Filed under: Cool Things, Work | Tags: broadcasting, gay, Silvano Orsi, TV news
On top of both my jobs, this week I did a third job, albeit one that didn’t pay me anything. I mentioned it already on here; it’s sort of combination news writer/reporter/anchor work for GayMiddleEast.com. GME is a news-aggregator site for LGBT stories from throughout the Middle East. I’m part of a new project for them, where we’re creating original video content from the stories on the site and posting it on YouTube. You never know – there’s at least one English-language newscast in Israel, and I’m sure the talent pool for native English-speakers with broadcasting skills is pretty small…who knows – maybe this will be the thing that pops, and I’ll wind up the Israeli Anderson Cooper.
One of the videos we’re working on is an interview with Silvano Orsi. It’s a pretty incredible story. In 2003 Orsi, an American citizen, was chilling in a 5-star hotel restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland, when Sheikh Falah al-Nahyan – the brother of the President of the United Arab Emirates – came up to him and started hitting on him hardcore. When Orsi turned him down (he’s not gay), the Sheik sent over a $500 bottle of champaign. When Orsi turned him down again, the Sheik whipped the shit out of him in front of everybody in the hotel bar with a heavy metal belt buckle. Orsi tried to get away to another room, and then to the reception desk to call for help, and each time the Sheik followed him and whipped him with the belt buckle in his face all over again. Because the Swiss didn’t wanna piss off UAE royalty, they confiscated Orsi’s cell phone, refused to call the police for him, and kept him against his will at the hotel until 3:00 a.m. Anyway, that’s just the beginning of the story – but already, WTF, right ???
GME.com’s Shabi Gatenio (who’s, I guess, my boss in this non-paying gig; but actually more like my friend) interviewed Orsi over Skype last month. This week, we videotaped me outside the Swiss embassy reporting on part of the story. Then, today at Shabi’s house, we videoed me in front of a green screen asking questions that will be edited together with Orsi’s interview. We also recorded a separate news brief of six LGBT stories from around the Middle East the last six months.
Now, look: there wadn’t no tellyprompter; I had to look down at the pages I was holding a lot. Our budget was less than what a pack of cigarettes cost in New York City these days. But, like I said, what if this explodes into a new career for me here? Israel’s a very “small pond;” it is entirely within the realm of possibility. Also, think of all the LGBTs throughout the Middle East – many of whom are educated and speak English – they’ll get some validation seeing their issues broadcast in this Internet video coverage. Also, people from around the world looking for these stories will find our coverage online. What I’m getting at is: drawing attention to the many abuses inflicted upon LGBTs in this region is a very worthwhile service to be providing. I’m proud and happy to do it!
Oh, what’s with the title of this post? Funny joke from the classic movie Airplane II: The Sequel.
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