Claims to fame: Former Republican Florida state representative (2000-2007); husband; father; anti-gay closet gay; racist; idiot
Moral apex: On July 11, 2007, while cruising Veteranâ€™s Memorial Park in Titusville, Florida, he offered twenty bucks to an undercover cop to give him a blow job. (Letâ€™s make sure weâ€™re clear: He offered twenty bucks to the cop to give the cop a blow job.)
Not A River In Egypt, That De-Nial: â€œI certainly wasnâ€™t there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasnâ€™t there to exchange money for it,â€ Allen told cops.
Twinkie defense: He played along because the cop was â€œa pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park,â€ and was afraid he was â€œwas about to be a statistic.â€
Translation: â€œOooooo! Me afwaid of big, bad, black men!â€ Never mind that Allen is a freaking bull of a man; just check the pic of the two-hundred-something, maybe-three-hundred-pound (and â€œdisheveled, unshavedâ€œ) Allen over at Towleroad â€” does this man look like a delicate flower who would be afraid of anything shy of a bulldozer?
What happened next: Convicted of solicitation in November, 2007, sentenced to six monthsâ€™ probation, a $250 fine, plus court costs and $245 restitution to the Titusville Police Department. He was also â€œordered to undergo testing for HIV and other STDs, complete a class in HIV awareness class and to stay away from the park where he was arrested.â€ [365Gay.com]
And: Immediately following his conviction, Allen resigned from the Florida legislature.
(â€Strangely enough,â€ notes Andrew Brown [see "Memorable observation," below], â€œhe has refused to resign either from his political post or from his job as co-chairman of Senator John McCainâ€™s presidential campaign in Florida. So far, the story is pretty much what any reader of Carl Hiaasen would expect of Titusville, the small city near Cape Canaveral where Mr Allen attempted to arrange a briefless encounter.â€)
Height of hypocrisy: â€œIn the last session of the Florida legislature he sponsored a failed bill that would have tightened the stateâ€™s prohibition on public sex. He also has been a supporter of amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and has opposed a bill to curb bullying of gay students.â€ [365Gay.com]
And: â€œSoon after taking office in 2001, Allen was one of 21 Florida legislators to sign Gov. Jeb Bushâ€™s friend-of-the-court brief supporting the stateâ€™s ban on gays adopting children.
â€œIn March he cosponsored an unsuccessful bill that would have enhanced penalties for â€œoffenses involving unnatural and lascivious acts,â€ such as indecent exposure.â€ [The Advocate]
â€¢ Like his fellow Conservative Babylonian, the ridiculous Larry Craig, Allen came on to the cop in a public menâ€™s room. (But while Craig peered through the crack in the stall door, Allen peered over the door. We told you: Allen is a big guy.)
â€¢ Allen had a 92% approval rating from the Florida Christian Coalition.
â€¢ Allen was voted the Tampa Police Unionâ€™s 2007 Lawmaker of the Year.
I donâ€™t suppose it would help if I said I was a state legislator, would it?
â€” Bob Allen
as he was being put into the patrol car
to which the officer replied: â€œNo.â€
What lifts the story above the common rut of scandal is his excuse, made in a taped statement later released by the police. It was beyond just stupid. There had been plenty of stupid leading up to it, starting with his supposed decision to proposition Officer Danny Kavanaugh in a public lavatory.
. . .
He had panicked, he explained to the police, because he suddenly realised he was the only white man in the park and feared he was â€œabout to become a statisticâ€. So, naturally, he went up to the nearest large black man, who happened to be Officer Kavanaugh, and offered him money and sexual services. This is the excuse for which his name deserves to ring down the ages.
Itâ€™s not clear from the context, but I presume he offered this justification to a white policeman after being arrested by a black man. He must have believed, on some level, that fear of large black men was so widespread and so natural that his excuse would strike someone â€” even himself â€” as a satisfying explanation.
. . .
Itâ€™s not just the racism of his excuse that makes it so memorable. (Incidentally, the arrest took place in the middle of the afternoon, in broad daylight.) It is the implicit idea that the way to placate a large black man is to get down on your knees in front of him and set to work. And then, in case your technique was inadequate, offer him $20 as well. The link between homosexuality and violent power relationships is where the really strange and thought-provoking part of the story lies.
The idea that homosexual relationships, or at least acts, between men, express a power relationship, in which one party is exalted, and the other degraded seems to lie behind an awful lot of visceral homophobia.
. . .
The shameful thing, then, is not to be gay, but to be a victim, a submissive loser who will never get a woman; still, the two terms come to be defined as the same thing. When Bob Allen drove into the park, he was just gay in the 1980s sense: he wanted sex with men. But when he blamed the whole thing on blacks, he was gay in the schoolyard sense as well: weak, disgusting â€” and, letâ€™s not forget â€” Republican.
â€” Andrew Brown
A blow for posterity
August 9, 2007