Magic Johnson gets dragged after sharing photo with his wife, daughter and gay son
Angry fans recently came for Magic Johnson with hateful comments over a family photo featuring his gay son. Meanwhile, in a CNN series which aired in October, the basketball legend revealed the things he did before accepting his son’s sexuality.
Magic and his family were at an LA Lakers game on October 21, and the former Lakers player, who is now the president of basketball operations, took to Instagram to share a moment. In the group photo were Magic, his wife, Cookie Johnson, his daughter Elisa Johnson, and his flamboyant gay son, EJ Johnson.
Sadly, what was meant to be a family keepsake turned ugly as people came up in the comments section to bash Magic. Most of the sarcastic and cruel comments were centered on EJ:
“Which one is the son???? This world has gotten out of hand, do you really think god would want that.”- @dalton_w_cummins
“Is it me or does his son look legit scary.”- @yaspecialboi_mac
“Imagine having a son and thinking he’s gonna love basket ball like you but he ends up wearing makeup and dressing like a girl.”- @t_clark527
“Boy is a disgrace”- @donperion86
COMING TO TERMS
All these comments, though very negative, may not faze Magic who has been targeted by such a couple of times.
In June, the 59-year-old dad-of-three shared a heartfelt birthday tribute to his son, and while some fans joined him in wishing EJ a happy birthday, most rebuked him for letting his son “become” the way he is.
EJ, 26, is Magic’s only son with Cookie but the former NBA champion has an older son, Andre, from a previous relationship.
Acknowledging EJ’s sexual orientation was not easy for Magic, who many consider as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
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Happy Father’s Day to all the men raising children and positively influencing them to be the best version of themselves. It is such a blessing! Thank you to my children Andre, EJ and Elisa for being my greatest blessings and thank you to my father Earvin Sr. for making me the man that I am today. Dad, my mission is to make you proud each and every day and take care of you for the rest of your life. I love you!
TRYING TO 'FIX' A CHILD
Alongside his gay son, Magic was featured on CNN’s “This Is Life With Lisa Ling,” and he told Ling the extent to which he went in trying to “fix” EJ.
Magic recalled how, growing up, his son preferred to play with dolls.
“It was hard for me in the beginning,” confessed the former athlete. “I kept taking them [dolls] away and tried to put something else, and about an hour or two later, I go back, and it’s back in his hand.”
It was when EJ began elementary school that Magic got a call that gave him the first inclination of the path his son would later tread.
“The principal called us and said ‘EJ likes being a girl in terms of dressing up’ and then I said ‘okay, now I gotta start working on me.’”
In June, EJ and his mom, Cookie, also sat down with Jada Pinkett-Smith on her Facebook series, “Red Table Talk” and they talked about Magic’s reaction when EJ came out as gay. Cookie did not mince words and confessed that it was “tough” talking to her husband about the issue.
“My husband is the kind of person like he reacts quickly. Everything that came to the top of his head, he just let it out. It hurt my feelings and I know it probably hurt [EJ’s] feelings.”
Things reportedly go better the next day, and Magic was less harsh. EJ said his father came into the room and told him he just needed time to process the news. After that, father and son cried a bit.
A PARENT'S DUTY
Since then, the HIV/AIDS advocate who announced his HIV diagnosis in 1991 has remained solidly behind his son. Magic continues to be unapologetic about accepting his son’s sexual identity, and even though EJ has a knack for being scantily clad in female clothes, he has the love and support of his father.
Magic reiterated his position during a 2017 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show:”
“You gotta support your child, because there's so many people who try to discriminate against them, so they need you to support ‘em, 'cause if you don't support ‘em, who's gonna support ‘em and love them? It's all about loving them no matter who they are.”
COOKIE'S ADVICE TO PARENTS
Cookie Johnson is on the same page with her husband of 27 years; she reached that point of acceptance way before Magic. EJ revealed in the CNN series mentioned earlier that his mom bought him “dolls and little dresses” even though his dad “was not really keen on me playing with stereotypically girly stuff.”
Years later, Cookie would detail her experiences with raising EJ in a whole chapter of her 2016 memoir. She disclosed her intentions last year:
"I wanted the world to know, you know, accept your children when they're babies. … I wrote that chapter because I wanted other young parents to understand, don't wait so long. This is who they are. Embrace them from the beginning."
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I’m so excited for everyone to see my segment on #thisislife with the incomparable @lisalingstagram on Sunday at 10pm on CNN. I’ve never done anything on television that is this honest and real. This is something that transcends judgment and ignorance and should be seen as a vehicle to educate and inform people about gender fluidity. I’m am so blessed to help continue the conversation about our community and what it means to truly live your truth. #teamthis
LIVING HIS BEST LIFE
The unconditional acceptance and validation EJ receives from his family is reflected in the confidence with which he approaches life.
DOWNSIDE OF BEING MAGIC'S SON
Being the son of Magic Johnson, however, comes with a catch: EJ hasn’t found it easy to date. He told Pinkett-Smith that it’s been difficult getting the right man since most of them only want to date him to meet his dad.
“It’s always been a struggle. There’s so many factors. First of all, the celebrity thing — who are you here for, are you dating me or are you trying to date my dad?” said EJ.
“These men either just want to be there for one thing and then don’t want to stay for the real relationship part, or they just want to ride the wave and be bougie and go out and have their picture taken and do all of that.”
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