Earlier this week, out actor Russell Tovey announced that he was engaged to rugby player Steve Brockman.
“Completely unexpected but very, very happy and looking forward to having a proper party to celebrate when back in London,” Tovey said of the engagement.
Regardless of whether people were happy, unhappy, or “meh” about the news, some outlets decided to report the news by bringing up Brockman’s former career as a sex worker. As Queerty pointed out, Brockman used to be an actor for the now-defunct porn studio Randy Blue. After their initial article about Brockman, they published a second with internet reactions to the news. Hornet also took a “deep dive” into Brockman’s career.
While it’s perfectly normal to want to know more about Quantico star Tovey’s beau, it still reeks of stigma to care so much about someone’s past as a sex worker and label it as a “secret” past. I mean, stigmatizing headlines and articles seem like a legit reason that some people might choose to keep their sex work careers private.
This is not the first time that someone’s sex worker past has made headlines in several queer outlets. In August 2016, several outlets, including Next and Unicorn Booty (now Hornet) reported that Robert Sepulveda, Jr., the star of LOGO’s Prince Charming, had once been a Rentboy.com escort and published leaked nude images of him.
As Mic wrote at the time (disclosure: I was the reporter at Mic), Next described Sepulveda’s former Rentboy career as his “sordid” past. “Sordid,” of course, means “dirty” or “contemptible.” And Booty posted Sepulveda’s nude pictures without asking the reader to click through to Str8UpGayPorn, who originally leaked them.
Let’s all do better when discussing sex work, y’all. Sex work is work. It’s a job. Tovey’s fiance used to have a job where he had sex on camera. Shrug.
Header photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images