Category Archives: Breaking

Is Smollett In or Out?

Jussie Smollett.  Two months ago, the Empire actor was attacked by two Trump
supporters who turned out to be Nigerian weightlifters.  But then, Jussie was arrested
for working with them to fake a hate crime.  But then, the charges were dropped
for no reason.  And then, Jussie said the brothers really did attack him,
but they were in whiteface.  And now, the story’s starting to get weird…
I don’t know who’s writing The Jussie Smollett Story, but they deserve a raise.” 
  
– 
Trevor Noah’s take on the latest twists and turns in the Jussie Smollett’s story –
which we’ll cover later in this column.

On to Jussie Smollett.  Since I know you’re not watching Empire anymore, I can tell you that his character got married last week.  For these last two episodes of the season, he’ll be on his honeymoon.  While no official decision has been made about whether the show or Jussie will be back next season, his co-stars have banded together and issued a statement asking that Smollett be rehired.  “We understand the past months have been difficult to process – sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal.”  The letter continues: “Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character.  He is kind.  He is compassionate.  He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”  I dunno about all THAT!  The letter also says, “He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped.  We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

Of course, Jussie’s legal problems are far from over.  The City of Chicago is suing him for the cost of the investigation.  And now those hot Nigerian brothers are suing Jussie’s lawyers in federal court for defamation.  They claim that Smollett paid them “a sum of money to stage the attack to benefit himself” and that he “directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”  They’re suing the lawyers because they “made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm.  Statements indicating Plaintiffs criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack.” 

And then there’s a gay angle.  Around the time of the “attack”, one of the brothers spent the night at Jussie’s place.  Jussie is gay, and the brother (Abel) plays the stand-in for Jussie’s love interest – which led to some sex rumors.  In the suit, Abel (who suddenly goes by the name Bola) says that just a rumor of someone having gay sex could put their entire family at risk.  “Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, which can result in 14 years of imprisonment.  If the accused is married, the punishment is death by stoning”.  Note to self – don’t do a layover in Nigeria!  Is it just me, or is Jussie’s life far more interesting than anything they’re writing on Empire?

More on Schock’s Cock

Last week, I told you all about disgraced former Representative Aaron Schock’s same-sex lip-lock at Coachella (video can be found on BillyMasters.com).  Along with the clip of him rummaging around in his dance partner’s shorts, there was also a photo of him with a group of very hot shirtless men.  We told you that two of the guys were a notable West Hollywood personal trainer and his boyfriend.  All I knew about the other couple was that they were wearing fanny packs.  They’ve now identified themselves as Will Rossi and Rob Massi, who use hashtags #gayboyfriends and #fitcouple.  Well, they are shocked that they’ve been dragged into this scandal.  “Will and I wanted to take a photo with our friends at Coachella, to celebrate our last day there.  Being polite, we allowed Aaron – who was basically a stranger to us and someone we just met – to include himself in our photo”. 

Of course, this isn’t some gigantic group photo.  It’s a photo of five hot shirtless guys.  And Schock, “basically a stranger”, is in the center.  When I take photos with a small gathering of friends, I rarely invite strangers to get in the center.  Well, there was that one time in Chicago…and he didn’t stay a stranger for long.  “We would not have allowed Aaron to join the photo, nor would we have associated with him if we had more knowledge of his beliefs and past actions.  For our own political ignorance, we are deeply sorry.”  From this part, it sounds like they barely knew the hot shirtless guy’s name at the time.  Not that I’m blaming them – it seems perfectly reasonable to moi.  They sum up by saying, “We hope Aaron does decide to come out publicly and live the gay life he so freely enjoyed at Coachella.”  Sounds like they may know more than they’re saying.

Provincetown Preview

Speaking of summer, I know many of my readers enjoy heading to Provincetown each year.  So, let me clue you in on some of the performers who are booked.  Since the Crown & Anchor got the jump on everyone, it’s a good place to start.  After all, the venerable complex truly wears the crown when it comes to Ptown – and entertainment is no different.  People like Lisa LampanelliSandra BernhardFran DrescherMargaret ChoLeslie JordanLorna LuftLinda LavinLucie Arnaz Jr will be headlining.  Seasonal performers like Thirsty BurlingtonPam Ann, and Dina Martina make the Crown sizzle all summer long.  Calendar and tickets can be found on OnlyAtTheCrown.com.

After some concerns last summer, the Provincetown Art House is back for another season.  Their headliners include Auntie Marilyn MayeSeth RudetskyJessie MuellerGavin CreelLiz CallawayFaith Prince, and Michael Cerveris, plus a special show by Debra Messing and Kathy Najimy – proving once and for all that they are not the same person.  Well-Strung is only there for a week, but resident performers include Judy GoldMiss Conception, and Varla Jean Merman.  Oh, and Steve Grand’s show is provocatively titled From Top to Bottom.  Let’s hope Mr. Grand finally shows us a bit of versatility this season.  Tix and deets at PtownArtHouse.com.

More Boys in the Band

Last summer, the 50th anniversary revival of The Boys in the Band was a hit on Broadway.  It broke box office records and recouped its investment, thanked in no small part to an all-star cast and expert direction by Joe Mantello.  The original cast made history by also appearing in the 1970 film version.  This revival will follow suit when it is made into a film, courtesy of Netflix (once again, produced by Ryan Murphy).  The entire ensemble – Jim ParsonsZachary QuintoMatt BomerAndrew RannellsTuc WatkinsCharlie CarverRobin de JesusMichael Benjamin Washington and Brian Hutchison – will spend their second summer together shooting this film in LA.  It’ll hit the air in early 2020.

Nick Kissed a Boy

Someone else shared a kiss with a guy and liked it.  Our favorite Bachelor is Nick Viall, who has been on the show about five times.  Sometimes he gets picked, sometimes he does the picking, sometimes he takes himself out of the running, but no matter the scenario, he always ends up alone.  Last week, he was on a podcast and revealed, “I made out with my first guy yesterday.  It was hot.”  When asked if he was nervous, he said, “I was a little bit.”  He also confirmed there was tongue.  And then added, “It moved” – in that Seinfeld way, letting us know he had at least some arousal.  No other details are available, but since he was filming for Funny or Die Productions, I assume we’ll all get to see it eventually.

Coachella Gets Schocked

Once again, everyone is talking about disgraced former Representative Aaron Schock.  Despite all outward appearances, Schock has never once said he’s gay.  In fact, while in office he supported several pieces of anti-gay legislation.  But politics is a complicated business and to have any power, you say what your constituents want to hear.  For instance, I know my fans want to hear me call out Schock for being a closet queen, but I won’t do it – no siree.  There’s always a chance he actually believes what he says.  Plus, there are gays who support Trump and are Republicans – so, what can I say about them?  Not much…unless they’re hot.

But, back to the item at hand.  Schock was photographed at Coachella in a group of five hot shirtless guys who have been described as “A-List Gays”, which sounds like a terrible show.  Two of the buffer bods belonged to openly gay WeHo trainer Keith Anthony and his boyfriend Tyler Tixier.  Does this mean they’re all friends?  Or do hot gay shirtless guys with single-digit body fat somehow find each other like homing pigeons…or bats?  Then a video was leaked which allegedly shows Schock dancing with and kissing another shirtless guy.  And, wait a minute – did Schock’s hands disappear into his partner’s pants?  I think it did.  I don’t know who the other guy is.  To be honest, from the poor lighting and awkward angle, I wouldn’t bet my life on the first guy being Schock.  What I can do is post the video (and the photos) on BillyMasters.com and you can decide for yourself.

I would hope it’s abundantly clear that I am no expert on Coachella.  The last time I was in Palm Springs was for Carol Channing’s memorial service, and I was one of the youngest people there.  At Coachella, I’d likely be one of the oldest.  You can keep the hip crowd.  I prefer the hip-replacement crowd – they can’t run as fast!

Billy, Biden & Camilla

Let’s start with a clarification.  On a recent appearance on NECN’s The Take, I did not mean to imply that Joe Biden’s running mate should be Camilla Parker-Bowles.  Channeling my inner Joan Rivers, I explained, “CamillaKamala – whatever!”  You can see the full interview on NECN.com or at BillyMasters.com.

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When we’re already looking forward to the summer, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  Did I mention that New England Cable News dubbed me The Gossip King?  So, my loyal subjects, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site where you needn’t stand on ceremony.  In fact, I always have time for my fans.  Reach out and touch me at Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Schock gets his hands out of my pants!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

The Pope’s Pee Pee

Our Ask Billy question comes from Henry in Chicago: “I just saw some photos of Jude Law in a white Speedo.  Are they recent?  Damn, he still looks hot.”

Thank you for bringing this up.  This past year, Jude Law filmed The New Pope – which is a sequel to the 2017 HBO series called The Young Pope.  At the end of that limited series, Law’s character appeared to have a stroke and died.  But I guess not – at least judging from the numerous photos we’ve snagged of him in a mighty skimpy Speedo.  You’ll think you died and went to heaven when you see the pics on BillyMasters.com.

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When Popes are strutting in see-through Speedos, it’s time to end yet another column.  So, did I piss off enough people?  Liberals, conservatives, daytime talk fans, and the pious?  Check, check, check, and check!  That’s what we do here at www.BillyMasters.com – even on the brink of Easter/Passover.  If you have a question, send it to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before I round third (preferably with Jude Law).  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Runaway Neverland Train

The media has poked some holes in allegations presented in Leaving Neverland.  The biggest issue surrounds two of James Safechuck’s claims.  First, he said that the sexual abuse stopped when he was 14 – implying Jackson was only interested in pre-pubescent boys.  He also says that they had sex in a room above the Neverland train station.  But he turned 14 in 1992, and the train station wasn’t built until 1994.  Oops!  Another wrinkle is that Jackson spent most of 1994 living in NYC’s Trump Tower.  Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed pushed back, saying there was no proof when the train station was built – until he was presented with proof.  Reed then Tweeted, “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date.  The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”  You mean, the date Safechuck claimed the abuse ended?  Which also would change the whole hypothesis of the doc?  I realize that one discrepancy doesn’t mean the rest didn’t happen, but it does throw everything into question.

Ring Around Wendy

Then there’s Wendy Williams.  After weeks, months, years of speculation, Wendy has filed for divorce from Kevin Hunter.  It seems like forever that the press has been reporting that he has a mistress.  But I suppose it all got real when that other woman got pregnant!  Not coincidentally, that’s when Wendy went MIA from her talk show and ended up in a sober house.  But even then, she put the kibosh on speculation that the couple was splitting up.  She’d point to her wedding band and say, “Don’t ask me about mine until you see this gone – and it ain’t going anywhere.  Not in this lifetime.”  Apparently a lifetime is roughly a month – that band of gold is now gone.  This ain’t Kevin’s first time cheating.  Wendy previously revealed he had an affair when she was pregnant with Kevin Jr.  In her 2001 memoir Wendy’s Got the Heat, she talked about what it would take to make her walk away from the marriage.  “The only thing that would make me walk out for good is if he lied about anything – if he was in love, if she was just as successful at what she does as I am in my career, if she had his baby.”  To be continued, I’m sure.

Sara’s Out

Daytime drama is not limited to The View.  Sara Gilbert just announced that she will be leaving The Talk.  Although she created the show, she was barely comfortable being on the panel, let alone hosting.  But with the abrupt departure of Mrs. Moonves, she stepped up and has proven to be an effective leader.  However, it was never an effortless fit.  The workload has gotten to her, and she feels the need to cut back – leaving an inconsolable Sharon Osbourne (as the sole remaining original co-host) also contemplating jumping ship.  So, when people call The View a train wreck, remember it has survived for 22 years.  The Talk is just ending its ninth.

What a year it’s been for Gilbert.  In two instances, she was forced to step into shoes somewhat larger than her own.  As we said, she helmed The Talk.  At the same time, she produced the reboot of Roseanne.  And, with Barr’s departure, her character became the focal point of The Conners.  That show was just renewed, but not everyone is happy.  And by “not everyone”, we mean Roseanne.  Although Barr’s Tweet is what led to her premature ejection, she puts much of the blame on Gilbert chiming in and saying the views in her Tweet were “abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show.”  According to Roseanne, “She destroyed the show and my life with that tweet.  She will never get enough until she consumes my liver with a fine Chianti.”  In response, Sara said this: “While I’m extremely disappointed and heartbroken over the dissolution of the original show, she will always be family, and I will always love Roseanne.”  Sad, sad, sad.

Rock, Paper, Pence

I was flabbergasted when I read that Karen Pence – Mike Pence’s handsome wife – felt that openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was bringing up her husband for publicity.  She took issue with Mayor Pete mentioning Pence’s support for conversion therapy.  The specific quote which set her off was this: “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me.  Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”  Mrs. Pence and her daughter Charlotte were promoting that precious little bunny book on Brian Kilmeade’s radio program.  Karen said, “It’s kind of funny because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him.  But I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety.”

In case you don’t know, prior to becoming vice president, Pence was the governor of Indiana, and Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend.  It should be noted that Pence never specifically attacked Mayor Pete – just like it should be noted that Mayor Pete didn’t call out Mr. Pence; he called out “the Mike Pences of the world”.  But Mrs. Pence might actually be onto something.  Pete Buttigieg is currently polling third in New Hampshire – behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, who hasn’t even declared his candidacy.

Grindr’s For Sale

Do you have a spare $100 million?  If so, you could buy Grindr.  Yes, the popular “gay dating” app is for sale – and not necessarily by choice.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ruled that the ownership of the California-based app by a Chinese gaming company is a security risk.  Apparently, the government is concerned that the personal data of users could be compromised.

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When I’m the only one who hasn’t been compromised on Grindr, it’s time to end yet another column.  If you’re looking for online fun where the risks are minimal, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that always plays safe.  If you have a question for me, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before China offers me millions for my website!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Impromptu Nanny Reunion

Speaking of our favorite Nanny, I caught up with Fran last week at the opening of Renée Taylor’s one-woman show My Life on a Diet at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills.  Fran (accompanied by her dashing ex-hubby Peter Marc Jacobson) enthusiastically talked about her upcoming return to sitcom television.  A pilot of Uninsured was ordered by NBC, and the cast just had their first table read.  “And everyone is so nice,” gushed Fran.  “If it’s not going to be fun, why bother?”  And she sure knows about fun – Drescher has been on the road lately performing her own show, Schmoozing with Fran Drescher.  She spends half of the show onstage alone telling stories.  And then, Peter comes out to interview her and also take questions from the audience.  I have heard the show has been a smash hit on the road – so much so that she’s gonna be at Town Hall in Provincetown this summer, courtesy of Rick Murray and The Crown & Anchor.  You can grab tickets for the August 10th show at OnlyAtTheCrown.com.

Back to Renée Taylor.  Quite simply, she’s a national treasure.  What a lady!  The 86-year-old effortlessly weaves her way through a lifetime of struggles with her weight – which mirrored many of the other struggles in her life and career.  Ironically, once she accepted herself, fame, fortune and love arrived at roughly the same time.  There’s a lesson in there somewhere.  The love Taylor has for the audience was reciprocated by the capacity audience, led by Drescher and other members of The Nanny cast.  Also in the crowd were veteran actors Hal Linden and Barbara Eden, who recently appeared together in Love Letters.  My Life on a Diet is in the midst of a national tour.  It plays here in Beverly Hills until April 14th.  For more dates and info, check out MyLifeOnADietPlay.com.  And, of course, I’ll run photos from the opening on BillyMasters.com.

Chicago Sues Smollett

In a more recent scandal, Jussie Smollett’s troubles are far from over.  The Mayor Rahm Emanuel made good on his promise to sue the actor for $130,000.  “Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.  The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s LA based legal team.”  For his part, Smollett has gotten more brazen and is sinking his heels in deeper to defend his innocence.  He had his legal eagle Mark Geragos draft a letter, stating that his client “would not be intimidated”.  He then threatened to call Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to testify – something I don’t believe either of them would mind.  We’re not sure if Jussie would be quite so eager, since Geragos ends his statement by saying, “Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life.”  My preference would be that I be allowed to sleep with Jussie’s Empire brothers, but that ain’t happening either!

Classic Hasselbeck Meltown

If you’re anything like me (and I believe many of you are), you have been waiting with bated breath for the tell-all book about The View.  Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View could only have been written by a gay man.  That gay man, Ramin Setoodeh, had unprecedented access to virtually every member of the talk show – both behind and in front of the camera.  He had previously written various pieces for VarietyVanity Fair and other publications.  Once the book was announced, virtually everyone was willing to go on the record – the only holdouts of note were Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Even to someone like me who has had more access than most to the inner workings of ABC’s venerable daytime drama, much of this was news.  Quotes by Barbara Walters herself, executive producer Bill Geddie, and others will shock and titillate you. 

One of the biggest scandals recounted in the book stems from the time after Meredith had left, Star had been fired, and Rosie had yet to début as moderator (although she was backstage).  On the panel with Barbara that day were Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and guest host Lisa Loeb.  The prime Hot Topic was that the morning-after pill had been approved by the FDA.  Hasselbeck made it clear in the pre-show meeting that she was passionately against the pill.  Alas, her passion was a bit out of control.  Lizzie got more vitriolic than Walters was comfortable with, and the grande dame attempted several times to calm things down.  Finally, Walters scolded, “Could you stop now?  We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way.”

The show went to commercial, Elisabeth quickly left the set and first erupted to Behar – forgetting, of course, that they all still had their mikes on.  “Fuck that!  I’m not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air!”  Joy attempted to calm her down, but Elisabeth kept complaining about “that woman”, and stormed off to her dressing room saying she quit.  Meanwhile, a producer told Barbara (who was also still miked) that Elisabeth wouldn’t come back on the air.  “She has to!  Bill, she has to.  This is why we shouldn’t have done this discussion.”  Then Behar came back and confirmed the news.  Barbara’s response?  “Well, that’s ridiculous.”  Geddie darted downstairs to Hasselbeck’s dressing room to avert a disaster – bear in mind, it’s only a three-minute commercial break.  He does some fast talking, lying, cajoling, and gets her to return – with Barbara alternately apologizing and defending herself.  In case anyone doubts the veracity of this combustible scene, turns out that “someone” made a copy of the audio from everyone’s mikes in the sound booth.  To hear it all transpire in real time, check out BillyMasters.com.

Lambert’s New Beau

I get oodles of Ask Billy question each week.  Although I answer each and every one, sometimes they aren’t fit for print.  And sometimes I simply don’t have an answer.  Those unanswered letters sit in a pile and haunt me, awaiting the perfect reply.  After waiting a month, Gary in Detroit is finally getting his answer: “Who was Adam Lambert’s hot date at the Oscars?  Young, curly hair, cute.  Lots of pics online but no one named him.”

And that’s because nobody had his name…until now.  The boyfriend in question is 24-year-old model/customer service rep Javi Costa Polo from Mallorca, Spain, but currently living here in the States.  When someone asked if they were finally official, Lambert quipped, “Honey, we have been official for months.  IG isn’t the gatekeeper of our truth!”  Since they’ve gone public, we’ve got photos of them – together and separately – on BillyMasters.com.

EH Prays the Gay Away

We all know there was tension when Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were both co-hosts on The View.  But was it sexual?  In the upcoming Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View by our very own Ramin Setoodeh, Ro reveals the depth of her crush.  “I loved her,” she says.  Joy Behar pipes in, “I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.”  Both parts – hmm.  Rosie adds, “I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it.  She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals.  There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren’t at least a little bit gay.”  Getting back to her feelings, O’Donnell clarifies, “There was a little bit of a crush.  But not that I wanted to kiss her.  I want to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team…but it was in no way sexualized.” 

Needless to say, these revelations make Lizzie very uncomfortable.  “The truth is, what she said, if you took her words and replaced ‘Rosie’ for ‘Ronald’, there would be an objectification of women in the workplace.  So that’s disturbing and it’s wrong.  Whether you’re a man or whether you’re a woman, and you’re objectifying women in the workplace, it’s wrong.”  Have I missed a memo?  I think there’s a difference between “objectifying” and “having a crush” – especially one which isn’t acted upon.  What Hasselbeck did when she heard this news is also telling.  “I’ll be very honest.  I read it and I immediately started praying.  Because I’m like, ‘How am I going to handle this?’”  So, lemme get this straight – Hasselbeck actually attempted to pray the gay away?

Since Elisabeth was writing her own book, she is not included in the View tell-all.  To the best of my knowledge, every co-host participated except for Hasselbeck and Jenny McCarthy.  There are loads of juicy stories in the book…but we’ll get to those another time.  And most of them involve BW…but don’t tell her (well, first you’d have to tell her that she’s BW!).

Papal Snatch Back

The Pope is suddenly against people kissing his ring – a tradition that dates back centuries.  The Pontiff feels the practice is “non-hygienic” – ‘cause Heaven knows where that ring’s been.  Call me old-fashioned, but I like a bit of theatricality with my religion.  And I’ve never heard a Catholic priest turn down anything oral!  But you know what I also like?  A sassy Pope!  Have you seen recent videos of the Pope’s meet-and-greets?  Well, I’m sure that’s not what the Vatican calls ‘em, but people line up to meet the Pope, he extends his hand, they lean in to kiss the ring, and BANG – he snatches it back with a smile which seems to say, “Gotcha!”  I’m all about a Papal snatch-back!

Smollett Gets Off

“’I’ve been getting in shape for tonight with the Jussie Smollett workout.  You hire two
trainers and sweat for eight weeks.  It wipes out all your belly fat…and credibility.” 
  
– 
Sean Hayes begins his acceptance speech at the GLAAD Awards.

With the stroke of a pen, Jussie Smollett’s troubles came to an end – at least legally.  All 16 criminal charges against him were dropped.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty – according to the guy who dropped the charges!  Joseph Magats, First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, says, “I do not believe he is innocent.  We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case.  We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett.  The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.  Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.  This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.”  Except, of course, the court records were sealed – something which likely would not have happened to “any defendant” unless their “similar circumstances” were deep pockets, celebrity, and lawyer Mark Geragos.  This may not have been a “plea deal”, but make no mistake – it was most certainly a deal.

Ironically, it’s not even a deal anyone is happy about.  Let’s start with the City of Chicago, which has sent a letter to Smollett’s attorney along with a bill for $130,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.  The letter implies prosecution should the bill be ignored.  The letter was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.  The next person unhappy with the deal may surprise you – Smollett himself!  His lawyer released a statement: “It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie an apology for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud.  Jussie has paid enough.”  In fact, he believes he paid more than enough.  Smollett’s attorney has indicated that he’s considering suing the City of Chicago.  So, he’s lucky and stupid!  But you know the biggest surprise?  Donald The Art of the Deal Trump is unhappy with the deal Jussie got!  “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago.  It is an embarrassment to our Nation.”  Do you realize how fucked you are when Donald Trump considers you an embarrassment?  Sadly, it’s also the first thing Trump has been right about.

I know what you’re all thinking – what about those hot Nigerian brothers?  Jussie’s lawyer reiterated that he paid them for “nutrition and physical training”.  As to what happens to them, I’m guessing nothing.  They cooperated with the authorities and provided them with the evidence in that sealed case file.  So while they are free, my hunch is you won’t see them hanging around the set of Empire.  But I have two words of advice for them – gay porn.

Beau Shows Off

Our Ask Billy question is a response to last week’s column.  Kevin in Baltimore writes, “Thanks for the JO video of Tyler Posey.  But I think his [Now Apocalypse] co-star Beau Mirchoff is even hotter.  Didn’t you once have a video of him?”

You’re right – I completely forgot about that!  Last July, I told you about Beau – best known from Desperate Housewives and Awkward.  Apparently, he indulged in several online masturbation scenes, which some unknown paramour leaked.  But, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – especially since Beau resembles another part of the horse.  See for yourself on BillyMasters.com.

colorbar1When we’re wrapping things up with a Beau, it’s time to end yet another column.  Here’s one little tidbit that I got out of Barbra’s interview which I never knew before – Streisand turned down Michael Jackson’s request to record a duet!  Those are the little things you’ll discover when you check out www.BillyMasters.com – site that also delivers such big things.  For your burning questions, write to me at Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Babs records her own version of “Bad”. Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

So Long Dearie

I just returned from Palm Springs where I attended Remembering Carol: A Tribute to Carol Channing.  This was a bittersweet event – but happily far more sweet than bitter.  The bitter, of course, is that our beloved Carol is no longer with us.  But, my God, the room was filled with such love and warmth that it was truly as if she never left.  It was certainly not lost on me that it took a dozen luminaries to create a feeling Channing could do simply by walking into a room.  Those gathered shared songs and stories about someone who was truly unique.  People like Carole CookLily TomlinTyne DalyRuta LeeDavis Gaines, and Kristin Chenoweth.  Despite the star power in that theatre, there was only one way to end the celebration – with a video of Carol herself singing the eleven o’clock number from Hello, Dolly!.  To our beloved Carol – so long dearie.

Gruber and Frying Pan

Remember Nick Gruber?  He was the former “model” (he said euphemistically) who was once the paramour of Calvin Klein.  Then he tried to get a reality show with some other “winner” (ditto).  Last week, he found himself in court for – get ready for it – beating up someone with a frying pan.  On September 3, 2018, Nick allegedly hit an unnamed man with a frying pan and refused to allow him to leave an apartment on East 76th Street in NYC which belonged to co-defendant, Brandon Steele.  According to court documents, “The victim was treated at Lenox Hill Hospital for several broken bones to the back, as well as a nearly severed ear and injuries to the orbital bone that could, potentially, affect vision.”  Nick has been charged with second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment – which you may recall is what Boy George was charged with after he handcuffed that hooker to a bed. 

Why is an incident that happened over six months ago in the news?  Because on March 5, 2019, Gruber allegedly broke into an apartment in the same building and stole a bag of methamphetamines!  However, Nick says he was subletting the apartment – except the super didn’t know him (but, may I say in his defense, been there, done that).  Gruber is out on $5K bail and due back in court on April 4th.  By the way, a photographer from the New York Post wanted to take his picture in court.  Nick’s only concern was, “How does my hair look?”  Priorities.

Streisand on Jackson

“’It didn’t kill them’  @BarbraStreisand did you really say that?!”   
– 
Dan Reed, director of Leaving Neverland, responding to Streisand’s comments on the documenta

I look high and low for a quote to kick off each column.  This week, it came courtesy of Miss Barbra Streisand.  However, it also requires a bit more discussion.  In an interview with The Times of London, she talked about the documentary Leaving Neverland.  Babs says she believes James Safechuck and Wade Robson.  When asked her feelings about Michael Jackson, she said, “It’s a combination of feelings.  I feel bad for the children.  I feel bad for him.  I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him.  Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shows and the dancing and the hats?”  I think what they were wearing is less germane to the scenario than what they weren’t, but I see where she’s going.  Alas, then she got herself into trouble: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.  You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there.  They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”  There’s that sympathetic Babs we know and love.

Needless to say, this led to quite a bit of outrage.  Streisand attempted to clarify with a statement: “To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone.  The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.  The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children.  It’s clear that the parents of these two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.” 

Then Miss Ross got involved.  She Tweeted, “This is what’s on my heart this morning.  I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is a magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.  STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE.”  There’s that sympathetic Diane we know and love.  But, riddle me this – would she have let Michael babysit her two sons?  Well, if the sons were nine years old, white and blond?

Pocket Full of Posey

Not to be outdone, Tyler Posey is enjoying Starz’s Now Apocalypse.  Once again, he’s batting for our team.  “I was excited to play a gay character, because I’m really comfortable with my sexuality.”  How comfortable?  “As soon as I committed to the project, I was all in.  I’m shoving my tongue down some dude’s throat, and I don’t know how much else I can say, but we jerked off in the alley in the first episode.  Bring it on.”

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This leads to a very quick Ask Billy question from Morris in NYC: “Tyler Posey is SO hot on Now Apocalypse.  I really wanna see his dick.  I bet he’s packin’.  Has he done a nude scene?”

Not officially.  But, of course, we do have photos of his dick.  We’ve even got a video of it in action – courtesy of an online chat he had where he pleasured himself to climax.  You can do the same on BillyMasters.com.

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When we’re bringing you a pocket full of Posey, it’s time to end yet another column.  You can find all this and more on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that always delivers the starz.  If you’ve got a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before someone uses the Lou Pearlman documentary as their Magic Mike audition tape.  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

The Lou Pearlman Story

Lance Bass produced a documentary called The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story.  The doc features many members of bands led by the shamed, jailed, and now deceased impresario.  But one name is conspicuously absent.  For years it’s been rumored that Nick Carter got the lion’s share of “attention” from Lou – attention which is said to have scarred him.  He skipped this project, so we won’t hear his story.  We’ll have to settle for Ashley Parker Angel from O-Town, who is best known for long, luxurious footage filmed in the shower – kinda like that previously virginal bachelor.  We’re told Lou had all the unedited footage squirreled away for his own “use”. 

There is a Carter who is in the flick – Aaron Carter.  It’s said that Lou focused on him once Nick started growing pubes.  And, of course, Aaron ain’t one to turn down publicity.  In fact, he posted a photo of himself recently with the following caption: “I think I look fucking great!”  Check him out on our website and decide for yourself.

If Aaron thinks he looks so freaking good, I’ve got a job for him – The Magic Mike Musical is currently holding auditions for men 18-30 “in excellent physical shape”.  They are accepting video submissions that include “a brief pop/rock song not longer than one minute in length that shows off range” (sorry, Aaron) and “a brief contemporary or hip-hop dance clip no longer than two minutes in length that shows off athleticism, technique, and any specialty skills (gymnastics, tumbling, etc.).  No nudity.”  To think I was about to volunteer my services to screen the videos.  You had me, then you lost me.

Saint Patrick’s Pow Wow

Vice President Mike Pence invited the Irish Prime Minister to his home for a Saint Patrick’s Day brunch.  Nothing strange about that – except the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, is gay and brought his male partner.  And, of course, Pence has supported conversion therapy.  Maybe it was all a plot – get the Irish gays drunk on beer, corned beef and cabbage, and then try to convert them with Mrs. Pence in a seductive flannel teddy.  If that was the plan, it failed miserably.  Turns out, Pence and Varadkar met last year, and the VP invited Leo and his partner to visit.  So that’s what they did.  Varadkar made a speech about how the world has changed since he was young.  “I stand here leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender, or religious beliefs.  And I don’t believe my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible.  It is found in every country where freedom and liberty are cherished.  We are, after all, all God’s children.”  And that, kiddies, is how you do it.  If you end with a bit about God, what’s Pence gonna say?

College Admissions Scam

I’m terribly disappointed in Felicity Huffman when it comes to this whole college admissions scandal.  Frankly, I expected more from her.  But since I’m capable of having two contradictory thoughts at the same time, I must also admit that I feel bad for her.  Yes, she did something wrong.  But how can you lump in Huffman’s $15K payment to bump up her daughter’s SAT scores with parents who paid half a MILLION dollars to get their daughters into college?  I have absolutely no respect for Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli – and that was even before this scandal broke.  And before I saw those videos of her bitch daughter who I suspect has done many things with an oar that didn’t include sculling.  But really, Feds?  You send a SWAT team to Felicity’s house at dawn in bulletproof vests to bring her in like she’s El Chapo, while Loughlin blithely flies in from her latest/last Hallmark set in Canada?  Oh, the humanity!  I’m rooting for Felicity to just pay a fine and be done with this.  But Loughlin and Moss should be locked up and forced to watch When Calls the Heart on an endless loop.

Still Laugh-In

Last week, I went to a gala evening at the Dolby Theatre celebrating the 50th anniversary of Laugh-In.  For Still Laugh-In: The Stars CelebrateNetflix hoped to assemble the remaining living cast members.  They were one short – no Goldie (for reasons well known to them, or so I’m told).  In the role of Goldie Hawn we got Miss Loni Anderson (no, not in a bikini).  Happily, we did have Lily Tomlin (who did two new Ernestine and Edith Ann sketches – both of which were pre-taped), Jo Anne Worley (who was chewing up the scenery) and Ruth Buzzi (who currently bears a striking resemblance to Ruth Bader Ginsberg).  The event was hosted by Tiffany Haddish and self-proclaimed sword swallower, Neil Patrick Harris.  Guest stars included Jay LenoBilly CrystalBill MaherChelsea HandlerCheri Oteri, and a bunch of others who I must say neither Bruce Vilanch nor I could place.  The low point was a musical number by the two Ritas – Moreno and Wilson.  And we had to sit through it twice.  I loves me some Moreno, but this was not good.  The spunky Latina made sure to let the audience know it wasn’t her fault.  “I’m not taking the blame for this shit – we’ve been sitting back there in the freezing cold for two hours!”

The evening ran very long and towards the end, people were leaving.  At one point, I was pulled from my seat and asked to sit in the front row next to Norman Lear – talk about television royalty!  Two seats over was Laugh-In creator, George Schlatter – who recognized me and said hi.  All I kept thinking was, FINALLY I’m the young one!  Then Norman leaned over to George and said, “Can you believe we created being funny on television?”  George said, “Yeah, and they’re KILLING it!  But we can fix it in post!”  Priceless.  The special will air later this season.

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Mad About Mean Gays

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ll wanna catch Peaches Christ’s touring production of Mean Gays!  The outrageous parody features a cavalcade of stars, including Kim ChiWillamPeaches and Laganja Estranja.  The capacity crowd at LA’s Montalban Theatre could not have been more enthusiastic – especially with the surprise appearance of Daniel Franzese, who was in the film Mean Girls.  I eagerly await their next endeavor – a mash-up of First Wives Club and Fight Club called First Wives Fight Club.  For dates and tix, check out PeachesChrist.com.

At long last Mad About You is returning to TV, although it’s not gonna be on a channel anyone’s ever heard of.  The reboot has been picked up by Spectrum, which used to be Time Warner Cable.  I know what you’re wondering – is it gonna be on public access?  Nope.  This new channel is called Spectrum Originals, which you can get if you have Spectrum, or you can pay to see it online.  Who knows how this will work.  I’m told that the limited series will have no commercials, it picks up Paul and Jamie as empty nesters, and Helen Hunt will direct the first episode (she directed the finale to the original sitcom).  Look for it to debut next season.

RIP Luke Perry

Now we move onto the tragic news about Luke Perry.  52 years old, in good health, massive stroke, medically induced coma, and then dead.  Having just crossed the half-a-century mark, this story hits a bit too close to home.  But here’s something I didn’t know – he had his stroke while waiting to be picked up to go to the memorial service of Young and the Restless actor Kristoff St. John…who also died at 52.  Talk about eerie.  All sorts of lovely stories about Luke have come out.  Ian Ziering reminisced about when he and wife Erin were shooting maternity pictures in their backyard.  Luke showed up with tools and supplies – he decided Ian needed a fenced-in area to keep the imminent arrival safe.  The other story which tugged at my heartstrings was when Perry gave his son’s dinosaur blanket to Jarrod Emick when he had a baby boy.  It came with a card: “Walker – Welcome to the world.  Good to have you aboard.  This blanket belonged to my son when he was your age.  It kept him warm many nights, and all of these dinosaurs are friendly and will protect you.  Mom & Dad – I wish you all the very best.  Now your life has really started.  Best wishes always, Luke.”  I think that pretty much sums up the kinda guy he was.

Loving Neverland

One of the statistics I have cited lo these two-plus decades is that most men have their first sexual experience with other men.  I realize this is not particularly scandalous to the men reading this column.  But we are talking all men – straight and gay alike.  Before you go all Corey Feldman on me, the term “sexual experience” often refers to a “circle jerk”, which figures into so many art films in my collection.  This came back to me when I read about the proliferation of jerk-off clubs targeting straight men.  Before you rush off to buy a membership, it should be noted that these clubs have strict policies against any oral or anal interaction, and one must keep one’s hands to oneself.  Kinda takes all the fun out of it.

This inevitably leads to a discussion about Leaving Neverland.  I can’t imagine anything in there shocked or even surprised my readers.  Learning that Michael taught these boys how to masturbate fits into the aforementioned statistic.  But the similarity ends there.  Beyond all that sex stuff – which I believed – these boys (now men) truly loved Michael Jackson.  What troubles most people about this – aside from, of course, the idea of falling in love with one’s abuser – is that these men identify themselves as heterosexual.  Not only heterosexual, but married with children.  I have had numerous discussions with people who cannot comprehend how any of this is possible.  But what this doc hammered home was how it is possible to have two completely contradictory feelings at the same time.  Kudos to Oprah’s after-show for focusing primarily on Wade and Jimmy’s emotional turmoil.  Again, putting the sex aside, these boys who had no romantic experience fell totally in love with Michael and saw themselves tossed aside when the latest Culkin came down the pike.  I know how I feel when someone stops returning my calls, or simply moves on.  I can’t imagine what someone their age felt like.  I suspect this emotional upheaval is what has caused the most psychological damage, and I feel for them…but not in that JO club kinda way.

Kiddie Pageant Celebration

Now that awards season is over, I can get back to my normal life – and part of that normal life is going to theatre.  The Celebration Theatre is one of my favorite places – it brought us Naked Boys Singing, so that’s gotta count for something.  The first show of the season is Born to Win, written by Matthew Wilkas (that’s Mrs. Gus Kenworthy to you) and Mark Setlock and starring Wilkas and Drew Droege.  It’s a spoof on the cutthroat world of kiddie beauty pageants, a subject rife for parody.  The play milks the premise with over-the-top performances, clever staging, and actors playing numerous roles.  Don’t even get me started on how they handle the kiddie aspect without actually having kids (for the most part).  Are there holes in the show?  Absolutely – if you think about it, the entire conceit falls apart, which is unfortunate because these problems could have been solved in the writing.  As to the cast, Drew Droege can do virtually anything.  Here he is utilized exceptionally well and gives a performance worthy of Charles Busch (whose plays he often stars in).  Mr. Wilkas – well, he sure is purty.  And he’s a good actor.  Is parody or farce his strong suit?  Well…he sure is purty.  The play runs through March 31st, and I heartily recommend it.  At 90 minutes and $25 for tickets, what’s not to like?  Grab those tix at CelebrationTheatre.com.

A Gay Morman Cougar

A gay popped up in the strangest place – at a Brigham Young University football game!  Charlie Bird is not a football player – he’s the team’s mascot.  Or, rather, he was – from 2015 to 2018.  He says, “I never planned on coming out as Cosmo the Cougar.  I never dreamed I would one day have enough courage to come out publicly as gay.  Today I did both in an article with Deseret News.  I hope that by some of my experiences I can help start conversations that increase empathy and understanding between the LGBTQ community and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Even more important, I wish to give hope to other people in my situation that may feel isolated and alone.  Please check out the article and let me know what you think.  Huge shout out to my teammates, coach, and BYU athletics for their love and support.  I will forever bleed blue.”  Which leads to the obvious question – what do you call a gay cougar?  I think chicken hawk will suffice.

Mirren Wants Some Mamoas

Lots of people were drooling over Jason Momoa at the Oscars – including the positively lactating Dame Helen Mirren.  And you know what would go well with some powdered milk?  Girl Scout cookies.  And this gave little Charlotte Holmberg from Colorado an idea.  The ingenious ingénue did a bit of Photoshopping and turned her beloved Samoas into Momoas adorned with Jason’s shirtless torso.  Suddenly, her cookies were selling like hot cakes…which I realize is a mixed metaphor, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  Her best customers were other girls in her class – who likely have posters of unicorns adorning their bedroom walls.  When asked about the situation, Jason said, “I love Girl Scout cookies.  I was, like, waiting to get some free ones.  I’d love some.”  He better get them quickly.  A spokesperson for the Scouts backpedaled and said not many were sold and packaging was confined to a “limited number…for friends and family.”  Yeah, right.  For legal reasons, I’m sure.

Marx/Jonas Connection

I recently watched a documentary about the Marx Brothers – now, stay with me.  I promise to make this relevant.  I was particularly interested in a comment Groucho made well past the brothers’ prime.  He said that at least half of their classic films were made because Chico needed money to cover gambling debts.  And the brothers needed Groucho for them to be successful (and he could use the money to pay alimony to multiple wives).  As it turns out, Harpo was the most stable one with a healthy marriage and personal life.  This anecdote came back to me when I heard about this Jonas Brothers reunion.  Nick is clearly Groucho – the one you need to get a record deal.  And Kevin is probably Harpo.  Does that make Joe Chico?  To really solidify this connection and make it stick, I still have to calculate how many Marx Brothers would have slept with Taylor Swift.

 

Essence of Jenifer

 

Last week, I accompanied Jenifer Lewis to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.  When asked how she felt, Jenifer said, “Well, I’m honored.  I’m honored to be honored.”  Now, who else could pull that off?  Her award was presented by original Dreamgirls Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, along with Jenifer’s daughter Charmaine.  The other honorees were Regina HallKiKi Layne, and Amandla Stenberg.  Some of the people in attendance were my dear Sherri ShepherdAngela BassettIyanla VanzantCCH PounderRegina KingSpike LeeBilly Porter, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and even Puff Daddy (who I was sitting next to).  The event was hosted by Kelly Rowland, who remembered me from hosting LA Pride.  How did this little white boy from Boston, Massachusetts end up in the middle of a gala event celebrating Black women?  Dare to dream.

Despite the wattage of the room, Jenifer managed to weave her unique magic, steal the show, and touch upon a story we covered earlier.  “I was asked on the carpet so many times, ‘What do you think, Miss Lewis?’  I have no comment.  Today is a day to celebrate.  But this is what you will be hearing tomorrow.”  She then sang her latest song.  “Before you lie to us, remember Rosa sat on that bus.  Before you tell your tale, remember Mandela sat in that jail.  Before you do anything, remember Dr. Martin Luther King.  Before you connive and steal, I dare you to Google Emmett Till.  Before another dawn, and I speak to everyone, remember whose shoulders you stand on.”

Inside The Anchor’s Anus

After Jussie’s “attack”, there was some speculation that it was a drug or sexual hookup gone wrong (and after seeing those pics of the Nigerian brothers on BillyMasters.com, I can picture that).  But there is a case in the news which is a gay hookup and a drug situation gone wrong.  This is regarding KTLA’s Chris Burrous.  At the end of last year, the anchor was found unresponsive in a Glendale motel.  Turns out, the married father had hooked up with a guy through Grindr (they’d played together before) and met at the motel.  Allegedly, Burrous got there first, set up the room with what is called “DJ-style lighting”, and had S&M toys – including a leather mask he was wearing.  Otherwise, he was nude when his playmate arrived.  Reportedly, the 43-year-old newsman had inserted a rock of crystal meth in his ass, gave his partner some GHB, and was using poppers.  Later, he inserted a second rock you-know-where.  Then…well, let’s just say his paramour turned him into a human puppet.  Unbeknownst to the partner, Burrows had at some point vomited in his mask, and you know what that means – no refund.  Let this be a lesson for you…when you’re gonna do a Kukla, Fran and Ollie impersonation, have 911 on speed dial!

The Case Against Jussie

I suspect we’ll be talking about Jussie Smollett for weeks/months to come.  And the story keeps getting worse.  Now that the details have taken over mainstream media, I almost don’t feel the need to enumerate every twist and turn.  Suffice it to say, he did it.  There, I said it.  I hate to say it, but that’s that.  Once the grand jury sent the case to trial, I knew there was obviously some sort of proof we didn’t know about.  And, of course, more has come out.  Like what, you may ask?  First, there’s the text message to one of the Nigerian brothers sent three days before the attack saying, “Might need your help on the low.  You around to meet up and talk face to face?”  Perhaps more damning is the personal check for $3,500 which he wrote to the brothers.  Doesn’t he watch Dateline?  You never write a personal check!  By the by, his text message history also showed that since the spring of 2018, Jussie was getting MDMA from the brothers – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  And, while not germane to this case, it does tickle me every time the media refers to the “Subway restaurant” – like it’s got a Michelin rating!

FOX, which had initially stood behind Jussie, is now declining all comment.  While Empire had insisted they would not alter their planned trajectory for the show, they are now writing Smollett out of the last two episodes of the season.  Once again, I reiterate that someone is innocent until proven guilty – even though I’ve already said that I believe he did it.  And I will be shocked if the proof doesn’t bear that out.  What will happen next?  I cannot imagine Jussie wants this to go to trial, so I suspect some sort of plea deal is being floated to the DA.  If that doesn’t work, he may simply plead guilty.  How will he go on after that?  More to the point, will he.

Oscars Recap

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. 
I can’t believe a film about menstruation won an Oscar!”
  
– 
Rayka Zehtabchi during the acceptance speech for
Best Documentary Short Subject for Period. End Of Sentence..

Another Oscars go down in history as…well, the word that springs to mind is “uneventful”.  You know you’re in trouble when it took a quip about the female menstrual cycle to grab the attention of this very sexually active gay man.  Speaking of being grabbed, I couldn’t help but notice that none of the four winners for Bohemian Rhapsody thanked the person responsible for those wins.  So I’ll say it – thank you, Bryan Singer.

An Oscar highlight was the performance by Queen.  And even I learned something.  Did you know that Adam Lambert was in Bohemian Rhapsody?  He’s the guy who hooked up with Freddie Mercury in the truck stop restroom.  Since he’s now lead singer of the band, it’s like he had sex with himself – probably not the first time.

It seems each year notable people are inevitably omitted from the In Memoriam segment, and this year was no different.  Egregiously absent was Carol Channing, who was also an Oscar nominee!  And, where was Kaye Ballard?  Oh, the humanity!  I can understand skipping Sondra Locke – they probably wanna stay on Clint’s good side!

Let me give some advice to all singers out there.  When the note is flat, you know what doesn’t help cover it up?  Holding it longer and screaming.  And, for heaven’s sake, learn the lyrics.  It’s pretty obvious who is hugging the TelePrompTer for words and who is actually connecting with the song and the audience.

In the month leading up to the Oscars, there was lots of talk about how the Academy could trim the festivities.  One of the most controversial considerations was to give out certain awards during commercials.  Another plan was to ditch performances of most nominated songs and allow only two – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper warbling “Shallow” (from A Star Is Born) and Kendrick Lamar singing “All the Stars” (from Black Panther).  Now, I think I’ve made it clear I am not a Lady Gaga devotee.  Not that I have anything against her, I simply don’t get all the hoopla.  However, even I must give credit where credit is due.  Gaga insisted that if ALL nominated songs were not included, she would not perform.  So, we can thank Gaga for Bette Midler’s performance of “The Place Where Lost Things Go” (which happened because Emily Blunt was skittish about performing live).

I know what you’re thinking – why wasn’t “All the Stars” performed during the Oscar telecast?  We’re told that decision came from Kendrick Lamar, himself.  Apparently, he was touring for the past month and didn’t feel he could get an Oscar-worthy performance together.  So, he simply took a pass.

Timing was not on Gaga’s side with her engagement to fiancé Christian Carino imploding days before the Academy Awards.  However, they seem to still be on speaking terms.  When they ran into each other at CAA’s pre-Oscars soirée, they said a quick hello.  FYI, her Oscar date was longtime manager, Bobby Campbell.

Shawn Spreads for Calvin

Since we’re running short of space, I’ll answer the most popular Ask Billy question of the week.  Many of you have written in wondering if I had any photos from Shawn Mendes’ underwear shoot for Calvin Klein.  A handful of snaps from the spread have fallen into my hands and, naturally, you can find them on BillyMasters.com.

Benanti – The Fairest Lady

Since I was at Lincoln Center, I sauntered across the plaza and FINALLY saw the revival of My Fair Lady.  I went primarily for the luminous Laura Benanti, who is fulfilling a lifelong dream by playing Eliza Doolittle.  To say the role fit like a glove isn’t quite right – it was actually more like second skin.  Obviously she can sing beautifully.  But, more than that – she acted the role to perfection.  Her commitment is peerless and her ability is inestimable.  I just wish her Eliza were a trifle less dour and had a bit more charm and spunk – especially in her early scenes.  But my hunch is that’s a remnant of the person Benanti replaces in the cast – or perhaps part of director Bartlett Sher’s vision, which takes a serious look at gender roles and sexual dynamics.  It makes the show more timely than ever.  Truly, it’s impossible to fault anything in this luxurious production.  The sets, the orchestra, the costumes, the cast – everything is simply perfection.  In fact, if NBC is seriously looking for a family-friendly musical to do live, this is it – cast and all.  Having Harry Hadden-Paton opposite Benanti is a stroke of luck.  Not only does he fit the traditional role of Higgins to a T, the duo’s constantly evolving dynamics work on every level.  And, what can one say about Rosemary Harris – it is simply an honor to be in her presence.  Benanti has extended her run through July 7th, and it would be a crime to miss this piece of magic should you be in NYC.

Jussie and the Nigerian Brothers

Jussie, Jussie, Jussie.  I tried.  Really, I did.  I wanted to believe that you had been attacked – not because I wanted anyone to harm you, but because I didn’t want to think that anyone would stage such a thing.  I defended you when people I love and respect told me something about this story wasn’t quite kosher (not to bring the Jews into it).  I looked the other way when asked to believe that you went to a Subway sandwich shop at 2AM.  I even fought every instinct I have to yell bullshit when you said you went there to buy a salad.  But, damn, this is getting harder.

More and more evidence seems to be pointing to Jussie not only lying about the attack, but perhaps manufacturing it.  “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” said the Chicago PD.  And who were those “individuals”?  Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who are aspiring models and personal trainers.  In fact, one of them is Jussie’s personal trainer, and one or both have appeared on Empire!  They claim that Jussie paid them $4,000 to stage the assault, which the trio rehearsed for days.  The police found some receipts in their apartment.  The MAGA hat allegedly was purchased at Uptown Beauty Supply, while the rope allegedly put around Smollett’s neck was purchased at Crafty Beaver Hardware Store – and if there’s one thing you can be sure of, never cross a crafty beaver.  According to the brothers, Jussie paid for those items.  In case you don’t believe they’re credible, this little tidbit might change your mind – when the police told Jussie the two were in custody, he refused to press charges against them because he knew them and felt bad for them.  Now, I dunno about feeling bad, but I’m feeling something since I came across some exceptionally hot shirtless pics of the brothers – which, of course, you can find on BillyMasters.com.  I’m now wondering what else they may have done during those long rehearsals.

The news against Jussie gets worse.  After the brothers were questioned and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, they were released – one assumes with an immunity deal firmly in place.  The cops are still watching them – primarily to make sure they have no contact with Smollett.  Meanwhile, they’ve asked Jussie to come in for a re-interview, which is never a good sign.  We hear that he has not made himself available “in a timely fashion” – uh-oh.  He’s probably concerned about reports that a grand jury is being convened to hear the case.  Some are even speculating that Empire creator – and one of Jussie’s most vehement supporters – Lee Daniels might be implicated.  Jussie’s lawyer says, “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.”  The mouthpiece adds that the actor “angrily denies complicity in attack”.  And he should – filing a false police report could land him three years in the pokey…and three years of non-consensual poking.

If the brothers’ story ends up being true and Jussie orchestrated this whole debacle, he’s done a huge disservice to everyone who has ever been attacked; everyone who is at risk of being attacked; everyone who feels marginalized, ostracized, and politicized.  And to come out after this “attack” and do a concert in West Hollywood to rally support from people who loved and stood by him…well, it’s almost unforgivable.  But, people are innocent until proven guilty.  If all these twists and turns are wrong and Jussie was the victim…well, all I can say is, “Oops!”

Jake & Sedale’s Bangs

Our Ask Billy question comes from Wade in Fort Lauderdale: “When is this new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal coming out?  I keep seeing previews for it and Jake’s naked.  But I don’t see it playing anywhere.”

It’s already out – on Netflix.  Since the film is about the art world, one review was titled, “Jake Gyllenhaal’s Naked Body is the Greatest Work of Art in Velvet Buzzsaw”.  And I concur – except for Jake’s unfortunate bangs.  Yes, there is a good amount of nudity.  Although he isn’t actually full frontal, he is certainly full backal.  And he’s in good company.  One of his love interests is played by retired basketball player Sedale Threatt Jr.  Yes, he’s a he – and a mighty hot he who gives at least a hint of everything…as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.

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When Pecker has a peck of prick pics to publish in public, it’s time to end yet another column.  Well, it’s finally here.  50.  And as I celebrate being half a century old, I am reminded of something my pal Belinda Carlisle said when she turned 50.  She talked about wanting to retire from The Go-Go’s.  “I know I don’t want to be doing it when I’m in my mid-fifties.  I’d like to end it on a high note, with a little dignity.”  So who knows how much longer I’ll be writing – although I hasten to add that Babe performed with The Go-Go’s this past summer on the eve of her 60th birthday.  So, perhaps I ain’t going anywhere.  But, for the time being, you can grab some sizzling hot dish on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that doesn’t look its age.  If you have a question, send an e-mail to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before I eat my weight in Churro Donuts!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Model vs. Footballer

Someone who may or may not be gay is a member of the Oakland Raiders.  For those of you who don’t know, the Oakland Raiders are a football team; and football is that game they play in between all those spiffy Super Bowl commercials.  A “model”, Malik Joseph, posted a text message thread in which he tells P.J. Hall that before they had sex, he should have told him that he had a girlfriend!  However, Hall’s reps say that Malik threatened to claim they had a sexual relationship in order to extort the football player.  So we have a he said/he said situation on our hands.  Interestingly enough, while Hall’s people say Malik’s accusations are “defamatory and slanderous” and that he has a history of such behavior, they don’t seem to be taking any legal action.  Hmm.

Kyle XY Was Pressured

Matt Dallas claims he too was threatened – or, at the very least, pressured.  He posted a video Q&A with hubby, Blue Hamilton.  The Kyle XY star was asked if he was ever advised to keep his sexuality a secret.  “I was told to stay in the closet, not talk about my sexuality, to be on every red carpet with a girl on my arm because you could not be successful if you were openly gay in the entertainment industry, at least in front of the camera… Because of the advice that was given to me to stay in the closet, I became very disconnected from who I was, and there’s a lot of residual stuff that to this day that I still deal with where I find myself sometimes being, ‘oh, I sound too gay’, or ‘I’m acting too gay’ because it was so drilled into my brain.”

Pecker & Penis Pics

With all the talk last week about David Pecker running photos of Jeff Bezos’ penis, few have mentioned the connection with Ronan Farrow.  To recap, the Amazon founder claims that AMI, the parent company of The National Enquirer (published by Pecker), were trying to get him to refute his assertions that their exposé of his romantic affair was politically motivated.  He says that’s why Pecker threatened to publicly publish pics of Bezos’ pubics.  Allegedly, Trump has Pecker in his pocket and has been using AMI to take down Bezos and his publication, The Washington Post.  Did you follow that?

Into this mess walks our very own Ronan Satchel Farrow Sinatra Allen O’Sullivan.  He Tweeted that The National Enquirer made a similar threat against him.  “I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump fielded similar ‘stop digging or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI.  (I did not engage as I don’t cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting.)”  So, the question remains – does The Enquirer have pics of Ronan’s rod?

And Then There Was One

I don’t regularly watch Flipping Out.  In fact, I try to avoid it.  So, I didn’t realize Jeff and Gage were not married – but who cares?  If straights can have kids out of wedlock and be sued by their surrogates, why not gays?  I found out the couple wasn’t married because Jeff announced that Gage had moved out last week.  He says that for most of the past year, Gage had been in a separate bedroom and the two have primarily been friends with benefits – the benefit, if you ask me, is that you get your own room!  I don’t have a dog in this fight (no offense), but I’d like to make one general observation: one doesn’t marry a Gage.  One has meaningless sex with a Gage.  Hot, meaningless, nasty sex.  I once slept with someone named Brick.  I can’t swear that was his real name – I never checked his papers.  The Gages and Bricks of the world are the guys you fool around with in the bathroom while your boyfriend is waiting at the table in the restaurant.  You want a drama-free life?  Marry someone with a name out of the Bible.  Except Lazarus – every time you think you’re done, he’ll spring back to life and you’ll never get any sleep.

Smollett’s Attack

The big gay story last week was the attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett.  I was kinda shocked at the reaction.  First, some of my dearest childhood friends questioned if the attack really took place, or if Jussie was simply looking for publicity.  “Something doesn’t ring true,” one said on Facebook.  Yeah, because if I were looking for publicity, I’d tie a noose around my neck and douse myself in bleach!  Then someone pointed out to me the social media posts by organizations that used this attack as an opportunity to promote themselves.  Shameful.

As of the writing of this column, here’s what we know.  On the evening of Monday, January 28th, Jussie had flown from New York to Chicago – where Empire shoots and where Smollett has an apartment.  Around 2AM, he was hungry and went to a 24-hour Subway (and, if I might inject a bit of levity into this difficult story, let me note that nothing good happens at a Subway at 2AM).  When he left the Subway (presumably with his sub), two white men wearing ski masks approached him and yelled out, “Aren’t you that faggot Empire nigger?”  They then attacked Jussie, put a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him, saying “This is MAGA country” as they ran away.  After reporting the crime to the police, Jussie got himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a fractured rib.  A couple of days later, Chicago Police released a photo of “persons of interest” that shows two men on a neighboring street around the time of the attack.

I will admit, all of this raises several questions – who is walking around Chicago at 2AM with a noose and bleach?  There is speculation that Smollett was targeted, as he had earlier received a letter which was sent to the Empire set and threatened, “You will die black fag,” with a return address that simply said “MAGA”.  Also, a woman who lives in Smollett’s building says that when she took her dog out to pee at 12:30AM, she saw a suspicious man lingering.  On the flip side, Smollett says that at the time of the attack, he was talking to his manager on his cell phone.  So, the police asked to examine the phone – Jussie declined.  Police say he was not obligated to share the handset or phone records.  And, frankly, as a gay man, I don’t think I’d want the fuzz looking into the bowels of my mobile, either.

BTW, Smollett had a concert scheduled for February 2nd at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood.  Despite some concerns, the concert took place, although the scheduled meet-and-greet was cancelled.  “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to and I’m going to stand strong with you all,” Jussie told the capacity crowd.  “I had to be here tonight.  I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win!  So I will also stand for love, I will never stand for anything other than that.  Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love and I hope you will all stand with me.”

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One of the people speaking out on Smollett’s behalf has been Empire creator Lee Daniels.  “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son.  You didn’t deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘die faggot nigga’ or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home. It starts at home, yo. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f— can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another fucking day in America.”

Frankie’s Throuple

If there’s one thing that works out less often than being a virgin, it’s being in a throuple.  And I’m not talking about casual encounters, in which case I say the more, the merrier.  But if you think being in a relationship with one person is hard, try two.  Frankie Grande tried his share of combinations before going public around Halloween as being the proverbial third wheel to a very hot couple.  Apparently it wasn’t all smooth sailing.  “You have double the highs, double the excitement, but also double the lows, double the drama.”  Those heady days have passed.  “I am single.  I’ve been single for about a month now.”  Probably spending most of his time in a sitz bath!

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