This puts us in an especially tricky situation when the subject at hand is something that ordinarily, without the word-of-mouth, did-you-hear echo chamber of the web, would have garnered no attention at all.
Do you speak out and attempt to shed clarity on the issue? Or by speaking at all, are you just drawing more attention to something that shouldn't even be considered real news?
In June, a German named Christoph Topitschnig, who owns a website called V-Generations, apparently wrote an article on Ellen Page and the politics of outing. Referring to her as "the tiny hypocrite," Topitschnig blamed the Oscar nominee for drawing rumors regarding her sexuality, by way of "questionable actions." In Topitschnig's opinion, these actions included her participation in suggestive photoshoots for her butch-friendly film Whip It in 2008, and her activism on behalf of GLBTQ and other progressive organizations, while supposedly keeping her own sexual identity a secret.
Yesterday, Topitschnig took his attack on Page a giant step further, posting an article called "Ellen Page - The Hypocrite." He begins by attacking Hollywood actors for "hiding in their closets," and then comes out with this extremely creepy statement:
I think I gave Ellen Page a decent chance to come out with the truth. Two months ago, I mentioned her in my LGBT article and made it pretty clear what she had to do. (Yes, she knows about this site.)
He then goes on to detail what he believes to be "the truth" about Ellen Page. I don't care what she does with her private life, so I'm not going to bore you with the details. But I was alarmed to see reports of this article surfacing across the web tonight, without anyone pointing out the obvious: Christoph Topitschnig is not a journalist, and in fact appears to have an unhealthy obsession with certain celebrities. As early as 2009, he published a series of articles claiming to "expose" celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, and Page, as so-called "fake humanitarians."
It should go without saying that outing somebody against their will is unethical journalism. That's why, just as an example, when journalist Tom Junod not so subtly implied that Kevin Spacey was gay in a cover story for Esquire in the 90's entitled "Kevin Spacey has a secret," he was roundly trounced and blacklisted in Hollywood for a while.
But it's harder on the internet, because all it takes is one inflammatory article, whether based on total hearsay or not, to spread around the web. Perez Hilton is not a journalist. He's just a guy with a blog who only has credence because we give him credence. This Christoph dude. Not a journalist. Just some guy with a blog.
It should go without say that assuming celebrities owe the public some debt of disclosure regarding their personal life is a rabidly unhealthy degree of obsession. It's the kind of mentality that creates fans who believe they have some kind of ownership over the actors and creators they laud, the kind of mentality that drives people further into their shelters of privacy. Like Spacey, actually.
Ellen has never been in or out of any closets. And why should she be? She's too busy being awesome, and keeping her personal life to herself.
Let's let her keep it that way, and not give this asshole any more credence by spreading his amateurish attempt at "news" around.