Allegations of Gay Racism and Sexual Exploitation Raised at Vigil for Gemmel Moore

Video by Brian Holt

Black activists and L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin spoke at a candlelight vigil tonight in memory of Gemmel Moore to demand the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney investigate the young African-American man’s death in the apartment of a prominent white political donor.

The speakers called out everything from meth addiction to racial discrimination in the gay community and what they perceived as a reluctance by law enforcement to investigate crimes involving black male sex workers.

Moore, 26, was found dead on July 27 in the Laurel Avenue apartment of Ed Buck. Buck is a 62-year-old white man known for his successful promotion of a fur ban in West Hollywood and for his donations to local, state and national Democratic Party candidates. The L.A. County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Moore, a self-confessed prostitute, an accident. The Coroner’s report gives the cause as methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous drug. Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced earlier this week that the Sheriff’s Department was opening an investigation into the previously closed case because of new allegations that have emerged.

Gemmel Moore

Bonin promised that the incident will be investigated. “This tragedy shouldn’t be and won’t be ignored and won’t be forgotten,” he told the crowd of roughly two dozen activists and Moore family members who stood on the southeast corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, in front of the WeHo Sheriff’s Station. Bonin said there is “someone of influence” who will ask the district attorney and the Sheriff’s Department to investigate Moore’s death. “The life of a young black gay man is just as important as the life of a blonde girl,” Bonin said, suggesting that Moore’s race may have been a factor in the quick closing of the coroner’s investigation.

Jasmyne Cannick,a black communications and public affairs strategist who has written about what she sees as a divide between white and black gay men, called on the district attorney to grant immunity to other black male prostitutes who may have had contact with Buck so that they can talk about that. Cannick has written about Moore’s death on her blog and has published pages from Moore’s personal journal in which he talks about his drug use and relationship with Buck.

Cannick said that young men have told her they went to the WeHo Sheriff’s Station to report incidents with Buck but were asked to leave because deputies believed they were “tweaking,” or high on meth.

“We cannot treat young black gay men differently than we treat black female sex workers when they try to report an aggressive pimp,” Cannick said.

ed buck
LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel Moore’s mother.

Cannick alleged other incidents where Buck engaged young black me in drug use and said she soon will be publishing more information on her blog, including videos of interviews and pages from Moore’s journal. She noted that Seymour Amster, a lawyer engaged to represent Buck, is known for his defense last year of a serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper.” Buck, Cannick said, is the “WeHo Creeper.”

Melena Abdullah, chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A. and an organizer of “Black Lives Matter,” called the Sheriff’s Department’s initial decision not to investigate the case an example of “state-sanctioned violence” and made reference to the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va., last week that resulted in the death of one opponent of the rally.

Dallas Fowler, who served on a panel of the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners and runs a consulting business, raised another issue, complaining that no local politicians, with the exception of Bonin, attended the vigil. She said it was important for representatives of the Democratic Party, where Buck is known as a major donor, to speak up about Moore’s death. Her remarks were followed by a brief statement from a Stonewall Democratic Club board member condemning Moore’s death.

Perhaps the most moving comments came from Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, who posted a video on YouTube calling for an investigation into her son’s death. Nixon and her family lived in the Los Angeles area before moving to Texas several years ago. She was accompanied by her mother, Sandra Bufford, an aunt, and by Jamisha and Derrick Nixon, two of her five children.

“It’s too late for Gemmel, but we can save other young gay men,” Nixon said. “My son was more than a sex-worker. He was my son … My whole life has been turned upside down. I just want justice … Ed Buck needs to be held to accountability for all that he has done.”

Paul Scott, president of L.A. Black Gay Pride, spoke to allegations by Nixon and others than Buck engaged her son as a prostitute. “Black men have been hunted for our body parts for a long time,” he said. He said that Buck “had the money to order up black boys like they were on the auction block.”

A “home going” service will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Simpson Funeral Home at 5138 S. Broadway Ave. in Los Angeles. Nixon and her mother and children are returning to their home in Texas next week.

Buck could not be reached for comment.

  1. I am a white man. When I am asked to describe Brad Pitt, I say he is “blonde haired and blue eyed”. When I am asked to describe Antonio Banderas, I say he is “Spanish with dark hair”. When I am asked to describe Denzel Washington, I say he is “black”. It is ALWAYS about race when you aren’t white, even if you aren’t racist. I am horrified by the insensitivity of some of the comments here – this is why “white privilege” has become such a hot-button topic…When you always have something, you have no idea it’s a privilege.

    1. That’s you, SE. That’s not everyone. If someone asked me to describe Brad Pitt, other than being a lame-ass actor and entitled celebrity, I’d describe him as a white guy. And as for your ‘White Privilege’ thing…well, the majority of the population is Caucasian. All you’ve pointed to is the privilege of having a skin tone similar to the majority, and hence the assumption that you’re white if, when asked to describe you, the describer doesn’t mention skin color. Is that all you got?

  2. WEHO boy, the issue is not black or white nor straight or gay. The issue is a prominent Democratic white man was shooting up men in order to satisfy his sexual kink and then the attempted cover up of the death of this young man. When was the last time you heard about a person dying of a drug overdose and the police did not investigate the incident?

  3. I don’t know what happened,I was not there. Nor did I now the young man.At this point we have a dead prostitute. Race is brought up by those supporting the deceased, black and white. They love it. Racism everywhere. Shame on those exploiting this lost souls death to further their agenda.They spread hate and division rather than accepting it for what it is.A drug user died. A very old story that will continue to be told time and time again.

  4. It’s so sad how a death of a young BLACK man to METH, is one more reason to divide our community.
    the bottom line, we must fight for those who need us, regardless of they skin color or gender.
    the challenge we are facing in west hollywood with drug user especially METH is long over due. It must be our first priority as people who keep saying we care for all people. it’s been too many amazing gay men who lost they lives to drugs in the last few years. men of all nationalities, young and not, rich and poor.
    METH doesn’t see skin color, gender, religions, age or wealth status.
    we all know better.
    Let’s get together and fight for what’s right for all people, yes ALL people.

    we must face the truth and talk the facts, we must stop talking about METH,
    it’s time to say NO MORE METH.

    We all know in our city people of “power” we keep using those men for they own good,
    just like few of our “leaders”, our “voices”.

  5. Please stop being so melodramatic. “Onslaught”? Please!!! This is a mole-hill matter that you and others are trying to make into a mountain. So many gay activists seem inclined toward this to eek-out publicity and make themselves feel important. The mother in question here is doing this, Sean, and so are you. Let the police investigate. End of matter.

  6. J.V., there has, indeed, been a right-wing onslaught attacking Gemmel Moore, his mother, Democrats, progressive activists, and the entire LGBTQ community over the tragic circumstances of Gemmel Moore’s death. Your callous and tone-deaf contribution to the dialogue only serves to cause further embarrassment to our community. Mind your manners.

    Ms. Nixon has stated that she is a very private person. But she has expressed that she feels the need to speak out about how her son died because she does not want other young LGBTQ people to find themselves in a similar situation. That is reasonable and appropriate.

    She has had strangers and even close friends attack her and mock her son for being a homosexual. People have suggested in comments online and in social media that Moore’s death is a natural result of the “homosexual lifestyle.”

    Gay people are fortunate when they have a mother like Ms. Nixon who so freely expresses her unconditional love for her children and who supports their sexual identity. My mother is similarly supportive. But my father is not. Were I in Moore’s place, my father would likely be silent in the face of attacks on me being homosexual. He might even make comments about how he regretted that I had not sought God’s counsel through prayer and abandoned the “gay lifestyle.”

    Your criticisms of my, perhaps bombastic, word choice in my previous comments do not address the underlying point. It is unseemly to criticize the family of the deceased for mourning and wanting others who are in a similar situation to her son not to die.

  7. In his comments on the matter, Councilman John Duran seemed to discourage any other potential witnesses with information about Mr. Buck’s activities (with regard to prostitutes and drugs) from coming forward. Why?

  8. Bravo, JJ! That’s what so much in life comes down to: personal responsibility. That’s what the apologists can’t accept, and so they make certain groups of people perpetual victims who shouldn’t be held the standards and consequences.

  9. What ever happened to personal responsibility? The deceased chose to use the drug that killed him. I’m sure if there is evidence that Mr. Buck was somehow responsible for this guy’s death (in full or in part), the proper charges will be brought. The guy was a drug addict that overdosed. It seems more and more that the race card today replaces taking personal responsibility and it’s a shame because it’s taking away from cases when race really is a factor.

  10. Where were the WeHo city officials during this vigil? Why did they need to import a LA City Councilman? (What influence would he have?) Where are the Black Lives Matter folks? You would think they would be all over this.

  11. ToTheLeft, your comments about Stonewall Democrats is not accurate. Stonewall stands behind the family of Gemmel Moore. Literally. The leadership of Stonewall is clearly visible at the memorial in the video attached to this story. Stonewall immediately demanded Mr. Buck’s resignation from its board and put out a statement in support of the family, noting the seriousness of the allegations immediately after the news broke on August 7.

    JV, your criticisms of the mother are completely unwarranted. Ms. Nixon has bravely stood up for the LGBTQ community in the face of a right-wing onslaught attacking her son for his homosexuality. Because of pressure by her and other activists, the investigation into Mr. Buck was reopened. New revelations of additional sex workers who have been abused by Mr. Buck have come out.

    This is not about whether or not Mr. Buck hired sex workers. No judgments on that. It’s about he has allegedly paid them to use drugs and also, potentially, has administered drugs to them against their will. Moreover, race is, indeed, a very big part of the story. Mr. Buck specifically targeted black men and treated them with the utmost callous cruelty. And yet he has the unmitigated gall to refer to Mr. Moore in death as “a close friend.”

    1. Sean, c’mon now . . . “Bravely”? Why is it so brave to hold a press conference? “”Onslaught”? Can you be any more melodramatic and exaggerate the situation? Since when does someone expressing contrary/critical views constitute an onslaught? “Unmitigated gall”? Very trite. “Sex worker”? That’s the liberal-apologist’s PC euphemism for “prostitute”. “Stood up for the LGBTQ community”? That’s a meaningless line in a stereotypical gay activist’s press release. We might be gay but we’re not so weak and spineless that we need someone “standing up for us,” particularly the mother of an unfortunate dead guy who should sit back down, tend to her son’s final business quietly and then go back home to contemplate her maternal skills and their poor result for her son, rather than use the occasion as an out-of-town publicity tour.

  12. Robert M., do you bother to even read other people’s posts. I didn’t say Buck was doing bad things. I said IF he was hiring prostitutes and supplying them with drugs/meth, the info. should come out. And hell, if he was just innocently giving the guy a place to stay and trying to honestly get him sober, then that info should come out to. I’m not judging, I’m not accusing. I’d just like the police to investigate and announce their findings. I’d also like Moore’s mother to get out of the limelight. This is not about her ego.

  13. J.V., with all due respect, you don’t know that is what’s happened here. I don’t think the police take any death lightly, regardless of the cause or circumstances surrounding the death. This has gained notoriety because of Mr. Buck’s involvement or non-involvement. No one here has even entertained the possibility that Mr. Buck was offering Mr. Moore a place to sober up and a chance to change the direction of his life. Addiction is a difficult mountain to climb when you’re trying to overcome it. Mr. Moore was a human being, sometimes we fall. I don’t know what the situation was and neither do any of you. I know that several people commenting on this thread have done such things as I have suggested but the first thing everyone has run to is the salacious and gossip driven judgments that are so often the trade of the board, nosey and caddy…

  14. No one is looking to “string-up” Buck, Tom. People simply said the cops should investigate his connection to his meth-death matter, rather than sweeping it under the rug because he’s politically connected locally and to the Democratic party. Let’s hope there’s nothing to this. But if he was hiring prostitutes and supplying them with drugs/meth, why shouldn’t that information come out?

  15. I have no idea what happened, as most people don’t, but this certainly seems like a witch hunt. The mob is ready to string Buck up to the nearest tree before it’s even investigated.

  16. To Gemmel Moore’s family and friends. I am sorry for your loss.

    Less than a year ago city council decided Grinder was the cause of West Hollywood’s meth problems. The safety committee was demanding a report from the Sheriff department on what steps have been taken to address meth sales. Were is the outrage now that meth has taken death another member of the gay community.
    Thank you LA council member Mike Bonin for stepping up to the plate when the local Stonewall democrats are missing in action.
    It has been an historic week in America with the removal of confederate monuments, overt symbols of racism and white supremacy. At the same time, the Stonewall Democratic Club has turned themselves into a confederate monument by sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring the situation.

  17. J.V. the need for “Loud mouthed” is clear in that no investigation occurred until the spotlight of activism brought it.

    Buck is a prominent political donor and is very well connected at city hall and more importantly with the Democratic Party of Los Angeles County and Stonewall.

    I for one thank the agitators, because if the community is being poisoned with Meth by a powerful politician friend, the cops won’t do anything without a fire under them.

    will you join me in demanding a hard look at Ed Buck and his connections to politicians and drugs.

  18. @ J.V. with all due respect sir I have to disagree with your comments on the victim’s mother. that is grossly unfair. That kind of comment belittles the real truth that racism is not the story here as you pointed out.

  19. “Just an overdose” said Sheriff’s Dept. And possession of a massive quantity of methamphetamine is legal?

    Clearly the believe is worst than racist. Blacks are just throwaway-human beings.

    1. Sorry you disagree, Larry. I think police should investigate Buck. I believe it still is illegal (or at least should be) to patronize a prostitute and deal/use/encourage the use of meth. Fine, investigate him. But Moore’s mother’s presence is not necessary for that to happen, just like Michael Brown’s mother’s presence was not necessary several years back in that police shooting in Missouri. Seeing the notoriety and talk show circuit invitations Mother Brown squeezed out of it during her 15+ minutes of fame, now Mother Moore is doing the same thing. Thank God this isn’t a national level story or we’d have to deal with her for the next few years. You’d think parents of such questionable ability (given how their kids turned out) would feel more shame about themselves, and so just be quiet and dignified in finishing up their sons’ business in this world. But no! The lure of the 15 minutes of fame is powerful. And the hypocrisy is inescapable.

  20. This witch hunt is ridiculous. The dude was a prostitute and he’s the one that chose to do meth. Why people here are blaming Ed Buck is beyond me. So what if Buck had prostitutes over? That’s his right and it doesn’t mean he killed them. Everyone is so up in arms and throwing around the world “sex worker”. Its ridiculous. Is everyone here saying this 60+yo man who took care of animals was a pimp or something? Please. Utterly ridiculous and if I were Ed Buck I would have a strong lawyer too cause it seems everyone is just looking for some kind of scandal. And again..where was Moore’s family in his descent into prostitution and drug use?!?! And lastly as a side note…West Hollywood has always been more predominantly white. its not something new. And the high cost of living makes it really tough for younger kids or minorities to live here because of the income inequality in our society. And the more $2500 studio luxury apartments being built isn’t going to help that.

  21. @J.V. – I am sorry for your ignorance. We know nothing about Mr. Moore’s past experiences that might have made him feel the choices he made were better than the reality he was experiencing. Regardless of his mother’s motivations, if she can help just one individual, then her work has been invaluable and her son has not died in vain.

  22. Ah! Another person seeking her 15 minutes of fame and gratifying her own ego. Instead of coming to town and quietly handling her deceased son’s business with dignity, Moore’s mother seeks out the cameras and microphones, and uses her son’s death as a platform. Legally, this is now a search for the truth, and if Ed Buck was involved in illegality here, let the cops determine that. Fine. But that’s all this is. Mr. Moore was a prostitute (drop the ridiculous “sex worker” euphemism, please!) and received the consequences he bargained for when he CHOSE to become a prostitute and to use meth. It’s sad and I don’t wish that on anyone, but it was his choice. If Buck was his john or supplier, I hope the cops uncover that. But racism is not the story here. That’s just an excuse for loud-mouthed social activists to insert themselves into any and every situation they can to make themselves feel important. Enough already!!!

  23. I hope the family can get some answers. Who called 911? How long had Mr. Moore been dead (if he was) at the time 1st responders arrived? How much meth was in Mr. Moore’s body at the time of autopsy? Were there any witnesses? Are there photos in Mr. Buck’s phone or computer? Who sanitized the apartment from the meth or was there paraphernalia as was reported in the Times? What has Mr. Buck said about any of this? How many other sex workers will come forward about Mr. Buck’s past actions? What other revelations are in Mr. Moore’s journals? Will any charges be filed? Interesting choice of criminal defense attorney.

    Considering Mr. Duran’s anti-meth public statements and his support for the sober community, I’m surprised he wasn’t at this rally.

  24. West Hollywood reminds me of suburbs of pre-Apartheid Capetown when I lived there. WEHO is all white. The WEHO City Council gives lip service to blacks but I recall a black group speaking to the Council about their lack of participation regarding the Metro and Lindsay Horvath dismissed them as non WEHO. She actually claimed in a talk she gave on Havenhurst regarding 8150 Sunset that she could tell when people addressed the City Council if they were WEHO.

  25. With the protest and demonstration occurring in West Hollywood I am amazed not one of our council members were present although a council member from Los Angeles was. Are the personal ties with Ed Buck within our city so strong no one no one dared to attend although the meth issue seems to be a high priority by members like John Duran? Something was differently going on between Ed Buck and Mr. Moore for sometime as reflected in his journal.

    1. I keep reading this article and i just can not believe what’s happening to our city.
      few things i would like to mention,
      i was very close to our city of west hollywood homeless, i was they voice, i spend so much time with them at the sheriff station, at our city hall social services and if you remember i brought them even to our city council meeting and to our so many advisory board meetings.
      and our leaders was silent, they even called the sheriff department on me, who are we kidding, METH? let’s stop talking and start doing something to support those who needs our help. not just give them some cash for the night to use them.
      i wish i was their to show some of the email and texts i got from some of the mothers of those amazing young black men.

  26. It’s simple, remember he is black, in West Hollywood we do almost nothing for people of color, our high profile men and the “rich” using those amazing men for sex, sick!!! I fought for years to celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. One of our council member told me a year ago, ” we are less then 4% blacks in our city, I wonder way??? Because again we are all about our fake image and we are very good of using those who need us the most. This is not Trump, it’s us. We must walk our talk, not just keep using people. It’s making me sick, every time I hear one city one pride all one big huge LIE.

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