Man Told to Leave Gay Bar
After Defending Eminem (2001) 

Originally published on
News Lines - metroG
April 7, 2001

     "May I have your attention please?  May I have your attention please?  We're gonna have a problem here."
-- Real Slim Shady, by Eminem


PALM SPRINGS, CA -- James Smith, a 40-year-old gay man from Central California, happened to be in town on February 21, the evening of the Grammy Awards. He went to a small gay bar on Arenas Road to have a few drinks and watch the awards program. Some locals refer to this small section of mostly gay-oriented businesses as the "Tiny Castro District."


While Smith was at the bar, patrons, of course, were talking about the Eminem controversy. Smith, who frequents the bar when in town, told metroG that he made some comments to other patrons in defense of The Real Slim Shady.


Prior to the bad boy rapper and openly gay pop artist Elton John performing their much anticipated duet on live television, Smith says that there was some discussion about turning the TV off. At some point, according to Smith, the bartender told him, "'You're being too loud and obnoxious, and we don't want to hear it anymore." The bartender then told Smith, "Go across the street." The TV was left on, but Smith said patrons were making negative comments about Eminem during the performance, so he left prior to it ending. Smith declined to name the bar in question for metroG.


"It was very rude," Smith said, about the way he was treated at the bar.


"Too many people miss the point. I don't agree with some of the things Eminem says, but I don't feel anyone has the right to tell him to shut up," he said. 


That doesn't mean Smith isn't in agreement with some of the opinions expressed by organizations such as GLAAD, who claim that songs by Eminem and other artists lead to hate crimes against gays and others.


"There are enough idiots out there that are easily influenced by almost anything, but normal mainstream people aren't affected by it," he told metroG.


Smith disagrees with many in the lesbitrangay community who have publicly stated that Elton John performed with Eminem at The Grammys for publicity or profit. "Actually, I think Elton did it to smooth over the controversy," he said.


Like many gay men, Smith never even heard of Eminem until the controversy started. He says many people rush to judgment about Marshall Mathers without evening listening to the songs in question. Smith recommends that people go directly to the source, as he did, and listen to the uncensored versions of the songs prior to "opening their mouths."


Smith told metroG that despite the incident, he has plans to patronize the bar in the future.


-- Crusader