Sebastian Horsley: Turned away at Newark Liberty International Airport

I am aiming, as much as possible, to focus on consumer rights issues in the travel industry that affect, to use a cliché, the average Joe.

But then there’s Sebastian Horsley, recently banned from Newark Liberty International Airport. He ain’t no average Joe.

Still, I’m upset about his case. Some background: Horsley is the author of the forthcoming paperback version of Dandy in the Underworld, a memoir that details his unrepentant drug use and addiction to prostitutes (more than a 1,000 by his count). Oh, yeah, throw in a lot of booze, some international travel and a set of parents that makes you wonder what you really missed during those years of ‘free love’ in the 60s.

An upstanding man Horsley is not. Sadly, that is what got him barred from entering the U.S. recently.

(Full disclosure: Your faithful blogger reviewed Horsley’s book when it was obscure, and in a European publication equally as obscure. Your blogger did not like it.)

Horsley was turned away from Newark March 18 on his way to a New York book party for the paperback publication of Dandy by HarperCollins. According to Horsley, U.S. customs detained him for some eight hours, firing off probes into his former drugging, whoring and, yes, his history of working as a male escort.

After the inquisition, Uncle Sam said: You’re no good for the U S of A.

Fine. You might read a little bit of agitation in the above description, and I won’t deny it. But it’s not some blind defense of a misunderstood writer. Horsley’s memoir, while at times hinting at some kind of illumination, has a lot of problems, not least of all is the prose.

So, it’s not about holding up some glorified vice-magnet as a hero. But there is something equally disturbing about our gatekeepers — U.S. Immigration — not letting in this poor sod on account that he is a little too fond of blow and night walkers.

Have we really become that kind of nation that is so afraid of vice? One wonders what the folks at Liberty were afraid of. Perhaps Horsley would find himself too comfortable down in the Meatpacking district of NYC?

Every now and then you get something like this, the all-to-common American fear of the undesirable enlarged on a national scale.

Of course, Horsley (an unfortunate name, if you know what I know) tells the New York Times he’s misunderstood, and that he has a moral tale to tell similar to Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho.

A bad (read: moronic) comparison to make. If Ellis ever left the U.S., I’m not sure he’d be let back in, and certainly not on the strength of that book.