Gary Bowles, Serial Killer of Gay Men, Executed by Lethal Injection in Florida

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Gary Ray Bowles died by lethal injection at 10:58 pm on Thursday in front of 29 witnesses for an eight-month killing spree that took the lives of six gay men.

The execution was delayed by five hours while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed two applications for stays that were ultimately denied. The attorneys argued that Bowles “was too intellectually disabled to die.”

Jacksonville.com reports: “Bowles gave no statement, but referred to a two-page written statement that was later distributed to the media. ‘I want to start by saying that I am so very sorry to all of the family and friends of Mr. Hinton,’ Bowles wrote. ‘I never wanted to kill him and I’m sorry for all of the pain and suffering I have caused. I hope my death erases your pain.’”

Bowles received the death penalty for the 1994 murder of Walter Hinton, but later confessed to the murder of five additional gay men whom he said he killed because of their sexual orientation.

The Gainesville Sun reports: ‘He would say to the world during a television interview years later how remarkably easy it was to kill someone. Yet every killing he carried out was a bloodbath. “Each of the murders was brutal,” said Bernie de la Rionda, a long-time Jacksonville-area homicide prosecutor who sought and attained a conviction and death sentence for Bowles. De la Riona said in every case the victims fought vigorously while suffering from “unexplainable pain” at the hands of their killer.’

FOX 13 reported: “In November 1994, Bowles helped Hinton move from Georgia to his mobile home in Jacksonville. In exchange, Hinton let Bowles live with him. One night, while Hinton slept, Bowles dropped a concrete block on his head, causing a fracture from Hinton’s right cheek to his jaw. Hinton woke up, but Bowles then strangled him to death. After Bowles’s arrest, police say he confessed to killing Hinton, as well as the other men. Bowles reportedly confessed to beating and strangling another roommate, John Hardy Roberts, in Daytona Beach; strangling David Jarman and then stealing his car in Wheaton Maryland; strangling 72-year-old Milton Bradley and dumping his body on a golf course near his home in Savannah, Georgia; and strangling and shooting Albert Morris in Hillard Florida.”

Jacksonville.com adds, of Bowles’ execution: “The first injection, a sedative, was administered at 10:44 p.m. After a series of ensuing injections, including a paralyzing agent and potassium acetate, Bowles was declared dead 14 minutes later.”

The post Gary Bowles, Serial Killer of Gay Men, Executed by Lethal Injection in Florida appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Billionaire and GOP Mega-Donor David Koch Dead at 79

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“David Koch” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Billionaire GOP mega-donor David Koch is dead at 79.

HuffPost reports: “As two of the 10 wealthiest Americans, David and Charles Koch used their riches to help fund and advance their conservative and libertarian political beliefs. They helped found the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, the Reason Foundation, which publishes a libertarian magazine, and a series of political organizations, including Americans for Prosperity. Koch left the board of Americans for Prosperity last year, citing health reasons.” Their political activism began in the 1970s as big business began a concerted effort to reassert political power after decades of predominantly New Deal Democratic Party governance. But the Koch brothers did not fully emerge as public political figures until they helped fund and organize the opposition to President Barack Obama.”

Koch’s brother Charles Koch released a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that I announced the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life. Twenty-seven years ago, David was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given a grim prognosis of a few years to live. David likes to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his own stubbornness kept the cancer at bay. We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”

Clearly not all are grateful, given the outpouring of vitriol against Koch on social media immediately after the announcement of his death.

“David Koch”by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The post Billionaire and GOP Mega-Donor David Koch Dead at 79 appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Trump Nominee for Lifetime Seat on Federal Court Denounced HRC for ‘Exploiting’ Matthew Shepard Murder, Said Universities Were Hypocritical for Segregating Gays

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Steven Menashi, a Special Assistant to Donald Trump and Associate Counsel to the President who was appointed last week for a lifetime seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, attacked the Human Rights Campaign and universities’ attitudes toward gay students, denounced feminists, and diversity efforts in editorials in the 1990s and 2000s.

CNN’s Kfile reports: “Steven Menashi, a Stanford-trained lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, wrote dozens of editorials and blog posts in the late 1990s and early 2000s for a number of college and professional publications decrying “leftist multiculturalism” and “PC orthodoxy.” He complained about “gynocentrists,” wrote that the Human Rights Campaign “incessantly exploited the slaying of Matthew Shepard for both financial and political benefit” and argued that a Dartmouth fraternity that held a “ghetto party” wasn’t being racist. He attacked academic multiculturalism as “thoroughly bankrupt” and, in 2002, defended then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi amid a worldwide controversy over comments asserting the superiority of Western civilization over Islamic culture — for which Berlusconi himself ultimately apologized.”

Menashi accused the Human Rights Campaign of hypocrisy “for not speaking out on crimes committed by gay men, only crimes committed against them.”

At the time, “the trial was ongoing for the 1999 rape and murder of a 13-year-old boy named Jesse Dirkhising by two gay men,” CNN reports:

Menashi insisted that he wasn’t suggesting a correlation between homosexuality and homicide — something he wrote that only “militant” anti-gay people would do — but rather arguing that “HRC only bolsters the unreasonable claims” by not responding to questions about the murder.

“By refusing to denounce the crime, and to sympathize with the Dirkhising family—or to acknowledge Jesse Dirkhising in any way—HRC only bolsters the unreasonable claims,” he wrote. “In their unwillingness even to discuss the case, HRC implies that the killing says something about American gays. Something bad.”

Menashi also attacked U.S. universities that criticized the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, but segregated gay students in separate dorms.

Wrote Menashi: “The military says its ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy promotes the unit cohesion needed in combat by reducing sexual tension and respecting personal privacy. The colleges say these claims only mask irrational prejudice. University administrators insist troops in mortal combat should be able to handle the tension of living in mixed quarters. But it turns out that college kids living in dorms and frat houses, threatened by such dangers as beer kegs and basketball games, are quite a different matter. … In fact, the situation is so dire that colleges nationwide are establishing separate barracks for gays, not only as a haven from homophobic sophomores, but also to guard against emotional troubles gay students face in mixed living quarters.”

Much more on Menashi’s other writings at CNN Kfile.

The post Trump Nominee for Lifetime Seat on Federal Court Denounced HRC for ‘Exploiting’ Matthew Shepard Murder, Said Universities Were Hypocritical for Segregating Gays appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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D.J. Jones will make teams regret trying to run on the 49ers

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San Francisco 49ers versus New York Giants

Photo by Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Jones won’t ever be a big sack guy, but he doesn’t have to be if he nails down the starting nose tackle job.

Earl Mitchell held down the starting nose tackle position pretty well for the 49ers for most of the last two seasons. At the end of last season, however, San Francisco decided to give D.J. Jones, a sixth-round draft pick in 2017, a chance to show what he could do. Jones did not disappoint.

Even though he hadn’t made a tackle since Week 4, and even though he wasn’t active the two weeks prior, Jones stepped into the starting lineup in Week 14 against the Broncos and he more than held his own with four total tackles. Jones ended up starting the next three weeks as well, and he notched 13 out of his 17 tackles for the season in those last four games.

Jones’ good performances probably factored in a little when the 49ers made the decision to move on from Mitchell this offseason. Now he faces the possibility of earning the starting position outright in training camp if he can just carry over the momentum he started at the end of last year.

Watching his film, it’s evident that Jones is really strong at the point of attack, and hard to move off the line of scrimmage.

He does a good job getting full extension with his arms to keep blockers off of him, and he has a real knack for escaping off blocks right on time to make the tackle.

I also love his motor and how he runs to the ball, even at 6’0 and over 320 pounds. For him to be that size, the guy is pretty athletic and he hustles his ass off, too. That is a winning combination for me. Jones may not ever be a big sack guy, but you are going to catch hell trying to run the ball when he’s in there. And he has just enough quickness and wiggle to at least push the pocket back into the quarterback’s lap when he does have pass-rush opportunities.

Jones isn’t guaranteed that starting spot, though. I’m a big fan of Sheldon Day and I think he will be in the mix there as well. Then you have Solomon Thomas, who might kick inside more, especially on passing downs after the 49ers drafted new starting defensive end Nick Bosa No. 2 overall this past April.

Still, I think Jones is going to be in the game more often than not on early downs, short yardage, and goal-line situations. I also believe that he is going to be a wrecking ball whenever he’s on the field.

All things considered, Jones posting 17 tackles last season was some pretty good production considering he was only active for 10 games. If he can stay healthy this season, however, he should easily be able to double, if not triple, those tackle numbers. Because he runs to the ball he should end up with a ton of assists by the end of the season, that’s for sure. I actually think he will sneak in a three or more sacks as well, rushing against play action on early downs.

When players hustle the way Jones does, they are usually rewarded sooner or later.

I was tempted to pick Thomas as my breakout player for the 49ers this season, but Jones has the clearer path to an uptick in production, as far as I can tell.

Bosa playing is going to force Thomas inside more, which is where I think he is better suited to make plays anyway, but there is no way to tell how much he will play there, or at all at this point. I’m not one of the people who are ready to call Thomas a bust, but however much patience the 49ers have left is going to run out at some point. With his role being up in the air, I just couldn’t trust Thomas to break out this year, though I definitely think he has the skills to do so if he plays more as a three-technique.

Jones, on the other hand, has a perfect opportunity in front of him. If he can nail down that starting nose tackle job, it will showcase what he is good at, playing the run, without penalizing him for not being a big-time pass rusher.

As a backup, you usually had better be able to play the run and rush the passer because there are a limited number of defensive linemen who are active on Sundays and you have to be able to fill in everywhere. As the starting nose tackle, however, that role is pretty well defined as a run defender first and foremost.


Again, I believe Jones can rush the passer a little, but I don’t see it being his biggest selling point. So he almost has to win that starting role or he might find himself deactivated on gamedays again this season.

His situation can inspire the kind of desperation that will motivate him to do his absolute best, and show the 49ers that he is the right man for the job. I think we will see the best D.J. Jones we have ever seen as an NFL player this season, and this his production will take a huge leap forward to help quantify that.

Confidence level: Moderate


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11 NFL Draft prospects to watch in college football’s Week 0

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Florida State at Florida

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cornerback CJ Henderson is Florida’s top NFL talent, but the Gators could have another first-rounder, while Miami has a few prospects of its own.

When Florida and Miami kick off the college football season on Saturday night, the NFL talent will be lopsided. The game features potentially two first-round players in the 2020 NFL Draft, but both are on Florida.

There are still other draft prospects to keep an eye on in the game and, kinda, in the Arizona-Hawaii game later in the evening.

Florida has two possible first-rounders, but that’s not all

CJ Henderson: Arguably the best pro prospect in the game is Florida cornerback CJ Henderson.

Even in what looks like a loaded 2020 draft class at his position, Henderson stands out. Henderson is a smooth-moving cornerback with good footwork to stick with just about any receiver. At 6’1 and 202 pounds, he has optimal size for the position.

Henderson has six interceptions in two seasons, and might not get targeted much by opposing quarterbacks this year. According to some reports, Henderson didn’t allow a single touchdown reception last season. Like a lot of college cornerbacks, he’s not much against the run, but playing the pass he’s among the best in the country. Regardless, if Henderson stays healthy this season, a spot in the top 32 will be his.

Jabari Zuniga: The other potential first-rounder is Florida pass rusher Jabari Zuniga.

He has more of an outside chance compared to Henderson, though it was slightly surprising when Zuniga decided to return to Gainesville for his senior season. He’s a muscled-up 6’4 and 246 pounds, and is known for his work in the weight room. It shows up on the field, too.

Although Zuniga has some quickness and speed, he shows good strength to drive offensive linemen backward and into the pocket. He’s a much better pass rusher than his 6.5 sacks in 2018 would suggest. Zuniga’s footwork, especially off the snap, was off at times last season. It will be interesting to see if he’s patched that hole in his game.

Jonathan Greenard: Keep an eye on Florida’s other pass rusher, Jonathan Greenard.

The senior transfer from Louisville suffered a wrist injury on the first series of 2018 and missed the rest of the season. In 2017, he had 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Cardinals. If he can bounce back, he could vault up draft boards.

Brad Stewart: Junior safety Brad Stewart is another Florida player to watch.

He started seven games last season, but displayed good awareness and the ability to quickly close on the football.

There are a few mid-to-late round picks on Miami

Miami isn’t the football program it once was, especially in terms of producing top-end NFL players. Since 2011, Miami has only had four first-round picks. That’s compared to 26 first-rounders from 2000-09.

Still, even though Miami didn’t have a player taken until Sheldrick Redwine in the fourth round this year, the Hurricanes had the second-most players taken in the ACC, with five drafted. They could have a similar draft class in 2020.

Shaquille Quarterman: Miami’s top NFL prospect going into this college football season is linebacker Shaq Quarterman. He’s going into his fourth year as a starter, and is coming off an all-conference season. Quarterman finished 2018 second on the team in total tackles with 82. He had six sacks, one interception, two pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

There isn’t a lot of flash to Quarterman’s game. He’s a dependable player, and his experience shows with his instincts to read a play. Unless he has an All-American type of season, Quarterman is currently projecting as a solid middle-round pick.

Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney: Quarterman considered the NFL after last season, but ultimately returned to Miami. So did the team’s other two starting linebackers: Zach McCloud on the strong side and Michael Pinckney on the weak side. Of the three linebackers, Pinckney might be able to rise the most throughout the season because he’s probably the best athlete of the trio.

Trevon Hill: Miami has had a defensive end taken in each of the last three drafts and Trevon Hill could be the next one. But there’s a big if with Hill. He was at Virginia Tech at the start of last season but only played in three games. In the team’s loss to Old Dominion, Hill had an altercation during halftime and was dismissed from the school.

Hill, who is 6’3 and 245 pounds, had 94 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 11.5 sacks at Virginia Tech. Hill is fast off the snap, and will get looked at by teams needing a weakside pass rusher.

Trajan Bandy: Cornerback Trajan Bandy would be more regarded as a prospect if he weren’t 5’9 and 190 pounds. His spot in the NFL is likely playing in the slot. Bandy is a quick cornerback who mirrors well, but gets beat on jump-ball situations.

Arizona and Hawaii each has a potential draft prospect

The other Week 0 game, Arizona at Hawaii, is light on NFL prospects. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is more of an athlete at the next level who may be forced to find a new position. For Hawaii, wideout Cedric Byrd could get a look as a slot receiver.


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Brewers home betting favorites hosting D-Backs on Friday

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Milwaukee Brewers v Washington Nationals

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers hope to continue their success against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday as betting favorites at sportsbooks for the matchup.

The Milwaukee Brewers are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Brewers will try to keep the wins against Arizona coming this weekend in a three-game series that starts on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee is a -155 home favorite on the MLB odds in the series opener at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Jordan Lyles gets the start for the Brewers going up against Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks as +135 road underdogs.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers

When: Friday, August 23, 8:10 p.m. ET

Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Betting Line / Total: Milwaukee -155 / 10 Runs

Diamondbacks at Brewers OddsShark Matchup Report

The Brewers were right in the heart of both the NL Central and the NL wild card races when they won five straight games in early August to improve to 62-56 on the season. Since then, Milwaukee has gone just 3-6 over its last nine games and has lost a bit of ground in these races. With time quickly running out on the 2019 regular season, they need to take advantage of this upcoming stretch of 12 home games in 15 games.

On the year, Milwaukee is 36-26 at home. The Brewers are 5-0 in their last five home games against the Diamondbacks per the OddsShark MLB Database.

Arizona has gone 3-1 over its last four games since going 0-4 in its previous four. The Diamondbacks have given up an average of 6.63 runs per game over their last eight games, allowing at least seven runs in six of those eight contests. The team ranks fifth in the National League in runs scored per game this season with 5.2, but it will be hard to improve on a 64-64 record without doing a much better job of preventing runs down the stretch.

Diamondbacks at Brewers Betting Total

Friday night’s total is set at 10 runs. The OVER is 4-1 in the last five meetings between Milwaukee and Arizona.

There is still time for both of these teams to make a push for a wild card spot, but they will need to play better than they have in recent weeks if they hope to do so. The series continues on Saturday with a matchup between Chase Anderson and Zac Gallen, and wraps up on Sunday with Zach Davies facing a yet to be determined Diamondbacks pitcher. Arizona is 3-0 in Gallen’s first three starts with the team.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.


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Florida favored over Miami to open college football season

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UM FOOTBALL - FALL CAMP

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators renew their classic rivalry to kick off the 2019 season, with oddsmakers siding with the Gators in Orlando.

The Miami Hurricanes are 5-1 straight up and against the spread in their last six games against the No. 8 Florida Gators. The Hurricanes and Gators meet for the first time since 2013 on Saturday night at the neutral location of Camping World Stadium.

Miami is a 7.5-point underdog in Orlando on the college football odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. As an underdog in this head-to-head series, the Hurricanes are 3-0 ATS with two outright upsets in their last three games against the Gators.

Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Gators

When: Saturday, August 24, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

Betting Line / Total: Florida -7.5 / 47 Points

Hurricanes vs. Gators OddsShark Matchup Report

After winning nine games in 2016 and 10 games in 2017, Miami entered last season with high hopes for a big year. But the team never really found its footing on offense as it stumbled to a disappointing 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS campaign. Manny Diaz has taken over at head coach for the retired Mark Richt, and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams will be the team’s opening day starting quarterback. With a strong defense and plenty of weapons around Williams, this team’s chances in 2019 will likely hinge on quarterback play.

The Hurricanes haven’t shown much bite as an underdog in recent years going 1-6 SU and ATS in their last seven games as one per the OddsShark College Football Database.

Just one year removed from a 4-7 campaign in 2017, the Florida Gators often looked the part of a legitimate SEC contender when they went 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2018. Home losses to Kentucky and Missouri put a damper on what could have been a dream season in Gainesville, but a 10-win season including a 41-15 win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl gives the Gators plenty to be excited about heading into 2019. Florida is 9-1 SU and ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite of a touchdown or more.

Hurricanes vs. Gators Betting Total

Saturday’s total is set at 47 points. The UNDER is 5-2 in Florida’s last seven opening games.

The Gators are replacing four starters on the offensive line and the Hurricanes are replacing their starting quarterback. These are two tough defenses that should be able to exploit the opposing team’s lack of experience in these areas, which makes for an interesting matchup to open the 2019 college football season.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.


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John Hickenlooper, Trump and Log Cabin, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Karamo Brown, Emoji Sex, Downton Abbey: HOT LINKS

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SILVER BOW HAT. Barack Obama wants Aretha Franklin’s hat from his inauguration.

2020. Jay Inslee drops out. John Hickenlooper announces Senate run.

PETE BUTTIGIEG. Mayor Pete draws overwhelmingly white crowd on historically black Chicago South Side: “Find the people who don’t look like most of you in this room and let them know they have the chance, not just to support this campaign, but to shape it,” Buttigieg said.

TRUMP’S DISAPPROVAL RATING. 62 percent. Also, thinks he’s a gay icon.

STUDY. Transgender conversion therapy is widespread: “Researchers at the Fenway Institute, citing data from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Williams Institute of UCLA, concluded that the dangerous practice of trying to change a person’s gender identity has been attempted on an estimated 187,923 trans individuals. Conversion therapy focused on attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation is also prevalent, but was not considered for this study.”

AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION. Organization under scrutiny for use of federal money: “A California state senator has formally asked state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate whether the powerhouse AIDS Healthcare Foundation is fraudulently misusing savings from a federal drug-discount program designed to help poor patients.”

STUDY. People who use emojis have more sex. “The study found that increased emoji use correlated positively along most steps in a relationship journey. It was uncorrelated to frequency of first dates, but correlated with increased amounts of second dates. Frequent emoji users were more likely to have kissed on dates, as well as had sex or entered into relationships with their date. “

BRITNEY SPEARS. She doesn’t know who to trust.

KARAMO BROWN. The Queer Eye guy representing on Dancing with the Stars is “excited to sit down w/ [Sean Spicer] and engage in a respectful conversation.”

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE VIDEO OF THE DAY. Plane crash survivors film moments after crash, and rescue helicopter approaching: “The Beech Bonanza went down in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, around 6 p.m. A man and woman were rescued from the water by a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter, and both refused medical treatment, according to the Coast Guard. There were no injuries.”

SNEAK PEEK OF THE DAY. Downton Abbey, the movie.

THROWBACK PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY. Lady Gaga at the 2009 VMAs, uploaded this week for the first time.

THIRSTY THURSDAY.

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The post John Hickenlooper, Trump and Log Cabin, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Karamo Brown, Emoji Sex, Downton Abbey: HOT LINKS appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Nicholas Sparks says he’s ‘grateful’ that a jury ruled he’s not homophobic

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The trail between bestselling romance novelist Nicholas Sparks and Saul Benjamin, the former headmaster at the Epiphany School, a faith-based prep school founded by the author in 2006, has reached its dramatic conclusion.

This week, a jury ruled in favor of Sparks, who was accused of creating a hostile work environment by discriminating against and saying disparaging things about LGBTQ students, Black kids, and other minority groups.

Just to recap: Earlier this summer, leaked emails showed that in 2013, Sparks ordered Benjamin to ban an LGBTQ student group and then threatened at least two teachers with termination for defending the students’ right to meet up after school. When Benjamin told Sparks that banning the group was discriminatory, the author replied: “Not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination.”

In another email, Sparks suggested banning all forms of student protest after two lesbian students planned to come out during chapel services. When Benjamin refused to do so, Sparks accused him of secretly authorizing an “official School LGBT club” which “some perceive as an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted.”

Related: Leaked emails reveal author Nicholas Sparks’ true feelings about LGBTQ people and they’re not nice

In another set of emails, which are just as offensive but have gotten far less attention, Sparks made racist comments about African Americans, claiming that the lack of any Black students at his school had less to do with racist school policies (or, in his words, “vestiges of Jim Crow”) and more to do with African-Americans being “too poor and can’t do the academic work.”

At trial, Sparks testified that Benjamin called anyone who disagreed with him bigots and racists behind their backs. He also accused the former headmaster of  “weaponizing” his private emails.

He also then testified that he is “an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights and would never want to discourage any young person or adult from embracing who they are.”

According to court transcripts, when asked about his remarks about Black kids being too poor to attend his school, Sparks replied, “The school costs money. I mean, it’s certainly not free,” before talking about the scholarships it offers to “disadvantages [sic] dollars kids” from “very poor families.”

He very artfully managed to avoid talking his other remarks about Black students, the ones where he claimed they were “unable to do the academic work.”

In a statement to the media after the jury’s ruling yesterday, Sparks said:

I am grateful for the jury’s verdict in favor of myself, the Epiphany School and the Nicholas Sparks Foundation. The verdict speaks volumes, and completely rejects the campaign waged by Mr. Benjamin and his lawyers in an attempt to discredit Epiphany and me. As my testimony made clear, I have always been personally supportive of gay rights, gay marriage, and gay adoption. Further, Epiphany is and remains a place where students and faculty of any race, belief, religion, background, or orientation should feel welcome. My commitment to these values, as well as Epiphany’s commitment to these values, have been and remain constant. I look forward to getting back to writing full time, and I thank my family, friends, and readers for their support.

Related: Nicholas Sparks says he’s the real victim in homophobic email leak, still won’t address his racism


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Andrew Garfield has gone to gay heaven…

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Hunky Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield says he has gone to “gay heaven” after filming an appearance on RuPaul‘s Drag Race UK.

Garfield dropped in among the judges for the inaugural season of the popular reality show, along with RuPaul, Michelle Visage and comedian Alan Carr. In the first clip released from the show, Garfield expresses his gratitude.

Related: Andrew Garfield dedicates Best Actor Tony win to LGBTQ community in empowering speech

“Ru, I am so happy. I feel like a competition winner, and the prize is a day in gay heaven. Thank you so much,” Garfield beams.

“I’ll let you know what gay heaven is in just a little bit!” RuPaul says, looking quite thirsty. Not that we blame him…

Other celebrity judges for the season include Geri Halliwell Horner, singer Cheryl and Twiggy.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK debuts October 3.


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PHOTOS: Meet Alec Smith, the CrossFit athlete who just burst out of the closet

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A CrossFit athlete and popular Instagrammer has come out of the closet in a candid and touching post.

Alec Smith shared his story via Instagram video, naturally, telling his 300K+ follower:

“I know this isn’t a fitness related post, but there’s been something on my mind that I’ve been wanting to talk to you guys about for a while now.”

He continued:

“I think I’m finally ready to. So, I’m gay, and I’m at a point in my life now where I’m okay with that.”

Related: Star 29-year-old athlete James Faulkner celebrates his birthday by coming out

He went on to share that he first became aware of his sexuality during adolescence and that he “hated” himself because of it.

“Ever since I was a kid, I told myself that I was never gonna tell anybody and figure it out when I’m older,” he said. “And I’m older, and I’m still figuring it out now. I still don’t really know who I am and it’s okay. It’s okay to not know who you are.”

For the many people struggling with the same issues, Alec advised:

“Don’t feel pressured into telling anybody anything you don’t have to. This is your life, you shouldn’t have to please anybody else. When the time is right, it takes some people a month and it takes some people 26 years. Focus on yourself.”

Related: Champion Israeli wrestler Nir Rotenberg wants to be a role model for queer athletes

The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Tyler Oakley wrote:

“proud of you! thank you for sharing your truth. congratulations & welcome to the fam!”

And the sentiment was repeated hundreds of times in other comments.

Watch below:

View this post on Instagram

Took a DNA test, turns out I’m gay ?

A post shared by Alec Smith (@alecsmith8) on

And just because we’re here already, here’s a taste of his other posts:

View this post on Instagram

When you realize the Games are over ????? That post Games depression is real, anyone else agree?! ????? ????????? I am excited to settle in and relax a bit this week, and am even more excited to start preparing for next year. So much can be done between now and then. ????????? With the help of my @steadymd doctor, I’m ready to figure out what I can do between now and then to maximize my training. My doctor knows that true healthcare is not just sick care. It’s working together to keep me healthy, long-term. It’s extending my CrossFit career for as long as possible, and helping me optimize the way my body works. ????????? Having a doctor that not only knows my sport but who also does CrossFit themselves is a complete game changer. But it’s not just for competitors. If you want a doctor that can help you make long-lasting lifestyle changes and be proactive about your health, then check out @SteadyMD. Link in my bio for more info ? ????????? ? @jonpaynephoto #CrossfitGames #Fitness #Crossfit

A post shared by Alec Smith (@alecsmith8) on


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Democratic strategist clarifies Buttigieg remarks, voices unequivocal support for all LGBTQ people

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Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic political strategist based in South Carolina, made some head scratching remarks about Pete Buttigieg to Vanity Fair earlier this week. Now, he’s clarifying what he meant. And it looks like it was all a misunderstanding.

In the article, Seawright was quoted as calling Buttigieg’s sexuality “a distraction” that “presents a challenge” for his presidential campaign.

He then suggested being gay was a choice when he said, “He can share his story, and talk about how the things he will fight for will impact communities regardless of who he chooses to love.”

After that, Seawright advised that if Buttigieg wants to succeed, he should quit talking about his personal life and instead focus on “the issues of the day.”

The comments, paired with the fact that Seawrite is a member of a church that condemns same-sex relationships, left many people with an uneasy feeling.

Related: Democratic strategist calls Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality a “distraction” and being gay a choice

Seawright has since clarified his remarks in a series of tweets posted earlier today.

In the first tweet, he writes: “Unfortunately the words I used in a recent @VanityFair article about @PeteButtigieg communicated the opposite of what I intended to say.”

He followed that up with a second tweet that read: “I know that being gay is not a choice, and I support full equality and acceptance for LGBTQ people no matter who they are, who they love, where they live, or how they identify.”

We appreciate Seawright taking the time to clarify things, as well as his vocal support for LGBTQ people. Miscommunications and misinterpretations happen from time to time, and it looks like this was one of those times.

Related: New Republic in crisis mode after publishing homophobic hit piece about Pete Buttigieg’s sex life


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What to Watch: A gay marathon, classic ‘Women,’ a ‘Rocketman’ sing-along and puppet fantasy

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JIllian Bell with Micah Stock in ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’

Stepping out on a movie date this weekend? Netflix and chillin? Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch. Enjoy!

The Step Out: Brittany Runs A Marathon

The Sundance smash finally comes to theatres this week. Gay writer/director Paul Downs Colazzio channels his queer sensibilities into this true story, with hilarious results. Jillian Bell stars as the title character, an overweight, low self-esteem party girl who decides to turn her life around by getting in shape. Along the way, she offloads more than calories, facing down her demons and self-image, which weigh her down far more. Bell shines in the lead, as does Micah Stock, who plays her gay bestie. Much like movies like Trainwreck, Brittany Runs A Marathon will do just about anything for a laugh. Unlike other comedies though, it has some very moving twists.

In theatres August 23.

The Sing-Along: Rocketman

The hit Elton John biopic lands on Blu-Ray August 27, featuring some terrific special features including deleted scenes, extended musical numbers and a special sing-along mode. Taron Egerton proves his range as Elton, while Jamie Bell gives a terrific supporting turn as lyricist Bernie Taupin. The real star though is Elton’s music. Rocketman revives some of Elton’s standards and a few overlooked gems with old-school Hollywood musical flare. Try to watch and not want to dance.

On Blu Ray August 27.

The Binge: 13 Reasons Why Season 3

The queer-affirming Netflix drama returns for a third season this week. This new series finds the melancholy lead Clayton (Dylan Minnette) still wrangling with the guilt over friend Hannah Baker’s suicide, and facing a police investigation over the murder of school bully Bryce. The show toys with the whodunnit formula in an already scarred high school as it tries to move away from the conspiratorial drama of the first two seasons. Will it work? One way to find out…

Streams on Netflix August 23.

The Classic: Designing Women

The campy 80s sitcom lands on Hulu this week, bringing with it a treasure trove of southern belle zingers. For the uninitiated (and we know a few of you do exist) Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Delta Burke and Jean Smart star as four women running an interior design business together in Atlanta, Georgia, and cope with sexism, aging and troubles with men. The show is worth watching for three reasons: one, it’s damn funny. Two, to find out what happened “the night the lights went out in Georgia.” And three, to prime for reading about all the ridiculous behind-the-scenes drama that doomed the series.

Streams on Hulu. 

The Commemorative: Making The Boys

The Boys in the Band playwright Mart Crowley turns 84 this week. As such, we recommend this documentary look at his life, and his seminal work. The Boys in the Band is not a movie that ages well; today it plays more like a treatise on self-loathing and homophobia than anything else. Making the Boys, however, provides important context for the creation of the play and subsequent film, its cultural impact, and just why it doesn’t hold up today. As a bonus, the doc also includes Crowley’s home movies of parties at Roddy McDowell’s beach house, and feature him hobnobbing with friends Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Judy Garland, Tuesday Weld and Julie Andrews.

Streams on Kanopy.

The OG: The Dark Crystal

Ok, so it’s not queer, exactly, but for so many of us of a certain age, The Muppets provided a moral compass to celebrate diversity, uniqueness, creativity, chosen family and the courage to be ourselves. Muppet creator Jim Henson crafted his masterwork in The Dark Crystal—a dark, hallucinatory sci-fi/fantasy film that, to this day, remains the only film performed with an all-puppet cast. Taking inspiration from Lord of the Rings and Grimm’s fairy tales, the story follows an elf-like Gelfling on a quest to free his world from the tyranny of the evil Skeksis, a race of reptilian beasts. For viewers who can get past the sheer weirdness of it all, The Dark Crystal offers a reward in the form of an artistic treasure and as an overlooked classic. So why watch it now? Check back with us next week…

Streams on Netflix, Amazon, VUDU, YouTube and iTunes.

The Sip: The Rocketman

Since we just know you’ll want to sing along to the Rocketman soundtrack–and since some of you will no doubt need a bit of lubrication to do so–this week we offer The Rocketman, a fruity vodka beverage designed to fire your thrusters.

  • 1 oz citrus vodka
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1/4 oz blue Curaçao
  • 1 oz water

Pour grenadine into glass with ice. Carefully pour water over the top. Mix Curaçao and vodka in a glass and pour over grenadine to create a layered effect. Serve.


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WATCH: Log Cabin Republican spokesperson gives absurd defense of Trump on Fox News

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A spokesperson for the Log Cabin Republicans has defended the group’s endorsement of Donald Trump in the 2020 election as well as downplayed the resignation of longtime board member Jennifer Horn.

Charles Moran took to Fox News (where else?) to try to qualify the baffling endorsement. The Trump administration has attacked LGBTQ rights almost nonstop since taking office, prompting Jennifer Horn to resign from the all-gay Republican group in disgust after the announcement.

Related: Gay Republicans are fleeing Log Cabin after Trump endorsement

“Jennifer is a friend and up until 24 hours ago she was a fellow board member with me on the national board,” said Moran. “But like so many disaffected Republicans who have not been comfortable with President Trump and with his record, I look at the question of, ‘Is America better off now than it was four years ago and is the LGBT community better off now than it was four years ago?’ And under President Trump, the answer is inarguably, yes. President Trump is the first person elected president of the United States who supported gay marriage and also has a background supporting equality issues both as a businessman and as a philanthropist. But now also as a president of the United States.”

Related: Trump says his ‘biggest supporters’ are LGBTQ, invents fake gay ‘award’ he never received

“We always try to follow the rule of trust but verify,” Moran also added. “And looking at President Trump’s appointments, appointing people in our organization, taking meetings with our organization, and just really advancing the big causes that are important to the LGBTQ community.”

Trump’s appointees to the judiciary and his cabinet are some of the most ardently anti-queer justices in history. Judges like Brett Kavanaugh and Matthew J. Kacsmaryk have both criticized protections of LGBTQ works, transgender rights and marriage equality. Kacsmaryk has even referred to queer people as suffering from a psychological disorder. 

In addition to the resignation of Jennifer Horn, a number of prominent leaders of local chapters of the Log Cabin Republicans have also resigned over the endorsement of Trump.


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The Hornets should just become the NBA’s weirdest science experiment

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The Charlotte Hornets 2019 season should be interesting for NBA fans to watch ... or not!

It’s hard not to think of the word hopeless whenever someone says Charlotte Hornets. The word has long summed up their existence, and in the aftermath of a 39-win season the Hornets entered this summer with A) no genuine desire to keep their top two scorers, and B) a delusional wish to recover in the short term.

It’s a depressing cognitive dissonance — let’s not pay our most talented players what they’re worth despite having a higher payroll than the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Utah Jazz — that’s contributed to an endless run of sub-mediocre basketball. When they do feel like spending money, be it trading for a beefy contract or signing one in free agency, the results have not been great.

Big picture: The Hornets have no interest in suffering for the sake of long-term gain, only suffering for the sake of fabricating a pretend world. The result is what’s led us to the present, where one of the darkest outlooks in recent NBA history has made an appearance. Charlotte is bad in the worst type of way, with no obvious guiding light to get them through this upcoming season. Their goals are muddy. Should they try to win, lose on purpose, swap young talent out for experienced veterans, or slash payroll and barrel roll to the bottom?

It’s reasonable to debate which option is best, but their current position makes it difficult to complete any one of them. It’s such an awful, untethered-lifeboat spot to be in, and barring a few lucky ping pong balls in the next couple NBA lotteries, Charlotte’s path to relevance will be less pleasant than a stroll through Chernobyl. When has an NBA team had less to play for?

What they should do will never happen for a variety of reasons — both fair and idiotic — but it’s the only alternative that makes them, at the very least, interesting. With a callback to the 2015-17 Brooklyn Nets and Process-obsessed Philadelphia 76ers, the Hornets should adopt analytically inclined principles that were designed to help navigate tough times, then raise the volume to 100.

Lose-lose situations are filled with desperation, so, as a basketball team and an entertainment product, the Hornets might as well moonlight as a spectacle, the club willing to shatter boundaries and stretch limits. Instead of treating this season like a normal team would — winning 28 games, getting the eighth pick, and then sleep-walking through the next half-decade — it’s an opportunity for Charlotte to drop everything and become a science experiment. Take two or three trademark qualities — be it three-point attempts, field goals attempted in the first five seconds of the shot clock, passes completed per possession, a defensive scheme that requires at least four players to always have at least one foot in the paint/one with an all-out obsession to contest every three — and take them where no team ever has. The NBA is more riveting when one team is willing to break things. Charlotte’s inexhaustible futility makes it the quintessential candidate.

It’s pointless to build a culture while floating in purgatory. Instead, the Hornets should bake a couple of ingredients listed above deep into their playing style, then dedicate themselves to earnest idiosyncrasy. Don’t dip a toe into the water; live on the ocean floor. Make the Houston Rockets rub their chins.

This defies an important rule followed by every smart NBA coach: Mold a system around the players instead of forcing the players to execute a system. Know personnel. Be aware of strengths and weaknesses. But the Hornets can afford to throw that out the window and cram everyone under one umbrella. Unlike Cleveland, Washington, Orlando, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Memphis, New York, Minnesota, and every other team that’s likely headed for the lottery, there’s a good chance Charlotte doesn’t have any players who will still be around when it wins another playoff series. It’s an odd situation, one that reduces the need to develop prospects in an environment that encourages positive habits. That’s what happens when you build your team with the mentality of someone who thinks they can hold a puff of smoke in their bare hands.

By letting Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb walk, then replacing them with Terry Rozier (who just shot below 40 percent from the field for the fourth straight season), Charlotte landed an epic one-two punch square in its own face: This might be the least talented team in the league and owner of the worst assets. Every other franchise else can sell their fanbase on a rebuild, be it around a blue-chip prospect, upcoming free agency cycle, or the lottery. The Hornets can’t lean on any of those options and it’s unclear how they’ll turn any one of them in their favor.

Rank every asset in the league. How many of Charlotte’s crack the top 100? Including its own pick in the 2020 draft. Malik Monk is 75 percent of a useful NBA player; in his own words, Miles Bridges “played like ass” as a rookie and is currently nothing more than an assumption; and PJ Washington feels like a low-ceiling draft pick that should be avoided by teams that can’t even tread water. Everyone else is either faulty or overpaid. (The Hornets also just lowballed a beloved franchise player who was emotionally invested in making it work. This is a textbook way to turn yourself into a farfetched free-agent destination for years to come.)

Where do they go from here? A wonky, bold approach to the regular season wouldn’t reward them with a playoff spot or even guarantee a modest increase to their winning percentage, but transparent experimentation would still be commendable. Play Michael Kidd-Gilchrist exclusively as a backup center, tell Rozier and Nicolas Batum their season will be considered a disappointment if they don’t finish top 10 in pull-up threes, fine Dwayne Bacon every time he shoots a jumper inside the arc. These ideas only scratch the surface of what Charlotte should be willing to try, and some may place them beneath an unwanted spotlight. So what, though? They’re already a laughingstock, and, for the most part, have always been one.

The Hornets have won four playoff series in their history, and none have come since a humiliating return as the Bobcats in 2005. (From then until today, no organization has scored fewer points.) Their draft picks range from disappointing to decent—worse so when you see where they were selected—and as Michael Jordan’s ownership reign ends its first decade, the Hornets still have no legacy to uphold.

Heading into 2020 and beyond, there’s little reason to believe in a turnaround. Hopeless means there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but it also means they have nothing to lose. Charlotte needs to act like it.


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