In the wake of Anderson Cooper’s long-awaited coming out yesterday, comedian Kathy Griffin—the journalist’s longtime friend and supporter—wrote a letter for The Daily Beast explaining why his secret had always been safe with her, and why she’s concerned over the big announcement.
Griffin wrote that although Cooper’s sexual orientation was often of interest to the press, she “talked around it.”
“Believe it or not, I don’t ‘out’ people,” she wrote. “It is neither my business nor my desire… And quite frankly, [Anderson] never gave me permission to speak about something that represented the one part of his life he was not comfortable having confirmed in the media.”
Griffin continued to say that while she aimed to protect her friend and keep is sexuality out of the spotlight, the press made it quite difficult.
She recalled Cooper saying: “Kathy, I don’t get asked as much about my sexuality as you get asked about my sexuality. But here’s my standard party line: ‘I want to report the news. I don’t want to be the news.’ ”
While she’s been known to crack jokes about celebs whose sexuality is widely questioned—John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Ryan Seacrest, etc.—the “My Life on the D-List” author compared the former “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy to the media’s “unspoken” attitude toward a situation like Cooper’s, which is why she’s kept her lips sealed.
“The reality is that despite the very real, the very necessary, and the very life-changing progress we have made in this country in treating people across the sexual orientation spectrum with dignity and respect, America—the world—is not fully represented by Chelsea in New York City,” Griffin wrote.
“Many of my young gays don’t know about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” initiative…or even that Iran has sentenced gay teenagers to death by hanging. They don’t know that in large portions of Baghdad, honest LGBT folks are hunted and summarily executed by roving bands of so-called morality police, who kill with impunity both the ‘out’ and those simply perceived to be gay.”
“I don’t want my friend to face that part of the world, where he might die a very different kind of death than someone who isn’t quite so honest.”
While keeping a friend’s secret simply because it wasn’t hers to tell is admirable enough, Griffin’s statement makes it clear that she genuinely fears for Cooper’s safety since his job has entailed traveling to dangerous parts of the world “with a security detail and without” to report the news.
“I love my friend Anderson and remain immensely proud of him,” she wrote. “But I just want him to be careful.”
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