Dustin Lance Black has slammed administrators at his former college in an open letter after they withdrew an invitation to speak at an upcoming ceremony due to naked photos made public of the star in 2009.
The Oscar winning screen writer and boyfriend of British Olympic diver Tom Daley was asked to be the speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony for Pasadena City College (PCC).
But PCC’s Board President Anthony Fellow announced the college had decided not to allow Black to give the address to graduates, following the 2009 episode in which naked images of Black and his then-boyfriend were leaked to the public.
“With the porno professor and the sex scandals we’ve had on campus this last year, it just didn’t seem like the right time for Mr Black to be the speaker,” Pasadena City College’s Courier newspaper reports Board President Anthony Fellow said. “We’ll be on the radio and on television. We just don’t want to give PCC a bad name.”
Black, who graduated from PCC in 1994, was stunned by the decision. Writing in an open letter published by the student newspaper, he said: “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.”
Black continued: “In 2010 I took the perpetrators of this theft to Federal court and Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled unequivocally that the defendants had indeed broken the law.”
He added: “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 honour?”