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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Benjamin Nicholas?

posted by on November 27 at 11:29 AM


I’ve been emailing back and forth with Benjamin Nicholas, gay escort and past Stranger contributor. Yesterday Nicholas was accused, for lack of a better word, of having a professional relationship with GOP Sen. Trent Lott. The blog BigHeadDC broke this as-yet-unconfirmed story and said that Lott’s alleged contacts with Nicholas were about to be made public and that this—another GOP gay sex scandal—was the real reason for Lott’s sudden resignation.

The credibility-challanged blogger that, er, fingered Nicholas stands by his story. Nicholas, for his part, denies ever having seen Lott in a professional capacity—or in any other capacity. He also insists that the quotes attributed to him on BigHeadDC were “falsely pieced together” and that BigHeadDC’s story was “fabricated.” But Nicholas has credibility problems of his own.

At the moment I’m inclined to believe Nicholas when he denies any involvement with Lott—even though, of course, Nicholas’ commitment to client confidentiality pretty much requires him to deny ever having seen Lott. But one thing gives me pause—one aspect of this makes me think that there might be something to this.

Why Benjamin Nicholas?

Of all the escorts in all the world—many of whom are based in DC—why would some random DC blogger pluck Benjamin Nicholas out of the ether? Nicholas is based in San Antonio, not DC. If BigHeadDC is making this shit up, wouldn’t he be likelier to make this shit up about a DC-based escort?

“Why me?” Nicholas responded via email. “Well, I think it’s mainly because in the escort world, I’m pretty face-front and known,” due to his blog and his willingness to critique other escorts and certain aspects of the escort business. “This is one of the few times in my escort career that I’m not really enjoying the spotlight.

“Also, take into account that there are MANY people out there who dislike me and could easily tip-off this crappy DC blogger with some horseshit story.”

Reading the comments thread attached to the blog post that busted Nicholas for plagiarism—Nicholas had been posting other writers’ work to his blog as his own—it’s obvious that there are people out there that don’t like Nicholas. Many of the men that patronize escorts, male or female, have intense love/hate relationships with sex workers. They love their bodies, and love having access to them, but they often deeply resent having to pay for that privilege. Clients tend to “build up” escorts on review websites like DaddysReviews, then tear those same escorts down.

Still, it seems a little too random—suspiciously random—that BigHeadDC would tag Nicholas with this and not one of the dozens of male escorts working in Washington D.C.

“Whether this is a conspiracy or just plain bullshit,” writes Nicholas, “I’m hunkering down and hoping that the national media doesn’t pick this up, as it’s not yet been verified from a credible source. My statement on 15 Minutes is clear. I’ll leave it at that.”

Unfortunately for Nicholas, the national media is picking this story up: the ABCNEWS producer and investigative reporter that broke the Mark Foley story just called. She wanted to know how she could get in touch with Nicholas about Trent Lott.

UPDATE: BigHeadDC has now posted his entire email exchange with Nicholas. (If that link doesn’t work try this one.) Says BigHeadDC:

It is of course Nicholasí way of framing his answers in these e-mails, i.e. ‘no current affiliation with Lott,’ referring to the senator as Trent, etc. that has helped lead many today to question why Nicholas has decided to backtrack. Perhaps he had promised an exclusive to another publication, and accidentally dropped the ball? Perhaps some of his current clients became frightened, so he decided to try to make the story go away? Or perhaps he has felt some other sorts of pressure. We do not know at this point. But, rest assured, we are working to find out.

Says Andy at Towleroad

The exchange DOES NOT yet provide any real evidence that there was a relationship between Nicholas and Trent Lott, however, it’s certain to be picked apart in minute detail, such as this remark:

Nicholas: “Iím a blogger as well, so Iím well aware that nothing in this world is ever truly Ďoff-record.í Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now and I donít want to add to it. All I can say at this point is no comment. Itís the professional thing for me to do.”

Addressing Senator Lott as “Trent” seems to imply that the lawmaker was more than a passing acquaintance, but that’s pretty much all I can glean from the exchange.

There’s other stuff in the email exchange—assuming it’s complete and accurate—that would seem to call Nicholas’ denials into question. But there’s nothing definitive, no smoking gun, no blue dress. Still, there’s a lot of smoke here.

RSS icon Comments


Well, if it isn't news, it's at least Entertainment.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 27, 2007 11:43 AM

Hmm, did he have any comments about the plagerism accusations? He can deny having anything to do with Lott but those accusations hit a lot closer to any credibility he has.

Posted by Jo Ellen | November 27, 2007 11:44 AM
"At the moment Iím inclined to believe Nicholas when he denies any involvement with Lott..."
Posted by big fucking surprise, because he's YOUR friend -- love your angles dan. you jerk | November 27, 2007 11:45 AM

I've never met Benjamin Nicholas in person. And he's contributed two pieces to the Stranger -- I think it's safe to say that contributing two pieces to the paper does not make someone my "friend."


Posted by Dan Savage | November 27, 2007 11:48 AM

He's easier on the eyes (and ears) than Chris Crocker.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 27, 2007 11:51 AM

What #2 said.

C'mon, Dan. Don't sugarcoat this.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 27, 2007 11:52 AM

"At the moment Iím inclined to believe Nicholas when he denies any involvement with Lott..."
Because seriously who would f**k Trent Lott for any amount of cash? Seriously, I wouldn't f**k that guy with a borrowed dick.

Posted by Wilf | November 27, 2007 11:53 AM

It's very clear to the casual observer that hotair is being produced. Not all right wing hate-mongers buy the services of fe/male escorts. They're sleazy scum with out the sexual trappings.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 27, 2007 11:58 AM

I brought up the plagiarism charge and mentioned that it damages Nicholas' credibility.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 27, 2007 11:59 AM

And I brought up the point that he's a hooker--who in their right mind expects credibility to begin with?

You're ahead of the game if you get your rocks off and then get out of the room without having your wallet stolen and finding yourself blackmailed for a thousand bucks.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 27, 2007 12:05 PM

Nicholas has put himself into a bit of a box: He makes a big deal about granting his clients complete confidentiality, and then categorically denies a relationship with Lott - fostering the inevitable conclusion that, duh, he's just granting Lott the complete confidentiality he affords every client. In fact, if you're inclined to think this is made-up, that alone could be a reason that BigHeadDC chose Nicholas -- because he knew Nicholas' "policy" would make any denial ring false.

That said, I have a gut feeling this is true.

Posted by Pat | November 27, 2007 12:06 PM

This whole thing is awesome. Someone pass the bread.

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 27, 2007 12:08 PM

i don't know... as badly as i want to, i'm not believing this story. however, ambiguous comments from nicholas like "all i can say at this point..." and "it's the professional thing to do" sound kind of non-commital to me. but perhaps he's been enjoying the spotlight a little more than he's letting on, and just toying with the media to milk it for all it's worth.

well hopefully larry flynt will spill whatever beans he's sitting on so we [and by 'we' i mean 'i'] can stop obsessing over this.

Posted by brandon | November 27, 2007 12:11 PM

It's funny because none of it *needs* to be true.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 27, 2007 12:11 PM

Where the penultimate lying whore -and self-appointed faux-journalist- Matt Sanchez to comment? This is right up his, er, alley.

Posted by Tom Bacchus | November 27, 2007 12:15 PM

I hate to agree with Dan on this (throwing up in my mouth right now) but until there is a smoking gun, video of the escort with Lott we really have nothing at all.

BTW, I stand by my rant yesterday that if Nicholas (or any escort)IS protecting a right wing asswipe like Lott you can thank them for taking our liberties away as well. They are nearly as bad as a Jewish Nazi.

Posted by Just Me | November 27, 2007 12:43 PM

I'm inclined to believe this scandal is true for quite a few reasons.

1. Escorts have a very limited shelf life.
2. Larry Flynt offered 1 MILLION dollars for tips that he could verify.
3. If Flynt is involved and there is a payment coming to Nicholas, then Nicholas probably cannot admit to anything until Flynt publishes his expose'.

I'm guessing Nicholas doesn't want to blow his retirement plan.

Posted by Scott | November 27, 2007 12:52 PM

I want so hard for this story to be real, but in the absence of proof I'll settle for lots of publicity and speculation.

Posted by Greg | November 27, 2007 1:02 PM

1. Nicholas is smokin hot.

2. This whole speculation is gobs of fun, even if it turns out to be total bullshit.

3. Because of Nicholas' widely publicized "complete confidentiality" policy, he is the perfect choice if BigHeadDC is making it up. Any denial Nicholas makes will sound fake. Anything he says ends up sounding more like a confirmation than a denial. A denial from any other more anonymous hooker would sound more believable.

4. Did I mention that Nicholas is smokin hot?

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 27, 2007 1:31 PM

Much hotter than Stephen Ambrose, to be sure!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 27, 2007 1:40 PM

Part of me wonders if Nicholas didn't drum this up himself just for publicity. If he's willing to steal other people's words and claim them as his own, I really wouldn't put such a thing past him.

Posted by Jo Ellen | November 27, 2007 1:55 PM

I don't see the benefit, Jo Ellen. Rich, closeted men don't want to be seen with notorious and/or indiscrete male escorts. Being all over the blogs isn't going to help Nicholas professionally.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 27, 2007 2:42 PM

....but it might get him a gig on "Surreal Life" or "Celebrity Whore-Camp" or some such program of similar ilk.

Posted by michael strangeways | November 27, 2007 3:05 PM

Well I guess my theory is more that he wants to move away from escorting and further into the celebrity blogger realm? I just glanced over a few of his blog posts and a lot of what I saw was blind item gossip that had nothing to do with his escort work or with his own personal thoughts or feelings. This post for example (scroll down and youíll see a large ĎGossipí header). I mean, if he was really that interested in being discrete, why would he have any scandal stuff on his site? Even the title of his blog í15 Minutes More,í which I see as meaning he wants to prolong his 15 minutes of fame, I read as indicating he desires some level of notoriety. Yes I know he criticised Mike Jones for this but perhaps Nicholas has mixed motives or a change of heart. Well of course this is all just my guesswork, who knows?

Posted by Jo Ellen | November 27, 2007 3:16 PM

Well, Keith Olbermann thinks it's probably because the Senate is about to pass laws restricting lobbyists, namely that former representatives can't become lobbyists until two years after their term has ended, and Trent Lott wants to be a lobbyist. I dunno if they earn more money than the average senator, but to me, it sounds like the more likely explanation. It sucks that Trent Lott wasn't caught with a guy, because that would have been an awesome end for him. But I guess I should wait and see what pans out.

Posted by Sara | November 27, 2007 8:47 PM

I'm not interested in any more Republican sex scandals per se. If you don't know by now that the Republicans are the party of fear-mongering, hypocrisy, and power-hunger, you're not paying very close attention.

Posted by Paul | November 27, 2007 9:19 PM

It seems these days that to be a card-carrying Republican you have to be a hypocrit. It's sad. Each scandal makes America look like the group of dimwits we really are. It's even more humiliating than having our "president" foul up the English language while he has his mouth full of baloney and cheese (while talking to a head of state).

Posted by DanV | November 27, 2007 10:46 PM

Nah! I doubt it. This would have come out long ago...but I wouldn't mind if it were true.

Posted by probablynottre | November 27, 2007 11:05 PM

I sure hope there is a blue dress involved.

What size do you think Trent wears?

Posted by Jim | November 28, 2007 12:29 AM

The fact that this escort calls him "Trent" and not "Lott" or "that Nazi scumcrawling racist son of a bitch" means he's in nice and cozy with the old smear.

Posted by Donovan | November 28, 2007 2:19 AM

I hope it is true because the Republican party in mississippi has a history of electing gay guys to congress. Remember Jon Hinson, a representative caught in a capitol hill restroom crusing with his pants down.
As a Democrat i say through all of them out. All
of them are hypocrits. Built there careers on race baiting and reaction to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society/Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act.
Lying cums second nature to them.

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