August 08, 2007

Bob Allen Says: I'm So Afraid of Black Men That I Pay Them for Oral Sex in Public Restrooms

Did I read this correctly? Did Florida state representative and former John McCain state chairman Bob Allen really claim that he offered to pay to perform oral sex on a man in a public bathroom because he was afraid of him... because the man was black? It sure sounds like he did. Let's see...

...Court records made public last week gave more detail to the solicitation charges state Rep. Bob Allen faces.

Allen, R-Merritt Island, was arrested July 11 after authorities say he offered an undercover police officer $20 to perform oral sex on him. He faces one count of solicitation for prostitution.

Audiotape of a July 11 police-station conversation between Allen and Titusville Assistant Chief John Lau reveals Allen's excuse for discussing sex with an undercover officer at a park men's room.

He felt intimidated by the "stocky black guy" in the restroom (whom he didn't know was an officer) and several other "stocky black guys" sitting in the park (also, apparently, plain-clothes officers) and thought he was about to be robbed, Allen said. The officer first mentioned oral sex for money, and Allen simply went along with discussing the transaction to avoid becoming a "statistic," he said...

— (Source)

Yes, it still sounds like that's what Allen was saying. Let's pause for a moment and consider the scenario painted thus far. One walks into a bathroom and finds some "stocky black guys" therein. One of them says, "If you give me $20, I'll let you give me a blowjob." Let's assume for the moment that you, like me, don't find this to be an appealing proposition. What do you do?

Personally, I would say, "No, thanks." I certainly wouldn't assume it was the case that I was about to be robbed. Why would anyone leap to that conclusion... unless, of course, they were simply a spineless, sniveling little bigot who thought that anytime a black man talks to a white man the interaction carries with it a necessary threat of violence. That's certainly what I'm getting from Allen here. It hasn't been my experience that this is the case, but maybe Rep. Allen simply doesn't know any black men personally. It's entirely possible. But wait, let's go on, shall we?
Other details released include:

At one point, Allen asked Kavanaugh: "You're not a cop, are you?" Kavanaugh replied, "Nah. If I was a cop, why would I be hanging around here?"

Cpl. Erich Barrett wrote in his supplemental police report that Allen asked if his position as a state lawmaker would "help."

As he was getting into Barrett's marked cruiser, Allen allegedly asked, "I don't suppose it would help if I said I was a State Legislator, would it?" Barrett said, "No."

Greg Eisenmenger, who with Phillip Lupo is representing Allen in the criminal case, denied the lawmaker tried to use his position to get himself out of the charge.

Allen told Titusville Assistant Chief John Lau he felt intimidated by the undercover officer in the restroom and was trying to get away from him because he feared the officer would rob him.
I find it very interesting that Allen asks the man in the bathroom whether or not he was a cop. If things really did happen the way that Allen claims, if the undercover cop was the one who first approached Allen, why would Allen ask this question? The only reason a cop would be in that bathroom would be if it were a known location for transactions of the sort with which Allen has been charged in engaging. His asking of the question implies that he went to that bathroom with the intent of soliciting a little hot man-on-man action; he knew exactly what he was doing when he walked in.

Personally, the only problem I have with two men, or a man and a woman, or two women, doing this is that they were going to have sex in a public place. I'm of the belief that prostitution laws are antiquated things and history has shown them time and again to be useless and ineffective. I don't even see them as desirable. But for Allen, a noted "family values," anti-gay Republican crusader to be busted raises the question of why it always seems to be one of that crowd getting snagged in their own hypocrisy. I don't care if someone is gay, straight, or anywhere in between, but for them to lie about it, for them to target people who do exactly the same things they do in order to make political gains, is nothing but nasty piled on top of evil. Why is it always the Ted Haggards and Bob Allens getting caught with male prostitutes? Did this ever happen to Barney Franks?

Getting back to the racial overtone that Allen has painted this with now, a Floridian civil rights group is now calling (I think justifiably) for Allen's resignation:
Now comes this statement from the desk of J. Willie David III, president of the FCRA:

"The comments by Representative Allen perpetuate the racial divide, and no one with this view should hold public office. If the situation was the same, but with white men in the park and a white police officer, would Representative Allen would have made the same statement?"

"Representative Allen alleged comments are sending a disturbing message to the black community. Now is the time for House Speaker Marco Rubio, Florida Black Lawmakers, other Civil Rights Groups and Community Leaders to call for Representative Allen to step down."
I disagree with this insofar as David suggests that Allen's message is disturbing to the black community; it should be disturbing to all of us that someone as essentially dishonest as Allen should be placed in a position of public trust. I don't know a thing about Allen's district, but if it's like most of Florida there are black people there, and probably a lot of very conservative people of African, European and Caribbean descent. Everything Allen has done here is wrong, wrong, wrong. He was elected under false pretenses, by misrepresenting himself. Should it really be surprising that someone who got elected, even in part, by capitalizing on other people's fears and ignorance about homosexuals should himself be revealed to be fearful and ignorant about some other portion of society?

Personally, I'm not a bit surprised. Are you? Is anybody out there simply blind-sided by the revelation that a guy who has made a career of bashing gays turns around and blames yet another demographic for what's "wrong" with him when it comes to light what he's really into? A scapegoat is a scapegoat; gay, black, Mexican, Jew... a fundamental piece of modern conservative social thought is that it's always somebody else's fault. If you can't find a job, it's because illegal immigrants took them all. If your society is a semi-suicidal mess, it's because we're not keeping the homos in their closets. If some blabber-mouthed talk show host gets busted with illegal prescription drugs, it's because that lousy liberal media is trying to conduct a witch hunt. Of course Allen is now going to turn around and talk about how he was oh-so-afraid of those scary, scary black men. Such talk appeals to the base!

What a sniveling little coward. Bob Allen shouldn't be sent to prison. He shouldn't even take up time in court for his misdoings. He should be sent home to his mommy, paddled and sent to bed without supper. If he was still living with mother, the scared little boy would never have been threatened into offering those dirty, dirty black men money to perform oral sex on them!

By the way, I find the comments to the story in the Tallahassee Democrat almost as mind-bogglingly moronic as Allen's own contentions. I'll quote just one here that I think typifies the sorts of opinions folks in the Tallahassee area have put up on the newspaper's website:
I too find this one of the better written stories and have no commetts [sic] either I just have a question. What was 'racially insensitive' about this?
The only thing I could find is he used the term "black" and not the correct term African-American. While in handcuffs and being intoregated [sic]

Posted by: popcornisgood on Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:02 am
Catch that? The reader can't figure out what's "racially insensitive" about Allen's contention that it was his fear of being robbed by a black man (who never made any sort of threat) that forced him into soliciting prostitution. Genius, sheer genius. Having lived in Florida for five years (two in Tampa, three in Tallahassee), I find myself asking now what I often asked myself then... is there something in the water down there?

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