J. Edgar Hoover’s Fans Still Covering Up FBI Leader’s Gay Ways
FBI agents helped Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio with an upcoming film about J. Edgar Hoover. The former intelligence chief’s cronies, however, did not.
For years J. Edgar Hoover ruled the Federal Bureau of Investigations with an iron glove, using his power to target communists, gays, black people and anyone else who he thought posed a “threat.” Outside the office, however, his glove was a different color: pink.
Sources for years have claimed that Hoover liked to wear women’s clothing and had a secret, sexual relationship with his right hand man, Clyde Tolson.
It’s only natural, then, that director Clint Eastwood would want to explore these rumors as he prepared his upcoming movie, ‘J. Edgar,’ which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the legendary law man.
As part of their research, Eastwood turned to the FBI itself, ‘USA Today’ reports. Though the agency did not come out and say Hoover was homosexual, they did provide Eastwood with what little information they had.
Assistant FBI Director Mike Kortan tells the paper that both Eastwood and DiCaprio asked about Hoover’s private life and that the agency told them of “vague rumors and fabrications,” but were sure to note that “there is no evidence in the historical record on this issue.”
“We provided information so that their story could be accurate,” said Kortan. “What they did with it, as with any production, has been entirely in their hands.”
While the FBI, not known for its transparency, let the Hollywood icons go their own way, Hoover’s supporters — yes, people still support a man known for creating false panic to sustain his power — tried to stonewall any portrayal of their icon as lavender. The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI made clear to Eastwood that they were displeased with any potential man-on-man action in the flick, as did the folks at the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.
“There is no basis in fact for such a portrayal of Mr. Hoover,” wrote that group’s chairman, William Branon. “It would be a grave injustice and monumental distortion to proceed with such a depiction based on a completely unfounded and spurious assertion.”
No, there are no pictures of Hoover and Tolson smooching, canoodling or coming out of a gay bar, but it’s pretty common knowledge that the men did indeed have a more-than-platonic relationship: their contemporaries even referred to the duo as “J. Edna and Mother Tolson.”
The J. Edgar Hoover Foundation claims to be “committed to preserving an important legacy” and a “way of life based on the standards which J. Edgar Hoover believed in and embodied in his own life.” They use the adjectives “decency,” “integrity” and “justice” to describe Hoover’s worldview. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Hoover often bent the truth to suit his purposes, including when it came to his private life, and was often more of a national plight than protagonist. He created a culture of national and personal obfuscation, one that his cronies appear prepared to defend even to this day, nearly forty years after their hero died.
Hoover’s allies are perpetuating a legacy, yes, but not one of valor and patriotism. They are upholding a tradition of shame and secrecy, the same negative culture that allowed Hoover to specifically target gays, a population he wanted to suppress as much as he suppressed himself, and one that allows anti-gay activists today to do the same.