Eminem and Elton speak up

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2001 12:00 AM ET

Eminem’s performance with Sir Elton John at the Grammy Awards later this month continues to dominate headlines. BBC News reports that rapper Eminem, currently on tour in the United Kingdom and the subject of controversy over lyrics on The Marshall Mathers LP that some activists consider to be homophobic, responded to questioning about his attitude toward gay men by saying, “To be honest, I don’t think about gay men. I only said that shit to piss people off. They just don’t get it. It’s all right, though.” According to E! Online, Eminem also told a TV interviewer, “As far as Elton John liking my shit, I think it’s beautiful. I think he gets the joke, and I respect him as an artist.” John, meanwhile, has told the Los Angeles Times that the idea to perform a duet was Eminem’s. “I’m a big fan of his music,” said John, “and I said I would be delighted to.” Taking issue with John’s endorsement of Eminem is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation—spokesperson Scott Seomin, according to E! Online, says he has contacted John’s manager and publicist, saying that GLAAD would be “appalled” if the Elton-Eminem duet happens, particularly since the group honored John last year with the Vito Russo Award, recognizing his work in fighting homophobia. “We’ve made it quite clear to his manager and publicist that if he is indeed considering it, to please reconsider,” says Seomin. “Sir Elton John has played an enormous role in educating the world about gay issues through his music and incredible charitable work. If he performs, his actions would violate the spirit of the [Russo] award.” John apparently anticipated such a response, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I know I’m going to get a lot of flak from various people who are going to picket the show. If I thought for one minute that he was [hateful], I wouldn’t do it.”