Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Buck Stops Here?

ICYMI: There's been a lot of hubbub this weekend about the death of Gemmel Moore, left, whose family is calling for a deeper investigation into his meth overdose at the West Hollywood apartment of Democratic donor Ed Buck, right, which the medical examiner has ruled an accident. The 26-year-old Moore was reportedly a sex worker, and the WeHo Times published a story saying Buck got sexual satisfaction out of watching young men of color injected with meth -- all but accusing him of murdering the young man. The blog quotes the Moore's mother as saying: “[Buck] would have my son to go out to… Santa Monica Boulevard looking for young gay black guys so he could inject them with drugs, see their reaction and how [they] would react and take pictures of them.”

 The Advocate has since written a more balanced story, but noted AIDS activist Peter Staley -- who I'm guessing must know Buck -- didn't shy away from pointing the finger, either. This led to Boy Culture's Matthew Rettenmund pointing out the odd fact that the author of the piece, Ryan Gierach, has "an intense personal history with Buck," then linking to a Washington Blade piece saying the whole thing was so based on gossip that it wouldn't report anything more unless it deemed it warranted. WeHoville then chimed in, saying that Gierach seems to have an ax to grind with Buck -- Gierach actually discloses at the bottom of his salacious piece that Buck was a "regular source, contributor, donor and confidant" of his while publishing now-defunct WeHo News, and that Gierach stopped publishing the site more than a year ago "after a series of incidents that left him homeless and struggling with his self-proclaimed addiction issues." (If Staley knows something more, I wish he'd speak up. Predictably, rightwing trolls have jumped all over the tragedy, blaming it all on -- you guessed it! -- Hillary Clinton, to whom Buck donated money.) All of this led my writing the following on Staley's post:

Having grown up in virulently homophobic Arizona in the 1980s, I must say Ed Buck was a bit of a folk hero of mine for standing up to our racist governor and literally leading the charge that got Evan Mecham impeached. (Some might remember that he actually rescinded MLK Day for state employees and was fond of the word pickaninny.) Buck made no secret of being gay -- that was virtually unheard of there -- and that self-confidence really resonated with a new wave fag who felt alone in the world. Now bad people do admirable things and good people do shitty things. But I don't think this unsourced, unverified, conflict-of-interest-laden blog post exactly qualifies as a smoking gun against anyone.

A mother seeks justice for her son.

UPDATE: Buck was arrested in 2019 after being charged in federal court with providing methamphetamine to a man who died after receiving the drug intravenously. In 2020 he was charged with four additional felonies related to prostitution and meth. On Sept. 16, 2020, the New York Times Magazine wrote a lengthy feature on the case that you can read HERE. It's a gruesome account, although I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it.


edmcan said...

I saw the start of this piece on the net the other day I thought it was peculiar then and I still do. This 'fetish' that Buck is accused of having seems so implausible, but I admit that I'm not educated in all aspects of kink. It sounds to me like the mother is trying to cash in on her son's death, period. The whole thing smells to high heaven. I know I could be wrong and be proven so, but some unbiased reporting would be nice.

Ryan Gierach said...

I am Ryan Gierach. Ed Buck is one of the more brilliant pols I have come to know, and because of my work with Frontiers as an investigative and political reporter, as well as my founding and operating WeHo News, I know virtually all the political operatives and office holders in the LA Basin.
This story was the most difficult I have ever had to write, as it required reporting hard news about a friend.
In journalism, you don't get to choose to whom tragedy pays a visit. Sometimes it is a buddy.
News, though, is news.
And this time it cost me a friend, a true friend.
If people took a step back and considered the emotional pain reporting this story caused me.
If people considered.