Under cross-examination in his historic February 2000 libel win, it was put to the late Morris Riley
that he had named an individual in writing as an assassin. Wasn't it defamatory to accuse someone of murder, Counsel for the defendants asked? Morris replied in a firm voice: “Not when they're dead!”
No one appears yet to have accused Whitney Houston of murder, but she is now fair game for any small-minded individual to take pot shots at; the most obvious line of fire is of course drugs, but already the issue of her sexuality has been raised. The London Daily Mail
has just published a big article which includes such lurid claims by among others, a man described as an outspoken gay
rights activist, Peter Tatchell
If the name is none too familiar to readers Stateside, it is depressingly so here. Tatchell turned up in Britain in the early 1970s from his native Australia, stood as a candidate in a working class area of London in a 1983 by-election, and managed to lose a safe Labour seat.
He has though become more widely known as an in-your-face homosexual agitator. While the majority of homosexuals are content to lobby quietly for such things as equality before the law, civil partnerships (often referred to erronenously as gay
marriage) and the same rights as everyone else, Tatchell parades homosexuality as something to be celebrated, and brands homophobic
anyone who is foolish enough to dissent, even silently, as did the electorate in Bermondsey. He is also well known for making outrageous claims about the true extent of homosexuality throughout society. In February 1993, he wrote
“10 per cent of the population is exclusively or predominantly queer...”, (his word), and that “15 per cent are bisexual for all or part of their lives”, while “25-35 per cent have at least one homosexual experience leading to orgasm during their lifetime...”
It should then come as no surprise at all that Tatchell would attempt to claim as one of his own a woman who throughout her life denied that she had ever batted for the opposition. Whitney Houston was stunningly attractive, talented, and obviously liked men, but let's deal first with the drugs.
People in and around showbusiness and especially music are notorious for their use of recreational drugs, although sometimes the word recreational is not an appropriate description. The reasons for this are not far to seek. They keep irregular hours and spend a lot of time travelling. In addition to that they have to rehearse in strange places, stay awake for prolonged periods, and sometimes they look for other ways to relax and pass the time. Likewise, such marriages are often fragile; spouses become separated, they meet attractive people of the opposite sex in tempting or just lonely situations, and they end up doing what red-blooded men and women have done with other people's partners since year dot. Did Whitney Houston have a drug problem? At one time, yes. Was it exceptional? Probably not.
With the Leveson Inquiry
into tabloid practices still in full swing, the Daily Mail
has sought not only gossip and unsubstantiated tittle tattle from Peter Tatchell, but has dragged up all manner of rumours, which have “been circulating for 30 years that the singer had had a secret relationship with her ex-assistant, but her friends have now publicly spoken about her sexuality following her death”. One of these friends is named as Mr Tatchell. In what sense was he a friend? He knew her, they had spoken. That does not make them friends.
What did the lady herself say? “I am a mother, not a lesbian. I am not gay.” That was 12 years ago, clear and emphatic, but according to her ex-husband: “I think we got married for all the wrong reasons. Now, I realize Whitney had a different agenda than I did when we got married.
'I believe her agenda was to clean up her image, while mine was to be loved and have children...”
She wanted to clean up her image by marrying a rapper and doing drugs? This was a girl who grew up singing in church, for Christ sake. When the potential of her voice was recognised, she was managed carefully, professionally, squeaky clean. What did she need to clean up?
As for her showing intimacy towards her girlfriends, this is something women are entitled to do without aspersions being cast on their sexuality.
Doubtless more rumours will surface in due course; like those concerning Senator Obama snorting cocaine
while being fellated by a white homosexual; like Lord Rothschild controlling the world
; or the Queen of England running the global drug trade while her Consort plots a famine in the Horn of Africa
, these rumours are scurrilous tittle tattle that no one with a modicum of common sense should give the slightest credence. Whitney Houston should be remembered for what she was, a woman with a big voice and an even bigger heart, not as an in the closet poster girl for lesbian rights. Peter Tatchell is big enough and man enough to campaign on his own account without abusing the dead.