Mike Jones: He's Saying Something
class=img_thumbleft>Mike Jones has had many jobs throughout the years—professional masseur, nude model for a local art school, fitness trainer, and body builder. Yet he is best known as the male escort who exposed his client, anti-gay Reverend Ted "Completely Heterosexual" Haggard. Today, Mike Jones can also call himself an author. In I Had to Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall , he details his three-year sexual relationship with the religious heavy-hitter—from the timid early years to the meth-fueled end. Jones also discusses the whirlwind of media that followed, as well as how his personal life and temperament enabled him to excel in his many careers. City Pages took a moment to speak with him.
City Pages: In your memoir, you talk very frankly about your work as a male escort. After years of being private, was it difficult to write on about it in such detail?
Mike Jones: It was very emotional at times rehashing everything publicly—of course the most emotional part was my mother's death, I was very close to her. And what follows after that—mourning and figuring out who Ted Haggard was, that was difficult.
CP: After so much publicity, what do you hope to accomplish by publishing your side of the story?
MJ: The first thing you have to understand is that people just go by headlines—and I've been called quite a few things in the last few months. I felt it was important for people to get a sense of who I am. Also, I think people think I woke up one morning and decided to out Ted Haggard just to get into the spotlight. It wasn't an easy process—it was very difficult. I wanted to explain that. Also, I hope to start a discussion. The problem with religion and churches in America—when dealing with homosexual issues, they don't. They want to get rid of it as quickly as possible, and almost pretend it didn't happen. And I am saying we need to talk about it. This needs to be dealt with. If we don't, there will be many Ted Haggards down the road.
CP: In your memoir, you make it very clear that your motivations for exposing Haggard were political. Did the end results of the election discourage you? Or do you feel you had more of a positive impact than given credit for?
MJ: Here's what's interesting—I wanted to impact the Colorado vote. Did it go the way I wanted to? No, it did not. But ironically enough, I got thousands of emails and notes from around the country, "Mike thanks to you, the Democrats won." So, on one hand, I didn't get what I wanted in Colorado, but on a national level I'm given some credit for effecting the outcome of the elections.
CP: Have you become more politically active since becoming a public figure?
MJ: I don't want to say that I am more politically active. I can say something now and people will listen to me. I have a platform, which I didn't have before.
CP: It's been eight months since the fallout—do you feel that it was worth it? Do you have any regrets?
MJ: People have to understand, I had no idea how that story was going to happen. I thought he would admit to things, ask for forgiveness, and continue on. I probably would have asked for help with PR, I was not prepared at all for the onslaught—the international media, it was overwhelming.
CP: So, what's your next move, career-wise?
MJ: Well, when I exposed Ted Haggard, I exposed myself. I'm not sure what I'll do next. I'm really focused on the book tour now. At some point I probably would like to do some type of activist work—not necessarily in the gay sector, perhaps human rights in general. I'm a huge animal lover—maybe animal rights. I have this huge opportunity to make even more of a difference than before.
CP: I hear you're a Golden Girls fan—do you still watch the show?
MJ: I don't get to watch TV much anymore, but believe me if I am anywhere I do scan the channels looking for the Golden Girls. I never get tired of it! I'm a little bit like the Blanche character. The show has always had a deeper meaning for me.
See Mike Jones read Thursday, June 21 at Magers & Quinn. Free. 7:30 p.m. 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.822.4611.
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