Me and Mr. Jones

Blow jobs are short. Scandals are not.

Or the power of the press.

Jones didn't go to the press because he was an agent of Karl Rove, who wanted to make sure the Democrats won in 2006 so that the Republicans could win bigger in 2008 — one of the rumors going around. Or because he was a tool of anti-global-warming forces, who wanted to oust Haggard because he'd put environmentalism on the evangelical agenda — a better rumor going around. Or even because he had a book deal, because he didn't.

No, Haggard's hypocrisy is what prompted Jones to go public — although it wasn't all that easy to spill the story, as he recounts in his book. Paula Woodward at Channel 9 needed to gather more proof, and when he later came to me, I suggested that he needed not a smoking gun, but a "smoking penis." (Our meeting rated a special Queer Eyehousekeeping assessment in the book.) Jones had almost decided to wait until after the election — but then changed his mind and contacted Peter Boyles. "This is about religion in America and how it's dealing with the homosexual issue," he says. "The fact is, they're not dealing with it." Haggard certainly wasn't.

"You have to understand, I had no idea it would turn out the way it would," Jones continues. "I thought there would be a Jimmy Swaggart moment, when he cries and confesses. Even when the scandal broke, he could have made a positive out of it. I think he missed a golden opportunity." A Golden Girls opportunity. Because instead, Haggard went away and got "cured," with his family by his side. Jones, on the other hand, hasn't heard from his older brother since November. "My younger brother will talk to me," he adds, "but he's never talked once about the story."

Still, it's the group that Jones hoped would benefit most from his revelation that has most disappointed him. He got good feedback from Geraldo Rivera after his interview this past Sunday, Jones says, as well as kudos from reporters at Fox, the only network that hadn't clamored to interview him last fall. On Monday, he learned that he'd won an award from the Monette-Horwitz Trust. On Tuesday, he did eight interviews, not including his talk with me. But gay organizations have not rallied around. The Harvey Milk Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of New York City lauded him, but "otherwise, every gay group has turned their back on me," he says. "Because I'm an escort, they've turned their back on me."

He didn't expect that when he went public, didn't tell his story to further divide the gay community. "I get people from the church coming up and congratulating me, and people from the gay community coming up and saying I had no business doing that," he says. "You don't need to be proud of me for what I was doing for a living, but you can stand up for what I'm saying."

Because he didn't say it just to get fifteen minutes of fame, or even a full hour. In the end, Mike Jones said it because he couldn't help himself."

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