Fear Stalks the Gay Community. Not even rich and powerful gay men are immune.
Take Ian Reisner.
Reisner lives in a 4,000 square foot apartment on Central Park South in Manhattan. The apartment was cobbled together, if cobbled is the right word for a multi-million dollar makeover, from five apartments on two floors with spectacular views of Central Park. Even the Jacuzzi and shower in the master suite have panoramic views that New Yorkers kill for. Six years ago Reisner and his life-and-business-partner Mati Weiderpass rejected a $15,000,000 cash offer for the place.
Reisner spent 15 years as managing director at investment houses Salomon Brothers and Bank of America and then embarked on a fabulously successful career in retail and then as a real-estate developer. He owns gay-friendly jam-packed hotels and nightclubs in New York City, Fire Island on New York’s Long Island, and soon Chicago.
Reisner is rich and powerful, a mover and shaker in the gay-rights community, and it was in his Central Park South apartment that he famously hosted an April 20th non-fundraising “fire-side chat” with Texas Senator Ted Cruz who is running for president and who opposes same-sex marriage. Presumably Reisner hosted Cruz for reasons other than his opposition to gay marriage. Perhaps it was their shared concern about the State of Israel. Cruz was roundly condemned by the gay press and main-stream media for not condemning gay marriage at a gay supporter’s house.
Even so, a gay firestorm ensued.
The charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS cancelled a huge fundraiser at Reisner’s SL Nightclub. And a Facebook page calling for a boycott of his properties garnered several thousand signatures within a few days.
Like clockwork, the rich and powerful Reisner caved and went hat in hand to apologize for hosting Cruz at his house.
Reisner said, “I am shaken to my bones by the emails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake.”
Incomprehensibly, Reisner said he was not aware of Cruz’s position on gay marriage and called himself “ignorant and naïve.” Now he is “shocked and angry” by Cruz’s opposition to gay marriage.
It’s not as if Reisner has not been without controversy. Last May, Reisner was arrested in East Hampton for driving drunk after sideswiping a parked car and hitting a sign. Police allegedly found him “unsteady and slurring his speech” at 11 in the morning.
Last October after a drug-fueled night, a 23-year-old man died of an apparent drug overdose at 8:30 in the morning in Reisner’s bathtub, the one with panoramic views of Central Park.
At the time of the young man’s death in the presence of 49 year-old Reisner, Reisner had no comment. Cross the Big Gay Hate Machine, though, and Reisner talked plenty.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse