Is J. Edgar Hoover related to the Gay/Velvet Mafia? If so, how exactly?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since the Gay Mafia (or Velvet Mafia) is generally a term that refers to upper-echelon homosexual members of the arts, music and fashion community, this alone should exclude the late, former FBI director, John Edgar Hoover (1895-1972). The term "Homosexual Mafia" was first coined in 1967 (in an article that Playboy rejected). The term "Velvet Mafia" was first used in the 1970s, and the word "Velvet" was later replaced by "Gay." The term only gained widespread usage in the 1980s and 1990s. There are several specific reasons why Hoover was never a "member" of the "Velvet Mafia."

  1. Since Hoover died in 1972, the term had not become widespread in use (or possibly even coined yet).
  2. Hoover vehemently denied being a homosexual. Since "Velvet Mafia" associates were usually openly gay, this would  eliminate Hoover.
  3. Although Hoover has been accused of cross-dressing, in no way can he be considered a member of the fashion industry. 

Hoover did have a connection with "gay" and "Mafia," however--the Italian Mafia, that is. According to one source, journalist Anthony Summers,

... the Mafia had blackmail material on Hoover, and that as a consequence, Hoover had been reluctant to aggressively pursue organized crime. 

Hoover has also been accused of spreading homosexual rumors about several of his opponents, including former Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. Hoover also kept files on the supposed lesbian lovers of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Such actions do not a "Velvet Mafia" member make.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question