Rugby Star Ben Cohen Opens up to Accidental; Beer with Ben

by Accidental Bear


It has been confirmed, rugby player (Hunk!) Ben Cohen is just as appealing on the inside as he is on the outside. Ben sparks my interest on so many levels (focus, focus) but I am most fascinated with his tender heart and his work with the gay community and his anti-bullying campaing Beer with Ben. “The Ben Cohen Acceptance Tour will be visiting Atlanta, New York, Washington and Seattle in May this year and will be raising awareness and funds, standing up against homophobia and bullying and standing up for equality, tolerance and mutual respect (Ben).” It is clear that Ben’s priorities are with his twin girls and wife. I tip my hat to him for making the world a better place in his spare time and personally flattered that he is taking on the challenge of my gay brothers and sisters with brute force. Talking with Ben you erase the line between gay and straight and think of everyone as the one. If I had an an award to give, I would be proud to pin it on Ben (preferably shirtless). He opened up and gave me straight from the heart answers.

Q & A:

Accidental Bear: How did Beer with Ben come about? Do you have a team of people working with you?

Ben: It was just a catchy name that came out in our discussions. We wanted to have low key but high impact events that would mean that people could come along and join in but not have to pay a kings ransom to get through the door. Beer with Ben events are hosted by Gay/Gay friendly rugby teams. They know their area so can locate a good venue that is suitable and it gives me a chance to meet people, raise some money for the causes we are supporting and of course create good PR opportunities to raise awareness of our message.
We are a small team. Jill works with me in the UK and manages my life pretty much as well as my PR and then I have a couple of business partners in the States who are looking after the strategy and US logistics part.

AB: What is the driving force behind you starting this event?

Ben: The chance to meet people and get the message across. As above really.

AB: Coming to the US with this Beer with Ben tour?

Ben: You need to look on my website http://www.ben-cohen.com. The Ben Cohen Acceptance Tour 2011 is coming to the States in May.

AB: Looking at you, you would think that you have never been bullied. But that’s a stereotype in itself. Have you ever been bullied or hassled throughout your life?

Ben: No, I have never been bullied. I have always been big so that may be why. I don’t know really. I have been hassled by the press before, which was not nice, especially when they pry into your private life which has nothing to do with anyone outside. But that’s the price you pay at times.

AB: Have you ever been a bully as a result of peer pressure when a teenager?

Ben: No, not at all.

AB: I see you as a gay role model, yet straight. How does that sit with you?

Ben: I’d like to think that I am a role model full stop really. My message is well received within the gay community, but then it would be. I want to be able to take the message of tolerance into mainstream life – maybe schools and colleges or into the corporate arena to start a wave of tolerance through my StandUp brand. I am encouraging as many people as possible to stand up against homophobia and bullying and to stand up for love and equality.


AB: Your wife must have a wonderful sense of humor. Does she find your gay fan base amusing?

Ben: Well it can be quite funny at times. She is broad minded and doesn’t get too involved. She is busy looking after the girls and sees me as ‘hub’ and Dad – not gay role model. We’ve been together since we were 17 so she sees me differently to a lot of people. I have three ladies at home to keep me in line and keep my feet on the ground.

AB: Has your proactive role as a gay supporter ever had a negative backlash on your rugby career?

Ben: No, never, and I can’t see it ever doing that either. I keep the two separate. At work I have demands on me as a sportsman and responsibilities to the rest of the team so all the time I am doing that, nobody really takes any notice of what I am doing off pitch.

AB: Your rugby career has put you in the history books. How much longer do you have in you? Hollywood next?

Ben: I am now approaching retirement. At 32 I am quite old for the position I play on the wing. I will probably make the decision to retire soon as I have a lot of other projects on the go which are demanding more and more of my time.

AB: Do you have a most awkward fan moment that’s appropriate to talk about?

Ben: I was at an England dinner after a match once and one of the guys sitting near me went into hyperglycemic shock. He needed sugar fast so I got him a sugary drink, went up to give it o him, and as I got behind me he went into a fit, flung his right arm back, and smashed me straight in the middle of my forehead, knocking me across the room almost. He had no idea he had done it, bless him. But it was pretty hilarious.

AB: Ok, random question, heaven for bid you start losing your hair, will you buzz it off or work a comb over.

Ben: My hair is really short anyway most of the time. Just a number two all over so that would be easy.

AB: When you are rocking out at the gym, what do you listen to on your headset?

Ben: My own thoughts.

AB: If you were to have a career change down the road, what direction might you go?

Ben: Well I am soon to have a career change. My interests lie in the Stand UP work that I am now embarking on with my team.
I’d like to do some commentating and rugby analyst work and maybe dabble in TV or film? Who knows? There are opportunities popping up all over the place at the moment.
I actually really enjoy modelling, oddly enough, and have done a bit of that, so I would like to do some more.

AB: What would be the perfect day for you if the world was at your finger tips?

Ben: The world is at my fingertips. I am extremely lucky and have everything I want at home with the family. My perfect day is to spend it enjoying the girls and seeing them happy and healthy. Throw in some of Abby’s home made food and that’s it really. Maybe sharing time with friends. Simple stuff, but it is what life is all about.

AB: In the gay community you definitely have been objectified, kind of like a piece of meat. This would outrage most heterosexual men. How do you take it so well? Please don’t stop making calendars; I need to know what day it is after all

Ben: Ha! As long as the comments are not obscene (Jill removes them faster than I can run up the wing!) then it comes with the territory. I don’t feel like a piece of meat. When I meet people they are warm, respectful and polite – that’s what matters.

AB: Is your family where your tolerance came from? What age do you think appropriate to start talking with your kids about issues of tolerance?

Ben: To be honest, I think my views have come more recently from meeting the guys out there and hearing their stories of bullying. We get literally hundreds of emails and Jill passes them on for me to read. That is what has spurred me on more that anything to make a noise about it and make people in general aware of what is going on. I grew up around gay people as my family had nightclubs and I used to spend a lot of time there. So to me it was normal. But when I realised that others were not so tolerant and people were taking their own lives through depression and harassment over there sexuality, I thought I had a duty to do something about it.

AB: What do your hope are the results of Beer with Ben? Is this going to be an annual event?

Ben: Beer with Ben evenings will carry on no doubt but the bigger picture is the Acceptance Tour of which Beer with Ben is part.

AB: In the next year where are we going to be able to see you? Goals?

Ben: It’s too early to say yet. Things are moving at an alarming rate so my immediate future is not yet mapped out.

AB: Two things on your bucket list.

Ben: 1. To see my girls grown up healthy and happy
2. Route 66 on a Triumph

Tour Dates
The Acceptance Tour Dates:

Manchester with Village Spartans Thursday 8th April 2011 DETAILS

London with Kings Cross Steelers Wednesday 20th April 2011 DETAILS

Atlanta with Atlanta Bucks Thursday 19th May – Sunday 22nd May – DETAILS

New York with Gotham Knights Sunday 22nd May (Eve) – Tuesday 24th May (Morn) DETAILS

Washington with Renegades Tuesday 24th (eve) – Thursday 26th May Details to follow

Seattle with Magnitude and Seattle Quake Friday 27th – Sunday 29th May DETAILS

Ben’s Official Website CLICK

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9 Responses to “Rugby Star Ben Cohen Opens up to Accidental; Beer with Ben”

  1. Before my contact with Ben I only knew what a stunningly good looking guy he is. But after our chat, I have mad respect for him. He truly is a role model of a true man!

  2. Just thought I’d drop a line to say you are a great guy. We need more people like you in the world.

  3. Would that be me? Or Ben Cohen? 🙂

  4. Nice interview, you lucky man you. But I have to point out it “losing your hair” not “loosing.”

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