The Central Front
Michael Rogers Goes On The Record
This evening I conducted a telephone interview with Michael Rogers of BlogActive.com. He agreed to an on the record interview regarding the situation between himself and GayPatriot. [writer's note: I refer to GayPatriot by that name because that is the name he wrote under. GayPatriot has since been identified but I chose to use his pen name. UPDATE: What follows is a recounting of that conversation not an actual transcript of the interview.]
GayPatriot posted to his site Michael Rogers' picture with the following caption, ""WANTED! Let's do something about these gay terrorists who have infected our community with their hatred and self-loathing bigotry of gay Americans who wish to live their lives in peace."
GayPatriot then removed the post and added one informing his readers that he was no longer associated with the GayPatriot site and would no longer be writing as GayPatriot. Later in the day, he posted an entry informing readers that the GayPatriot website did not advocate violence.
Since that time the blogosphere has been buzzing with various theories as to what transpired. Presumably GayPatriot released his side of the story through Christian Grantham and we have no reason to doubt Grantham's reporting on this issue.
Michael Rogers admits to calling GayPatriot's place of employment on two separate occasions. The purpose of the calls was to speak with GayPatriot directly. In the first call he spoke with the person that answered the phone, a lady, and asked to speak with GayPatriot. According to Rogers, he was not available and he left a message that he would like to speak with him regarding a posting to the GayPatriot website which possibly had legal ramifications. He also said he made it clear that he was not accusing GayPatriot of anything. After a period of time when he had not received a return call from GayPatriot, he called again. When asked directly if he was at any time threatening during these calls, Rogers denied such allegations. He did however say that GayPatriot was the public representative for his firm. As such, Rogers felt he had the right to speak with the shareholders of the company regarding the actions of GayPatriot as those actions could be viewed as detrimental to the company and that he subsequently told GayPatriot this.
I asked Rogers if he had seen the posting in question. He stated that he had. He said that he immediately felt as if his life had been threatened. The posting, in his opinion, appeared to be a "hit list." Rogers said he had seen this sort of tactic used before against doctors who perform abortions and felt that someone would take this posting to be a call to do violence against him. He felt threatened.
Rogers related that he did speak directly to GayPatriot about the posting and told him of his feelings. At this point he says that GayPatriot began speaking in a loud manner and told Rogers that he was going to kill himself. Rogers said GayPatriot repeated the claim that he was going to kill himself and hung up the phone. Rogers was shaken by their conversation and was going to call the police because he was actually afraid that GayPatriot could possibly follow through. Rogers then said that GayPatriot called him back and told him that he only did that to make a point to Rogers.
Rogers has been actively involved in revealing the sexual orientation of several prominent figures. According to Rogers, GayPatriot said he was trying to show Rogers how that felt and asked him how he would feel if someone did actually kill themselves because of something Rogers had said or wrote.
Rogers stated in our interview that this was the basic nature of all the telephone conversations he had with GayPatriot. He stated he never asked him to quit writing and he stated for the record that he has no legal actions pending against GayPatriot at this time. Rogers said he has tried to contact GayPatriot's lawyer regarding this subject but has not received a return call.
Rogers does stand by his feelings that the "wanted" posting was a call for action. In our interview he said that if someone posted a picture of George Bush with the same wording found with his picture on GayPatriot's site, that they would most likely be investigated. He felt those words were used intentionally and with a reason. However, when asked if GayPatriot should return to writing Rogers says that is "his decision" and that he doesn't really have an opinion either direction. Rogers also pointed out that he had encouraged GayPatriot to start his blog.
I asked Rogers about the "outing" of others. Rogers prefers the term "reporting" to "outing". I asked him what the threshold should be for reporting on someone's sexual orientation. Rogers said that to him it was clear; a Senior staffer or any person directly involved with forming public policies or laws that are harmful to gay persons. He says their sexual preference is relevant when a gay person is taking actions against the interest of gay people.
Before our interview began I found it interesting that Rogers asked me my age and how long I had been out. I told him I was 42 years old and that I never had really came out as I was never really in the closet. Not so much by choice, but having grown up in rural northeast Texas there really was no way to hide it.
He asked me that question because he was trying to gage my experience as a gay man. Rogers comes from a very different time, a time I can also remember. A time when things weren't as good for gay people as they are today. He related working for the Harvey Milk school and seeing kids branded and abused because they were gay. This, he said, is what motivated him to work for gay rights and why he thinks it is shameful that a gay person, closeted or otherwise, would promote and use fear of gay people to gain success. He has seen the results which that fear can produce.
Rogers feels if a gay person does these kinds of things then these people should be exposed for the hypocrites they are. When asked, he clearly stated that the party affiliation had no bearing. He would "out" Republicans, Democrats or whoever if they were acting in this manner. He also referred me to a posting on his site which was in reference to a Democrat. He states he would not protect a Democrat simply because they were a Democrat.
I also asked Rogers about LimeSchurbet having to change ISPs and what his involvement was with that. LimeSchurbet had basically recreated GayPatriot's earlier posting on his website except he added language advocating non-violent measures. Rogers said that under advice of an attorney he was told to point the posting out to the ISP for the site. This was the only action Rogers said he took. He states that he did not at any time ask the ISP to take down LimeSchurbet's site. That decision he presumes was made by the ISP themselves. Rogers made it clear that he had not asked for any site to be taken down.
In closing I asked Rogers what was the one thing he would like people to know about this situation. He said it was that he felt GayPatriot's post was a threat on his life. That he at no time asked GayPatriot to stop writing and that he never requested a site to be taken down.
Michael Rogers agreed to an interview at my request and it was on the record. He was not told what the questions would be and he did not shy away from answering any question that I asked. His demeanor during our interview was cordial and polite. Regardless of the question, he never lost his composure. The above does not represent my opinion on this subject. I have written that in other posts. It represents his side of the story and his side alone. I have emailed GayPatriot and asked him for an on record interview regarding this situation. I have tried not to color, shape or editorialize on Michael Rogers' comments and I make no guarantee to their accuracy beyond that they fairly represent what was said during our interview.
*UPDATE: Michael Rogers emailed me this morning after reading the above and wanted to make one clarification. He said that GayPatriot's attorney "did pick up the phone on one occasion only to hang up on me within 30seconds or so -- He was rather outraged that I called him, despite that fact that Bruce had given me his phone number and told me to contact him via his attorney."