A report has surfaced claiming that the US Government tried to deport WWE Hall Of Famer Pat Patterson because he was gay.
Pat Patterson was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in January 1941. Starting to learn his craft at the age of 14, he made his professional wrestling debut in 1958 before making a move to the United States in 1961, where he plied his trade for Tony Santos’ Big Time Wrestling.
Patterson soon spread his wings and started moving up the card in various promotions, and whilst social attitudes around the time may have leant against it he mentioned in his autobiography ‘Accepted‘ that his sexuality was never seen as an issue in wrestling, saying that “being gay turned out not to be an issue at all”.
It would now seem like during that period of time Patterson was being investigated by the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), who were looking for evidence of “homosexual activity”, which could have meant him being deported back to Canada.
Writing in MEL Magazine, David Bixenspan notes that a memo in Patterson’s file dated April 14th 1965 spoke of the situation, and that Patterson was under investigation through the Freedom of Information Act.
This investigation based on information received from the OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATION, United States [redacted], furnishing information that the SUBJECT is a homosexual, Object to locate and interview any persons who may be able to offer information of the SUBJECT’s possible homosexual activities.
During this period, he appeared as ‘Pretty Boy’ Pat Patterson, wearing lipstick, using a long cigarette holder and wearing flamboyant ring gear.
There is also a summary of witness interviews from 14th April 1965, with two particular statements being prominent.
The reports relate to an investigation conducted by Portland Police Department morals officers at homosexual parties in Portland.
These reports mention a wrestler named ‘PRETTY BOY JACKSON.’
As well as this investigation, there was also one in to an Air Force Veteran who was a wrestler, which may have been what instigated the investigation in to Patterson.
The Air Force investigation cited numerous interviews with “Portland area homosexuals.” At the time, Patterson was living in Portland, Oregon and it was noted that he “acted gay” at the parties mentioned above, and was known as “MISS PATTERSON.”
The INS did interview Patterson on 10th May 1965, at which point the investigation seems to slow down somewhat until 18th November 1966 when deportation proceedings were initiated by the INS.
Patterson was accused of providing a fraudulent work itinerary. In the memo summarising the hearing, Patterson said that he had no desire to return to Canada.
Patterson was also asked why he dyed his hair blond and used “rather effeminate mannerisms.” He explained that this was done in an effort to make him stand out as a wrestler, so people would pay to see him wrestle. He was asked whether he was gay which he denied, before being asked if he “molested little boys” to which he gave the same answer.
On 15th December 1965, the INS received a memo summarising the witness statements in relation to Patterson from the Air Force investigation. On 3rd November 1964 the airman admitted to having “homosexual relations” with Patterson.
An interview with Patterson was included in the Air Force investigators report on 9th December 1964.
PAT PATERSON [sic] was contacted in Seattle on December 9,1964 and denied ever having any homosexula [sic] relations with [redacted]; that when [redacted] was interviewed later he too denied his previous admission of homosexual relations with Pat Paterson [sic] and explained the reason for such false admission was only because of ‘PATS’ [sic] reputation of being a homo, and his desire to be relieved from the [several words redacted].
On 20th December 1966, Patterson was instructed to notify the INS of his plans by 5th January 1967, or leave the country on or before 10th January, at which point it seems he may have returned to Canada for a week although the stamps on the document aren’t particularly clear. On 21st December, the INS requested a psychological evaluation of Patterson.
From this, Bixenspan makes the following assumption:
Basically, it looks as if the INS was attempting to trick Patterson into leaving the country with the expectation that he would be able to easily secure a green card, only to use a psychological exam to declare him unfit to enter the U.S. as a homosexual.
It would seem at this point proceedings went no further, and Patterson applied for a green card in 1971.
Once this was all resolved, Pat Patterson went on to join the WWE in 1979 where he would work either in the ring or backstage for over four decades. This time included making a name for himself as a top agent, as well as becoming the first-ever Intercontinental Champion.
Pat Patterson passed away 2nd December 2020, aged 79.