Fox News Host Says He Plans Gay Bar Near NYC’s Ground Zero
You’ve heard the one about politics making strange bedfellows? Well, no liaison may be stranger than Greg Gutfeld. The acerbically conservative on-air personality, who helps the jokes flow (or not) on Fox News’ Red Eye, has announced that he wants to build a gay bar in Manhattan.
Now, it is true that many owners of gay bars are not themselves gay, but their politics usually leans toward the same way as most patrons -- that is, usually leftward. But Gutfeld doesn’t play that game. He regularly comes out swinging against causes ranging from culture wars and feminism, to environmentalism.
Therein lies the cause for this on-the-surface strange stab at entrepreneurship. The nation has been in a lather over a proposed mosque within site of Ground Zero, the massive site of the World Trade Center. The has touched the White House, and is figuring to be a big issue in the upcoming New York governor’s race.
The families of 9/11 victims are divided on the issue, as are politicians. Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly supports the mosque on the grounds of religious freedom. The right, however, is firmly united against the mosque, which they see as a slap in the face of the thousands killed in the collapse of the twin towers.
Taking up the "free association" issue used by mosque supporters, Gutfeld posted a message that "I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men. To best express my sincere desire for dialogue, the bar will be situated next to the mosque Park51, in an available commercial space."
He is not joking, he adds. "’ve already spoken to a number of investors, who have pledged their support in this bipartisan bid for understanding and tolerance."
He cites the intolerance of homosexual behavior in several Moslem-dominated countries as one of his reasons. "The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps - but still want to dance."
Lest one dismiss this as coming in August -- traditionally the "silly season" of news stories, note that Gutfeld claims he has investors lined up. More, the rightwing blogosphere and punditry have rallied to the idea.
In a situation where the layers of irony could layer a (gay) wedding cake, right wing sites such as the fire-breathing Free Republic is applauding. "Gutfeld’s idea is hilarious and has the PC left screaming because their own fraudulent ’diversity’ has been exposed," writes one commenter. "I am willing to make a fair size donation to this very worthy project," writes another.
The story has been picked up by major media, such as New York Magazine, The Washington Times and the Huffington Post.
This writer, speaking as a New Yorker, can only say that a gay bar in the Financial District would be a welcome addition to the community. Gutfeld should take a leaf from the eponymous Vlada, a straight Russian woman who’s bar in Hell’s Kitchen is so successful is has opened a satellite in South Beach. It should also be noted that devout Moslems do not drink alcohol.
Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).