…but not for the reason you’d expect.
The documentary, which examines closeted anti-gay lawmakers and that I posted about here, premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival last week and has already pissed off former NYC Mayor Ed Koch. The 84-year-old lifelong bachelor has always denied being gay or, of late, refused to address questions about his personal life, but being essentially outed in the film is not what upset him – it’s the distortion of his record: the film apparently claims that Koch’s “record on AIDS and gay rights was virtually nonexistent” and Koch sees it differently.
“It’s a [bleep]ing outrage,” Koch told Page Six yesterday. “Bella Abzug and I, in the early ’70s, introduced in Congress a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
When he was elected mayor in 1977, one of his first acts was to ban such discrimination by city agencies. “And when we later said the law applied to contractors doing business with the city, theand the Salvation Army sued me,” Koch said.
“In 1984, I was the first mayor to march in the Gay Pride Parade. I was the first mayor to appoint openly gay judges…”
I’m going take Koch on his word for the above but note that those points don’t contradict the criticism that has been leveraged against him. Specifically, Koch’s Wikipedia page notes that Larry Kramer, among others, have criticized Koch for essentially ignoring the NYC AIDS epidemic of ’82-’83, presumably out of fear that it would lend credence to the rumor of his homosexuality.
While I’ve already expressed that I’m excited for “Outraged,” I’m hoping Koch isn’t too central to the film. I kinda feel bad that people are still hounding this 84-year-old about his sexuality and even if he did ignore the NYC AIDS epidemic of ’82-’83 – a topic on which I am decidedly ignorant but will acknowledge is an obviously selfish and egregious act of self-preservation at the expense of others – surely there are still bigger fish to fry in the ocean of closeted politicians who screw the LGBT population. (Right?)
It will be interesting to see if and how other subjects of the film respond.
“Outrage” opens in select theaters May 8.