From Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon:
It isn’t entirely clear what James O’Keefe hoped would happen when he invited CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau onto his floating “sex den.” But the conservative prankster, who gained notoriety through his undercover ACORN sting, has certainly provided plenty of laughs this afternoon based on his proposed props for the stunt: dildos, lube, fuzzy handcuffs, Viagra and a mirrored ceiling. What, no edible undies or penis straws? O’Keefe says his plan was to “seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video,” as payback for “trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me.” A planning document obtained by the network reads, “The joke is that the tables have turned on CNN. Using hot blondes to seduce interviewees to get screwed on television, you are faux seducing her in order to screw her on television.” If you can follow that logic, congrats: You must be a young conservative.
At first, I assumed O’Keefe’s bizarre collection of sex-store sundries was a genuine, albeit tone-deaf, attempt to actually seduce Boudreau. However, I am going to generously credit O’Keefe with being smarter than that. So what was the purpose of these props? Maybe he wanted to trick Boudreau into believing she had happened upon a salacious story about another conservative with a sordid secret life just begging to be exposed. Given that O’Keefe sees CNN as wildly biased — which is funny, given that the network is “allergic to opinion to the point of occasional incoherence,” as Alex Pareene put it — it could be that he assumed Boudreau would run wild with the story and then O’Keefe would humiliate her by revealing it as a hoax.
Maybe O’Keefe’s plan was simply to create an atmosphere of sexual humiliation — to coax Boudreau into an environment filled with sex toys and images of naked ladies — and then document her inevitable discomfort and embarrassment. All the while, O’Keefe makes over-the-top passes at her while she struggles to function in a professional capacity. (Boudreau reports there is also a lot of sexually explicit language in the planning memo that CNN has not yet released.) Whatever the exact plan, the imagined goal was humiliation. Sexual humiliation. To make that “bubble-headed-bleach-blonde” squirm. The document frames all of this as payback, “a taste of her own medicine.” […] Who knows what O’Keefe was trying to achieve, but this particular stunt does uncover something that, unfortunately, seems all too common among his ilk: not just a dislike for the “liberal media,” but a special hatred for women.
Lusby, Maryland (CNN) — A conservative activist known for making undercover videos plotted to embarrass a CNN correspondent by recording a meeting on hidden cameras aboard a floating “palace of pleasure” and making sexually suggestive comments, e-mails and a planning document show.
James O’Keefe, best known for hitting the community organizing group ACORN with an undercover video sting, hoped to get CNN Investigative Correspondent Abbie Boudreau onto a boat filled with sexually explicit props and then record the session, those documents show.
The plan apparently was thwarted after Boudreau was warned minutes before it was supposed to happen.
“I never intended to become part of the story,” Boudreau said. “But things suddenly took a very strange turn.”
O’Keefe is best known for making a series of undercover videos inside ACORN offices around the country in 2009.
O’Keefe’s next big splash ended with his arrest after he taped associates entering Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans posing as telephone repairmen. He ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering a federal office under false pretenses and is now on probation.
But he continues to do undercover projects through his organization, which is called Project Veritas.
The incident occurred in August, when Boudreau agreed to meet O’Keefe to discuss CNN’s request to be present on set for a music video shoot in which O’Keefe stars.
For months, CNN had been following a group of young conservative activists, including Christian Hartsock, the director of the music video. The activists will be featured in a documentary, “Right on the Edge,” that will air October 2 and 3.
Hartsock said O’Keefe did not want CNN to shoot on the set of the music video, but said he would encourage O’Keefe to call CNN to discuss the request.
O’Keefe called Boudreau on August 10. During the conversation, he said he preferred that Boudreau meet him in person in Maryland and asked that she come alone.
The phone call was recorded without Boudreau’s knowledge, but CNN obtained a copy of the recording after O’Keefe e-mailed it to friends and colleagues. Boudreau agreed to the meeting, which she understood would be in his office.
“The purpose of the meeting was to explain [the CNN story] in person to James,” Boudreau said.
CNN was forwarded an e-mail, sent from O’Keefe’s e-mail address, to the executive director of Project Veritas, Izzy Santa; and two conservative activists, Ben Wetmore of New Orleans and Jonathon Burns of St. Louis, Missouri, dated after the call with Boudreau.
“Getting Closer,” the e-mail states. “Audio attached conversation with Abbie. What do you think of her reaction guys. She said she could do it Monday, Tuesday. Ben, you think I could get her on the boat?”
Boudreau flew to Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, rented a car, and drove to suburban Lusby, where O’Keefe wanted to meet. O’Keefe sent a text message to Boudreau that morning, saying that Santa would meet her when she got there.
Santa told Boudreau that O’Keefe planned to “punk” her by getting on a boat where hidden cameras were set up. Boudreau said she would not get on the boat and asked Santa why O’Keefe wanted her there.
“Izzy told me that James was going to be dressed up and have strawberries and champagne on the boat, and he was going to hit on me the whole time,” Boudreau said.
A short time later, O’Keefe emerged from a boat docked behind the house. In that brief conversation, Boudreau told O’Keefe that he did not have permission to record her, and reminded him that the meeting was solely to discuss the upcoming music video shoot, and he had never mentioned that he wanted to tape their meeting.
Boudreau ended the meeting and left. After the incident, Santa gave CNN a series of e-mails she says shows O’Keefe intended to try to embarrass both the network and Boudreau through an elaborate plan.
O’Keefe had also instructed Santa to print a “pleasure palace graphic” on a large poster, according to an e-mail.
CNN later obtained a copy of a 13-page document titled “CNN Caper,” which appears to describe O’Keefe’s detailed plans for that day.
“The plans appeared so outlandish and so juvenile in tone, I questioned whether it was part of a second attempted punk,” Boudreau said.
But in a phone conversation, Santa confirmed the document was authentic. Listed under “equipment needed,” is “hidden cams on the boat,” and a “tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine.”
Among the props listed were a “condom jar, dildos, posters and paintings of naked women, fuzzy handcuffs” and a blindfold.
According to the document, O’Keefe was to record a video of the following script before Boudreau arrived: “My name is James. I work in video activism and journalism. I’ve been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is: they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional and likely as homophobes, racists or bigots of some sort….
“Instead, I’ve decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I’m going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I’m going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she’ll get seduced on camera and you’ll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.
“Please sit back and enjoy the show.”
The document states it was written by “Ben.” According to the e-mail chain obtained by CNN, Ben Wetmore sent the document to O’Keefe and Santa. In a statement e-mailed to CNN, O’Keefe wrote: “That is not my work product. When it was sent to me, I immediately found certain elements highly objectionable and inappropriate, and did not consider them for one minute following it.”
Video at CNN link, and here are excerpts from the document CNN received. Read all 6 pages. It’s hilarious!