Fresh controversy at college which disinvited gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black from ceremony

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A speaker due to replace disinvited gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black at his former college has now pulled out of a commencement ceremony there following anti-gay sentiment made in sermons some years ago.

Oscar winning screen writer and boyfriend of British Olympic diver Tom Daley Black was asked to be the speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony for Pasadena City College (PCC).

But PCC’s Board President Anthony Fellow announced the college had decided not to allow Black to give the address to graduates, following a 2009 episode in which naked images of Black and his then-boyfriend were leaked to the public.

Dr Eric Walsh, Pasadena’s director of public health had been due to take over the gig, but with only three weeks to go until the ceremony, he has pulled out. 

The reason given by officials at the college was simply an “unforeseen scheduling conflict.”

Some have pointed to a recently re-surfaced 2006 speech Walsh gave at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah during which he appeared to condemn US public schools for accepting homosexuality.

Walsh has also been known to take aim at TV shows such as Will and Grace for encouraging acceptance of gay people.

He is currently an associate pastor at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Altadena, and gives sermons across the US.

Some have called for him to step down as the head of Pasadena’s public health department.

In an open letter to the college, Black criticised the decision to disinvite him.