Mar 18th, 2008 // 21 Comments

AP080312035910.jpgDear everyone getting all excited about the “Michael Stipe comes out” story: Um, this is news? Sure, he apparently told Spin that he’d “just never felt strongly enough about a particular relationship to say, ‘Yeah, he’s my boyfriend, that is what it is,’” but that claim would seem to be at least somewhat contradicted by this 2001 quote from Time: “Stipe says he’s ‘phenomenally overworked’ but happy. He says he’s been ‘in a relationship with an amazing man’ for about three years (he says his partner isn’t a celebrity). In the past Stipe avoided questions about his sexuality, but he’s now more comfortable discussing it. ‘I was being made to be a coward about it,’ he says, ‘rather than someone who felt like it really was a very private thing.’ He now readily describes himself as a ‘queer artist.’ ” I know, Lexis/Nexis is expensive, but you’d think that semi-real news organizations would at least spend some money on, like, actual research! [Us / Photo: AP]

  1. AL

    I swear I remember him coming out even earlier in an MTV news interview around the Monster era.

  2. Mike P.

    He thanked his boyfriend when R.E.M. were inducted into the R&R HOF last year.

  3. Nicolars

    This “news” is old enough to vote, enlist in the army and drink in all 50 states.

  4. Ned Raggett

    I thought the 2001 announcement was their PR for the album (because nobody wanted to actually talk about said album).

  5. Matt Cibula

    I was pretty sure he had come out when he sang about the smell of sweet short-haired boys in “Seven Chinese Bros.”

  6. pickmeohnevermind

    There was the Details interview in the mid-90s where he used the phrase “equal opportunity lech” – that was the first time we got headlines saying he’s “come out.” Then I think he was on the cover of, um, Out Magazine a little after that, too. Also, he wrote a piece in New York magazine a few years ago about running errands with the “Mister” – as opposed, I guess, to the “Missus.” And apparently the Time magazine thing. So, what, 5th time’s a charm?

    I love REM, but it’s not-a-little annoying that during their PR run-up to Accelerate’s release, this seems to be the angle that’s getting the attention.

  7. Ned Raggett

    They should just turn it to their advantage when it comes to punchy headlines!

    “STIPE: STILL GAY!”

  8. janine

    I remember when I was in middle school, I thought he couldn’t be gay. He was so gay, that 13 yr old me thought assuming he was gay would be bigoted of me. That was before I heard of Occam’s razor.

  9. Anonymous

    @Matt Cibula: Definately. 7 Chinese Brothers is about him breaking up a couple, then dating both the man and the woman.

  10. pickmeohnevermind

    @Ned Raggett: That would look perfect on the cover of People Magazine, next to another image of Valerie Bertinelli “still keeping the weight off!.”

  11. pickmeohnevermind

    @Ned Raggett: That would look perfect on the cover of People Magazine, next to a picture of Valerie Bertinelli “still keeping off the weight!”

  12. pickmeohnevermind

    @pickmeohnevermind: Sorry about the double post.

  13. Anonymous

    the only time stipe would ever interact with regular athens peons is when he would invite young boys (not to insinuate underage, but seriously, like 18, 19 year old boys) over to his house for little parties. a good friend of mine has a hilarious story involving mike’s hard lemonade and body glitter. so yeah… talk about restating the painfully obvious.

  14. Lucas Jensen

    @southernbitch: This is so painfully tired. I’m so sick of these Stipe-as-predator canards that it makes me want to vomit. I’ve met the guy multiple times and he has always been polite. He was an insanely gracious house guest. I see him hanging with all types of folks, straight, gay, guy, girl, most of them age-appropriate.

    He interacts with us “peons” just fine as far as I can tell.

  15. SneakingThroughTheAlleyWithLalley

    Now I’m pissed. I totally gave this guy a finsky on the subway this morning, and here it is REM frontman-awkward-everybody-hurts-crooner?

    I thought he was just another 7th Ave local underground denizen.. I feel had.

  16. Anonymous

    @Lucas Jensen:

    I second that. My friends in Athens say he’s a really nice guy.

  17. relaxing

    @AL: But then he tried to play it off in the Rolling Stone by saying “sexuality and desire is a very fluid thing.” He tried to be bi for a while, and no one bought it.

  18. HomefrontRadio

    He was In?

  19. manyjars

    Because straight guys never give head? Or worry about sexual performance?

  20. scarletvirtue

    @AL: I knew he was out for a long, long time. But, SPIN magazine readers probably weren’t reading The Advocate in the mid-90s.

    Besides, didn’t the line, “Am I good in bed? Do I give good head?” from “I Don’t Sleep I Dream” kind of make it obvious?

  21. Jan74

    @manyjars:

    Straight guys only give head in the world of Bandom.

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