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McCain Rejects Manhunt Founder’s $$--Obama to Follow?

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Aug 18, 2008

The story of a Manhunt co-founder who gave the maximum allowable contribution to anti-gay Republican presumptive nominee John McCain's campaign has taken off in the media, fueled by a mixture of Manhunt's steamy online content, the contributor's being asked to step down by the company's board, and the McCain camp's response: they gave the money back.

Manhunt is an online resource allowing gay men to search for, contact, and communicate with one another. One of the primary uses for Manhunt is to arrange "hookups," or sessions of string-free sex. Text and photos (often explicit) are posted to Manhunt by men looking to attract other men.

As reported last week at EDGE it was revealed in the media that Manhunt co-founder Jonathan Crutchley had made the contribution to the McCain campaign, which led to Manhunt users blogging unfavorably about the news and canceling their memberships.

Out Magazine wrote about Crutchley, and reported the contribution, which was made last March. The Huffington Post also reported on the contribution.

Responding online to criticism for the campaign contribution, Crutchley wrote, "I believe McCain will be a better commander-in-chief than Obama, who also opposes gay marriage."

Continued Crutchley, "If we have an experienced, seasoned person defending the country in this dangerous age, we will be able to argue about the gay agenda later."

Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama has said that he opposes marriage equality, but that he would be supportive of civil unions for gay and lesbian families.

Sen. John McCain opposes not only legal recognition for gay families, but also adoption rights for gays and lesbians.

Crutchley's life partner and co-founder of Manhunt, Larry Basile, is a regular contributor to the Democratic party and candidates. Basile was quoted in the Boston Herald as saying, "Politically, it was just off-base, with the whole feeling over here at
Manhunt."

Added Basile, "Boy, was I embarrassed when I found out he gave $2,300."

McCain's campaign seems to be embarrassed, also: Crutchley heard that his contribution was being returned, and the Herald reported that Jeff Grappone, a spokesperson for the McCain campaign, had not returned phone calls.

Crutchley's response to his money being handed back to him, reported the Herald, was to plan on giving the funds to Obama's campaign.

Said Basile of Crutchley, "He said, 'If John is too good for my money, I'll give it to Barack."

Said Basile, "Someone had a reality check."

Basile also said that Crutchley had written a letter to the site's employees. Basile characterized the letter from the former Chair of the company as "touching."

There is some doubt that Obama's camp would be keen to accept Crutchley's donation, however.

The Herald article quoted Basile as saying, "Barack can't endorse this kind of adult content. It's sort of like a third rail."

Added Basile, "I would imagine if it's tough for one [party], it's tough for the other."

The Herald also quoted Michael Shea, who is a political consultant to the Democrats.

Said Shea, by way of illustrating the political pitfalls of accepting money from controversial or unpopular sources, "You take money from the oil company and you're a friend of big oil."

Added Shea, "Something like this, where you could have graphic photos involved, can be very, very tricky. It's certainly something that wouldn't sell well in the Bible Belt."

Anti-gay right-wing bloggers weren't waiting to hear about Obama's plans regarding Crutchley's money; they jumped onto the story with relish.

In a blog entry titled Oh, Those Hate Filled, UnAmerican Gays, right-wing commentator Warner Todd Huston lambasted Manhunt's board for asking Crutchley to step aside, and characterized gay customers of the site as "intolerant" for their anger at the perception that the money they had paid for a service would then be contributed to an anti-gay politician.

Wrote Huston, "Apparently, freedom of political choice is not allowed in gay circles."

Continued Huston, "You see, Mr. Crutchley happens to be the chairman of the board that runs a gay dating site named Manhunt. And the intolerant gays surrounding him have forced him to quit his job."

Huston referenced "the hate filled gays in [Crutchley's] company," and added, "No matter what you think of Crutchley or his vocation as a gay website operator, he has a right to expect not to be fired over his political affiliation in America the land of liberty.

"Obviously, however, gays are too intolerant to agree."

Added Huston, "How unAmerican they are."

Bloggers at Free Republic.com weighed in on the story, with one blogger seeming to comment on the Manhunt subscribers canceling their memberships and the company's board taking remedial action with the claim that, "...tailgunners know the second they do anything more violent than throw their mascara tube at heartland America, they'd be reduced in numbers at a head-spinning pace."

Added the blogger, "And they aren't equipped to spawn replacements the way natural Homo Sapiens are, whether by choice or design."

Continued the blogger, "Polesmokers are the true bottom-feeders (no pun intended) of the Marxist-Left food chain, even above the dirt-worshiping Algore cultist."

Evidently making a reference to HIV, the blogger continued, "At least the global whining crowd doesn't spread biological contaigens [sic] as a by-product of their agenda."

A more politically analytical commentator at Free Republic linked marriage equality with the issue of campaign contributions, writing, "This year is a critical election year on the marriage issue, considering that one of the most populous states in the country just established same-sex 'marriage' by judicial fiat, with exportation allowed by California and now by Massachusetts."

Continued the commentator, "Additionally, two of our most populous states, California and Florida, will be voting to amend their constitutions making natural man/woman marriage the only legitimate kind."

Added the commentator, "I'd say the stakes are much higher now than in 2004 or 2006, and voters know it. If California fails to pass its marriage amendment, the issue will pretty much be put to rest there, and exportation of homosexual "married" couples will spread nationwide, lawsuits will quickly ensue, and the DOMA will be severely tested."

The commentator went on, "Combine that senario [sic] with an Obama presidency with the probable appointment of at least two absolute Marxist [Supreme Court] justices, and you have the ingredients of nationwide mandated homosexual marriage--and worse."

Echoing the claim that the Manhunt board's action constituted intolerance, another blogger wrote, "That's why the gay movement is often it's own worse enemy. Since most gays are intolerant, self-absorbed, and arrogant, it's difficult for them to win people to their side."

Added the blogger, "At my place of employment, the largest number of 'hostile workplace' complaints come from women who happen to have gay men as their supervisors. They complain that they are rude, condescending, and sexist."

The view being expressed by Manhunt users is somewhat different.

At a site called Stop Manhunt.net the following commentary was posted: "It's always the same argument: 'well it was a personal choice and it really wasn't that much money and you are over reacting.'

"I don't think gay men buying into their own oppression is a personal choice, especially when they use my money to do so," continued the post.

"I also don't trust a company that will FLIP FLOP (thanks Republicans for that [phrase]) so wildly once they realized that maybe, just maybe, the gay man paying them to cruise for sex on their site might actually believe in something other then [sic] dick and ass."

The post went on, "Bottom line, as I see it, Mr. Crutchley, like so many of the rich in this country, is just trying to protect his assets and will do anything to do so.
If that means supporting a party that is actively helping to destroy the planet and the country while doing so--fine by him."

Added the post, "But then maybe he sees the Republicans as his community and the gay thing as just an embarrassing, unfortunate, mistake?"

The post exhorted gay men, reading, "Let's empower ourselves gentlemen--let's log off for good from Manhunt.net."

Declared the post, "We deserve better."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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