Thursday, September 27, 2018

Party for gay men in Montgomery produced volumes of information about Alabama right-wing politicos, but writer Mike Rogers kept the stories underground

Mike Rogers
A writer once known for breaking stories about gay Republican politicians attended a party in Montgomery about six years ago to obtain information about conservative Alabama politicians. Most of the attendees were gay men from the Capital City, and they shared a wealth of stories with Mike Rogers, who used to publish (which has been inactive for several years) and now serves as managing director and vice chairman at Raw Story Media. The men's stories never were published, and that causes an Alabama political insider -- who also attended the party -- to wonder if the information was used for ulterior political purposes that had nothing to do with journalism.

I've wondered the same thing, especially since Rogers initiated a peculiar email exchange with me in fall 2013, after I had reported about U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his ties to 1990s gay pornography at In short, Rogers tried to convince me the person in the photos was not Pryor, but Rogers never provided any evidence to support that claim, and he did a miserable job of answering questions I posed to him. That experience caused me to question Rogers' motives, and whistle blower/oppo researcher/retired attorney Jill Simpson apparently has similar concerns.

Simpson posted her thoughts on the matter at Facebook yesterday in the wake of our report about Shane Rogers-Mauro, a Florida man who says Bill Pryor sexually harassed him (and others) while they were classmates at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe.) Simpson said many of the stories she heard at the Montgomery party were of closeted Alabama politicians who had sexually harassed gay men or left them feeling used. Some of the names heard prominently at the party were Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, and Robert Aderholt. Here are some of Jill Simpson's thoughts after reading our post about Pryor sexually harassing Shane Rogers-Mauro:

It appears #MeToo goes both ways, and well, that is a good thing as many males are sexually harassed by predators, just as are women. Several years back, I was invited to a party for Mike Rogers, who was known as the Raw Story writer who specialized in Republican gay- politician stories. That night at the party I met about a dozen young men who were there to talk with Rogers about top Alabama Republican politicians who had sexually harassed them or broken their hearts. Their stories involved Pryor, Sessions, and Aderholt, and they were quite shocking. Quite a few had an element of sexual harassment to them. I had heard from one of the hosts this was going to lead to a series of stories, so I attended having no idea until I got there what the stories would be about.

Why did Mike Rogers never publish the men's stories? Simpson isn't sure about that:

When the stories did not happen I asked why . . .  and was told the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was going to use it in another way. To me, that sounded a whole lot like blackmail. I have often wondered if that is why Sessions turned on Trump so easily. I heard quite a few stories the night Mike Rogers came to town from the men at the party. The Log Cabin Republicans I met that night, who had been harassed and/or rejected, had some pretty amazing stories to tell of sexual exploits and hairy-bear clubs in D.C. with Alabama 's top Republicans.

Simpson discovered that Montgomery has a vibrant gay community, and its members are in on some of the state's biggest political secrets:

When I came forward in the Siegelman case, I started hearing from all these gay men in Montgomery, who were kind of like the court that surrounded these politicians. The gay men picked out their clothes, helped them lose weight, fixed food for their fancy political parties, cut their hair, ran their campaigns and did a whole lot of other things to service these men. I had never noticed this layer of folks before in a campaign, but I soon learned there is a group of gay men that like to take care of our male politicians in the Republican Party -- and meet their every need in Montgomery. They know all the politicians' secrets, and they share them at dinner parties to reporters -- and among their friends; I saw how they shared the night Mr. Rogers came to town. 
I learned at one of their dinner parties how Judge [Mark] Fuller beat his wife, as the gay men knew a hair dresser who told the story. At another party, I learned how Fuller was having an affair, as they heard it from a court clerk they helped dress. They are the most resourceful group for reporters in the state, as that bunch knows every bit of news going on.

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