Choir director cites “‘Queer as Folk’ DVDs in fight for job

Posted on 17 Dec 2005 at 12:48am
By Associated PRess

GRAND FORKS, N.D. A University of North Dakota choir director fighting to keep his job says his boss made him uncomfortable by bringing pornography to his home.
Anthony Reeves said his relationship with music department chairman Gary Towne declined after Reeves and his partner did not want to watch DVDs containing gay sex scenes.
Towne testified on Tuesday that the DVDs were not pornographic.
He refuted statements made Monday in the appeal hearing for Reeves, and said his recommendation to fire Reeves was not any kind of retaliation.
Testimony concluded Tuesday in the grievance hearing that began Nov. 7 and included about 70 hours of testimony.
Attorneys will present closing arguments at 4 p.m. Friday and the five-member faculty committee hearing the appeal will begin deliberating. Their recommendation will be sent to university President Charles Kupchella, who makes the final decision.
Towne testified he never wanted more than a professional relationship with Reeves or his partner.
He said he lent Reeves DVDs of the Showtime series “Queer as Folk” because Reeves asked to borrow it.
He denied suggesting that Reeves or his partner, Tom Rogers, watch porn with him. Towne said his recommendation to fire Reeves was based solely on allegations the University of North Dakota has presented in its case against Reeves.
Reeves said he and Towne initially had a cordial relationship and Towne was a guest at dinner parties hosted by Reeves.
On one occasion, Reeves and his partner, Tom Rogers, invited Towne over to thank him for helping them move.
At that time, Towne brought DVDs of “Queer as Folk” to lend to Reeves, according to testimony.
Reeves said this made him uncomfortable because the show contains graphic sex scenes.
“Queer as Folk” enjoyed widespread popularity in the GLBT community when it was airing on Showtime, but it did show sex scenes.
A few weeks later, Towne came to Reeves’ home unannounced with a DVD of “An American in Prague,” a gay porn film, Reeves said.
Towne appeared disappointed when Reeves and Rogers said they did not want to watch the DVD with him, Reeves testified.
“I felt that was extremely improper,” Reeves said.”It made me extremely uncomfortable because this man was and is my boss.”
Reeves and Rogers testified Towne brought porn over to their home on three occasions.

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