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Is Dan Choi paid for activism?

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin

Timothy Kincaid

July 30th, 2010

LezGetReal’s Melanie Nathan is reporting some interesting observations about Lt. Dan Choi’s activism. Although she had been a fan and supporter, her curiosity was peaked by Choi’s seeming delay in reporting his discharge.

After reading the piece, it seemed rather odd to me that a month had gone by and Dan had not made his discharge public. I too thought, for the man who has become the face of DADT repeal, letting people know about an event like his discharge under DADT should have been a pretty important event to Dan as well. As an activist why did he not immediately inform the LGBT community, all who have invested in his journey and had eyes on his every move.

So while not my beat, I began to look for my own answers. I first asked Dr. Brooks what was up with all of this?

She told me she thought, in her opinion, Choi had probably turned “pro” and the reason for not saying anything about the discharge might stem from the fact the uniform was a pretty good prop and to wear the uniform after you are discharged, is a federal crime. She also told me she has been trying to get him to clear up some questions she had about financial issues for better then a month.

Melanie’s investigation led her to the discovery that Dan Choi has an agent and is being paid speakers fees for his appearances.

One of many sources who asked to remain anonymous, has informed Lez Get Real “I know for a fact that what you are saying about Lt. Choi is true and factual. He spoke at Texas A & M. Lt. Choi was one of my biggest inspirations because I too am a US Veteran, and I am gay too. I have since also questioned his motives tremendously, and lost a lot of respect for him as a person, and as a soldier and activist.

He required Texas A & M to pay him $7500 and then tacked on an additional $2300 for travel expenses. He also required that they fly him first class. His agent is also a miserable human being. Since this was done through a school I’m sure there are records of it.

This appeared consistent with a story of students at Texas Tech who were unable to bring Choi to their campus because they did not have a budget for the speakers fees. And follow up work confirmed the stories.

I already checked with a source involved in the deal with Choi, he confirmed that Dan was paid. He told me that his TX AE has a budget for speakers and expects to pay. They dealt only with the Agent. I was told that The Tech Kids never had a budget.

Nathan is concerned that this may be motivating some of Choi’s activism.

The nature of his behavior is what impacts and ups his price on the speaker circuit, whether motivated by such or not; some of the antics may not be good for DADT repeal. My assertion is that if one does not have pure motives while being an activist, hampered by publicity stunts that serve to raise one’s price, and get one from coach to first class, points to a serious conflict of interests, unless the boundaries are very clear and then not crossed. In this instance Dan’s silence has created doubt as to whether there are any boundaries at all.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with professional speakers being paid speaker fees. While most activists do so on their own dollar – often at great personal expense – professional speakers need to buy food and housing as much as the rest of us. Life is great when you get paid for doing what you love and for making the world a better place.

And if Dan Choi wants to engage in public actions which are designed to increase his marketability, I have no objection. If his goal is to raise his public profile so as to maximize his financial future, that is only smart. Plenty of celebrities have additional motivations attached to their good works.

But, if Nathan’s report is true, it does provide some explanation for Choi’s recent actions. And it does flavor my perspective on his character and my willingness to support his activism decisions without question.

Comments

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Lost Choi
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, if this is true, then this too greatly colors my perception of Dan Choi as well.

Can we confirm this? Can we track down his agent and learn for sure if Dan is charging money? And then we must wonder if he’s changed from devoted activist to professional speaker?

I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I worry my blogname is coming true.

Joe in California
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I doubt that he has that many speaking engagements that bring in $7500/event nor that he has such engagements lined up every day of the week! This would make the difference here. Did Melanie mention how many such engagements Lt. Choi has? Hmmm…
Dan Choi is on the front lines here.
Can anyone else do as much or as well as he has in the support of DADT’s repeal. I say he needs to be compensated. His work is needed and appreciated.
I support you Lt.Choi!

Ray
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I hate gossip and that’s what all of this sounds like. The guy sticks his neck out, fights for his job and reputation, and he gets nitpicked and second-guessed.

You know, I’ve been a coward so many times when I should have stood up for myself. I’m deaf and that pretty much renders me voiceless. I’m glad to see someone who is outraged and has the balls to show it. Dan seems like an extension of my inner turmoil that somehow managed to get loose and do some long-delayed screaming back while my always moderate side sits with it’s teeth clinched and says nothing.

He gets to make his mistakes as far as I’m concerned.

Regan DuCasse
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Um…Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher and George Rekers aren’t even revealing how they are paid OR spend THEIR money.
They aren’t doing what they do for free, and NONE of them served this country in uniform at ALL.
In fact, very few of the opposition can point to making ANY sacrifices or did anything in the protection of anyone’s rights, except their own.
Which aren’t under attack in the first place.
If Dan Choi is starting to receive any compensation for his appearances. And this seems to be a very recent thing, he’s entitled to it.

He’s got much more moral authority TO speak on this issue. He’s young, strong, good looking and speaks eloquently and powerfully.
He SHOULD be promoted as the star of our movement. Why not?
More power to him for getting paid.

Lar
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

As far as I know, he has never stated that he has a trust fund or comes from a family with money, as a service member, I am sure that he was not able to amass much money from that source. (Speaking from 22 yrs of experience) With bouncing around the country like he does, I am quite sure that no “normal employer” would tolerate continued sporadic absence, so that established, I commend Lt. Choi for the work he is doing and finding a way to fund his efforts, like Joe in CA said “I doubt that he has that many speaking engagements that bring in $7500/event nor that he has such engagements lined up every day of the week!”, so if you average it all out, he is in no way getting rich off his efforts, keep up the great work Dan, hope to see more of you out there!!

John in the Bay Area
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

He seems to be doing a lot more than Solomonese, and probably for a lot less pay.

I think that the thing that would most undermine his credibility is coddling politicians who are working against our rights…(sound familiar HRC?).

Wayne Besen
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Dan Choi should get paid. He does great work and needs to make a living.

If all activists worked for free — only the wealthy could be activists. Personally, I think there is a place for LGBT activists who don’t have trust funds.

What do people expect Choi to do while he travels the nation on their behalf, starve so they can tell him how great, pure and selfless he is? Please.

Activists should be compensated based on success — and I think it is fair to say that Choi has had a stellar year.

Give the guy a fucking raise.

Christian K
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

ZOMG Dan Choi is.. (((GASP!!))) making a living!! OH no! We must put a stop to this! He must be punished, and vilified! Yes! VILIFIED!! No one can make money! They must be poor or we can’t support them! It’s totally dishonest to make money from doing “stuff”. “Stuff” should be done for free!! Sing Kumbaya before the capitalist taint steals your soul!! Kumbaya now!! KUMBAYA!!!

People seriously need to calm down, we are talking about a man who just lost his job in a poor economy. Actually I think this shows good old fashion homo-resourcefulness. He is a role model to us all.

Lost Choi
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

For the sake of discussion: the following information from CharityNavigator.org shows the total compensation of the top leaders of some of the best known gay advocacy organizations:

Human Rights Campaign Foundation:
President J. Solmonese: $257,000

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:
Executive Director A. Sarvis: $141,000

GLAAD:
President N. Giuliano: $238,000

Lambda Legal:
Executive Director K. Cathcart: $259,000

Continuing, for the sake of discussion: what if we assume this article’s information is correct and Dan is now a professional speaker. What if we assume that Dan is asking & getting ~$7500 per speaking engagement (plus covered travel expenses in First Class.) At a conservative one (1) engagement per week, that’s nearly $400,000 per year. After a 25% cut for his agent, that’s a net of $300,000 per year.

~$300,000 for Dan Choi. That’s more than any of the above leaders currently receive. Is Dan overpaid? Underpaid? Does it matter? Questions to consider.

Robin
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with everyone else who believes Choi should be supported financially.

The issue is that this must be done as transparently as possible. Dan needs to be supported by donations or fees. It doesn’t really matter.

There are few people who are willing to do what he’s done, and yes, he sure needs to pay his bills, just like the rest of us.

I’d like to know why other people feel he should NOT receive speaker fees – What’s the concept behind him doing all this for no money?

BTW – I’m in the events business, and I promise you, there’s no way Dan’s getting one speaking engagement per week. No one does that much.

Timothy Kincaid
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Robin,

I don’t think there is anyone saying he should not get paid… at least not so far at this site. Heck, I’d love to get paid for activism.

Steve
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Activists need to make a living. Period.

People with a sliver of Choi’s visibility have hired booking agents. Period.

One of the challenges, being in the public eye, is that the team hired by or sharing the load with the activist needs to be on-message with the activism.

It doesn’t make sense that Choi is chewing up the HRC for being soft and money-driven and at the same time arbitrarily demanding first-class airfare and nearly 5-figure speaking fees. Those demands, if true, may have brought the agent success for other clients, but they aren’t likely to help Choi.

The agent’s message needs to be that his availability will be determined by the mission (benefiting the U.S. and those still serving) first and finances a distant, but necessary, second.

If the agent is anything less than on-board and on-message, s/he needs to be fired.

Steve
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

p.s…

Rumor-mongering about the the uniform being a pretty good prop, and that this is a fact which implies that Choi was attempting to get away with committing a federal crime is despicable.

Melanie Nathan
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

The bottom line is conflict of interests issues. When antics up your fee- and are being done in the name of a cause that impacts so many, there should be full disclosure. Its hard to separate motives.

I am an activist. Wayne how do you recommend I get Paid? My writing costs me money – does not make me money. My activism has halved my income. I have done some pretty impossible stuff for people for zero money- how do I get paid? Who the hell is interested in hearing ME speak. No one! Why? Because I have yet to tie myself to a fence as I quietly walk the halls asking Senators for Private Bills for bi-national couples who have no money and are about to be deported?

So my POINT is you have to showcase to up the ante – and CHOI has done just that – ! Hundreds of other DADT servicemen/women have lost their jobs and become activists too- imagine if they all chained themselves to the fence – Dan’s fee would go down. I rest my case. Melanie Nathan

Mark in Colorado
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Good for Dan. How many of us would go through being shackled and put in jail and humiliated by jail guards and still take the risk.

I have no time or interest in activist purists.

I vote and have money to give. Just not to activist purists who, frankly speaking are no different on either side of the spectrum. One just has to choose which poison or nectar you want–all about perspective.

AdrianT
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Daniel has nothing to be ashamed of. He has taken some incredible risks, put his career on the line, set an example, given many LGBT people a role model. He is worth every cent.

I hope he remains motivated by the will to see justice is done, to change attitudes, and show solidarity with and empower the vulnerable and the voiceless. The very people, who do not have such budgets. (I hope Dan might at least consider a corporate fee, a community fee and a charity discount.)

Paula Brooks
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I keep reading about his career being ended…. you do all realize that Choi left the active Army a year earlier…. and was serving only part time in the Guard when he came out on Maddow right?

I’d trade a 350 dollar a month Guard check for a 7500 dollar a pop activist gig any day…

Greg
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Bush and Palin make more than an order of magnitude more for a speech and they can’t even string together an intelligible sentence.

Dan
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I was an independent consultant for several years. I know it isn’t exactly the same, but having an irregular income, with no benefits, is difficult. You pay your own expenses, so you end up taking home much less than it seems. My hourly rate was more than $100, but my monthly income after expenses was well below average. And I didn’t have insurance.

If Dan Choi is a public speaker, I’d bet that his speaking schedule is not only less than one engagement a week, but also irregular and uncertain. Incidentally, Texas A&M is one of the largest universities in the US, so they probably can pay more than most for a speaker.

As for Choi not immediately announcing his discharge, my understanding is that Choi was in Mexico at the time and that word of the discharge reached his father, who hadn’t spoken to him in months. Dan simply didn’t know. As Steve said, it’s inexcusable to imply, with no evidence, that Choi delayed the announcement so that he could commit a felony.

Dan Choi deserves every penny he makes and more – and he deserves our support for the tremendous good he’s doing.

(btw I’m not Dan Choi, if it isn’t already obvious from my post.)

Rick Brentlinger
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I admire and respect Dan Choi. He is an honorable Christian man, a patriotic American and an asset to the gay community. I pray for him and his partner and wish them the best.

cedlitz
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

Since the good Lt. Choi has been discharged, he is presumably unemployed. He is doing a tremendous job of pushing our issues in the direction they need to go. These NOM … and other antigay pukes … are backed by many church folks and corporations. If he is being paid to spread ‘the word’ to people who are paying to hear it, that’s great. It means our precious dollars can go to other efforts. As far as first class is concerned; if he is traveling (apparently quite often) to spread our message, do we want to send him air-freight? Are those jail cells also first class? Haven’t we had enough of SECOND CLASS?

Tommy
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

“At a conservative one (1) engagement per week, that’s nearly $400,000 per year.”

LOL. No offense, but that is an idiotic calculation. When Dan was at Netroots Nation, he said himself that he was couch-surfing in some lesbians room. It’s really sick how some jealous or bitter people in the glbt community try to knock others down. The leader of HRC have been pulling down hundreds of thousands of $$$$$ for years and what have they accomplished? Dan Choi is totally sincere and making a huge impact. As far as I’m concerned, he deserved a hell of a lot of credit, not petty backstabbing.

David
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

I am not surprised at all that Dan Choi charges speaker’s fees – a lot of gay figures do, even ones no where near as well known as Choi. And I see nothing inappropriate about charging such fees. They sometimes waive these fees for impoverished groups if they are so inclined. Secondly, it is pointless to read anything sinister into his alleged “delay” in publicizing his discharge – obviously, it is possible to argue that he “delayed” for any of several motives – so, what’s the point of speculating? His discharge was certainly no secret before he “announced” it, so how was he possibly trying to conceal it? Let’s not put our brothers on such high pedestals that NO one can remain on.

Melanie Nathan
July 30th, 2010 | LINK

when you ACT for reward you focus not on the deed but on the doer. When there is no thought of the reward then there is no thought of the doer. When there is no thought of the doer, the deed is done with simplicity and grace- this is living with awe! (from Ethics of the Sages)

Motive impacting act – is there a conflict of interest when the doer ups the ante via deeds versus the purity of the deed itself?

That is the question not who earns what – truly I don’t care less about that – but I guess my thinking is just way too deep for some.

It is about Choi disclosing. I guess I did not rest my case – but this time relied on the wisdom of the sages!

For those of you who accept and trust blindly, throwing red herrings, such as jealousy, who earns what into the soup- all I can say is in missing the point you waste an opportunity to indulge in reality and clarity – so that we can know and define the boundaries to strategically serve a movement yet to be formed. Mel

Mike
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Well, in his defense he did just lose his job.

Paula Brooks
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Dan…. aaaaaummmmm Mexico?

So just how does a poor part time and now unemployed Army lieutenant afford to go to Mexico?

But it Could explain him making the rounds at Net Roots…. he needed more speaking gigs to pay for the trip….

I could not think of a better place to get free advertising

truthteller
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Stop with the Choi hate already. You sound like you’re part of gay inc., which I’m sure is shitting in their pants because as they sit in their comfy offices, Choi is out on the streets making a rukus and creating change. Their cash flow is in danger so bring that bastard, Choi down.

The fact you are all taking about Choi and not the guy from HRC is proof he is effective, so if you are not out there working for change, shut up and get out of the way so a soldier can fight for your rights.

Choi needs to charge $50,000 for speech not measly $7,500.

Paula Brooks
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

I know for a fact Dan was in his uniform on the 12th of July… during an appearance on MSNBC that was not from Mexico…. And he wore it again during his court appearance in DC, which last time I checked was also not in Mexico, on the 14th.

I also know for a fact that in addition to the letter sent to his father home, starting on June 29th, Choi was informed of his discharge with multiple phone messages to his cell phone from the NY National Guard…

And also know, first hand, that at least on the 8th of July, Dan’s cell phone was working…. because he sent me a rather piqued text message that in essence told me to back off on all the money questions…. so I can only consider he might have noticed he had voice mail from the NY National Guard…. when he sent that text to me…

Carmine A. Pasquale
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

‘Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.’ Eric Hoffer

Freddy
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

I just wanted to point out that Dan Choi is breaking no law in wearing his uniform that he purchased with his own money, if you take a look at it, there is nothing on the uniform that states U.S. Army as that, the rank and the unit crest have all been removed making it an almost ordinary piece of clothing. Dan Choi’s efforts are mainly directed at repealing DADT, if a soldier was to wear civilian clothing while being seeing in public, he would not stand out but just blend in to the public, the uniform is what associates him with the military and the cause he is fighting for. As for that, if you would like to have your own uniform, you can order one online from such places as Supertrooper and Brigade Quartermaster.

Billy Glover
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Who among you “commenters” has a right to discuss this issue?

I do. I gave my life to working for this cause, including the military issue-I was kicked out of the Army in late 1956. I want to hear what others who were kicked out have done since!

I’d like to hear from the dozens who were kept out of the military after being drafted, by the legal work of Don Slater and the Homosexual Information Center-with support from movement founders including Harry Hay, et al. They were not paid and should have been.

Who has given time, energy or money to this cause? If you didn’t give money to this person, you have no right to discuss it. And it sounds like communism to question his being paid to support his work. What colleges do with funds is irrelevant-but how many rightwingers have been paid by Texas A & M? And how does Choi get from Texas Tch and other places?

Whne ya’ll are ready to do what he is doing, for free, let the media know.

Priya Lynn
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Dan Choi getting paid is utterly irrelevant to his character. The idea that being paid has a negative impact on his activism is abusrd. Anything that raises his speaking fees does so because he’s having a greater positive impact and that is perfectly in line with effective activism.

Stephen
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

This piece makes me think of the anonymous rumors started in the military to out a gay service member thereby ending his or her career.

Jude
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Why shouldn’t he be paid to speak? His voice is powerful, his story is real and moving. A West Point graduate who speaks Arabic kicked out of the military when we are fighting a war (wrongly or rightly) is stupid.

Melanie, if you want people to pay you to speak, you need to have something to say that people will want to hear. Dan supports all of us. I don’t think he is doing this for himself.

Honestly, why do you care? You don’t make money off what you do. Gee Melanie, most activists don’t, including myself. In fact I spend quite a bit to support groups and causes.

From a straight ally, focus on the people who are trying to take away your rights.

Paula Brooks
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

I was a real admirer of Chois when he first came out on Maddow….

I thought yes finally a leader…. We can follow….

Then he started wearing his uniform to give his spiel… and as someone who was basically born in the military, something about that just did not sit right with me, so I started asking gay vets and finally other active duty gays what they thought.

After getting a mostly negatives from them, my little journey eventually took me to a gay Army Lt Col. and a West Point grad currently deployed to Afghanistan… What he told me has stuck with me ever since.

He said… “Paula… Dan Choi is made of the same stuff as George Custer was.”

I will let you all do your own historical research to the Cols reference to Custer.

Melanie Nathan
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

What part of this are you not getting? I wrote the original article. I agree it is perfectly fine for Dan Choi to get paid.

Read the full article that Box Turtle is quoting and just maybe you will understand the purpose of the questions.

You are all flying off on a tangent that is completely irrelevant…

http://lezgetreal.com/2010/07/dan-choi-discharge-raises-questions-about-activism-for-profit/

Jim Burroway
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Choi no longer has a job. He does have to make a living. I see no reason for that to be grounds for suspicion.

As to this statement:

But, if Nathan’s report is true, it does provide some explanation for Choi’s recent actions. And it does flavor my perspective on his character and my willingness to support his activism decisions without question.

Wait a minute. He handcuffed himself twice to the White House fence and garnered CNN coverage BEFORE he was discharged from the Army. His more recent actions, whether they were before or after his discharge (or before or after he learned of his discharge) appear, to me, little different. So I’m not sure what the point is about Choi’s most recent activism, given that it seems pretty much the same as what he has always been doing.

As to who said what to whom through third parties, etc. I’m disappointed that we’re giving so much credence to third- and fourth-hand information.

I think it’s fine to critique the effectiveness of his direct actions. I thought his handcuffing himself to the White House fence was very effective, if for no other reason that he got coverage from major news outlets. The more recent protests in the Capital Rotunda and Las Vegas, not so much. GetEqual seems to have trouble getting the media to notice, and it seems to me that they could use some professional help in this area. After all, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it…

The complaints about Choi getting speakers fees and travel expenses remind me of the most recent fundraising dinner for Wingspan, our local LGBT community center in Tucson. Judy Shepard came to speak. Or, more precisely, she was paid to speak, and paid to travel here. Yes, she collected what was described as a “large” speaker’s fee. And for that fee, we were all disappointed that she spoke for maybe seven minutes. Tops.

But that doesn’t in any way diminish the tremendously important work that she and her foundation have done to advance hate crimes legislation at the state and federal level. If the money Wingspan paid was to buy a half-hour address, they didn’t get their money’s worth. But if the money they paid was to help support the Shepard Foundation’s important work, then it was money well spent.

I guess what I’m getting at is that it is easy to criticize a lot of people for not being effective in what they are doing, or in perhaps not employing the tactics that we wish they would deploy.

But hey. Direct action is not my thing. And getting arrested is DEFINITELY not my thing. My thing is writing, and speaking where people will have me to speak. Choi’s thing is acting up and getting arrested. More power to him. And hopefully more and better media coverage.

Désirée
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

“when you ACT for reward you focus not on the deed but on the doer. When there is no thought of the reward then there is no thought of the doer. When there is no thought of the doer, the deed is done with simplicity and grace- this is living with awe! (from Ethics of the Sages)”

This is nonsense and a great way to become a starving homeless person. ALL actions are done for the rewards, be they monetary, professional, ego inspired, or for some other personal gain. There is no such thing as a selfless act, and expecting Dan Choi (or any one else) to act selflessly “for the cause” is idealistic garbage. That Melanie Nathan doesn’t get paid for her activism is in no way relevant and is not a reason for Dan Choi to not get paid for his. You (Melanie) have still yet to provide a reason why Dan should not get paid a speakers fee for a speaking engagement. Last I checked, this was a capitalistic country (mostly) not a socialist utopia where everyone works for the benefit of everyone else with no thought for their own well being. Let it go. You claim not to be jealous, but the very fact you brought your own activism and lack of pay for it belies that claim. Your entire arguement boils down to “he got paid therefore he isn’t pure enough to be an activist.” I for one, don’t subscribe to such a theory. sorry.

Burr
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

All I care about is his effectiveness. If he gets done what needs to be done, then he deserves every penny.

Scott P.
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Brava, Desiree, my thought exactly!

truthteller
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

@ Paula Brooks

You seem to have a vendetta against Dan Choi. You post hearsay to discredit him but as you can see It ain’t working.

“I thought yes finally a leader…. We can follow….”

You don’t want a leader to follow, you want mother Theresa, and Choi ain’t her. He is a soldier trained to fight, not a catholic martyr for the cause.

Ray
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Melanie, do us all a favor and get out of the business of writing hit pieces. Sheesh, what are you, some plant from CWA or NOM?

Timothy Kincaid
July 31st, 2010 | LINK
But, if Nathan’s report is true, it does provide some explanation for Choi’s recent actions. And it does flavor my perspective on his character and my willingness to support his activism decisions without question.

Wait a minute. He handcuffed himself twice to the White House fence and garnered CNN coverage BEFORE he was discharged from the Army. His more recent actions, whether they were before or after his discharge (or before or after he learned of his discharge) appear, to me, little different. So I’m not sure what the point is about Choi’s most recent activism, given that it seems pretty much the same as what he has always been doing.

I do not see Choi’s efforts in Vegas or the Rotunda as similar in message, purpose, or intent to his original activism.

Sam
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

This borderline defamation is not only sleazy (relying as it does entirely on speculation by parties with no direct knowledge and on accusations by “many sources” all of whom are anonymous), it is also fairly ridiculous. Any money Dan Choi receives comes from organizations who made their own determination that it is worth their while to pay his fee. No money comes out of gay orgs, so why do any of the gossips care?

His story will be lecture-worthy for about 18 months tops and that period is nearly over. If he gets 10-20 paid speaking engagements over the entire course of the story cycle, that would be doing well. That some people think that this is a great way to get rich quick only shows the utter failure of public education in the US.

Moreover, the “theory” he didn’t reveal his discharge so that he could continue to wear the uniform makes no sense. If he was discharged, the National Guard would know that, and any appearance he made in uniform, if unlawful,would carry legal risk whether the geniuses at Lez Get Real knew it or not. So keeping his discharge “secret” from LGR would have no bearing on his ability to wear the uniform risk-free. Also, the would-be Bob Woodward at LGR makes a further fool of herself by posturing like she has broken open a big story that Choi is on the lecture circuit. I would think that would be public information and could be obtained through a single google search. What idiocy.

Robin
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

Yes Paula –

It’s time for YOU to come clean now – Where do you work? What do you do? What results have you achieved? What organizations to involve yourself in?

People who throw stones shouldn’t live in glass houses.

Tell us about yourself – Please spare us your “objective truths” that you feel you must balance the story out with. What’s your gig?

Demand Equality
July 31st, 2010 | LINK

I think I will trust what Dan Choi said. He said that he has not spoken to his father in almost a year. He was told, he said, that the discharge was sent to his father’s home and that his father had not called to tell him he had received mail for him. Dan said that he had not received the telephone calls that were allegedly made to him.

Of course not knowing Mr Choi, I don’t know if he would think it is worth getting arrested to get more money to speak. He looked and said he was shaken by the first arrest after he chained himself to the White House fence.

But Dan Choi has gone where most people writing here might not dare to go – Afghanistan and Iraq – so I’ll trust Dan Choi and not some anonymous agents (and if this really is his agent he forgot that he is supposed to represent his client not throw him under some bus) or “gay soldiers” who won’t or can’t come out.

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