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Wenner, Jann (b. 1946)  
page: 1  2  


Although it had long been rumored that Wenner's marriage was an "open" one and gossip of his bisexuality was widespread and had been mentioned in gay magazines, in 1995 he was publicly outed--on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, no less--when the newspaper revealed that Wenner had left his wife of 28 years for Matt Nye, a considerably younger man who was a former Calvin Klein underwear model turned clothing designer.

The Journal ostensibly covered the story to speculate on how the news of Wenner's breakup with his wife Jane (who has a stake in the publishing group allegedly as high as 49 percent) would have on the future of Wenner Media, though they may have had other motivations as well. Following the Wall Street Journal's lead, major pieces, complete with salacious details of Wenner's personal life, appeared in the New York Daily News, the Washington Post, New York magazine, and London's Daily Mail.

Although some have alleged that Wenner may have himself instigated the outing, he reportedly telephoned several newspaper and magazine editors who were planning stories in an unsuccessful effort to stifle the scandal and protect his privacy.

Rumors of an alleged conspiracy to suppress the news began to circulate. Several journalists reported that the so-called "Velvet Mafia"--a coterie of powerful media, entertainment, and fashion executives who are reputedly gay--had threatened to pull advertising from any publication that wrote about the breakup.

Many people found these rumors more disturbing than the outing itself. As someone known for his support of press freedom, and as the publisher of magazines that traded on celebrity news, Wenner was hardly in a position to complain about invasion of privacy.

Aftermath of the Outing

Wenner's media empire weathered the storm caused by his outing and his breakup with his wife. He and his wife separated in 1995, but apparently there has never been a division of corporate assets. The Wenners remain legally married and continue to raise their three sons jointly. They also continue to be business partners.

Wenner's (homo)sexuality appears not to have had much of an impact on the editorial content of his magazines. Although Rolling Stone has published short articles and reviews of publicly out musicians such as Rufus Wainwright and groups such as Sleater-Kinney, glbtq performers and issues have rarely been featured on the cover or in major pieces in the magazine. They certainly do not seem to be actively promoted by the magazine.

In fact, several lesbian and feminist musicians, most notably Amy Ray of the folk/pop group Indigo Girls, have castigated Wenner in interviews and song lyrics for his complicity in the music industry's institutionalization of sexism and .

Wenner currently lives in New York City with his partner Matt Nye.

Craig Kaczorowski

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literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Popular

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have had tremendous influence on popular music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.

social sciences >> Overview:  Outing

First used by homophobes and then by glbtq activists, outing is the public revelation of a person's sexuality without the consent of that person.

arts >> Overview:  Rock Music

Although rock music has been closely associated with freedom of expression and rebelliousness, it has not been particularly welcoming to gay and lesbian performers.

arts >> Geffen, David

Controversial entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen transformed himself into one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry; his 1992 declaration of his homosexuality only increased his stature.

arts >> Indigo Girls

One of the most successful folk/pop duos in recording history, Indigo Girls (consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) have earned the fierce loyalty of their fans, many of whom are lesbians.

arts >> Klein, Calvin

American designer Calvin Klein has created an extraordinarily successful fashion empire through his simple and elegant designs and his skilful employment of provocative advertising campaigns that are saturated with homoeroticism.

arts >> Wainwright, Rufus

Singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright, dubbed the "thinking gay man's sex symbol," has built a successful career with witty lyrics and rich melodies.


Case, Tony. "When Does Gossip Become News?" Editor & Publisher (March 18, 1995): 9.

Draper, Robert. Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History. New York: Doubleday, 1990.

Hay, Carla. "The Last Word." Billboard (March 13, 2004): 86.

O'Brien, Timothy L. "Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Read Me?" New York Times (December 25, 2005): 3.1.

Weir, David. "Wenner's World." Slate (April 20, 1999).


    Citation Information
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Wenner, Jann  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated March 4, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc.  


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