By Evan Mulvihill
Gay reality TV is getting a dose of scandal this week! After an A-List: Dallas cast member tweeted a picture of a rock with a hate message allegedly thrown though his window last Friday, gay blogger Joe My God suspected that it was a publicity stunt in advance of the premiere this past Monday. (Although the cast member apparently had just had lunch with gay anti-icon Ann Coulter, so maybe a wee hate crime was justified.) Joe even thought Logo producers were complicit in faking the gay-on-gay hate crime. I caught up with A-List: New York cast member Mike Ruiz at a party celebrating the launch of his new book, Pretty Masculine, this Wednesday to see if the celebrity photog had to anything to tell Bash Compactor about this Texan transgression.
Have you been watching The A-List: Dallas at all?
I haven't. I missed the first episode.
So you're a bad A-Lister.
I barely have enough time to watch A-List: New York. I haven't seen all of the Reunion show yet. I'm just not...I have it all TiVo'd, I just haven't watched it all.
One of the A-List: Dallas cast members claimed to be the victim of a hate crime, a gay-on-gay hate crime. Some bloggers, like Joe My God and Towleroad, are saying that it's a publicity ploy. Do you think the Logo producers would be complicit in something like that?
No. No. The Logo producers are not that involved in story, they take what they've been given and they create story from that but they don't instigate stuff like that, and they would never, ever instigate an act of violence like that.
So you think that this might've just been a rogue cast member trying to get some publicity for the show?
I don't know. It's in Texas. Sad to say, a lot of the homophobia that I've experienced from being on the show comes from the gay community. So I'm not surprised that somebody was so incensed by probably having their life portrayed on TV that they wanted to shut it down by throwing a rock through this guy's window. I don't think it was a publicity stunt. I don't think anyone would go to those lengths.
What do you mean, homophobia from within the gay community?
I mean, most of the attacks that come, you know, bloggers, people who write horrible, mean-spirited, scathing things about our show, specifically, come from other gay bloggers. Straight bloggers aren't writing about A-List: New York.
Do you think that's just because they're not paying attention?
Probably. The point is, we should all support each other. No matter what it is. If the show is in fact a bad representation of the community, it's not meant to be a representation of the anything. It's a frickin' reality show. If people can't take it for face value, I think it's on them. But with all of that said, I think there comes some responsibility, being a public figure, especially if you're on a gay show, to act and conduct yourself in a responsible way.
The guy who did the rock-stunt, he was meeting with Ann Coulter to have her on the show. Is there any conscionable way to support that?
I don't support that, but that's...that's...see, that's...
This is the woman who called John Edwards a faggot.
I would not invite that into my life in any way, shape or form, but what other people do... I don't support it but I'm not going to attack him publicly for doing it. He has his own agenda. He's doing what he feels he needs to do to get ahead in life, and I'm not going to judge him for it.
Some people call you the least involved member of the cast.
Well, it depends on how you look at it. I think I'm very involved. I may not be as involved with the other cast members, but my goal is not to be involved in the cast...you know, I'm a blogger for the Huffington Post and we're writing a really articulate blog about why Martin and I wanted to do the A-List, and it'll explain a lot. I think my involvement in the show is important. Even though I don't have a lot of screen time, what I do contribute is a lot of value. The reality is, I like all the cast, but I wouldn't really hang out with any of them. So I wouldn't do it on TV either. I know that doesn't make sense since I signed on to do a reality show, but my goal wasn't to kiki with these other cast members. I had other reasons for doing the show.
Some of the gay community says, "Oh, this makes us look so bad." Do you want to be an antidote to that?
That's exactly why I wanted to do the show. That's exactly my value. When I proposed to Martin on the show, we've gotten no less than five or six thousand responses, from young gay men saying how we've inspired them. If I only would've gotten one of those, that would've been plenty. So my work is done here.
Let's talk about your book, Pretty Masculine. These guys look like they go to the gym for four hours a day. Do you think you're creating unrealistic images for gay men to aspire to?
OK, read the foreword to the book. That's all I have to say. [He raises his voice.] See, that's the really unfortunate thing. A lot of people make a lot of assumptions and a lot of preconceptions about something they really don't research, and don't educate themselves on.
I'm not trying to ruffle your feathers here.
If you would've known, if you would've researched why I did this book, what inspired me to do the book, you wouldn't be asking me that question.
I read the press release. It said you want to "look beyond the stereotypical man." How are pictures of super-buff guys looking beyond that?
No, no, that's not what it says at all. It says I wanted to portray masculinity out of context. I wanted to deconstruct the idea of masculinity.
I think what you're doing, in my opinion, is pretty a hyper-masculine body type in sort of a feminine way.
I don't want to say feminine, it's just out of context. Everything I do, you know, the celebrity stuff that I shoot, I take celebrities and I transform them out of context. I make everything aspirational. It's a fantasy. Everything that I do is rooted in my hopefulness, and I want to create a more beautiful world for myself and whoever else wants to participate.
What was it like to work with Snooki and Paris Hilton and those types of subjects?
They're all really smart, calculating people. They get a lot of flack, much like the cast of the A-List, but they all have a mission. At the end of the day, you say what you will about them-they could not have made all these millions and millions of dollars, and be such a driving force in pop culture, without making calculated decisions along the way. They're smart people.
You're calling Snooki smart?
Snooki's a comedian. She's a brilliant comedian, and she spun it into a multi-million dollar empire.