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  • Fred Litwin

Jefferson Morley Doesn't Understand Jim Garrison's Homophobic Prosecution of Clay Shaw

Journalist Jefferson Morley published the first of several articles reviewing JFK assassination news in 2022.

Unfortunately, he includes this:

In November 2021, the Washington Post published a piece attributing the enduring skepticism about the Warren Commission to, yes, homophobia.

Morley is referring to Professor Alecia Long's article in the Washington Post last November, "Behind Americans’ continued fascination with John F. Kennedy’s assassination."


His assertion about Long's article is just plain wrong. Long did not attribute "enduring skepticism" to homophobia; she discussed the homophobia of Jim Garrison:

Garrison’s prosecution of a closeted businessman, Clay Shaw, in 1969 grew out of stories told by two New Orleanians the weekend after the assassination. In their original iterations, those tales had only two things in common: Lee Harvey Oswald and accusations that he had been associating with “known homosexuals” the summer before the assassination. Four years later, Garrison merged these stories to create the contention that Shaw had conspired with Oswald and another deceased conspirator to kill Kennedy. The jury at Shaw’s trial returned a unanimous not guilty verdict. This failed prosecution remains the only assassination-related conspiracy case ever heard in a court of law.
A close reading of records related to Shaw’s prosecution shows how Garrison’s investigation was facilitated by long-standing suspicions of gay men. Multiple sources also demonstrate how a broad cultural homophobia made Shaw and his alleged co-conspirators suspect to a generation of Americans primed to believe that gay men were sex criminals likely to commit all manner of deviant acts, up and to and including murder.
In short, historical scholarship and the evidence at the National Archives make it clear that Garrison’s prosecution of Shaw, who was accused of acting with Oswald and another man, was largely conducted to provide a public forum for questioning the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman.

This is not the first time Morley has done this. He published an article in CounterPunch last December saying much the same thing.

In a sustained attack on Stone in the Washington Post, professor Alecia Long argued that Garrison’s investigation was motivated by homophobia. Shaw was a closeted gay man and Garrison used his private life to smear him, she contends in a new book. Long’s unsubtle implication is that anyone who believes Kennedy was killed by his enemies is an ignorant bigot prone to QAnon-type fantasies.
If Long thinks that Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Charles De Gaulle and Fidel Castro were deluded fabulists driven by homophobia, her argument is unconvincing, if not totally wrong.

Researcher Tracy Parnell took Morley to task for that column:

But Morley has done exactly what he accuses Long of doing—created a straw man. Nowhere in her article does Long mention Truman, DeGaulle or Castro in any form. While she does mention Johnson, she does not suggest that the 36th president was a homophobic fabulist. Long’s book focuses on the homophobic nature of Garrison’s investigation and is the second book to do so.

Obviously, Morley did not read Mr. Parnell's excellent article.


And, of course, James DiEugenio had to chime in with a ridiculous comment:


By the way, Alecia Long's book, Cruising for Conspirators: How a New Orleans DA Prosecuted the Kennedy Assassination as a Sex Crime, is essential reading.


Martin Kelly has written a terrific review of Alecia's terrific book.

It is a bit unusual to find research of this caliber in the literature on the JFK assassination. That it exposes Garrison’s tabloid-themed prosecution, without invoking Garrison’s own history of mental problems or making anything out of the later accusation that he groped a 13-year-old boy in New Orleans, gives it a sound rationality as rebuttal to Garrison sycophants. Cruising for Conspirators might well be read as an inoculation against whatever fiction Oliver Stone will deliver in his new documentary.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts


Guilt by Orientation

Jamie Kirchick has just published an important article on Oliver Stone, his so-called documentary JFK Revisited, and "his three-decade slander of an innocent man—one who, not coincidentally, happened to be gay."


Boston Phoenix said Oliver Stone's JFK was "sadly homophobic"

Even the Boston Phoenix realized that JFK was homophobic.


Jim Garrison's Homosexual Shakedown Operation

The FBI was warned in 1967 that Garrison might be running a shakedown operation of homosexuals in New Orleans.


James Phelan and Mark Lane Discuss Garrison's Homosexual Conspiracy

A partial transcript of a conversation between Mark Lane and James Phelan.


Garrison Mentions a Homosexual Plot to Yet Another Journalist

Garrison talked about a homosexual plot to kill JFK with Max Lerner.


A Rave Review of Alecia Long's "Cruising for Conspirators"

Alecia Long's book, Cruising for Conspirators: How a New Orleans DA Prosecuted the Kennedy Assassination as a Sex Crime, is required reading.


Jim Garrison Feigns Indignation at the Mention of Clay Shaw's Homosexuality

Garrison gets upset for all the wrong reasons.


Did a Homosexual Conspiracy Kill JFK?

Confidential Magazine in 1968 ran a series, written by a part-time Garrison staffer, about a homosexual conspiracy.


Jim Garrison's Pressure on the Gay Community of New Orleans

The gay community felt a lot of pressure from Garrison.


The QUICK Magazine Series


Was The QUICK Article About a Homosexual Conspiracy Written By Jim Garrison? (Part One)

An article, supposedly written by Jim Garrison, appeared in the German press, which theorized that a homosexual conspiracy was behind the JFK assassination.


Was The QUICK Article About a Homosexual Conspiracy Written by Jim Garrison? (Part Two)

Did Jim Garrison write the QUICK article?


Was the QUICK Article about a Homosexual Conspiracy Written by Jim Garrison? (Part Three)

Further clues about the QUICK article.


Jim Garrison Does it Again - Claims Oswald and Ruby were Homosexuals...

In another article, Garrison claims that Oswald and Ruby were homosexuals.


Did Lawrence Schiller Write the QUICK Article?

Some evidence points to Schiller.


Did Nerin Gun Write the QUICK Article?

Some evidence points to Gun.


Final Thoughts on the QUICK Article

An overview of the evidence that Garrison believed a homosexual plot killed JFK.

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