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Dustin Lance Black slams alma mater for uninviting him as commencement speaker

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Apr 17, 2014 | 6:28pm EDT

Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has slammed administrators at his alma mater after they withdrew an invitation to speak at an upcoming ceremony amid fears his 2009 nude photo scandal would tarnish the college's reputation. The Oscar winner was asked to be the speaker at this year's graduation ceremony for Pasadena City College, where he graduated in 1994.

However the school's Board President Anthony Fellow announced they have decided not to allow Black to give the address to graduates, following the scandal in which nude photographs of Black and his then-boyfriend were leaked to the public. Fellow said, "With the porno professor and the sex scandals we've had on campus this last year, it just didn't seem like the right time for Mr. Black to be the speaker. We'll be on the radio and on television. We just don't want to give PCC a bad name."

PCC staff were recently faced with two controversies involving professors, as one, nicknamed the "porno professor", admitted to having affairs with students, and another who confessed to showing nude pictures of himself to a student. Now Black has come out with his own statement regarding the provocative photos and also urges students to fight against administrators who attempt to "shame" members of the gay community.

In a letter to PCC he writes, "For too long now I've sat silent on this issue. That ends here and now and with this sentence: I did nothing wrong and I refuse to be shamed for this any longer. "In 2009 a group of people surreptitiously lifted images from my ex's computer and shopped them around to gossip sites in a money making scheme... They were photos of me with a man I cared for, a man who shared my Mormon background, and who was also struggling with who he was versus where he came from and yes, we were doing what gay men do when they love and trust each other, we were having sex."

He continues, "I congratulate all of the 2014 graduates. I had hoped to share the story of how I turned my Community College education at PCC into a fruitful career. I had hoped to share the message that each and every one of you is capable of the same. But now I must ask you to do something for me: speak out. "As PCC Administrators attempt to shame me, they are casting a shadow over all LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) students at PCC. They are sending the message that LGBT students are to be held to a different standard, that there is something inherently shameful about who we are and how we love, and that no matter what we accomplish in our lives, we will never be worthy of PCC's praise.

"While I deal with the legal and financial ramifications of this injury, I urge you not to let PCC's Administrators get away with sending such a harmful message. If there's one thing I've learned in the struggle for equality it is that when you are stung by injustice, you must find your pride and raise your voice. If you are outraged like I am, you must show it. You must speak truth to fear and prejudice and shed light where there is ignorance. Now is that time at PCC."

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