Buried on the second page of a New York Times style article about Gore Vidal's estate are quotes from his half-sister Nina Straight, suggesting that Vidal may have been a pedophile, and his nephew, the actor and director Burr Steers, who says Vidal was afraid secrets about him would come out.
Steers — ostensibly discussing Vidal's feud with conservative columnist William F. Buckley — said Vidal was "terrified that Mr. Buckley had evidence that Mr. Vidal had sex with underage men" — or as Straight put it, "Jerry Sandusky acts."
Mr. Steers said: "I know Buckley had a file on him that Gore feared. It would make sense if the material was about him having underage sex. Gore spent a lot of time in Bangkok, after all. Gore also had a very weird take on the abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests. He would say that the young guys involved were hustlers who were sending signals.
(Vidal also had a controversial take on the Roman Polanski rape case, referring to the then-13-year-old victim Samantha Geimer as a "young hooker" in a 2009 Atlantic interview.)
Buckley's son Christopher, who was not interviewed for the article, also mentioned his father's Vidal file in a 2012 essay in the New Republic.
When WFB [William F. Buckley] died, in 2008, I found in his study, more cluttered than King Tut's tomb, a file cabinet bursting to the seams, labeled "Vidal Legal." Into the dumpster it went, and I still remember the sigh of relief upon heaving it in.
The Times article does stress that "other friends of Mr. Vidal told me they doubted he had sex with underage men."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly attributed the "Jerry Sandusky" statement to Burr Steers. The comment was actually made by Steers' mother and Vidal's half-sister, Nina Straight. The headline has also been updated to reflect that.
[image via AP]