Coincidentally, two big news stories of the week collide as it surfaces that deceased Virginia on-air murderer Vester Flanagan, a.k.a. Bryce Williams, was a male escort in the 1990s, right before Rentboy came into being. (He actually pimped himself via AOL chatrooms).
We learned yesterday that, in his manifesto (faxed to ABC News before he took his own life), Flanagan admitted to being a “black, gay man” and his treatment by others because of this fact appears to have contributed to his anger, and to his final act, killing two journalists while they were broadcasting live in Roanoke, Virginia Wednesday morning.
People Magazine reports that an extended family member and a childhood friend have confirmed that Flanagan worked as an escort during a “dark period” of his life shortly after college, between 1995 and 1997, when he was living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Flanagan himself bragged about this on Twitter, posting photos himself that he obviously used to attract clients in that period, just a week before the murders, saying, “Hell yeah I’ve been a high paid ‘companion.’ You wish u could too!! Lol.”
Longtime friend Shaun Barton told People that this was actually a “dark period” in Flanagan’s life, perhaps because he was not able to find work in his chosen field of journalism (he got a degree in Broadcast Journalism from SF State in 1995, and it appears he struggled for much of his life to land a broadcast gig, finally being employed by that Virginia TV station for just 10 months or so in 2012, before getting fired for his behavior toward coworkers.) Says Barton, “He said he did what he had to do… But he had a lot of dark periods in his life.”
Below some screenshots from Flanagan’s cached Twitter account, which was suspended shortly after the shootings, when he began disseminating his first-person video of the killings.
In other news, the New York Daily News is keeping it classy.