*The Daily Beast has fired columnist Howard Kurtz after he made a colossal boo-boo in his story about NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out, the website announced on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the 34-year-old Washington Wizards center wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated in which became the first openly gay active NBA player. In response, Kurtz, the outlet’s Washington Bureau Chief, wrote a widely criticized article in which he chided Collins for not revealing that he had once been engaged to a woman.
However, Collins had noted that in his original essay.
“When I was younger I dated women,” Collins wrote. “I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.”
In a revised posting, Kurtz changed his story to say that Collins had “downplayed” the engagement. “I regret the mistake I made in writing about Jason Collins’ essay, and I hope I wasn’t insensitive in discussing it,” Kurtz wrote in an e-mail to BuzzFeed late Wednesday about his story. “He did a courageous thing by taking this step, but once he put it out for public discussion, it seems fair to raise questions about the account of his former fiance, who granted several interviews.”
The Daily Beast has since retracted the story and let go of Kurtz. “The Daily Beast sincerely regrets Kurtz’s error-and any implication that Collins attempted to hide or obscure the engagement,” read a statement on the website.
Additionally, Kurtz’s status at CNN, where he hosts “Reliable Sources,” is under review following his firing from The Daily Beast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s likely CNN will not renew Kurtz’s contact when it comes up again.
*The 20-year-old son of NBA legend Magic Johnson says he was surprised by the national attention over his homosexuality, something that he revealed to his supportive family several years ago.
Earvin Johnson III, known as E.J., says he feels like he’s coming out of the closet all over again, and that he’s “reveling” in the experience — even though news of his sexual orientation broke publicly sooner than he had planned.
In an interview posted Tuesday on the YouTube.com talk show “Gwissues,” Johnson said that he didn’t feel violated after TMZ recently revealed that he’s gay.
“I always wanted to come into the spotlight,” he said. “I always had dreams and plans of doing my own thing and creating my own image, so it came a little sooner than I thought it would but this is still something I knew I would be going through and would have to experience.”
E.J. is a junior at New York University studying event management and design with an interest in fashion, journalism and media. He said the public reaction has ranged from support to criticism, including online postings involving “nasty things about me and what I’m doing.”
“It’s almost like they’re attacking me for being me and so to that I can only say, ‘Well, I can only be myself, so I don’t know really what you want me to do,’” he told “Gwissues” host and interviewer Howard Bragman, a publicist who recently began representing Johnson.
Johnson’s father, who co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, retired from the NBA in November 1991 after announcing he had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. His wife, Cookie, was pregnant with E.J. at the time. The couple also has an adopted daughter, Elisa, and Magic has an older son, Andre, from a previous relationship.
“I am very, very, very blessed to have the family that I do,” E.J. Johnson said. “My parents have always been super supportive. My sister and I have always been really close and she’s been really supportive as with my brother. When it was time to come out, I was, obviously, scared as most people are. After I got all the love and support from my family then I knew I could go out and conquer the world, I guess.”
Johnson said he first came out to his mother, who approached him when he was 13 or 14.
“I told her how I was feeling and she obviously told me that she had known and always would love me anyway. The same thing happened with my dad like a year or so later,” he said. “Everyone has to get used to it. No parent is prepared 100 percent and fully for something like that. We all had to work and move forward.”
He’d like to follow in his famous father’s footsteps in one arena: hosting his own talk show. Magic Johnson had a short-lived show on Fox in 1998 that was canceled because of low ratings.
E.J. Johnson said he’d like to be “the voice for young gay people who need someone to be on TV or wherever else to talk to them and talk about all kinds of issues that all of us face and not just homosexual issues but all kinds of issues.”
“I definitely want to set a really good example,” he said.
As taboo as the topic is, he did receive tons of support from his peers, including Beyoncé, Russell Simmons and 50 Cent.
“People are just afraid of things too much. … Sure, evil exists, extremism exists. Somebody could commit a hate crime and hurt me. But they could do the same just because I’m black,” he said. “They could do the same just because I’m American.”
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Frenchie Davis, singing competition veteran, decided to come out of the closet and confess proudly to the world that she’s been dating a woman for the past year.
“I wasn’t out before the relationship, but I wasn’t in,” she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I dated men and women, though lesbians weren’t feeling the bisexual thing. Now I’m in love with a woman I think I can be with forever.”
“To me, doing a gay pride show is one of the most fun things,” she says. “My first show that paid more than $10,000 was in a gay club on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Tupac happened to be in town, so he came to kick it with me. This was the early ’90s. And the boys were like, ‘Take your shirt off, Tupac!’ He wasn’t doing that. But we had a blast in there.”
The rapper/singer/actress also emphasized that she’s very supportive of her gay fans, saying love is all she’s got, especially for people who are constantly embattled with hatred and bullying.