Twitter War: #biggaybattle Draws Some Big Guns

Before it gets ugly, let’s dial it back to adorable.

When we started coverage of our Man of the Decade poll, it had already been going on for ten days, quiet and uneventful. Mostly, we were amused and flattered that people like Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman had noticed it was happening. Sure, we’d interviewed both before, but we weren’t expecting anything but an accounting of our membership. We knew how big it was, and thought we’d entice it into voting by playing with the fact the leaders, who were in a dead heat, had made 140 character campaign speeches.

Once we noted that the cards were stacked a little in NPH’s favor because he had more Twitter followers, the campaigns took off though, with Jonathan Ross stepping into the fray in support of his friend Barrowman. At that point, it seemed, it was on.

Celebrity endorsements started flying at 140 characters, and the whole thing went viral. Saturday and Sunday endorsements rolled in with Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Chris Hardwick, Alyssa Milano and Alyson Hannigan all throwing the might of their nearly 4 million followers behind NPH, who seemed to have forgotten the whole thing.

Barrowman tossed out the occasional tweet between acts of the pantomine he was doing, and picked up a total of 2.2 million followers by adding endorsements from author Neil Gaiman, Vernon Kay, Tom Price, and Paul Cornell.

Then NPH came home or answered his phone, and discovered what his offhand tweet for votes had started. And he tweeted again. And was heard.

Refusing to leave late night to Jonathan Ross.

People had been after Jimmy Fallon to not leave the late night interview show front to Mr. Ross all day Sunday. But as soon as NPH himself asked for help again, it was on. The goofy, sometimes lovable host sent out three messages to his 2.3 million followers in support of NPH.

He had good timing, too, since he sent it around midnight. Prime activity for his base.

It’s unclear how many folks he rallied, but even a fraction of them would be a big voting block.

Adorkable comedian’s unite!

Hal Sparks, known to most of our readership as Michael from Queer as Folk, picked up fellow comedian Chris Hardwick’s tweet about stuffing the ballot box while the British slept. His 22k followers picked up the amusing U-S-GAY chant Hardwick had pitched to his.

So far, Hal’s the only person with a NOH8 portrait on his Twitter profile. Bonus points.

Will his active and visible gay role, both on television and in the NOH8 campaign make his call stronger?

It’s an actual Whedon speaking up!

There’s been no denying that much of the support for NPH has come from the Whedonverse, with Whedonesque being one of the early split endorsers. They loved them both if you read the thread of commenters over at Joss’ extremely loyal fan site. But we hadn’t heard from an actual Whedon. Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss’ sister in law and frequent collaborator changed all that with a single tweet.

Does she speak for the man himself?

No word on whether she can push the legions of Whedon to side with Dr. Horrible over Captain Jack, but her 10k followers are probably a safe bet.

He runs one of the most popular pop culture sites on the web.

Media has been slowly picking up the story, with Whedonesque and SciFiWire being the first. But new media has a voice, too (besides our mellifluous own), and that voice is Perez Hilton.

The retweet power of Twitter takes anything viral.

Perez has 1.6 million followers, but can be a polarizing figure in the world. We’ll have to see what kind of influence he can have to help NPH. One thing I can definitely say though – his dog, Teddy, that he uses as a Twitter background is adorable.

The anti-endorsement.

It’s not all going Doogie’s way though. One of the more interesting developments has been from the self-professed bi-curious bear, Kevin Smith. The man behind such quirky hits as Clerks has amazingly frank discussions with his 1.6 million followers, and it’s fascinating, because it’s very much a conversation, and he’s engaged. It’s also not PG-13.

Not precisely an endorsement of Barrowman.

There’s some bad blood between Kevin and NPH over an interview where his friend Jason Mewes got badmouthed in an interview. Still, hate is a powerful motivator, often more than love. You can read the whole story on his Twitter, which he was quite frank about. It may be NSFW.

John has some old media clout, too.

Team Barrowman can also add the entire circulation of the UK tabloid The Sun, which has picked up the story and run with it in an interesting convergence of old and new media. We take minor issue with them contending John has "begged" for support. His fans have begged, but having followed this closely, I’m yet to see Captain Jack on his knees.

The ginger surrenders. I love a little rhyme.

We know that Jesse Tyler Ferguson‘s character Mitchell on Modern Family is non-confrontational. That’s why his marriage to Cameron (and by extension, Fizbo the Clown) works so well. But we didn’t know he wouldn’t want to square off in the Twitter war. But he’s conceded.

Magnanimous in defeat.

Since I don’t have access to the results of the voting, I was unaware of his stealth write in campaign. In fact, it was so stealth I think he succeeded in that part. Still, we find the actor adorable, and if this whole voting thing doesn’t bring the site to it’s knees, lok for some expanded coverage of Jesse this week. His 6,000 followers are now aimed towards Doogie.

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.

The Bilerico Project are actually friends, but pop culture isn’t their specialty, politics is. They write a lot of great coverage from a diverse set of voices trying to advance GLBT rights, and for that we’re grateful. But every once in a while, politics and entertainment intersect, and they end up with pictures and video of themselves with Cory Monteith of Glee, and I’m totally jealous.

Now Bil Browning wants to attract the attention of NPH. We had mentioned he was after our favorite stalking spot, in the tree that overlooks NPH’s pool, but now, with his political skills, he’s lobbying for the win in the poll. Professional management, Neil? That’s getting awfully fancy.

Sorry, this poll is only open to creatures with opposable thumbs.

Somehow the issue of dogs has become big in this whole thing – it started with Barrowman’s Twitpics of him greeting his pups Saturday night. Then fans added pictures of NPH & David with their dogs. And up top I did the same. But now they’re actually tweeting in support of Barrowman, which is likely to be optioned as a new movie from Disney.

Do they type with their tongue or paws?

Still, it is impressive how pets have come into play here, and oddly, it’s all canine, no feline. The close up of the pup is from the Dog’s Trust Flickr site, by the way, and you can just sit and go Aww! for hours.

These guys know how to spell "sci-fi"



Airlock Alpha is what was founded after SciFi Wire was sold to NBC to become the backbone of SyFy. So they are natural fanboys. And to them, this is a crazy battle between iconic actors in the genre. I think it’s great that they’re playing along, because we often whine about gay representation in science fiction. So we get reminded that there are many, many gay geeks, and gay supportive geeks.

Something more than our amusement may come of this.

We mentioned above that there seemed to be some hurt feelings between NPH and Kevin Smith that came to the surface with this whole poll. NPH has a reputation as a stand-up kind of guy, and took the issue to heart.

Something else to remember.

He has a point – the celebrities involved understand that this is all in fun, though the honor is real. We’d like to remind the fans, which by my measure have been amazingly polite with their campaigning, to keep it that way. I love how so many apologize to one when they announce their vote for the other.

Oh, and Neil? You may be better off behind Barrowman – if he’s behind you, he might pinch your butt. Oh, heck – he’d definitely pinch your butt!

Aww – wonder if he wants to cuddle?

Aww, see, the #biggaybattle can heal wounds. This is what it’s all about folks. Above we see that NPH apologized for a long-ago interview where had had some unfortunate words about Jason Mewes. Well, Kevin Smith has heard him, and responded.

Wonder if they’ll hug it out?

Mediate has noticed. 

We continue to have the media pay attention to our little award thingy. The fine folks at Mediaite have initiated ongoing coverage of the whole thing, including the NPH/Kevin Smith aspect, which as we know, has been hugged out.

The Dayton Daily News

Blogger note: We were contacted by Tony Black, the author of the piece, and he asked if we’d update the references to the Dayton Daily News, which is the parent paper of Middletown Journal in which his work also appears. 

But I’ll be honest, it’s the Dayton Daily News from Ohio that makes me smile. Sure, we’re in the movie blog, but this isn’t some liberal media outlet on the coasts – you don’t get much more heartland than Dayton, Ohio. Sarah Palin would probably be willing to live there, or at least endorse the people, as "real Americans."

I can’t speak to the editorial nature of the Dayton Daily News, but it it seems to be a classic, subscription-based community paper, not a give-away in the nightlife part of town. Plus, they chose to cover the poll as a story, not any of the sensational aspects. For that, I tip my hat. I’m honored you noticed us.

Isn’t there a banking crisis?

Yeah, you’re seeing that right. We’ve gone from middle America, to the coastal media giants at the Wall Street Journal. I’m really speechless on how that happened. I can’t be witty or snarky, I’m dumbstruck.

My proudest achievement to date.

But it’s getting coverage, however snarky, in The Onion A.V. Club. It’s the proudest moment in my life – getting The Onion to notice something you do is just one step below Jon Stewart in my book. Granted, they only call out the boss by name, but I’ll take credit for the "gleefully chronicling" they talk about.

Time to hear from one of the participants

Well, each one of the main players in this seems to give us an update in the evening. Joining with his American opponent, John Barrowman wants to take this back into the real of fun.

First the Dr. Who joke. Wonder if he read the EoT piece today?

He then seems quite humbled by the sheer number of people involved in the campaign. Frankly, so am I, and I’ve been the one trying to keep up with it!

I guess the passion expressed really is a warm fuzzy.

And finally, like NPH, he wants us to remember that this isn’t about adversaries, this is about two great men at the top of their game taking an opportunity and running with it, so that they, we, and the gay community at large wins.

There is a lot of amusement, but zero animosity.

Let the Gay Off continue!

You too can follow the battle via this widget, currently tuned to the #biggaybattle hashtag that Neil Gaiman bestowed on the competition. It doesn’t catch everything, but it catches a lot.

And don’t forget to cast your one vote per person before polls close midnight Tuesday, January 5th.

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