Zachary Quinto Preps Scripted Podcast ‘Secret Court’ About Harvard Suicide Scandal

Zachary Quinto
Courtest of Chiun Kai Shih

EXCLUSIVE: Zachary Quinto will star in and produce a scripted podcast series based on the story of a clandestine purge of gay students from the Harvard class of 1920.

The Star Trek actor is one of the voices of Secret Court, which comes 100 years after Harvard sophomore Cyril Wilcox took his own life.

The series is being written by The Artist’s Wife writer Abdi Nazemian and produced in partnership with Quinto’s Before The Door Pictures, Topic Studios, Vespucci Group, Spoke Media and writer Rafael Moraes.

Wilcox was part of a small group of gay male students, and his suicide led Harvard to instigate an impromptu and merciless Secret Court. It was led by the University’s then president and deans at the time, and condemned eight students, four “accomplices” and a handful of Cambridge locals. The ad-hoc court shamed and denounced these innocents as offenders, purging and erasing them from all official records as if they never existed at Harvard at all. And it had been kept a dark secret for more than 80 years.

The series was originally incubated by Vespucci Group, Spoke Media and Moraes, who researched dozens of documents and letters stored in the Harvard Archives, including personal correspondence between the students, their parents, and the Dean.

Quinto said, “I’m honored 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.”

“We are honored 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,” added Vespucci Group co-founders Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin.

“This is an important story that needs to be told,” said Spoke Media co-founder and VP of Content, Alia Tavakolian. “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.”

“We’re proud to join Zachary, Vespucci and Spoke Media on Secret Court to further unearth this important history through Abdi’s authorial voice,” said Maria Zuckerman, EVP of Topic Studios. “We think that audiences will be moved and enthralled by this rich retelling and we hope that it inspires greater understanding and acceptance.”

Quinto and Vespucci Group are both repped by WME, Spoke Media is repped by ICM.

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