CNN キャスター、ゲイであることをカミングアウト


フロリダ州マイアミで開催された全米レズビアン&ゲイ・ジャーナリスト協会*1の年次総会で、CNNヘッドライン・ニュースの人気アンカーマン、トーマス・ロバーツ(Thomas Roberts)氏が、同性愛であることをカミングアウトした。

[CNN ANCHORS / REPORTERS - Thomas Roberts]

CNN's Thomas Roberts talks about being out [Gay.com]

Roberts was a member of a panel, "Off Camera: The Challenge of LGBT TV Anchors." He told the audience that the conference was the "biggest step" he had taken to really be out in public and that he had slowly been coming out at CNN over the past several years, according to Boston journalist Johnny Diaz, a Boston Globe staffer who wrote about the conference on his blog, Beantown Cuban.

Diaz reported that Roberts said he was proud of his partner and that staying in the closet was a difficult thing for a national news anchorman.

キャメラが回っていない状態(Off Camera)──私生活──ではなく、公式に(in public)、ゲイのテレビキャスターであることを発表するのは重要なステップだ、とロバーツ氏は語った。そしてパートナーとの関係を誇りに思っている、家族や友人も支援してくれている、僕は幸せだ、と。

Life as an Openly Gay Journalist: CNN's Thomas Roberts [AfterElton]

What prompted his decision to come out in the workplace at that time? “I was happy, I was in a relationship, and I was very proud. I had the support of family, and of my friends. It was … about not wasting any more time. I'd wasted enough time.” Roberts and his partner are still together and will celebrate their anniversary on September 30.

As well as being named one of the “50 Most Beautiful Atlantans” by Jezebel magazine, Roberts was approached by People magazine to be featured in its “Sexiest Bachelors” issue. He turned them down for a simple reason: “I'm not a bachelor. I thought it would be false advertising… (And) I didn't think it was the right venue to talk about it.”

Roberts joined the NLGJA a year ago, although he's been involved with the organization in other ways in the past. He agreed to participate at this year's conference when “a friend who was going to be involved as the moderator asked if I would be interested in being on the panel. I thought it could be helpful to younger journalists, and also a growing experience for me.”

Was he worried about the effect it would have on his career? “I had some concerns, but not enough to stop me from doing it,” Roberts said. “There was some trepidation… about making yourself vulnerable to a group of journalists with questions, to experience being on the other side, being in the hot seat, to come up with thoughtful, truthful answers in the way that I wanted…. It's the largest step I've taken to be more active in the organization, and to interact with other gay journalists….

ロバーツが初めて自分のセクシュアリティを職場の同僚に告げたのは1999年、NBC系列のWAVY-TV に勤めていたときだった。自分がこれまで隠してきたことを打ち明け、それに対する反応を思うと、気が重かった。しかしそれは杞憂だった。同僚たちは思いやりに満ちていた。ロバーツは自分の口から事実を伝えたかった──誰彼の噂で聞き知るよりも。「だって彼らは友人なんだ。僕がきちんと伝えなかったら、それは彼らを信頼していないことになるだろう。それは失礼だ」。


彼はエミー賞にノミネートされたのを始め、Virginia AP Award 、Edward R. Murrow Award などジャーナリスト/キャスターとして様々な栄誉に輝いている。

しかし残念なことに、ロバーツとキャサリーン・ケネディ(Kathleen Kennedy)のコンビによる CNN Headline News の「4 to 6pm」枠 は打ち切られるという。時期が時期だけに、ロバーツのカミングアウトが原因か、と取り沙汰されたがCNNはこれを否定、二人は配置転換されると説明した。ロバーツ本人も、番組改編と全米レズビアン&ゲイ・ジャーナリスト協会への参加は、たまたま時期が重なっただけだ、と応えた。
そしてNLGJAは14日、CNN がLGBTのジャーナリスト志望の学生に付与される奨学金制度に10万ドルを寄付すること発表した。この奨学金制度は、全米レズビアン&ゲイ・ジャーナリスト協会の創始者 Leroy F. Aarons 氏──2004年に死亡──の名に由来するもので、未来のジャーナリスト育成のため、NLGJAが重要なミッションとして力を入れているものだ。
CNN donates to gay journalist scholarship [Gay.com]

"This unprecedented gift is a milestone for NLGJA as the largest single gift from a media company to the organization," said Pamela Strother, NLGJA's executive director. "CNN has ensured that the Aarons Award will be fully funded and has provided a solid base to our endowment to allow us to grow our awards program to help even more deserving journalism students."

The $5,000 Aarons scholarship will be awarded annually to an LGBT undergraduate or graduate student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community.

Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said, "CNN is only as strong as its journalists, and this donation helps ensure that we not only support an outstanding organization of journalists but a deep resource for hiring future CNN anchors, correspondents and producers."

CNN は素晴らしい職場だ、とトーマス・ロバーツは言う。「マネージメントは協力的だし、僕はCNNという会社にとても感謝している」。

How would Roberts advise young lesbian and gay journalists struggling with how open to be about their sexual orientation? “For younger journalists, there are lots of factors to consider,” he said. “There are all kinds of fears we accumulate through high school, college, even going back as far as grade school, that are carried into the adult years. That fear can really hold you back. It (coming out) has to be when people feel… they are ready for it. It's hard to live afraid…. Hopefully, everyone, gay or straight, journalists or doctors or otherwise, can overcome that obstacle, because it stands in the way of you being the best you can be, with your job, with your family, with everything, and not have to be afraid anymore.”