Edgar’s sexuality contended by FBI
When releasing a film about a memorable political figure like John Edgar Hoover, you can expect that you’re going to generate some scrutiny from those who aren’t pleased with the film’s depiction of such a figure.
What one doesn’t expect, especially in this day and age, is protest and disdain shown towards the movie for its reflection of J. Edgar Hoover’s homosexual relationships.
This attitude was most unexpected from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), of which Hoover was an integral component from 1935, and acting director of the FBI until his passing in 1972 at the age of 77.
Current assistant FBI director Mike Kortan exemplified the scrutiny in telling USA Today that Hoover’s undeniable relationship with associate FBI director Clyde Tolson was based off of “vague rumors and fabrications [that] have cropped up from time to time, but there is no evidence in the historical record on this issue.”
Don’t take sides just yet; unfortunately, there’s more. William Branon, acting chairman of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, went so far as to write a personal letter to Clint Eastwood, director of J. Edgar, in an effort to sway him from portraying Hoover as being involved in a homosexual relationship.
Eastwood, meanwhile, has secured a name for himself as a director who prides himself in accurately depicting the true nature of characters; an intention he ultimately maintained with J. Edgar.
One scene in particular that garnered much attention from those who are opposed to Hoover’s alleged homosexuality shows Edgar, played by Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception, 2010) and Clyde, his alleged lover, played by Armie Hammer (The Social Network, 2010), riding in a limo together.
Edgar is stricken with fear over those who are losing faith in his ability to monitor the country appropriately. Instead of seeking the comfort of his mother or a woman later on in the night, Edgar clenches Clyde’s hand for reassurance, and in the process symbolizes his affection for his right hand man.
The so-called opposition may assess this scene as an inaccuracy or one where Edgar acted upon impulse, but the reality is that if J. Edgar Hoover was gay, so what?
My question is, in today’s day and age, why aren’t we fully accepting of all individuals’ sexual orientation, particularly among public figures? And, what exactly is it that prevents us from viewing each other as equals, regardless of how we present ourselves or act on a daily basis?
Furthermore, shouldn’t those positioned in the direct view of the public eye, like Kortan and Branon, be particularly concerned about the things they say? Shouldn’t figures of power such as these two be our models of good and tolerant behaviour?
Rather, we see them attempt to enforce censorship of the truth like chairman William Branon so blatantly did on an issue that’s wrongfully contentious. Public figures such as Branon and Kortan should be open to embrace sexuality, not reprimand it from the public, in order to ensure a society that is tolerant and accepting of all sexualities and walks of life.