Josh Rivers

Why I'm glad Josh Rivers got what he deserved

Until the news of his downfall broke, I hadn't heard of Josh Rivers. I stopped buying magazines like Gay Times - aimed at a privileged, white, gay elite - years ago. Not only did its content (empty consumerism and puff pieces for straight pop culture "icons") bear no relation to my life, but... the internet. (KAOS compared GT to The Tenth in 2015. Check it out.)

Not knowing much about Rivers didn't stop me from revelling in Schadenfreude. When I read his vile Tweets, I wasn't in the least bit surprised - not even that someone in his position had been caught with his pants down. The nasty, foul mouthed vitriol is exactly what I expect from Rivers and his sneering, entitled ilk: those cocktail-sipping, preening, jerks all too often held up as the gay archetype. Overlooked in Rivers' torrent of bile is an issue that's often overlooked in the LGBT community: class hatred, or, if you like, plain snobbery. Racism in the gay community is finally getting the attention it deserves. Now we need to look at classism.

Once, at work, apropos of nothing, a gay man called me a "fucking immigrant". I can hear Josh Rivers saying that, to the barman at his favourite haunt, the cashier at the Waitrose he shops at, or the guy working in the Tube station. Men like Rivers hate the working class. So it was depressing to see the likes of Topher Campbell defending Rivers on the BBC's Newsnight programme. Yes, black people in positions of power are held to a higher level of scrutiny than white people, but that doesn't mitigate the fact that Rivers did do exactly what he's been accused of. And claiming that he's been sacked, whilst the likes of Boris Johnson (another poisonous bigot) is still in a job is disingenuous. Campbell should be more concerned with the black gay men Rivers has let down, the ones who don't have Rivers' money and status.

Rivers' apology (if we can call it that) is self indulgent and self serving. Apparently, Rivers deserves a round of applause because he's "grown" (Rivers wrote these Tweets in his mid 20s, not his mid teens). In fact, what these unguarded tweets show is his real self, not the airbrushed politician he's presented in his role as LGBT spokesman.

Something ugly crawled out from beneath that veneer of superficial beauty, and Rivers takes his place in the company of fellow monsters: the Thiels and Yiannopoulos' of this world. He got found out.


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