Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Gay author, activist Glen Maxey on road promoting his book about Rick Perry's alleged secret homosexual life
Life is changing quickly for gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey since the publication last week of his memoir chronicling a five-month investigation of Republican presidential contender Rick Perry’s alleged homosexual liaisons with a subordinate, steady boyfriends, anonymous sex partners, a hustler and reportedly anyone else he could coax into a horizontal position.
Prior to the book’s debut Maxey, who became a gay activist after leaving politics, had stocked his Austin apartment with food and other supplies anticipating a period of time when he might want to stay out of sight. But after his expose attracted national media attention and outrage by conservative religious supporters of Perry he decided to go further underground.
“Got some death threats of the crank level, but have moved to a safe house until it calms down,” Maxey said in a message via Facebook following a telephone interview a few days earlier.
Maxey, who is the only openly gay politician to have ever served in the Texas Legislature, sent the message as he prepared for a Univision morning interview and a KLBJ drive-time radio interview that afternoon.
The “calm before the storm” that Maxey had talked about in the telephone interview apparently has erupted into a major disturbance, and he is now planning personal appearances to sell and autograph the book. He has already sold a good number of the $19.95 paperback books at book-signings in Austin and Dallas.
“Head Figure Head – The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry” is the product of Maxey’s work with The Huffington Post reporter Jason Cherkis and the frustration he felt when publisher Arianna Huffington killed what the former legislator claims was a completed story approved by editors and ready for publication.
When it became clear the story would never be published, Maxey started writing his book.
In his book Maxey does not name any of the sources he cites who claim knowledge of Perry’s alleged sexual escapades, nor the Huffington Post reporter, whom he refers to only as the national journalist. The book was at first only available online, but now is also available as a paperback through Amazon.com.
Maxey said other publications were interested in talking to him and his sources about the allegations of extramarital homosexual pursuits by Perry, but both he and the men who claimed to know the governor in the biblical sense were reluctant to start over with a new reporter.
“That was a mountain I couldn’t climb again, and the other folks had the same reaction,” Maxey said. “It’s difficult to get people to talk about sex in general, it’s more difficult to get them to tell their story to a reporter, and it’s an even bigger climb when it’s Rick Perry they are talking about.”
Maxey disputes Huffington’s claim to POLITICO.com that the story was never ready for publication, and that there was no real story. The activist claims the publisher killed the story after Perry’s campaign hired famed libel lawyer Lin Wood, and the lawyer wrote a letter to the Huffington Post threatening to sue if the story was published. Huffington denied that the lawyer’s letter had anything to do with her decision.
“Arianna Huffington told a bald-faced lie,” Maxey said.
No response has been received to an e-mail sent to Huffington Post’s media relations department seeking comment on Maxey’s claim.
Maxey concedes a high-priced call boy who claimed to have engaged in sex with Perry and another man for hire in hotel rooms several times never went on the record, even though celebrity attorney Gloria Allred reportedly was signed on to represent him when the story hit. An affidavit signed by the prostitute – whom Maxey said was feeling “traumatized” by the prospect of going public with his allegations -- might have convinced Huffington to go with the story, but the activist maintained there was already enough documentation to justify publication.
Maxey claimed Huffington exercised a “double standard” when she decided against publication of the Perry story, probably on the advice of AOL parent company corporate attorneys. If the story had involved extramarital heterosexual activities, the story would have run, he claimed.
In late August the Huffington Post reporter, who made several trips to Austin and had contacted gay journalists for information earlier in the investigation, wrote in an e-mail seeking clarification that he was putting finishing touches on the story before it ran.
Some political observers have speculated Perry’s drastic drop in the national opinion polls from frontrunner status might have contributed to Huffington’s decision to kill the story.
Another source familiar with the investigation said it appeared the publisher -- for reasons only she knows -- was never interested in outing Perry, and the story will never be published. The Huffington Post scribe reportedly indicated he had no problem with Maxey’s book, and that he thought Maxey needed to write it.
For his part, Maxey said that he is not worried about Gov. Perry filing a lawsuit against him, and he doubts anyone from Perry’s camp will ever contact him. The former legislator also doubts that he would lose a lawsuit if Perry filed one against him.
“Everything I said in this book is my opinion,” Maxey said. “I believe Rick Perry is homosexual or had relations with gay men. The evidence points to that conclusion.”
Maxey said it is unlikely Perry would file a lawsuit against him because if he did the governor and his wife, Anita, would be forced to answer questions under oath about the widespread rumor that she caught Perry and another man having sex in the governor’s mansion six years ago.
At the time, a story was widely circulated that the governor’s wife had checked into the luxurious Driskill Hotel in Austin and hired a prominent divorce attorney. The story became so widespread that Perry and his wife – who typically avoid one-on-one media interviews -- sat down with an Austin American Statesman reporter to refute the tale.
“If Perry was bold or stupid enough to file any action against me, my lawyers would welcome the opportunity,” Maxey said. “I don’t think Perry would take that risk.”
There has been no response to a telephone request for comment from the Rick Perry Campaign.
Maxey said that although he is gaining widespread attention for the book, his only motive in writing it was to expose the alleged hypocrisy of Gov. Perry, who is recognized as the most virulently outspoken anti-gay governor to ever hold office in Texas. The governor’s claim to conservative religious leaders after he announced for the presidency in August that there was nothing in his personal background to embarrass them rankled him, the activist said.
“How amazingly hypocritical he was claiming there would be no scandal,” Maxey said. “It was astonishing to me. That was the impetus for writing the book.”
Maxey said at the time he wrote the book there were only a dozen men known who had claimed to have had sex with Perry. Now, there are twice that many, and new tips come in daily, he said.
“I went into publishing this with no real expectations,” Maxey said. “The story may get retold in a more comprehensive way, and people can make their own decisions about it. I think the rest of this will play out in the public discussion.”
Maxey said one thing is for certain. Perry will be a bigger enemy to the state’s LGBT community than he ever has before if his bid for the presidency continues on its failure track and he returns to Texas, he said. The activist said he wouldn’t be surprised if Perry attempted to call the Texas Legislature into emergency session on an anti-LGBT initiative to pacify his conservative religious supporters.
“When you see a snake in the grass you chop off its head,” Maxey said. “I believe this snake is coming back to Texas. He is going to be a meaner snake. He will have something to prove. He will take it out on gay people.”
And that threat is likely to keep Maxey, the author and the activist, busy on his anti-Perry campaign for a very long time.