The shit hits the Brat Boy fans

1084981162_l.jpgI’ve followed Brat Boy School, the home page of model/blogger/underwear spokesman Ethan Reynolds for quite some time. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “fan” of Ethan’s, but he was pretty and I checked in fairly often to read posts about his love life, skin care regimen, workouts, recipes, and political views. Ethan was a pretty high-profile figure in the online gay community. I say was, because Brat Boy School crashed dramatically this week with a revelation: Ethan’s not real.

Well, to be fair, the person who goes by the name Ethan Reynolds is real, in the sense that he is the male model who appeared in photographs on the site. However, he did not write the blog; Rick Altman, his manager, wrote all of the entries. From what I can gather, “Ethan” (whose real name is apparently JR) really was boyfriend to porn-star-turned-underwear-spokesman Benjamin Bradley. They really were (are?) under contract with Ginch Gonch to be the “Ginch Gonch Boys.”
But beyond those facts, any details that appeared on the Brat Boy School blog were fictional.


Now, Ethan/JR and Ben are broken up; the truth about Brat Boy School has been revealed (thanks to Keith, a web designer who was one of the minds behind the site); Blair, a porn actor and blogger who was also with Altman, is shutting down his blog bradtboy-thumb.jpgand his MySpace and quitting porn; Ben is still with Ginch Gonch, with different management; and Rick Altman and Ethan/JR Reynolds are nowhere to be found. There are also assorted and vague assertions that Altman is a sexual predator, though where exactly that comes from (outside of apparently being sinister svengali to the allegedly-unstable Ethan/JR) is unknown.

It’s all very fascinating to watch happen. The blogs from which this information is drawn appear and disappear like the town of Brigadoon, one minute revealing tidbits of delicious gossip and the next minute vanishing into the ether as the author thinks better of what he said. Thank God for Google cache, or I’d never be able to keep up. At this point, all indications are that the blogs involved (including the Brat Boy School) will soon vanish, and there will be no evidence that any of this ever happened. All that may remain is Ben’s blog at Project BE, a remnant of his time with “Ethan,” and my guess is that soon he’ll take down any entry with reference to this whole episode and it will be lost forever.

ethan-instinct-1a.jpgIt’s interesting to see just how far these lies can spread, though.  Not too long ago Ethan was an Instinct magazine cover boy, complete with pictorial and profile.  I wonder, was it Rick who was providing answers for the profile?  Was it Ethan/JR?  Or did Instinct write their own content, Hustler style (see below)?  One way or another, someone at Instinct must have noticed the relationship between Ethan/JR and Rick, but that appeared nowhere in the article.  Why?  Probably because it’s not the first time they’ve seen such a relationship between model and manager.

By far the most interesting part of this has been to read the response from Ethan’s fans. They’ve always been my least favorite part of the Brat Boy School experience, a pack of sniveling dogs who whimpered around Ethan’s feet and posted affirming comments to every entry in an effort to win favor. Many of them corresponded with him (Rick, whom they thought was Ethan) via e-mail or went to his appearances to see him in person, where I assume Ethan/JR had to do his own talking.

The worst part was, as nice as he was to look at, the Ethan depicted in his blog entries was always pretty obnoxious. Self-absorbed and inexplicably politically conservative (well, inexplicable until now), his entries would make me nuts – but not as nuts as the fans, who praised him and showered him with flattery. “Oh, you’re so smart! You’re so right! You’re so unique! You’re AMAZING!”

Truthfully, Ethan wasn’t that smart, or insightful. He sure wasn’t amazing. He was just REALLY nice to look at – and he updated a lot.

So what has the fan reaction been to this new revelation? Well, mostly anger. They want his head on a stick. They want to sue. They want blood. The funny thing is, this practice really isn’t unusual. Lots of porn sites are designed around the concept of being a “home page” or a “diary” (think Next Door Nikki) and feature a blog, ostensibly written by the model. If any of these models actually write the content, I’d be shocked. Even pre-internet, magazines like Hustler routinely created a fictionalized profile for the model, carefully crafting a persona for maximum titillation.  Did Hustler readers really think there were that many naive coeds in the world?

kisswb9.jpgSo why Ethan’s readers should be so shocked is beyond me.  Brat Boy School was not a “porn site” by classification, but it was still porn.  It took a physically attractive person, and created a sexy back story and scenarios for him to participate in (cooking dinner in a thong!  working out in a thong!  sunbathing in a thong!).  And hey, it won fans the way only porn can.

Granted, the frame was clever: Ethan was “a model who really liked to blog (ie, worshiped himself) and was using the blog to channel himself into a career.” Believable, sure. But there were plenty of clues to say that something else was going on. If nothing else, there’s the fact that there just are not super-sexy hunk bloggers hanging around. The amount of time it takes to maintain a physique like Ethan’s doesn’t leave a lot of time for typing, let alone the prolific number of entries left on Brat Boy in the average day.

Some of the other fan responses were more pathetic, like one fellow who insisted that HE could tell which entries were REALLY from Ethan. Of course, they were the ones where Ethan “talked about being lonely on his birthday, or putting spices on popcorn, or just wanting someone to snuggle with.” The poor guy really needed to believe that this fictional person, with whom he had formed (in his own mind) a close relationship, really existed. Sorry bra, but according to Keith that was Rick also. Granted, some of the details of “Ethan’s” life were based on the real JR. As any good writer can tell you, the most believable fictions are those based on reality.

The truth is, the whole cult of celebrity is based on selling a fictional persona.  True, most major celebrities do talk for themselves, but the words that come out are words written, screened, and pre-approved by publicists to fit the character that has been created for mass-market appeal.  We shouldn’t be surprised when famous people don’t fit their character (Mel Gibson drinks and hates Jews??!  Britney Spears is a lousy mother??) but we are.  A big part of that outrage is because we resent being lied to.  I’ve long believed that what makes celebrity gossip so appealing is that celebs are like friends everyone has in common – and when a secret comes out, we feel the way we would if a friend was keeping secrets or lying to our faces.

I wonder how much of the outrage and anger directed at Ethan really comes from the light that has been shone back at his fans, the people who kowtowed to him because he was pretty.  Now it comes out that instead of a tan and muscular 20-something model, the guy they were all calling brilliant, unique, and amazing was in fact a 40-something pervert manager.  Suddenly, there’s no upside to selling out.  I find it quite poetic, personally.

The person I feel badly for is Ben, who went through a year of living a lie before losing his boyfriend (and if they were together for a full year, either JR was a pretty decent guy in reality, or there was some financial interest involved) and nowbenjamin-bradley_ethan-reynolds-sailors-ginch.jpg has to explain the whole thing to his fans while trying to maintain his career. Then again, Ben came out of a brief career in gay porn, so he’s probably got some pretty thick skin.

As for Ethan/JR, I do wonder if we’ll ever hear from him again, and if so what form it will take. His MySpace is still up, though it has not apparently been visited in a while, and there are a lot of fans out there who have a big empty place in their hearts where Ethan Reynolds used to live. My guess is if Rick and Ethan play this right, they’ll have no trouble pulling that wool back over the eyes of their fans. Hell, I wouldn’t object to new photos. JR “Ethan” Reynolds is really nice to look at.

P.S:  For the record, though I may be only modestly hot and this blog may lack daily pictures of me doing chores in a thong, rest assured that I write all of my own content.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you very much for a concise explanation of what happened. I just read about it tonight, and I’ve been trying to piece it together, but kept run into dead ends.

    All I could find were blogs that said “As you may know, the recent controversy that’s been going on with Brat Boy, blah blah blah”.

    Posts like that were driving me crazy, because NO, I don’t know! I don’t follow every breath and move “Ethan” makes. And it was irritating for so many blogs to not elaborate for those of us who do have a life outside Ethan.

    So I appreciate this post. It cleared up everything in one place, and saved me a lot of trouble.

    As for the situation at hand.. that is mildly irritating, but it seems to happen a lot. There are so many fake blogs out there, all of which are eventually discovered. The best I can do is choose wisely when getting emotionally invested in something I read.

    Ah, well… it was fun while it lasted. “Ethan” and Ben were probably the hottest couple I’d ever seen together, and they were the type of people I imagined spent Sunday morning looking in the mirror together, debating over who was the prettiest. It seemed only a matter of time before they broke up. Sorry, but it just seemed too good to be true. Two guys that look that good, with a wildly popular modeling career that had changed the way the underwear industry markets itself? And a cover article in Instinct magazine? C’mon, that’s just too good to all be true… and well, now we see it wasn’t.

  2. Hey, no problem. I was sorry to to see it come to an end, even if it was all an illusion. It was an entertaining illusion, which is after all something most people pay very good money for.

    I’m sorriest to see that people like Ben and Blair have elected to withdraw from the public life they were leading. They were both intriguing – nice to look at but also intelligent – and I’m sorry I won’t get to look in on their lives any more. At least for a while.

  3. I grew up in Las Vegas and knew JR and Rick, around 1998. Rick always had lots of young teenage boys such as myself and his boyfriend around, and there were always stories of very inappropriate actions which Rick conducted with these teenagers. He was always a very shady character but one with very good connections.

    Rick is very good friends with the very famous photographer Steven Underhill and many other people in the publishing industry and would lure boys in through that way. Not a nice guy at all.

  4. There seems to be a lot of drama from this Brat Boy School. I am confused, not upset. I am just shocked, but I shouldn’t be. Nor should anyone else. You can never really know a person, especially from the internet. Even married couples don’t know each other completely. We have a lifetime of learning, learning from each other, about each other, with each other.

    I also know not to believe everything we read, or everything that is said, we can never be too sure if something is true or false. Its a mystery. Sort of like a game to depuzzle over and over again. I am not putting Ethan down, nor Benjamin down in any way, as I don’t really know either of them. I met them once at a local club in downtown Salt Lake City. I thought they were very good performers, in their strip show. It attracted a ton of attention and they were very friendly, very appealing in many ways.

    Whether or not this is what happened, I believe we can’t say much as we don’t know him personally. If you do, then feel free to judge, criticism helps us get stronger, also if its truthful, then it can open our eyes. Everyone has secrets, its normal, its life. Everyone isn’t completely honest, yet we expect them to be. We all make mistakes, go with wrong choices, lie, cheat, be fake, therre is so much more…

    In the end it all comes down to very little… we are all still human, we are all still living on the same Earth, we all have a life to live, whether its a good one, or not.. that’s entriely up to us, the people.

    – Anthony

  5. I still feel Ethan could have a hot carreer as a model. I would pay for some new pictures of him – new hot pictures – or are there some out there that I haven’t seen. Where can I find them. All the ginch stuff is old hat, I want newer hotter stuff now.

  6. If that’s what you want you can check out “Ethan’s” MySpace page:

    http://www.myspace.com/bratboyschool

    That page has been updated several times since the turmoil that shut down Brat Boy School; the voice used in the blog is the same as the voice of “Ethan” on the Brat Boy page, so if the story as I understand it is correct then I take it Ethan and his manager are continuing their fiction for those fans who don’t mind, haven’t heard, or refuse to believe the truth.

  7. All this sounds like a bunch of gossip, all based on what some geek web designer supposibly said, and now being said here again… double heresay! Ethan and Ben are good people, they are also very hot guys, so I’m not supprised that some geek slandered them. That Jezza person on here only wishes that she knew Ethan, and to basically call him a pedophile on here is definitely slanderous! GARBAGE is my response, but I doubt that contrsting points of view are welcome on this blog where the author appears to be as full of himself as he accuses Ethan of being. Keep writing dude, I definitely don’t wanna see you doing anything in a thong!

  8. Thanks for your thoughts, Shane. More to the contrary, I invite contrasting opinions (as long as they’re not spam). Thanks for providing me the “fan who refuses to believe the truth” perspective.

    You’re of course under no obligation to believe me, as I have not personally met Ethan, Ben, Rick, or anyone else. I will say that everything I posted was corroborated by Ben himself on his own blog, before he decided to just let the past be the past and take his entries down. Perhaps Ben has more authority in your eyes than “some geek web designer.” After all, you’ve seen him in a thong.

    Oh, and no worries, I don’t expect to be baring my ass for this or any other blog in the immediate future.

  9. Shhiit if i become a Speedo/sum what centre fold materail type of Guy then juuuts let it be Shiit we need 2 start sum where!! shhhit if i start here don’t bother me at least i look good w/out air brushigng!!

  10. James – a spell check would work wonders. You might even be intelligible then. 🙂

    Chris – the whole Brat Boy product found a ready audience and as you suggest, it’s just a matter of time before it starts up again.

  11. Wow…where do I start. I wouldn’t feel sorry for Benny-Boy, which Ben isn’t even his real name. He didn’t “lose” a bf. He cheated with “Roman”. And JR is not Ethan’s name…sorry to tell you lol

  12. I know both of them personally and I think this is just a bunch of horse shit and u need to get a life…just saying is all

  13. A late addition, but nonetheless:
    Speaking of faked personalities, I’ve always considered Brent Corrigan’s blog to be authored by his manager or someone. Don’t know much about the dude, mind you, but those long entries seem suspect to me.

  14. I too have met both JR (Ethan is NOT his real name) and this fat fuck Rick Altman. I’ve known forever that JR was not writing any of his own shit–there was no WAY! In person, JR is actually a very shy, whiney, pessimistic, depressed and mentally immature person. Rick is the “brains” behind this boy and he preys on JR’s weaknesses. Rick Altman is a very shady, dishonest, secretive character who should be trusted by absolutely NO ONE. That man is up to absolutely NO GOOD.

  15. Why does it seem like everytime you go to a bloggers website they’re always trying to pull someone down? I haven’t known Ethan for long, but he is a really sweet guy. I have no idea why everyones making a big deal out of this anyways. I mean Chris said often people like Ethan have others write their blogs, so why is this deal so special? People need to stop being so judgmental. If you don’t know him, you shouldn’t judge him. Also why should you feel sorry for Ben? Do you have any idea what actually happened between them?

  16. I know it’s been a while since the last post – but I never really got into these two until very recently (a google-search for Ben with the safe-search turned off brought up a very tasty picture of the two of them – but that has since disappeared).

    I can see that Chris was taking a mostly non-judgemental standpoint throughout his editorial, and for people who are to naive to want to see the truth of the ‘cult of celebrity’ to accuse him of this and then be exactly the same back at him smacks of hypocrisy at best, and stupidity at worst. For goodness’ sake people, they are manufactured for our delectation. Just take a chill-out and move on to some other eye-candy (James Ellis is particularly nice if you like ‘Ethan/JR’). Unless you know them personally (and I rather suspect those who have claimed to on here should heed this message: jacking off to their pictures does not make them your lover. Remember that before you start clipping out warnings to them from newspapers, and start abducting their pets for ransom), you cannot know how ‘sweet’ they are, or what their favourite things are, nor can you be sure of their tastes and opinions. The internet is notorious for its anonymity – I could say I myself am Ethan, and you couldn’t disprove it.

    All I’m saying is: Chris was doing a service to the interested parties – those of us with enough sense to not really be taken in by the phony platitudes and contrite content of other sites. Please, let us read this in peace. If you don’t like what is said, you can always CLOSE YOUR BROWSER WINDOW, or PRESS THE BACK BUTTON, or – and here’s one you might not have thought of: step outside into the real world, and meet some non-virtual people. They can be fun, too you know.

  17. Thank you for posting this article. As the “geek web designer” who broke the news, I’d have to agree with Jezza and I KNOW WHATS UP.

    In contrast, I have to disagree with Jakey’s claims:
    – “Benny-Boy, which Ben isn’t even his real name” Actually, Ben’s real first is Benjamin.
    – “And JR is not Ethan’s name…sorry to tell you lol” Ethan’s real name is J. R. Reynolds. I can’t remember what the J and R are initials for though as we always just called him JR.

    I’m glad all the madness is over, but I’m still disappointed that JR chose to stick with Rick after all that.

  18. Thanks for stopping by to clarify things, Keith. It’s been some time since this all happened and I wrote this entry, but from time to time someone will stop by to post a comment defending their fantasy.

    It’s not all that different from television, I suppose. You have the character (Ethan) and the real person portraying him (J.R.). The character’s thoughts, actions, personality, and words are supplied by the writer (Rick) and his demeanor, body language, and appearance are supplied by the actor.

    And just like fans of television characters, fans of “Ethan Reynolds” want to believe that the actor is exactly like the character. They want that fictional person to exist in real life, perhaps because they hope to meet that character, or perhaps because they just want hope that people like that really exist. Actors deal with this all the time – obsessed fans talk to them as if they were their characters. The actor may be similar, or he may be entirely unlike the character he portrays. Usually, the actor is much more complex and conflicted, and far less poetic – as real people are. They may also be much more troubled, and in a lot of ways less attractive.

    William Shatner is not Captain Kirk. Gale Harold is not Brian Kinney. Hugh Laurie is not Dr. Greg House. These are fictional creations that exist only in a world made possible by orchestration, writing, and multiple takes. They don’t have real lives, their lives stop where the script ends and the camera stops filming.

    The same is true for Ethan Reynolds. The people who think they knew him did so through carefully composed branding strategies – blog posts, emails, strategic photographs and staged public appearances. Ethan lived in a magical world where every day was sunny and hot boys wore only underpants and thongs. No matter how much his fans may want to escape into that world, it simply doesn’t exist.

    Anyway, I’m sorry to hear that JR stayed with Rick also, based on what you say Keith. On the other hand he seems to be making a living, and if he’s willing to bow to a Svengali in order to be successful, I guess I can’t fault him for it.

  19. I came across this site as I was recently pondering my experience as a youth, active n a church youth group in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1996 – 1999. My search for Rick Altmann resulted in this posting. Immediately, once seeing this photo – it sent chills up my spine. Rich Altmann was the youth pastor at a small church and grew a small 20 member youth group to over 120 young, youth members in a relatively small amount of time. Then, one day – he was gone. I realize now, that he was likely terminated from his position as youth pastor because of innappropriate behavior and relationships with some of the youth, but I don’t know the details. What I do know is that Rick is very predatory and has an inexplicable charisma and charm that attracts people to him. As an active member of the youth group I found myself drawn to him, at a young age, although as a female, and recollecting now, I did not have as strong a relationship with Rick as many of the males in the group had. In my recollection of over 15 years ago, I recall that Rick had moved to Las Vegas from the mid-west somewhere and had also served in a youth leader capacity. I now wonder what he did to young youth back then and if he was also terminated from a church. I am sickened at the number of years this predatory pedaphilia has been going on and hope that others will come forward with their stories. Rick is a sick individual with traits of a psychopath and socio-path. He is a liar who is deceptive and deceitful. More importantly from what I can tell online and through my recollection, he preys on young, weak individuals and likely sexually violates. I hope that one day charges can be filed against this individual who has ruined lives for over 20 years. Those with stories to tell need to come forward and band together. Over the four years that I knew Rick, there were signs, but we all just “believed.” May the truth be told and may justice pervail.

  20. Addie, those are some pretty serious allegations to be leveling, especially with statements like “I don’t know the details,” and “from what I can tell online.” Personally, I don’t know ANYTHING about this guy, so I can’t accuse or defend him in any way, but I know I’d want to have an awful lot of factual evidence before I called someone a pedophile with “traits of a psychopath and socio-path,” and expressed hope that they’d be prosecuted.

    I’m sorry for whatever unhappy memories you have. I sympathize, and I get the sense there is more that you’re not sharing, which is totally your decision. But no matter how bad your experience may have been, I’d caution you against making wild accusations you can’t personally back up. Thanks for the comment.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here