John Gotti's widow Victoria is standing by actor John Travolota to play the late Gambino mob boss in a planned biopic notwithstanding recent accusations that the thesbian made untoward advances against male masseurs as reported by the Daily News:
"What difference does it make if he were gay?" Victoria Gotti told the Daily News in an expletive-filled defense of the actor, who's been embroiled by a sex scandal for more than a week. "Who the f--k really cares? Does it make him less of a beautiful human being? No. . . . Leave him the f--k alone. Whatever the true story is, leave him with his dignity," she added. "In the grand scheme of things, it really does not matter."
Travolta denies all the allegations.
The relationship between gay men and the mob long has been a complicated one. The Mafia once dominated the gay bar industry, and even today may have its hand in a gay bar or two according to some accounts. Indeed, even gay mobsters are not uncommon.
For example, former Gambino soldier Robert Mormando renounced the life and came out as gay at a sentencing hearing in October 2009 for his role "in the shooting of Queens bagel store owner Angelo Mugnolo, who was wounded in the driveway of his Howard Beach home in 2003" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News:
"He has been openly gay since he left the mob," [Mormando's defense lawyer Nancy] Ennis said. Mormando's partner has refused to enter the witness protection program, but they have relocated and together they "live a peaceful working life," she said.
Mormando "had a close personal friendship" with Richard G. Gotti -- the late boss's nephew -- as reported by Alan Feuer for The New York Times: "while there is no suggestion that the friendship was anything more than that, the mere fact that an avowed gay man was once 'inseparable' from a member of the Gottis is 'an intolerable stain on their name,' said the person who has knowledge of the case."
No doubt it was hard for some mobsters to avoid sampling the goods at some of the gay bars with which they were involved. In Christopher and Gay: A Partisan's View of the Greenwich Village Homosexual Scene (Saturday Review Press, New York: 1973), Wallace Hamilton writes:
The headquarters of the Gay Activist Alliance was an old firehouse on Wooster Street in SoHo. Dances were held there on Saturday nights as a manifest of "Our Place" as opposed to the Mafia-run gay bars in other parts of the city. * * * I was also interested to note a considerable lavender streak running through the lower levels of – of all things – the Mafia, an organization I had been led to believe was given to firm hetero domesticity. But members of the Mafia had interests in various gay bars and soda joints around town, and an equally keen interest in some of the customers, who happened also to be guys who hung around my place. So I developed a rather strange interchange with Godfather types. It reached a climax of a sort one summer afternoon when some of my egghead neighbors were assembled outside the house. A long, sleek black Cadillac pulled up in front of the house with two white-on-white types in the front seat. Out of the back seat came one of my Cherished, duly delivered, and the Cadillac purred away. The expression on the neighbors' faces was something to behold.
Other gay mobsters include long-time Genovese soldier David Petillo who during "his early teens was reputed to be a 'fairy,'" committed numerous hits in full drag, and had interests in gay bars and sex-related businesses according to his FBI file.
Of course, being a gay mobster has its risks in the hypermasculine Mafia. Former DeCavalcante boss John D'Amato was whacked in 1992 for being gay, and his killer Anthony Capo said "nobody's going to respect us if we have a gay homosexual boss sitting down discussing La Cosa Nostra business." Similarly, Lucchese associate Al Visconti was whacked in 1991, and although there apparently were multiple reasons for the hit boss Vittore "Jesse" Amuso thought Visconti was "a disgrace to the Luchese family because he had a reputation of engaging in homosexual acts in prison" according to courtroom testimony from former capo Alphonse D'Arco.
Although today's Mafia may be evolving much like President Obama on gay issues perhaps the rights organizations should provide the crime families with diversity training to make their workplaces more tolerant of the gay fellas.
Even before the recent allegations against John Travolta not everyone thought he was the best choice to play the Dapper Don. Lewis Kasman, a once trusted confidant of the Gambino boss, says "for John Gotti Sr., you need a man's man to play that role" as previously reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post : "'John Gotti Sr. never danced a dance in his life,' he said, taking a jab at the 'Saturday Night Fever' hoofer Travolta." Apparently, tough guys don't dance.