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Hidden Camera Footage of Eagle Scout Eric Jones Being Kicked Out for Being Gay (VIDEO) (UPDATE)

Categories: LGBT

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Eric Jones in his scouting days.
Update: Eric Jones gives Daily RFT his reaction to yesterday's news.

Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America's National Council voted to open its membership rolls to gay teenagers. Another way to read that: They will stop kicking gay scouts out.

"This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014," says a statement from the National Council, posted on the Greater St. Louis Area Council's website. "While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting."

This decision comes too late for former Eagle Scout Eric Jones, who was kicked out of the Scouts after telling his boss at a summer camp that he is gay. This week, secret footage of the moment the camp director tells Jones he's out of the program hit the web.

See also:
- Missouri Eagle Scout Eric Jones Kicked Out of Boy Scouts for Being Gay
- Boy Scouts Anti-Gay Policy: Will St. Louis Organizations End Discrimination?
- St. Louis Protesters Rally Against Allowing Gay Boy Scouts: "We Are Not Out To Discriminate"

Jones's story came out last summer, after he was dismissed from Camp Geiger in St. Joseph. Jones decided to tell his boss at the camp about his orientation believing that he'd "proven himself" as an employee and that it was consistent with his Boy Scout pledge to be honest about his sexual identity.

Jones must have had more than an inkling that it wasn't going to go well, because he brought a hidden camera with him. He was nineteen at the time. Here's what happened:

Here's what is said:

Jones: This past year, I've kind of been having, like, an issue. I've been kind of struggling and maybe it wasn't the best thing to run off to camp, but I just want to say that I'm gay. And I'm not sure what to do --

Camp director: OK, now, once you told me that you know we've got a problem. OK. I understand and quite honestly as far as I'm concerned your lifestyle is your lifestyle. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the way I look at an individual or the way I judge one. However, by telling me what you just told me it automatically takes you out of the program. I wish you hadn't done that.

Although neither Jones nor the camp director are identified in the clip, The Advocate writes that it is Jones and that the footage was provided by Ryan James Yezak, the director of a forthcoming documentary called Second Class Citizens. The clip was released this week ahead of Thursday's BSA Council vote.

Update: Jones tells Daily RFT that while he's happy about yesterday's National Council decision he has quite a few reservations, in particular about how well this policy will be implemented in Catholic or Mormon boy scout troops, and the fact that homosexual adult leaders are still not allowed by BSA policy.

"[Gay scout members will] go up through the program becoming leaders in their troops, they're going to turn 18 and get kicked out of the program they spent so much time in," says Jones. "That kind of bothers me."

At the time that he was asked to leave the scouts, Jones was an adult leader and so he would still not be allowed to return -- not that he'd want to.

"Why would I want to go back to an organization that isn't going to accept how much work I'm willing to give them?" says Jones, who is now 20 and working his way toward a college degree. "But what I am willing to fight for is my future self that is going to want to be a parent. If my kid decides to be in scouting, I want to have that experience with him because I had a great experience with my father scouting."

Daily RFT asked the Greater St. Louis Area Council for comment on Thursday's decision and whether or not former scouts like Jones will be invited to come back. We're told the council's leaders are still in Dallas and returning calls from the road. We'll update if we hear back.

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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12 comments
Mike
Mike

So what's the story here? I assume the confession took place before the ban on gays was lifted. If so, I thought the scoutmaster handled it well. He wasn't accusatory. He was compassionate and yet firm in that BSA at the time did not accept openly gay membership and counselors.

James Madison
James Madison

As to the question at hand and the hidden video... I do not care one bit about gay children being permitted or not. It is a private organization, and they can do as they like. However, Eric Jones has shown himself unfitting of the title Eagle Scout. Secret recordings of conversations are illegal. It is also deceitful. A Scout is Trustworthy, and that scout is not to be trusted - a private conversation is to remain private. Do I care what a dishonest and deceitful FORMER scout thinks of the rules when he chose to not obey them, both as hiding his homosexuality and they in hiding the video camera? No. He is only after what is good for him, not worrying about others. This is not the real scouting way, and definitely not hte traits of a true Eagle Scout.

James Madison
James Madison

Who edits at RFT? Anyone? LGBT in the BOY scouts? Try again. They agreed to allow openly gay BOYS into scouting. Lesbians are girls who prefer girls - no BOYS in lesbians. And I do believe a transgender youth will have a difficult time applying for membership in the BOY scouts as well. It is clear who writes this crap does not think about what they are writing. They merely post acronyms so over used, the meaning is lost upon the writer.

CheckpointCharlie73
CheckpointCharlie73

Who wants to go camping with a flaming Nancy-boy?? There are lots of gay clubs, gay retreats, etc., and the pole-smokers have lots of fun things to do. Let the stinking boy scouts go camping without having to worry about getting a snake in their pants.

jacquebquique
jacquebquique

In light of what happened in London, I believe that you need to be careful about used "axed" in the promo at the top of the screen.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Honesty. Hidden cameras are not being honest, and may have violated law by recording the conversation without the consent of the participants. Ever hear "This call may be monitored"? Legal aspects of eavesdropping - you give your consent by staying on the line. Someone wanting to uphold the Scout Laws. Secret tapings is not trustworthy.

Next, him knowing he is gay and knowing scouting does not allow gay leaders (or scouts at that time), he was being dishonest for just how long before finally coming clean? 

These are not the actions of someone who has lived the scouting way. These are not the actions of someone I want leading boys into adulthood. What message has he sent to these boys? Lie as long as you benefit from the lie? Break the law when it suits your personal objectives?

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@Mike , the story is that another gay feels wronged, and other society rules and laws do not apply to them. Illegal taping of a conversation is the story I get from the article. Makes me proud that the adult leader did end the membership of the young man with respect that he was not shown.

carlray
carlray

@JamesMadison maybe he questioning at the time and if that was the case he was not lying i have had a lot of friends that are gay straight transgender and questioning some struggled for years trying to figure out who they were and trying to find them self's it dose not mean they were living a lie they were searching.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@carlray, perhaps. He did state he was struggling for the past year (he was 19 at that time, so that would have made him 18 at the start of his proclaimed struggles), but he had to have known his leanings towards his sexual orientation, for we've been told, gays are born gay. No one converts them. No one makes a gay person. Right? So, whatever his leanings towards his sexual orientation, this was a matter for him to discuss years before with a counselor - whether a BSA leader, church, school, or some professional. At the very least, his parents should have been told by him. Thus he probably was lying, if not to others, to himself. We shall never really know for certain.

Can I assume you agree that his secretive taping of the conversation was dishonest and not fitting of an Eagle Scout?

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@carlray, right or wrong, the police have exceptions to the law of recording people. Capturing video is fine, it is the audio that lands many into big trouble. Ever have a phone call start with "This call may be monitored..."? That is your legal notice to the taping of the conversation. Hang up if you do not want your conversation recorded.

If the taping were to reveal an illegal act, not simply a scout leader following the BSA directives, it may be a totally different situation. As evidence in court it is fine. As a youtube video? Not so much so. If you record the private conversations (not some public brawl), the people in that conversation have a right to their privacy.

SECRETIVELY taping a conversation is dishonest. You know to watch your words. You control what you might say. PLUS, you can always delete of selectively edit the conversation. The other party has no means to defend themselves. It is dishonest, if not also illegal in many states.

If someone asks for a private conversation, you assume it is private, and you will keep it private. But to later find out the conversation was never meant to be private, but recorded and publicly aired? Dishonest and disrespectful.

It does not matter what you or I think of the policy. It matters how we choose to follow the clearly laid out policy of the organization. Then, as is today, if an adult scout leader is openly gay, their membership is revoked. An honest person accepts this. Work to change the policy - that is fine, but respect that a private organization can make their own membership requirements.

carlray
carlray

@JamesMadison @carlray why would filming it be dishonest think about it that's like saying cops who use hidden cameras to prove crimes can do it or if you a private citizen has a camera on his or her property and it films a fight in the streets it wouldn't be ok I think regarding that matter its just a matter of perspective for each person to be honest i think cameras have there advantages like for exaple when they use them to catch real pervs.

I am a member of the Order and Former scout and an Assistant scout leader i personally think that such a rule was a joke.Like I said though to each of us we have our own views on this subject and I respect your right to state your view as i respect your view even if I don't agree complete with it but that is what is so great about freedom of speech.

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