A new doc streaming on ALLBLK titled ‘Beyond Ed Buck’ takes a deep dive into the murders of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean at the hands of Ed Buck, a wealthy Democratic donor who preyed on vulnerable, gay, black men
In the early evening on July 27, 2017, Los Angeles County sheriff responded to a 911 call from a West Hollywood apartment where a 26-year-old black Gemmel Moore laid unresponsive on a mattress on the floor.
He was naked, wearing only white socks. Porn was playing on the TV and nearby was a red Craftsman tool box that stored drugs and paraphernalia including 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes, lighters, a scale, straw, and Ziploc bag of ‘crystal-like substance.’
By the time paramedics arrived, the young black man was already dead. The medical examiner ruled it an accidental methamphetamine overdose.
But then, 18-months later, a second man died in the same apartment.
Paramedics again found themselves responding to a 911 call from the residence of wealthy Democrat donor Ed Buck.
55-year-old Timothy Dean laid unresponsive and naked on a mattress, wearing only a pair of white briefs. Nearby was a treasure chest of sex toys, that also contained bottles of lubricant, tissues and GHB.
Dean, who worked for Saks Fifth Avenue also worked part time as a porn star known professionally as Hole Hunter. Toxicology showed an overdose of methamphetamine and the coroner ruled it an accident.
Then on September 11, 2019, a third potential victim named Dane Brown walked into a Shell gas station demanding medical attention for an overdose. He told investigators that Buck injected him with meth almost daily for five week. He had been living in a hotel on Skid Row when he met Ed Buck on Adam4Adam, a gay dating and escort site. Like the others, Brown was also a vulnerable gay black man working in the sex industry.
One overdose is an accident, two is a coincidence, but three is a pattern.
Ed Buck managed to slip justice twice, but by then, his story had made national news.
Other victims who escaped death in his sex-toy filled shop of horrors spoke about how Buck fulfilled his lurid sexual fetishes by paying to inject young black men with increasing doses of crystal meth during days-long sex sessions.
He preyed on homeless men struggling with addiction, and trawled skid row for his ‘crack baby.’
The wealthy businessman and animal activist who once mingled with the Democrats’ top brass such as Hillary Clinton, Governor Gavin Newsom and Congressmen Adam Schiff was finally arrested on September 17, 2019.
Now a new documentary airing tonight on ALLBLCK (AMC Network’s streaming service for black film content) goes ‘Beyond Ed Buck’ to unpack internalized homophobia, the psychological root of predatory behaviors, and a deeper exploration of the challenges faced in the LGBTQ community.
Ed Buck was a prominent Democratic donor and political activist who gave more than $500,000 to party elites including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Congressmen Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu plus many others. The 67-year-old is currently awaiting sentencing after being convicted of nine felony charges in the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean during fetish sex sessions
Ed Buck paid black men to partake in a twisted fetish known as ‘party and play’ (PnP) which is the act of having sex while on crystal meth. He trawled skid row for vulnerable men to exploit and hunted on gay escort sites for partners. Ed Buck’s former friends revealed how the Democratic donor became addicted to drugs and detailed his love of black men
Buck became a successful businessman, pioneering in computer technology in Arizona before moving to West Hollywood in 1991. During his teens, Buck was a model in Europe where he also acted in a few commercials. In his 30s, he changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and led the effort to recall Governor Mecham from office. John Duran, the former mayor of West Hollywood mayor told the doc: ‘He was very involved with the Democratic party and the Democratic club, but his role in West Hollywood government has been primarily as an agitator’
For the two filmmakers, Hailie Sahar and Jayce Baron, the topic hits close to home. Both are active figures in the LGBT community and have been sexualized by predatory men.
Pose star, Hailie Sahar told that her and Gemmel came up in the LA ballroom scene together, long before her success on television. She added: ‘I personally had a best friend who is no longer with us that was also a client of Ed Buck’s.’
Jayce Baron explained that he hopes to shed light on how often LGBT people fall victim to those in positions of power while ‘trying to and make it ends meet through sex work and things that they’re forced to do because society has cast them out.’
Beyond Ed Buck focuses on the ‘intersections that lead people down the route that Gemmel and Timothy were in,’ says Baron. One of those themes is the rampant use of methamphetamines in the gay community.
Ed Buck was very involved with the democratic party and local democratic clubs after moving to Los Angeles in 1991. ‘But his role in West Hollywood government has been primarily as an agitator,’ said former West Hollywood mayor John Duran. He told the doc: ‘When I first met Ed, he was very talkative, he had intelligence, I knew that he had run for governor in the state of Arizona, and the fact that he ran for office and almost took Governor Meecham out made him interesting to me’
Meth goes well with sex because it enhances sexual feelings and disinhibits the user.
John Duran, former mayor of West Hollywood (also fondly known as ‘Boytown’) said he witnessed Ed Buck slide into addiction like so many others in the neighborhood who end up making the attachment of sex to meth before it consumes their lives.
He told the doc: ‘When I first met Ed, he was very talkative, he had intelligence, I knew that he had run for governor in the state of Arizona, and the fact that he ran for office and almost took Governor Meecham out made him interesting to me.’
Buck was very involved with the democratic party and local democratic clubs after moving to Los Angeles in 1991. ‘But his role in West Hollywood government has been primarily as an agitator,’ said Duran.
‘He would come to council meetings on occasion and scream and yell about development issues, now I’m wondering whether some of those appearances before council were under the influence of meth because of that sort of anger and agitation, the sweaty brow, the clenched fist, the teeth being gritted.’
Buck paid black men and provided drugs in return for sex acts, having hunted online for partners with the familiar term ‘PnP’ – ‘party and play’, or using meth, then having sex.
A dating profile shows how Buck said he was interested in ‘BLACKS’ and was looking for ‘masculine slender/skinny men’ and said he had a ‘huge underwear, sports gear, mirror’ fetish.
Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old homeless sex- worker was found dead on the floor of Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in 2017. Court documents claimed that Buck ‘would insist upon injecting Mr. Moore with crystal methamphetamine’ then force him to watch hardcore gay pornography. Moore claimed that Buck got him hooked on meth after supplying him with his first hit. An entry from his personal diary reads: ‘I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming (injecting drugs) again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?’
Another black man, Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead in Ed Buck’s home in January 2019. Like many others in the gay community, Dean struggled with addiction to crystal meth but was on the path to recovery
Timothy Dean’s friend of 20 years tells the documentary how Dean made him promise to ‘never never ever’ go to Ed Buck’s house just one month before his tragic overdose. DeMarco Major says he woke up to the news that another black man had died in Buck’s apartment. Unaware that it was his friend’s body being rolled out on the gurney, he reached for his phone to text him but ‘the message went green’
According to the documentary, Gemmel Moore’s introduction to PnP culture was typical for sex workers of color, who often get hooked on meth through a white john.
An entry from Moore’s personal dairy reveals Buck’s strange fascination with watching others take drugs, and had even supplied him his first hit of crystal meth after meeting on the gay dating app, Adam4Adam.
‘I honestly don’t know what to do,’ he wrote in the excerpt from December 2016, published by the family, and advocate Jasmyne Cannick. ‘I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that.
‘Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.’
‘My life is at an alltime [sic] high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming (injecting drugs) again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?’
His final entry, dated December 3, 2016, read: ‘If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.’
After his death was ruled an accidental overdose, a friend of Moore’s named Samuel Lloyd spoke to a crowd demanding action. ‘Gemmel was scared, he was so scared that this man was going to hurt him, he went to the police station and they told him to go away. He was scared that he was going to die.’
In addition to a treasure chest full of sex toys, cops searching Buck’s apartment found a red Craftsman tool box that stored drugs and paraphernalia including 24 syringes, multiple glass pipes, lighters, a scale, straw, and Ziploc bag of ‘crystal-like substance.’ They also discovered hundreds of graphic photos and videos that he took of men he paid to inject meth while naked inside his West Hollywood apartment
Jermaine Gagnon, a former sex worker shared images of sex toys Buck had for their encounter (pictured), saying: ‘He had this red and black toolbox with all types of fetish toys, like c**k rings, sex toys’
Another man speaking on anonymity said Buck ordered him to wear dirty white long johns and black leather ‘f***ing boots’ (above in 2017). He claimed that the democratic donor paid him to inject meth into his penis and engage in degrading sex practices, which included watching him defecate. He also said that he would regularly wake up with a sore, red arm from where he had been injected with crystal meth by Buck while unconscious
DeMarco Major is still in disbelief over the loss of his friend Timothy Dean, who had long been a mentor for people with addiction. Major knew that Dean struggled with addiction in the past, but he recalls in Beyond Ed Buck how Dean made him promise that he will ‘never never ever’ go to Ed Buck’s house just one month before his tragic overdose.
Major woke up to news that another black man had died in Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. Having just spoken about the Gemmel Moore case with Dean, he reached for his phone to text him, ‘and the message went green.’ He didn’t know yet, that body he saw carried out of Buck’s West Hollywood apartment was his friend of 20 years.
After the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean became public, multiple witnesses who had similar encounters with Buck came forward with their experiences.
Jermaine Gagnon told DailyMailTV how Buck paid to fly him from Minnesota to Los Angeles, drugged him with a substance dissolved in Gatorade then injected him with crystal meth at his West Hollywood apartment while he was incapacitated. ‘He took my phone. I was so scared. I felt the sensation of death. I felt death walked into my soul.’
‘I really thought I was the next person that was going be dead at Ed Buck’s house.’
Gagnon was homeless and couch-surfing in LA in April 2018 when he first met Buck on the gay dating site, Adam4Adam. Buck offered him $200 to spend the evening with him at his apartment, he said.
‘I’m his type and pretty much half of the black community is his type – vulnerable, depressed. If you’re in a depressive state, that’s the energy that feeds him.’
Gagnon said he did not report Buck to the police at the time because he had no other way to pay for a plane ticket home and he felt extremely paranoid about what had happened. He said: ‘He has taken pictures with Hillary Clinton, who knows who he knows?’
Jermaine Gagnon said he thought he was going to die when Buck drugged him with a substance dissolved in Gatorade then injected him with crystal meth at his West Hollywood apartment while he was incapacitated. ‘He took my phone. I was so scared. I felt the sensation of death. I felt death walked into my soul’
Ed Buck’s dating profile says he was interested in ‘BLACKS’ and was looking for ‘masculine slender/skinny men’ and said he had a ‘huge underwear, sports gear, mirror’ fetish
The testimony of Blake reveals how he first met Buck in 2014 in a chance meeting on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood outside a seedy adult video store, when the younger man was homeless. Pictured: A message Buck – who posed as ‘Bickk’ sent to Blake, telling him he was thinking of him while thrift shopping
Another man who chose to keep his identity obscured and go by ‘Blake’ said Ed Buck ordered him to wear dirty white long johns and black leather ‘f***ing boots’. The 30-year-old took photos in a mirror hung in front of the mattress as part of Buck’s fetish, which also included making his sexual partner take Viagra, injecting drugs into his penis and injecting him with meth while he slept.
‘He wants to smoke too and he wants to shoot up and he wants to do shots inside your penis so you can stay hard.’
He also claimed that Buck would put a c**kring (a device to make blood rush to the penis) on his genitals while he was asleep and he would regularly wake up with a sore, red arm from where he had been injected with crystal meth by Buck.
Ed Buck, he said, was more interested in getting him high than having sex. Even though crystal meth is often paired with sex, his bizarre predilection for injecting someone with drugs is rare.
The escort who went by ‘Blake’ said that Buck would pay him $100 and $500 per visit, which started him on the road toward meth addiction.
Out of desperation, Blake allowed Buck to inject him with meth willingly. ‘I was really at a low point. I was living from motel to motel. Getting kicked out. Staying with trannies. I didn’t have to stay there [Buck’s apartment] that long as long as I shoot up with meth. I took the deal.’
According to Blake’s account, Buck often referred to him as his ‘crack baby’, ‘my n****r buddy’, ‘my straight n****r buddy’, ‘and ‘black boy.’
His testimony sheds light on another layer of the problem that plagues queer people of color: intrinsic fetishism and racism. Former acquaintances recalled how Buck’s preference for black men ‘had an ugly, dehumanizing quality to it.’ Drugs only exacerbated the problem.
Submission was expected and enforced. One former friend relayed an anecdote to the New York Times about a time he commented on another black man as being Buck’s ‘type,’ to which Buck replied, ‘Yeah, but I like ’em stupid.’
It took two years, two deaths and the near-death of a third victim before Ed Buck was finally arrested on September 17, 2019. He was later convicted on nine felony charges including battery, administering methamphetamine, engaging in prostitution, maintaining a drug house, and the distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death. He currently awaits sentencing in a Los Angeles prison
Prosecutors say Buck exploited vulnerable men by paying them to come to his home, use drugs, then engage in sex play to satisfy a fetish. Buck is pictured above in a court sketch that documents some of the videos shown to the court
Gemmel Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon said her son called her crying in the Fall of 2016 saying a man named Ed Buck ‘shot him up with stuff.’ Googling his name, she said the man her son described didn’t match the profile she found online. ‘As I’m researching this guy, I’m like, Oh, my God, he just seems like a really nice person,” she told NYT. But Nixon was suspicious after the coroner ruled his death an accident: ‘My son wasn’t working and had no money when he left Texas. He didn’t have the money to pay for his flight or buy the meth the coroner says killed him’
Jasmyne Cannick, an activist in the black community said: ‘He’s a man of privilege, he has influence and wealth and he knew that if he chose young black, vulnerable gay men, that nobody would care, that their lives are expendable – nobody is gonna care what happens to them.’
Even after a second victim died at his hands, it took another nine months and the near-death of another overdose victim before Buck was arrested in September 2019.
His arrest marked a turning point for activists who protested outside his apartment and pressured law enforcement to act after Gemmel Moore died on Buck’s floor in 2017.
Prosecutors say Buck preyed on vulnerable victims that were destitute, homeless, and/ or desperate for their latest drug fix. Then exploited the relative wealth and power imbalance between them for his own sexual satisfaction.
‘That’s what he liked about it – the power gave him sexual gratification,’ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Bailey in the closing arguments of his trial.
The film explores how a variety of social and economic issues have led gay and trans people to become victims of predators looking to satisfy sexual fetishes and indulge in illicit drug use.
Filmmakers Jayce Baron and Hailie Sahar want to be clear that Ed Buck is not an isolated case. Sadly, they say, ‘there are many more Ed Bucks out there,’ and that he represents all the problems with how we approach the LGBT community.
‘Our ultimate goal is to heal the world and to have more love and understanding,’ said Sahar. ‘It’s really important to see the dynamics of why these things happen and how people in positions of power get away with these things.’