Legal action colludes with homophobia.
Donate winnings to gay charity, Williams urged.
London – 9 December 2005
Pop star Robbie Williams is under fire from gay campaigners after he successfully sued The People newspaper and the Northern & Shell magazines, Star and Hot Stars, over gay sex allegations.
The 31-year old, who is Britain ‘s number one pop singer, won over £200,000 in damages.
“Whatever Robbie’s intention, his legal action has created the impression he thinks it is shameful to be gay,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group OutRage!
“If he sees nothing wrong with being gay, why did he sue for libel?
“Robbie comes across as two-faced. In the past he has made statements suggesting he might be gay. Now he has the temerity to sue a newspaper for making similar suggestions.
“He has previously teased his gay fans with comments appearing to confirm that he has had gay relationships. In the light of his legal action, were these teasing remarks were a cynical attempt to exploit the gay market?
“Robbie may claim he did not sue over allegations of homosexuality; only over allegations he lied about this sexuality. But the court case contested allegations of gayness, as well as issues of deception. Regardless of Robbie’s professed aim, many people will see his libel action as having a whiff of homophobia.
“When pop singer Jason Donovan sued The Face magazine in the early 1990s over allegations he was gay, it badly damaged his career. Robbie may suffer a similar big loss of support. How can we respect someone who apparently regards it as a slur to suggest he fancies men?
“Robbie wanted to prove he is straight. Instead, he hasalienated many loyal gay fans and liberal-minded heterosexuals. He seems to be saying that he regards the allegation of homosexuality as a stain on his reputation – a blot that requires legal action to refute. This smacks of collusion with homophobia.
“We don’t know whether Robbie is gay or straight. It is irrelevant. Our concern is that he feels libel action is appropriate to counter suggestions that he might be covering up homosexuality.
“If Robbie wants to make amends, and reassure his gay fans, he should donate his libel winnings to a hard-pressed gay charity like Lesbian and Gay Switchboard,” said Mr Tatchell.
According to London ‘s Daily Mail newspaper on 7 December:
Ironically, on the very day that 31-year-old Williams won his case, he was once again joking that he might be gay.
“There is plenty of time to settle down with the right girl – that’s of course if I’m not gay,” he said on The Today Show, a national breakfast-time programme in Australia .
“That’s what they keep suggesting, but I’m not gay in Australia. I’m gay in a lot of places, but not there for some reason.
“It’s the love that dare not speak its name and they’ll say it’s the basis of all my shame.”
The Daily Mail report continued:
He (RW) jokes about his sexuality and once sang: “Am I straight or gay?”
Rumours have surrounded the star’s sexuality since he first found fame in Take That.
His former bandmate Howard Donald said in a recent documentary: “Robbie just doesn’t know what he is. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was bisexual.”
The man who briefly managed him after he left the band, Kevin Kinsella, has also gone on record to say he believes Williams is gay.
The singer has often joked about the rumours, including saying his friend Jonathan Wilkes and former writing partner Guy Chambers – who are both married – were his gay lovers.
He has twice written songs questioning his own sexuality.
In Old Before I Die, he sings: “Am I straight or gay?”, while in Kids, the lyrics say: “Press be asking do I care for sodomy, I don’t know, yeah, probably,” reported the Daily Mail.
Daily Mail, 7 December 2005 (more excerpts)
Robbie Williams: Often likes to joke about the rumours
Now, at last, the great Robbie Williams debate appears to have been settled.
The star’s lawyer has declared that the singer is, in fact, heterosexual.
The announcement came after Williams won a case against three publications for saying he was gay.
The singer accepted libel damages of more than £200,000 after a newspaper and two magazines claimed his official biography was deceiving the public by leaving out his homosexual experiences.
His counsel, Tom Shields QC, told the High Court the publications had agreed to the out-of-court settlement, which included costs, after admitting they were wrong. He added: “Mr Williams is not, and has never been, homosexual.”
Williams sued The People and the Northern & Shell magazines Star and Hot Stars over claims that he had sex with a man in a lavatory at a Manchester club when he was in the boy band Take That.
The story, first printed in The People under the headline Robbie’s Secret Lover, went on to claim that Williams had tried to have sex with the man again later the same year.
The claims came out at the same time as the singer’s biography Feel, by journalist Chris Heath, and suggested Williams was about to deceive the public by pretending his only sexual relations had been with women.
His counsel said none of the allegations were true and, “accordingly, the book Feel did not lie about his sexuality”.
Although he says he is desperate to settle down with a woman and start a family, the singer has not had a serious relationship since splitting with former All Saints singer Nicole Appleton seven years ago.
He admitted that naked pictures taken of him and onetime flame Rachel Hunter were a publicity stunt, while questions have also been raised about another very public relationship with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.