Citing professional reasons for why he waited and social reasons for why he’s now speaking up, Anderson Cooper came out publicly as a gay man in a letter to the Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, published Monday.
Cooper, CNN anchor and host-executive producer of Telepictures daytime talk show Anderson, writes to Sullivan that in addition to wanting privacy for personal reasons, as many in the public eye do, he also wanted to retain some privacy “for professional reasons.”
“Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist,” Cooper writes.
He adds that recently he has “begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.
“I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.”
Cooper does not mention his nearly year-old talk show in the letter but his perspective on how revealing he wished to be about his personal life clearly has changed since the show launched. When asked a year ago in an interview prior to the Anderson launch about what he hoped to accomplish with the talk show, he told B&C: “Smart, honest, provocative. Those are three words I keep coming back to.”
“In news it can often seem kind of one dimensional, but in daytime you have the ability to show yourself in a more well-rounded way, a more multi-dimensional way,” Cooper told B&C last year. But when asked then about his personal life and how much he wished to discuss it on the show, he at first joked, “I’m totally stumped by your question. No, I’m kidding. Obviously, people are interested and I totally get that.”
“At this point I don’t talk about my private life,” Cooper told B&C last July. “I’ve been doing news for 20 years and there is no real reason. It doesn’t seem appropriate in the news business. But as things change, we’ll see where the show goes. It’s not something I really thought about whether I’ll talk about or not. We’ll see what happens.”
And we’ll see if Cooper’s new openness affects his ratings. Anderson averaged a 1.2 rating for the week ending June 17. Cooper also is due to be joined by a rotating co-host in season two.