The Hollywood celeb whose viral video advocated for same-sex rights is now looking to take it to the next level
Shane Crone, celebrity-turned-activist, will be telling his story through a publicly-funded movie.
His partner Tom Bridegroom of just under five years fell from a roof while photographing a model — his sometimes job and always hobby. The fall killed Bridegroom, and the ensuing ordeal that Crone faced, trying to deal medically, emotionally, financially and otherwise with a deceased partner to whom he wasn’t more than a friend according to the law, was more than he could bear. Crone made a short video about it all and submitted it to YouTube. When SFGN originally wrote about Crone in early May, the video had two million hits. As of print time, that number is closer to three million.
But Crone is past that YouTube video these days, and had started a project to make a film about his story. He threw the idea up on www.Kickstarter.com, a site that allows people to pitch the public for donations to complete their projects. As of print time, Crone reached his $300,000 goal, and then some. His Kickstarter page, appropriately called ‘Bridegroom - An American Love Story,’ is set to announce its completion on Thursday, July 19. It features a new video about Crone’s and Bridegroom’s story, as well.
“We wanted to get married — that’s the highest form of commitment. Because we weren’t married, I wasn’t able to be there for him when I should have been,” Crone told SFGN. “It’s not just his family that got in the way, it was also the government that got in the way.”
The Kickstarter site explains that the purpose of the film is really to educate its viewers on what it’s like to experience a tragedy without full rights.
“The story of what happened after [Bridegroom’s] accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized-- is poignant, enraging,” the site reads. “[It] opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.”
As of press time, the project had 6,012 backers, or people who’ve donated money to make it.
|Shane Crone and Tom Bridegroom — Before Tragedy Struck
Before Tom Bridegroom fell to his death, igniting a tormented period for his partner Shane Crone, the two had a prosperous and in some ways magical relationship. In an exclusive interview with SFGN, Crone gave a taste of how it used to be.
Crome came to meet Tom through a mutual friend at Entertainment Tonight, where he used to work. They actually met each other for the first time in 2006 at L.A.’s bowling alley Pinz.
“Not that we’re talented bowlers by any means,” Crone said. “The one thing about Tom is that he can do anything well.”
They would meet again with friends and on that second time exchanged phone numbers. And it just went from there.
“The one thing that Tom and I both agreed about was that we didn’t have to tell our parents that we were gay until we found that person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with,” Crone said. When he realized that Tom was it, Crone told his parents.
It went down at his apartment in Burbank, California. Crone’s mother was sitting in a chair while he and Bridegroom sat together on an opposing couch.
“The funny thing is that I started to say, ‘Mom...’ and she said ‘You’re gay,’” Crone said.
“I didn’t even tell her — she kinda told me. You kinda just think that they have an inkling that their son is gay.”
Later, Crone said he encouraged Bridegroom to tell his parents, as well.
“They were furious. They blamed me for making him gay. They basically just made him feel like he was nothing,” Crone said. “After all that went down, he came back to California, and he realized there was no need to go back to Indiana anymore.”
To this day, Crone said, Bridegroom’s family hadn’t apologized for how they treated Tom’s coming out.
“I don’t know. I don’t understand how our Moms could react in such different ways,” Crone said. “I don’t think I have an answer.”
While Crone had wanted to become an actor upon his initial move to Hollywood, that desire soon faded away.
“Having Tom and being in love with him was way more important than being an actor,” Crone said. The two started a social media consulting business, which Crone runs to this day. The company mainly focused on helping musicians, primarily singers, to promote their online presence.
“Our passion was music,” Crone said. “It was a huge part of our lives.”
While he couldn’t quite name the couple’s favorite song, he did share the first one that came to mind.
“It’s gotta be Garth Brooks’s ‘The Dance.’ The lyrics are basically about living life to the fullest — that you wouldn’t change anything about it, even if there were tragedies,” Crone said. “It’s about life, it’s about the dance. Tom literally lived each day like it was his last.”
People often referred to the two as an old married couple because they stayed in more often than they went out, with opportunities to live the crazy L.A. lifestyle. They also share a favorite type of dessert: Vegan. As for color, Bridegroom’s favorite was blue, but Crone had a hard time figuring his out.
“I’m not that kind of person who is matter-of-fact about things,” he said. I don’t really have a favorite color.” After a slight pause, Crone sighed and said his favorite color is now blue.
Finally, asked what Bridegroom’s strangest strength was, Crone laughed and immediately answered: “He was a master at playing Mario Brothers on regular Nintendo.”