Two months after we interviewed actor Brian Presley about his new film, his family, and his sobriety, he became a social media phenomenon.
Model Melissa Stetten published several items to Twitter during a late-night flight about her ongoing conversation with Presley, suggesting that he was drunk and hitting on her. Several popular aggregation sites picked up the tweets and added suggestions that he had propositioned her. As often happens with celebrity gossip (even if few people had heard of Presley or Stetten before the incident), bloggers and commenters began choosing sides. The Frisky's Alexandra Gekas called Stetten a jerk who owed Presley an apology, even if the tweets were true. Jezebel's Hugo Schwyzer called Presley a creep who deserved ridicule. And on it went, eventually drawing mainstream media attention in the U.S. and Britain. (Meanwhile, CT's interview with Presley became the most-read article on our site for nearly a week.)
Apart from a brief denial last week on Facebook, Presley had not publicly addressed the controversy. In a Christianity Today exclusive interview, he spoke about it for the first time.
So what did happen?
First, it's really important for me to say that in doing this interview, my intention is not to sling mud. I just want to stand up for me and my family.
I was on my way to New York for business, and we were having the screening of Touchback and some other business—two days and [then] back home. I sat next to this person and had a friendly conversation. She seemed like a nice person. She asked why I was going to New York. I said work and shared part of the industry I'm in. She shared what part of the industry she's in. And I brought up Touchback.
I'm a passionate guy in general and I feel ...1