In his new autobiography "Confess", JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford reveals that he was once arrested for cruising Venice Beach toilets (in a case of police entrapment), yet the cops didn't release the information to the media because they were PRIEST fans. Asked by NME what effect he thinks being "outed" would have had on him, the singer — who came out as gay on his own terms in 1998 on MTV — said: "The police did me a favor by keeping it out of the press because it would have been big news. I always refer to that, slightly tongue in cheek, as my George Michael moment. I was lucky, because the sad thing is it makes people who don't understand the gay community just go, 'Obviously, they're all just a bunch of perverts.' And that's horrible.
"I'd like to think for the most part if that incident had broken into the press, then a great proportion of my fans would have said, 'We'll support you and stand with you.' A few years later, when I came out on MTV, that was a proven fact because the feedback from around the world was positive — they just wanted me to continue being the singer for JUDAS PRIEST and get on with the job."
A few years ago, Rob told The Press Of Atlantic City that he expected metal fans to alienate him when he first spoke about his sexual orientation. "I probably deluded myself into thinking I would get rejection," he said. "Nothing could have been further from the truth."
He continued: "When you make that choice of stepping out and facing the issue of disclosure, you do create this kind of self-imposed negative fear. It's unfortunate it still happens today. 'Do I step out and say I'm a gay guy?' But you have got to do it and live your life on your terms and no one else's terms. Don't say you can't do this and you are worried about people being offended. If they push you away, then they push you away. Grab life by the horns and tell them, 'Take me for what I am and who I am and if you don't like it, that's your thing. Not my thing.'"
He added: "If I had been in the band at the time … I think when it happened was a good moment. The fans were amazing."
In April 1998, Michael was caught engaging in a sexual act by an undercover police officer in a public toilet in Beverly Hills. The fallout from his actions made front pages on both sides of the Atlantic, with the U.K.'s The Sun famously running a front-page story headlined "Zip Me Up Before You Go Go."
"Confess" will arrive on September 29 via Hachette Books. The book has already been described by the U.K.'s The Telegraph as "one of the most candid and surprising memoirs of the year."