I’ve seen some speculation that Modest/Syco are setting up 1D to look like willing closet cases, but I don’t think I agree. I know what pieces of evidence there are to support it and they make me nervous too. However, I don’t think that’s the only conclusion you can come to and I think there might be some logical holes in that particular explanation.
Things we know:
1) TMZ’s founder and managing editor is gay and has indicated in the past that he will not cooperate in closeting a celebrity if he’s aware of what’s going on.
2) TMZ wrote about Louis’ past public relationships from time to time and wrote one article about babygate just after it was announced. After that they didn’t cover it at all up until the birth.
3) After the birth, TMZ has had numerous articles and discussions about the topic. They posted a false picture of the baby from the internet, apparently without checking to verify it. They ran an article that was directly responsible for fans finding out the Jungwirths were registering website names. The tone of their reporting has often seemed geared towards pointing out the weird things about babygate without actually saying that’s what they’re doing.
4) TMZ, the Kardashions, and the Azoffs all have ties to each other.
5) Louis wasn’t seen with Briana from June 2015 until Jan 2016. After the baby was supposedly born, he was papped with Briana twice within a few days and has been papped for stories related to the baby at least 5 or 6 other times. He has also been attached to a new “girlfriend” in the form of Danielle.
6) A lot of the focus in the articles right now seems to be on how good of a father Louis is, how hands on he is, how present he is, how much he’s supporting the child, etc. At the moment, he’s being portrayed mostly positively.
7) The Sun just reported today on George Shelley’s coming out and comments about his sexuality. This implies that his team, including Sony and possibly Simon through his connection to them, have no problem with their clients coming out and wouldn’t closet someone forcibly.
What it means:
TMZ is likely connected to New Team and working on exposing how fake babygate is without being too blatant about it.
It’s probable that Louis didn’t want to be connected to Briana romantically, so he stayed away from her and attached himself to other women in the press.
However, if he ignores her too much, it makes him look like a jerk and a bad father. Now that the baby is born, this is the crucial time to make a point that he’s there supporting the baby. He’s likely participating in the pappings relatively willingly for that reason.
Because Union J doesn’t have much of an international profile, it’s possible that he was allowed to come out with this timing in order to deflect suspicion that they would closet any of their clients.
Someone from Union J coming out won’t have as big of an impact on their team’s earnings (if the public reacted negatively) as someone from One Direction coming out. It was around when One Direction started to get popular internationally that their closeting kicked into high gear.
What I think:
While I can see where it would be awful for Syco to make Louis look willingly closeted and like he arranged the spectacle of babygate himself, I don’t think that’s what’s happening.
I think 3 separate things are happening instead.
1) Old Team is using “good parent Louis” to shore up the credibility of the stunt while New Team is using it to ensure Louis’ image isn’t damaged too much.
2) At the same time, TMZ who is connected to New Team is subtly drawing attention to the sketchiness of the stunt and seeding a paternity scandal.
3) The final thing is that Syco is feeling insecure about people seeing the comparisons between Simon’s baby situation and Louis’ and are trying to make sure suspicion is quelled. (*edit: apparently UJ isn’t signed to Syco, but since they still have an association with Simon through X Factor, that might be why, or maybe Sony is feeling insecure, or maybe it’s completely unrelated in which case it shouldn’t be used as evidence for either argument)
The reason I think it’s these 3 things rather than a plot to make the boys look like desperate closet cases is because I don’t see why TMZ would participate in that when they already have a policy against participating in closeting and have ties to New Team to boot.
Also because this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Syco scramble to look LGBT friendly. I can’t remember specifics without looking it up, but I remember there was very similar press in The Sun last summer-ish that seemed to have the same purpose.
There’s never been open warfare between 1D and 1DHQ in the sense that they’ve tried to reveal secrets. It’s been covering up things and enduring things instead. I don’t think 1DHQ wants to open up that can of worms since they still seem to be trying to save their own reputations. If they throw the first punch, they’re opening themselves up to retribution.
In this case, I really hope I’m not wrong, but I could be. I think the other option makes a good amount of sense, but I also don’t particularly see anything going on that’s outside the 3 agendas I mentioned.
I didn’t address the bits that relate to Zayn and Harry’s newest bearding being sort of called out, but I think those situations are too subtle and murky to really tell what that was about without more data.