By now we have all read about the lurid accusations against actor John Travolta that have been leveled by not one, but two male masseuses. Or is it masseui? Both men have now filed lawsuits and the details of each allegation are disturbing. Travolta's people are denying each man's story vehemently.
If you haven't been paying attention, this isn't the first time that the actor's sexuality has come into question. His alleged secret sex spa life has been tabloid fodder for years. Vocal Scientologist Travolta has been married to actress Kelly Preston since 1991.
Oddly enough, Travolta and Tom Cruise have been the most out-but-not-out actors in the industry, according to fanciful gossip rags. Not a week or month goes by without a new story about one of them either hitting on a dude or trying to cop a feel.
When Travolta took on the role of Edna Turnblad in the musical Hairspray remake, originated by drag queen Divine, the world exploded with rumor.
In the lawsuits, Travolta is said to have admitted to having committed sex acts with homosexual Jewish men in Hollywood to get cherry film roles. He also was said to have tried to grab the genitals of the hired hands and "force" his own happy endings during the sessions.
If in fact these things are all true, it makes me sad to think that Travolta -- who made female loins quiver on Welcome Back Kotter and in, um, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble -- cannot be who he wants to be in public. Or if all of it is false and the work of masseuses (massussins?) who are out to defame a family man for cash...
What freaks me out is thinking about what early roles did Travolta supposedly submit these acts for, and for how long. Did it end as his star rose and he became a bankable performer, or has it just become common in the Hollywood experience?
I mean, by following Travolta's supposed quasi-racist comments, did he make mouth love with another man to be in Grease? Saturday Night Fever? URBAN COWBOY? WAS IT URBAN COWBOY?
Arguably, most young actors would commit acts that they normally wouldn't to star in a film as big as Grease, up to and including consensual sex.
Maybe it was to get roles that would later be denigrated, like Staying Alive or 1985's Perfect, in the latter of which he played a very eager Rolling Stone writer who went undercover at a health club to uncover a new singles scene. No, seriously, that's what the movie was about. Jamie Lee Curtis had camel toe for two hours.
This would explain some of his choices of roles in the past, but then again, playing Terl in the epic bomb Battlefield Earth doesn't make you a monster.
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It's 2012, so one would think that by now he could come out to the public and be happy, but that's his decision to make. All I know is that I hope that Travolta finds peace with whoever he is one day, if these allegations are true. I grew up watching his movies and the thought of him having to go down on a big-time executive to be in Look Who's Talking makes me shiver.
It wasn't even that funny.
Our sister paper the Village Voice took an in-depth look at the allegations in the lawsuits and has some updated information on the complaints, including some of the more fanciful passages in the suits. Wanna see the incidents in glorious jerky Japanese-narrated animation? Sure! The Best Reasons Why You Should Doubt the Allegations in the John Travolta Sex-Assault Lawsuit
OH BOY UPDATE: Looks like a third man has come forward with some cruise-ship allegations from 2009.