Gay porn actor-director Michael Lucas has called protesters who disrupted a reception for Jewish participants at a gay activism conference in Chicago last month “anti-Semites” and “Jew-haters,” and accused the conference organizers of enabling their behavior.
The protest took place during the Creating Change conference, and was aimed at disrupting a reception hosted by A Wider Bridge – a Jewish LGBTQ organization that seeks to build ties between gay communities in North America and Israel. The reception, which featured members of Jerusalem Open House – a gay activist organization based in the Israeli capital – had earlier been canceled by The National LGBTQ Task Force, which organized the conference.
Following an outcry from Jewish groups, the organization later reversed its decision. However, when the reception was held, protesters entered the hall and took over the stage, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, pinkwashing has got to go!” and preventing the visiting Israelis from speaking.
“There is only one logical explanation for the Task Force’s inaction in relation to providing safety and security for the Jewish group, and that is the resentment and anger felt by its leadership over the events of the previous days,” Lucas wrote in an op-ed published in Out Magazine on January 27. “I believe there was a conscious decision to allow this mob of so-called ‘protesters’ to shut down the Bridge event, and to let the Jewish participants and their allies fend for themselves,” he added.
The founder of Lucas Entertainment, an adult film production company, Lucas wrote that the protest was “pure anti-Semitism” and looked like “a scene from the early days of Nazi Germany: a raucous mob surrounding a gathering of Jews.”
The incident “was, essentially, a punishment by the Task Force for the embarrassment of having to reverse its decision about the Bridge reception,” Lucas wrote. “The only reason the chaos did not culminate in physical violence was the admirable restraint on the part of A Wider Bridge and its supporters, who allowed their event to be ruined in order to protect those in attendance. This was not simply a mistake by the Task Force leaders, and they must be held accountable for this obscene, shameful and inexcusable fiasco.”
The Task Force has criticized the disruption of the Jewish event, saying it was “deeply concerned about how the events of the evening unfolded – and have already initiated a review of our conference practices.”
In a radio interview, Lucas revealed he had offered to pay the legal costs if A Wider Bridge chose to sue the Task Force for damages. However, he said, his offer was turned down as the group didn’t want to take legal action.
“I believe that apologies are never enough,” he said. “You have to set a precedent where other organizations, whether gay or straight, have to know that you cannot just scare the Jews. You will have consequences.”
Russian-born Lucas is a longtime pro-Israel activist and supporter of efforts to beef up gay tourism to Israel. In the past, he has written political opinion pieces detailing Israel’s impressive record on gay rights, organized gay tours of Israel and recently – and very publicly – pressured the New York LGBT Community Center to cancel meetings and events held by anti-Israel groups.
He produced “Men of Israel,” touted as the first pornographic film to be shot on location in the Holy Land with an all-Israeli/Jewish cast, as well as the non-porno, pro-Israel documentary “Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land.”
In his op-ed, Lucas called “pinkwashing” the “despicable, discredited and deeply moronic theory that Israel’s stellar record on LGBT rights is simply a smokescreen to cover its treatment of Palestinians.
“Israel is the only country in the region where gay people live openly, equally, with all the rights and protections of an enlightened society,” he added. “Yet this is the country these radicals focus on. Have they ever protested outside the embassy of Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is outlawed and gays are flogged, imprisoned, and executed? Have they organized a demonstration outside the embassy of Iran, where gays are hanged for the crime of ‘consensual sodomy’? Did they show up to decry Russia’s new anti-gay law in 2013?”
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