What has anti-gay activist George Rekers been up to since it was revealed that he hired a male escort for a European vacation? First, he wrote a letter denying everything. Then, he spoke with the escort and... didn't deny anything.
Our story so far: On Tuesday, The Miami New Times' Brandon Thorp and Penn Bullock broke the story of Family Research Council co-founder Rekers' European vacation with "Lucien" the rentboy. Thursday, they spoke with Lucien, who confirmed much of their original reporting.
Later that day, the two journalists also published their account of a phone conversation they overheard between Rekers and "Lucien." While it's not directly "incriminating"—Rekers never specifically admits to receiving the "long stroke"—he doesn't challenge any of the assertions made by Lucien or the New Times reporters, and tries to downplay his own homophobia and anti-gay activism. The closest Rekers gets to a confession comes as he frantically tries to convince Lucien to stay quiet about the story:
"We did the whole massage thing," Lucien said, "and I don't know what to think about it."
"Yeah," said Rekers, "just say 'no,' and just say 'I've already [indecipherable] to the press,' and that's it. 'Cuz if you keep answering, it'll keep the story alive."
"This isn't something I can just be silenced about!" Lucien said moments later.
And then, later:
"Sometimes I feel like I should just tell (the press) what happened on the trip."
"No," said Rekers quickly, "Please don't do that. Please don't let them pressure you into it."
Lucien sounds confused and angry; Rekers desperate and practiced at epic self-denial. Thorp and Bullock call the conversation "sad" and say it "felt pornographic." The complex motivations and emotions of real people: Always getting in the way of good scandal-caused schadenfreude!
Meanwhile, the New Times received a delightful letter from "Professor George" on the same day. "I have been advised to retain the services of a defamation attorney in this matter," he writes to Thorp, "because the fact is that I am not gay and never have been." Rekers goes on in the missive to present, FAQ-style, four questions for his travel assistant, including:
2. Did you in fact lift my luggage during the trip each time it was necessary, or did Dr Rekers lift his own luggage during the trip?
We agreed that my travel assistant did in fact lift my luggage each time it was necessary, that I did not lift my luggage, and my travel assistant did all the lifting.
[Miami New Times; photo of "Lucien" via Facebook]