Former Disney actor embroiled in teenage sex scandal accuses judge of anti-gay bias
A former actor on Disney Channel’s Andi Mack, who was fired after he became embroiled in a teenage sex scandal, has accused the judge in his case of anti-gay bias.
Stoney Westmoreland played the grandfather on Disney’s groundbreaking kids’ show Andi Mack, which featured the studio’s first character to come out as gay. He was fired in December 2018 after he sent sexually explicit messages to a police officer posing as a 13-year-old boy on Grindr.
Now, he has accused the judge handling his case of anti-gay bias, and claimed this means he cannot fairly preside over his trial.
Fired Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland has said the judge in his trial is unable to be impartial.
Westmoreland’s attorney filed court documents last month claiming that Judge Howard Nielson Jr. is unable to be impartial because he once represented advocates for a ban on gay marriage when he worked as a private attorney, the Utah Deseret News reports.
I can state categorically and unequivocally that I do not harbour any personal bias or prejudice concerning Mr. Westmoreland.
The judge has refused to recuse himself from the case and said that the views of his former clients do not represent his own views.
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“I can state categorically and unequivocally that I do not harbour any personal bias or prejudice concerning Mr. Westmoreland,” he wrote in a ruling last month.
The news comes just over a year after Westmoreland was arrested and subsequently fired over his involvement in the sex scandal. He is accused of having sent sexually explicit messages to a police officer posing as a 13-year-old boy on gay dating app Grindr.
Westmoreland has been charged over the sex scandal and is awaiting trial.
Westmoreland reportedly asked the fake account for nude photos and sent nude photos of himself. Furthermore, police reports from the time alleged that he sent a car via a ride sharing app so the boy could be brought to his location.
He was subsequently charged with four counts of dealing in materials harmful to minors and soliciting sex from a minor.
Disney released a statement about Westmoreland’s arrest and firing from the show in 2018.
“Given the nature of the charges and our responsibility for the welfare of employed minors, we have released him from his recurring role and he will not be returning to work on the series,” the statement said.
The Disney Channel show was cancelled last year following a groundbreaking run in which teenage character Cyrus Goodman came out as gay. He even found his first boyfriend in the show’s finale.