for gay men. I work for one of the largest Real estate Investment Trusts in the UK and the pecking order is White straight middle aged men then white women then non white employees then Gay men and everyone else. I face blatant discrimination everyday, the company is always able to hide behind the shadows of plans like Long Term Incentive plans etc that allows them to discriminate

  10. Eric Whitney 9 Feb 2010, 2:40am

    I think people seriously underestimate the enormous sacrifice these guys – gay or straight – wind up making to lead major corporations. To become the number one, or even to be in the running, the company always has to come first in their lives – over wives, children, sexual preference, idiosyncracy, hobby or health. We envy what we see of them in the papers, but rarely stop to consider what it cost them to get there.

  11. Sister Mary clarence 9 Feb 2010, 12:20pm

    And people should remember the value BP places/placed on equality and diversity thanks to Lord Browne, and the benefit that was to those who work there

  12. Omar Kuddus 9 Feb 2010, 2:37pm

    Try Running a gay business in Blackpool.UK.
    The Council is Homophobic and the police target gay establishments regularly.
    Its as ift he town or we as the LGBT community were living back in the 60’s.

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