James O’Keefe’s guide to sexual humiliation

The ACORN prankster's plan to "punk" CNN anchor Abbie Boudreau reveals a special hatred for women

Topics: James O'Keefe, Broadsheet, CNN, Love and Sex,

James O'Keefe's guide to sexual humiliation

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.

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The props seem too slapstick for that, though. I mean, fuzzy handcuffs and Alicia Keys? Is this a sex den or a 20-year-old’s bachelorette party? Also, please note that the list of props includes “an obvious sex tape machine” — you know, one of those crazy sex tape machines the perverts are always using. 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.” O’Keefe sounds less like a mastermind than a scorned ex who feels impotent and resentful. Frankly, this weird conspiracy (if you can even call this half-baked idea a conspiracy) is too bizarre to make much sense of right now. 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.

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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