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Sunday, May 6

The oilman and the rentboy

Worth it?

The head of one of World's largest companies has been outed: — by a treacherous rentboy he met through an Escort website and who shopped him to the Daily Mail.

"For the past 41 years of my career at BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life.

I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private," Lord Browne said in a statement.

Yeah god queen, you tried to nail that closet shut but the Internet was just too tempting wasn't it.

I agree with Peter Tatchell's take though — .

I can see no demonstrable public interest grounds for the Mail on Sunday – or any other media – outing Lord Browne. He wasn’t being hypocritical or homophobic. If he was denouncing gay people or advocating anti-gay laws – or if he had authorised the victimisation of BPs’ gay employees - that would be a justifiable reason to expose his sexuality and double standards. I would have outed him myself. But I am not aware that Lord Browne was homophobic. He may have shown moral weakness by not coming out, but hiding in the closet – however lamentable - is not ethically of the same order as endorsing homophobic prejudice and discrimination.

The lessons from the fall of Lord Browne are: don’t lie or cover-up, and it is best to be honest and open about one’s sexuality

Browne's catch was that bloody website (and probably the danger it represented, there's something all so predictable about the Rich and the Wild Side) ..

"My initial witness statements, however, contained an untruthful account about how I first met Jeff.

"This account, prompted by my embarrassment and shock at the revelations, is a matter of deep regret. It was retracted and corrected.

"I have apologised unreservedly, and do so again today.

For this, he forgave his pension rights of 15 million pounds and resigned early.

Poor sod. Paul Dacre be damned to hell and all who sail with him.

"This is a voluntary step which I am making to avoid unnecessary embarrassment and distraction to the company at this important time.

"I have spent my entire working life with BP, and want to thank everyone for their dedication, loyalty, support and hard work in creating one of the worlds finest companies.

"I shall not be commenting on my personal issues further. I wish to pursue my personal life in private."
Parsing ... 'So there'. 'Now f***off'.

One positive consequence might be business looking again at it's gay staff. According to James Harding, Business Editor at the Times.

Lord Browne’s decision to keep his sexuality a private matter during a lifetime at BP was a personal choice that says more about the code of the man than the values of the company. But the implication of his discretion is that there would have been a price to pay for openness.

Clearly, there is an element to this that is generational. Forty years ago, when he joined the company, the business world would not have accepted a gay chief executive. The view today, of course, is that the world has moved on and grown up: investors, executives and board directors pay no attention to sexuality when promoting people in the company. So why is it the case that there are so very few chief executives or, for that matter, board directors of FTSE-250 companies who are gay – and comfortable to say they are gay?

The dispiriting conclusion must be that so many people still do not bring their real selves to work.


  1. Anonymous25.6.07

    Unfortunately, the business community, especially the oil business, is very conservative. John Browne's discretion to keep his private life private and his professional life separate is a necessity. I can't imagine his private life to anyone who has a sense of "gaydar" was all that private. I met Browne in 1999 and could tell instantly he was gay. That is not a good or bad thing. The point is, not every gay man or woman is compelled to bring front and center, their personal life in a very conservative envronment. Flag and banner-waving people have a place in society. Unfortunately, sometimes, one just doesn't simply want to be defined by their sexuality.

  2. You tried to nail that closet shut but the Internet was just too tempting wasn't it.

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  3. The same order as endorsing homophobic prejudice and discrimination.

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