The Decline and Fall of Ed Buck: A sordid tale of sex, drugs and politics
Buck has political links with political heavyweights like former president Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In a classic rerun of the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde case, mega Democratic donor and LGBT political activist Ed Buck was arrested on Tuesday, September 17, on charges of running a drug den at his residence in West Hollywood, California. The 65-year-old has also been accused of administering methamphetamine, and battery causing serious physical harm. Over the last 18 months two gay black men have died at Buck’s home after overdosing, while a third individual almost died. Buck came under scrutiny after the third case came to light and questions are now being asked as to how he continued to evade law after the first two fatalities.
The Buck episode highlights a murky social underbelly that managed to hide the crimes of powerful people like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffery Epstein for so long. Like in the case of Epstein, Buck allegedly targeted members from marginalized communities and yet escaped law by virtue of his status and influence. In Buck's case the impact has been felt in political circles too seeng as he was a major donor for the Democratic Party.
Buck's goodwill image shattered
Buck had a reputation as a man who worked for the welfare of the community. Known to have Republican leanings till the 1980s he later turned towards the Democrats and has donated more than $500,000 to the party since 2007 funding campaigns at various levels, Buck even had links with political heavyweights like former president Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
But then came the deaths of Gemmel Moore, 26, and Timothy Dean, 55, at Buck’s house in July 2017 and January 2019, from drug overdoses. The two deaths surprisingly didn’t alert authorities and it was only after the third man, a 37-year-old and referred to as “Joe Doe”, had a close shave also after being injected with drugs at Buck’s residence that he was arrested. Court documents described how Buck would lure vulnerable men to his apartment for money and shelter and give them large doses of narcotics to manipulate them into participating in sexual acts to satisfy his fetishes.
'Buck has a history of isolating black men for predatory sexual encounters'
LaTisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel, claimed that Buck had bought her son a plane ticket to travel from Houston, only to then inject him with crystal methamphetamine. Nixon even said in the lawsuit filed against Buck that he had a “well-documented history of isolating black men for predatory sexual encounters”. Local civil rights activists are relieved that Buck has finally been nabbed, claiming that they had been highlighting his abuses for over two years. The arrest of the millionnaire is, for the black LGBTQ community, a vindication of sorts for it has been fighting to see Buck behind bars, even while the local Democratic political leadership and other LGBTQ activists kept quiet.
Democratic Representative from California Karen Bass didn’t hesitate to call Buck a “racist sexual predator” and felt it was “incomprehensible” that it took almost a third black life for the law to finally come down heavily on Buck.
The Right is using the Buck story to corner Democrats in pre-election season while conspiracy theorists are propagating the thought that Buck’s arrest was a part of President Donald Trump’s plan to target the Democratic establishment and send their members to Guantanamo. Even Obama and Clinton are being slammed for having kept quiet while many other Democratic politicians are already distancing themselves from Buck and channeling his sizeable donations to other charitable causes.
The turn of events further validated Rep. Bass’s observation. She said everybody knew that Buck preyed on young black men and official inaction sent out a clear message: “Black gay lives obviously didn’t matter.”