TV Producer Says Ark. High School Canceled His Grad Speech Because He’s Gay
A successful television producer says that an informal invitation to speak at his northern Arkansas high school’s commencement ceremonies this year was rescinded because he is gay.
Bryant Huddleston, who has produced "E! News" and "Access Hollywood" and who is currently working on a new show for Bravo, wrote a letter to Superintendent Mitch Walton criticizing the decision to withdraw its offer to speak at his sister’s graduation from Sloan-Hendrix High School. Huddleston graduated from the school in 1990 and his father heads its five-member school board, The Jonesboro Sun reported.
"I’m curious - did you think my speech would have focused on recruiting youngsters and passing out "Go Straight to Gay" cards over sharing the tools that I used to achieve success?" he asks Walton.
Walton declined to say why Huddleston won’t be speaking, but he said several board members, whom he declined to identify, were against it.
Walton said Huddleston’s father, board president Steve Huddleston, asked him months ago whether his son could speak at graduation. Steve Huddleston said Walton authorized Bryant Huddleston as the keynote speaker.
Then, in an email to board members in late January, Walton said he planned to ask Col. Stan Witt, the Arkansas State Police director and an Imboden native, to speak at the ceremony.