By Trevor Ruth.
Chris Morris’ colourful career as a young writer, broadcaster, internet entrepreneur, political consultant, gay activist, and hypnotherapist spans over a decade. Not to be confused with the Channel Four broadcaster of the same name, Chris is better known for his criticism of the Gay Mafia old-boys club and more recently as a high-profile practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming.
First recruited into the establishment by former Chief Executive of Stonewall when he was just sixteen years old, Chris was asked to front the gay and lesbian lobby group’s attempt to take the British government to the European Court of Human Rights over the unequal age of consent for gay men. Like the majority of those who’ve sought refugee from the glare of the public eye, Chris appears to now live a private but comfortable existence.
It didn’t take young Mr Morris long to figure out who the genuine people were.
The Rise and Fall of YouthSpeak
Those close to him at the time felt Chris was beginning to be exploited by the alpha-gay charities such as Stonewall and their political allies. Chris was uncomfortable being a voiceless show-piece, carted around from function to function. He claimed that his involvement with Stonewall had “really messed with his head” and had become nothing but “Angela Mason’s Poster-Boy”. As he began distancing himself from Stonewall, in 1998 Chris Morris and other younger activists set-up a new (yet short-lived) gay rights group named “YouthSpeak”.
The group was accused of being “a front” for Stonewall to lobby behind to dismiss assumptions from homophobic opponents (notably Baroness Janet Young). The main accusation was that older gay lobbyists were wishing to change the age of consent laws purely so they could legally engage in sexual intercourse with younger-men.
More radical activists accused YouthSpeak was grooming talented alpha-gay types, many of it’s former members certainly went on to great things. Chris was the face of YouthSpeak but he wasn’t the only person who began their adventures with them.
Colm Howard-Lloyd is now an associate director of Pride London, Marketing Director of the European Pride Organizers Association and Manager of Research and Consultations at the Greater London Development Agency.
The group’s original aim focussed on that one goal of equalising the age of consent for gay men. Sir Ian Mckellen’s (Gay Mafia head-boy) financial support came with strings attached, meaning those who wished to expand YouthSpeak’s objectives were blocked by influential figures. Others felt the group had achieved it’s main objective and were in favour of disbanding. It wasn’t long before internal disputes and money-problems contributed to the the group’s demise.
Stonewall’s main focus at the time was the campaign to repeal Section 28. They appealed to YouthSpeak to consider abandoning it’s independence and rejoining with their increasingly powerful mother-ship. But as it’s Chair and leading light Chris Morris was still feeling bruised from his experiences with them. Most of it’s members still advocating the continuation of YouthSpeak and proceeded to leave and explore alternatives as it became clear there was no future in it for them.
With nobody left to carry the torch or to continue the fight against Section 28 in schools, the final blow came as McKellen pulled the plug on the group’s funding. No-doubt a result of Chris Morris so publicly falling out of favour with McKellen’s beloved Stonewall Lobby Group.
Half-way through YouthSpeak’s short existence in 1999 Chris was invited to contribute to the New Statesman. Morris chose to use the opportunity to exposing “The Real Gay Mafia” that had treated him so badly. He wasn’t the first person to do this, but the specific details he published in the national magazine of just how, and precisely who was responsible for the corruption and hypocrisy within the country’s Gay Mafia elite rattled a great many cages.
Coincidently it was one of the last radical queer articles ever published by Chris Morris in the mainstream, leading him to set up his own radical, and undoubtedly controversial queer magazine “OutCast”.
The Rise and Fall of OutCast Magazine
The Gay Mafia never forgave Chris for demonising their precious Pink Pound empires. The launch of OutCast worried the publishers of existing rival gay magazines. Although OutCast was significantly different and posed no real commercial threat to the profit margins of Gay Times, The Pink Paper, Boyz, Attitude etc. After speaking out against their owners exploitative tactics and then switching allegiance from the liberalism of Angela Mason’s Stonewall (which continues to rely on financially backing from Gay Mafia types) to the edgy radicalism of Peter Tatchell’s OutRage! turned Morris into public enemy number one.
Like most young men of his age Chris had other priorities in his life which full-time gay activism caused him to neglect. Having moved from rural Norfolk to Central London he had bills to pay. Selflessly campaigning for civil rights doesn’t pay – a penny. Fellow activists accused Chris of abandoning critical campaigns at a critical time to focus on his own “Empire Building” by capitalising on his high-profile to fuel his own private business affairs. In reality all he really can be accused of is moving on and turning his back on the often divided world of grass-roots gay activism.
It was the Gay Mafia who eventually brought OutCast down, and subsequently his online venture 4D Media which hosted the magazine’s website.
The Rise and Fall of 4D Media
Alongside OutCast (which was a non-profit project which lost far more money than it ever made) was another entrepreneurial set-up , 4D Media which described itself as a “web development company”. 4D presented a lucrative business model at a time when it wasn’t easy for anyone to just set up a website. When you’re an individual with a phonebook packed with rich and powerful contacts all wanting a slice of the internet gold-rush then success was a certainty.
At it’s prime 4D had over 300 commercial clients consisting of a number of multinational corporations such as Virgin, BT, Honda and Umbro to name but a few, as well as a number of senior public figures including Peter Mandleson (another Gay Mafia head-boy). The company also ran a small number of adult porn sites which Chris never denied being connected to nor expressed the need to feel ashamed of what he called having a few fingers in “naughty pies”. But the company also provided free websites to a whole range of non-profit groups such as the Equality Alliance, and for a short time became a major player in offering web hosting services to the full diversity of the gay community.
You’d have thought 4D Media was a Gay Mafia-type empire in itself, boasting a plush Mayfair address on New Bond Street. In reality was a virtual office and a relatively small, but successful operation. One day for now apparent reason it simply disappeared. Clients tried to contact the company via phone and email but heard nothing.
From Activism to Hypnotism
Successful long-term activism requires a talent for entrepreneurship, something Chris Morris has in abundance. But to be successful in business many activists have to make a choice between their ethical ideals and the very capitalist methodology they often oppose.
Those who have succeeded in bringing about significant social-change often go on to channelling their knowledge, passion and initiative into projects that put bread on their tables. If your passion stems from the desire to improve the lives of others – and you do something about it, no matter what it takes – you are activist.
You can of course make a career out of activism, but it is hard to make the leap. De-radicalising is often crucial to engaging with the establishment. Liberalism is tolerated but radicalism is viewed as destructive and eccentric. There are exceptions, but in general most former activists choose to “tone it down” as much as they can.
There is some merit to the saying “if you’re always shouting eventually people will stop listening”. Morris never stopped speaking out, he simply reinvented his way of getting his message across, and he’s achieved that by putting the days of being used as a human billboard for the gay rights movement far behind him.
Shortly after announcing his activist retirement, Chris’ personal homepage displayed the message ”Chris Morris is no longer involved in gay activism”, a statement that carried no further explanation. The message stayed up for a number of years, until he eventually re-launched a new blog at the same domain in June 2009.
Who brainwashed Chris Morris?
There is a peculiar belief out there that Chris’ sudden departure from anything politically gay could have been the result of a well-planned and successful attempt to silence him or buy him off.
Is it merely a coincidence one of Britain’s most high-profile queer campaigners suddenly vanished from the gay rights scene just as he was beginning to uncover it’s dirty secrets? His disappearance occurred at a time when it was clear he certainly knew far too much, and wasn’t afraid to say so.
His later involvement with a controversial form of hypnotherapy (N.L.P) popular with senior politicians (many of whom Chris had initially met through his campaigns) raised yet more eyebrows. Some friends even claimed Chris had somehow been “re-programmed” by powerful members of the New Labour establishment.
Although it is far more likely he simply gave up campaigning – from the heart. He was after all dragged into gay rights by Angela Mason because he’d put his name down on Stonewall mailing list. It was she who had approached him. In retrospect today Chris will tell you he was “never really ready for it” and even expresses a degree of regret and bitter resentment for naively taking up the offers of free trips to London in exchange for the charm of his youth.
What Chris Morris did next…
Questions have been raised as to why Chris no longer discusses the LGBT issues or the status of Gay Mafia in public. Although a lot of what he’s said on the subject in the past remains true today. Behind closed doors he’s spent the last decade either distancing himself or in a few cases befriending many of his former adversaries.
During the days when Chris was shadowing government ministers and celebrities at champagne receptions Chris was befriended by television hypnotist Paul McKenna who introduced him to the mysterious world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P), a controversial form of psychotherapy.
Chris Morris had obvserved N.L.P techniques being deployed by politicians and other high profile activists, it instantly stirred his curiousity and openined up a whole world of new opportunities to further his independent entrepreneurship. Since then he’s become a respected player within the UK’s N.L.P community.
Today Chris Morris is the CEO of a company named NLP Connections.
There is signficant controversy surrounding the practice of N.L.P as a form of therapy, but there’s no evidence that N.L.P Connections run by Chris Morris is deserving of the critism levelled at other N.L.P related enterprises that have tainted N.L.P’s overall reputation within the scientific community. The very nature of N.L.P itself, being relativley new, predmoninatly unregulated and ideologicaly fragmented does leave it somewhat open to abuse from unscrupilous and greedy individuals. In relation to Chris Morris – his track record doesn’t indicate he’s one of those people.
His talent for spotting the fakers and exploiters never left him. Since joining the N.L.P movement Chris has encountered some very creepy people indeed, .It isn’t like him to keep this kind of information underwraps, and now nearly a decade after his departure from gay rights, he’s speaking out again.
Doing so has recently caused problems for Chris personally. He and his family have been targetted by some very disturbed sections of the N.L.P community including a few worrying influencial as well as wreckless figures.
Chris’ achievements have made him the target for bitter rivals in the past. Some have become so obsessed with destroying his efforts over the past few years that a smear campaign appears to be running against him.
Gay Mafia Watch has been investigating an internet-based smear campaign against Chris Morris. He claims the leading individual responsible is a former N.L.P colleague named Nick Kemp. Chris has written about the saga in his blog:
Defamatory comments smearing Chris Morris also appeared on Gay Mafia Watch last month when we announced we’d be writing about N.L.P. Clearly someone out there is Googling the web for any mention of Chris Morris looking for an opportunity to blacken his name. The majority of these comments (which are present all over the internet) appear to be to be malicious posts under different names but with identical I.P addresses, mostly posting defamatory and unsubstantiated statements about Mr Morris.
Whether you choose to believe the various conspiracies theories he had unknowingly been brainwashed into his silence, or you favour the possibility he came to the decision entirely by himself, there’s no denying the LGBT community has a great deal to be thankful for Chris Morris’ remarkable achievements, wherever he may be now.
- Gay Mafia Watch will be going into more detail about how Social Control, Crowd Conditioning and Neuro-Linguistic-Programming is used on a regular basis to control our community in forthcoming articles.