Zachary Quinto is to produce and star in a new audio drama podcast shedding light on Harvard University’s attempts to purge gay students.
The Boys in the Band star is set to delve back into queer culture with upcoming scripted podcast series Secret Court, which tells the true story of a purge of gay students from the Harvard class of 1920.
After gay Harvard sophomore Cyril Wilcox took his own life, the university had instigated a secret court led by the university’s president and deans, which dedicated itself to eradicating rumoured “homosexual activity” among the student population.
The investigation, which was only exposed in 2002, saw the university move to purge eight students, a graduate and an assistant professor, erasing all record of their links with Harvard and severing all association with them.
The purge came 30 years before the 1950 ‘Lavender Scare,’ which saw the US government attempt to uncover gay people working in government and dismiss them from the service.
Zachary Quinto pays tribute to ‘contributions and sacrifices’ of persecuted gay students.
Penned by The Artist’s Wife scribe Abdi Nazemian and based on research from writer Rafael Moraes, Secret Court will draw on newly-uncovered documents 100 years on, including personal correspondence found in the Harvard Archives.
Quinto said in a press release: “I’m honoured to lend my voice and help amplify the story of these promising young members of the LGBTQ+ community, who were marginalized and sidelined due to the social intolerance of their day.
“A hundred years later, I am grateful to their contributions and sacrifices, and recognize that I stand on their shoulders today.”
Secret Court will ‘let the voices of silenced men finally be heard’.
Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin of podcast incubator Vespucci Group said: “We are honoured to bring this true story to a contemporary audience and let the voices of young men, silenced for 100 years, be finally heard.
“At the centennial anniversary of the events at Harvard 1920, this project also provides an important opportunity to explore the ways in we’ve progressed as a society, but also the places where we’ve fallen short in terms of queer expression and freedom.”
Alia Tavakolian of production company Spoke Media added: “This is an important story that needs to be told.
“Brigham Mosley, the creative lead, has done a brilliant job of drawing out a beautiful narrative. Yes, there is tragedy and pain here, but there is also joy, happiness, and inspiration.
“And we’re thrilled to create a piece that showcases all the bravery and vitality of these tremendous young men who chose to pursue community and understanding despite living in a world that attempted to wipe out their existence.”