The Blog Squad

Friday, December 02, 2005

School Board chief apparently gay, definitely stupid

Whoa. Rough week for Richmond Public Schools. Like they don't have enough work to do with, well, everything, but now they've got scandal to deal with too. Let's dispense with the boring one first. The principal of Armstrong High School, Carl S. Vaughan, has been placed on administrative leave because of sexual-harassment accusations. I am not making light of these serious charges at all, but compared to the scandal on A-1 of the paper today — well, sexual harassment seems so ... '90s.

The bigger story is that School Board Chairman Stephen B. Johnson (whose face you know from seeing it pretty much every night on the news commenting about some school story) has acknowledged posting an ad for himself on, described by the paper as a "male-dating" Internet site. The rest of us call that "gay."

Johnson was apparently bare-chested in the photo of himself, which was accompanied by, again quoting from the T-D, "very graphic" text describing himself. His post is already down, but if you check out the site you'll see what they were talking about.

Johnson called it "stupid" to post on the site. Um, stupid is a good start. Completely irresponsible, reckless and without regard to his very public position would be another way to put it. Look, I don't care about the gayness, but this is a community leader we are talking about! School Board member Reginald Malone really summed it up in his almost speechless comment in the newspaper: "This is a shame. ... A person is free to do whatever they want to do, but when you're a public official that's all open to the public ... This just floors me."

And another thing ...

This is exactly the stuff that gives people the ammunition they need to paint all gay people as sex-crazed maniacs who are ushering in the fall of civilization. And truthfully, take a little tour of the site — it's full of sex-crazed maniacs! Meanwhile, here's Johnson, a successful, articulate community leader and owner of an antiques gallery. An antiques gallery! How hard can it be to meet a nice, eligible gay man when you own an antiques gallery? So why post to a site like this unless you're a sex-crazed maniac?

See what I mean by giving people ammunition?

I don't know what the Board is going to do about Johnson but it sure seems like this could be his political end. Hopefully, not because of his apparently being gay, but because of his colossally poor judgment.


At Fri Dec 02, 02:10:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

janet, after reading this i'm tempted to say that i won't be reading this blog anymore or your column. perhaps i am reading this post wrong and i hope so. what someone does in their personal life is just that, personal. so he was a on an internet site (which it seems you left out the small detail that it was a members only site and not open to the general public - so who found this post anyway?)and looking for sex. he is an adult (and i'm also not sure why your particular emphasis on the fact it is a gay site - does that somehow affect the morality of it?) seeking out other adults to participate in adult activities. he is not asking children or forcing anyone to do anything. i do not see how this story is revelant, why he had to take his post down, or why this helps confirm the idea that all gays are sex fiends. anyone who thinks that all gays are more into sex than other people is simply ignorant.
you could always claim that you didn't write the original story but here you are talking about and acting like it's legitimate news. it's not. and this post is not.

At Sun Dec 04, 08:50:00 AM EST, Blogger Janet Giampietro said...

you did miss my point, completely. and i didn't get to part two yet where i rip into the T-D for making such a big story out of it. what i am trying to say is that in a political environment where private behavior -- LEGAL and CONSENSUAL, private behavior -- simply cannot and does not stay private, it shows monumental bad judgment to post something like that. i know it's a members only site, but i was able to access several free pages within seconds. the fact that it's a gay site or gay activity means nothing to me. i happen to be a supporter of gay rights. i believe that's why the T-D put it on their front page, but i think that's the wrong news decision. and like it or not, (and i don't) it has become a legitimate news story by virtue of the fact that the biggest paper in the region put it on the front page two days in a row. see more in my next posting if you choose to keep reading, which of course, i hope you do.


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