March 13th, 2008
11:26 AM ET

A spotlight on prostitution

Standing in front of Ms. Dupré's apartment last night, I got that awful feeling that I was contributing to the glamorization of prostitution. A fancy address, a doorman, young fashionable people walking in and out, with the implicit message: "all this could be yours if you enter the world of so-called high end hookers".

Having seen my share of women who are suddenly famous because of the people they "service", I can say Ashley Dupré is in for a rough ride.

Read between the lines of her MySpace story and I see a young girl, confused and simply used by so many in her life.  She even told the NYTimes she doesn't know how she can pay for her apartment since a man she was living with walked out.

All of it tragically sad, and sadly glamorous in a spotlight that I feel will leave Ms. Dupré in a dark shadow once we in the media focus our lights elsewhere.

– Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent

Filed under: Ashley Dupre • Drew Griffin • Eliot Spitzer
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Maggie C


    I hope your comment about Ms. Dupre being in for a "rough" ride was an oversight and nothing more. It was, however, sort of funny!.


    March 13, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  2. Eugenia

    Would the conversation/blog be as dramatic if this were Nevada?

    March 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  3. Rose/Canada

    Sad yes in deed for so many involved.

    I am not so sure I feel for Ms. Dupre. As I too came from a very abusive background and I seemed to have made it through without resorting to prostitution. I wish there was a way to prevent young women and men from turning to such demeaning (just my opinion) measures just to pay for their shelter and food.

    But let's face it Drew, once all the media flurry dies down she will be able to live in the lap (no pun intended) luxury . She will be rich once she sells her story, and it's made into a tell all book which will be followed by a major movie deal!

    We all know it will happen sooner or later.

    March 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  4. regina rosemire

    Such a paradox! A beautiful young woman living in manhattan, visitng the most luxurious hotels in the world. Did she understand what she was doing to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous?. In the mind of a 22 yr old, its simple. I'm sure she thought " I have a part time job, I care for my assets (my body and mind) and i get paid more than anyone can imagine." To her, it didn't matter who the men were. It was a means to an end. At her age, she can't see long term. She is going to have to total rethink her plans if she had any at all. Now she joins the likes of Monica Lewinsky, Donna Rice and that guy in the stall next to Sen. Craig. The whole thing is sad as her life is changed to the core. Its too late for her to assess ethics, legality or any other part of the thing. Its over, and she doesn't get a "redo". I only hope some where there is a ray of hope or stability to pull her back from would could be irreputable damage. This is why prostitution is a moral and ethical delimma. It is not a victimless crimee.

    March 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  5. Gretchen

    You know, obsessing to this length about someone else's sexual escapades is a completely treatable mental illness. There is no need for the CNN writing staff to continue suffering with their voyeurism. Perhaps you could have a few of the psychiatrists on your panels offer some assistance. Also, I am sure there are mental health clinics in your area who would be happy to see new clients and they typically charge a fairly low rate–many are even free. By all means, though, please get some help. We all hate to see such a large group of people suffering from such a serious condition and so needlessly.

    March 13, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  6. Patricia D.

    Would this be as "sadly glamorous" if Ms. Dupre was actually walking the streets to ply her trade? I don't think so.

    Glamor is another word for mask. Take off the mask, and we see yet another young woman being exploited for the profit of others, including the public just dying to see the hooker who brought down a governor.

    Anyone remember John Profumo?

    March 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  7. Claudette, TX

    "She even told the NYTimes she doesn’t know how she can pay for her apartment since a man she was living with walked out."

    Come on Drew...don't try to garner sympathy without telling the entire part of that story. She found out her boyfriend had fathered 2 children...THAT'S why he left! The high-priced hooker's beau cheated on her! So NOW she has opinions on both sides of the story. And EVERY girl knows that prostitution is illegal, and so does EVERY boy.

    March 13, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  8. Charlotte D

    Me again. And another thing, as I reread this piece, I hope the press is not going to play this debacle like it is Pretty Woman. This is real life and Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are no where in sight.

    March 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  9. Frank, Waverly

    I imagine the IRS is going to want a piece of her too!

    March 13, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    As long as the person who choses prostitution as a career is an adult and isn't being forced into this choice, then they alone are responsible for the possible consequences of their actions.

    We live in a time where information about everything is right at our fingertips, at least in the developed world. The women and men who chose to be prostitutes know what can happen.

    The trouble with many people in this country is they refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions.

    March 13, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  11. cary

    other than money, alot of people worship fame. Ms Dupre will probably "sell" her story and write a book or have a movie made about her. All for money and / or fame. Like Glenn Beck said the other day on cnn, kids are worshipping fame instead of God or goodness and we see that in campus shootings, where a desperate kid knows at least they will gain fame by making drastic moves like killing or harming others. Mr Dupre is another lost soul who needs help now.

    March 13, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Rachel

    Why don't leave the girl alone?

    why media feeds us with this kind of information? Why is it matter whose girl that agency sent for the client? This girl is on every channel, every news website front page. What is so newsworthy about it ? CNN downgraded itself to the tabloids level.
    yes, you are right, you are contributing to the glamorization of prostitution.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Drew,
    This young woman will have countless job offers from every walk of life in show business. Book deals, tv appearances, probably every news program will interview her and on and on.
    She'll be the big "get." Then time will move all of you onto the next big story and she'll sink or swim on her own. It's a predictable and a sad state of our society.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  14. Stephen Goldberg

    Who is shining the spotlight on her? - it seems to be you. Now you are showing some conflict about doing so? This whole thing is is a surreal media circus. Who gives a damn about this girl and her myspace page. I think Spitzer should have stood up to this high tech lynching both by the Rep. U.S. Attorney and the media. He may be a pompous hypocrite, but he was elected by 70% of the voters. How about the pompous hypocrites in the media - does Bill O'Reilly have a right to chastise Spitzer, what about Rush, what about you guys at CNN - what's in your closet? We used to think it didn't matter, but if you want to play everything with such self-righteous indignation, then maybe you should be required to disclose visits to prostitutes, etc. just like some financial reporters are required to disclose conflicts of interest. I keep looking at you guys thinking - hey, he never paid to get laid in his life?! Let's face it, lots of media reporters have paid for sex and they must be carrying a burden of guilt when reporting the Spitzer story. Maybe time to come clean.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Susan Peterson

    Sadly, the women who get involved with the 'famous' men are almost invited to star in the 'spotlight' and get lots of attention – what about the governor's wife and daughters? On and on about the prostitute.. following her.. gathering information about her.. who cares.. she's a prostitute... i care as little about her as i do how the governor is feeling.. they had a choice. The governor's wife was hurting .. you could see it all over her face and America only wants to check out the prostitute and she has to see the tramp all over the media, as do her daughters. And, may I add – – what about the money the 'governor' spent? is there not people in his state that could have used that money to feed their children? or help the homeless? or help produce jobs? something morally 'right' ? no. i do not feel sorry for him, nor his prostitute... but my heart goes out to his wife and lovely girls. Stop glamorizing the trashy women that help men to destroy their families... its getting very old.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Lita Gomez

    Enough already about Spitzer !!
    I wonder how many politicians in Washington use the services of a call girl since they are away from their spouses often.
    About the primaries– Is it true that in caucusses, there are no absentee ballots and you have to be present to vote ? No wonder Obama won almost all the caucuses !!
    I believe that caucusses are not fair. Election should all be held in the same manner. I am a disabled senior citizen and can't attend night meetings and don't drive at night, thank God we don't use caucusses in the primaries.
    Anderson, I love your show ! It is really fair and you say it as it is!
    Keep up the good work sweetie !

    March 13, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Diana-IL

    These so called news channels have turned to "sleaze reporting". I am old enough to know that sex sells but this is going too far. A mob of cameras and reporters stalking outside this women's apartment building waiting for her to make an appearance. It would have been 'sensational' for them to catch several 'Johns' entering and exiting the building. What a bunch of 'Drama Queens'. Hardly a mention of the soldiers killed in the last few days, how sexy is that? The news stations should be sponsored and run by the professionals like The National Enquirer , People and Star Magazine.
    Same story with the Presidential candidates. No emphasis on their policies and solutions but targeting the petty snipings.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm |
  18. Claudette, TX

    This is rich! She is worried about how she is going to pay rent on her apartment because her boyfriend moved out when she found out he had fathered 2 children. A prostitutes man cheats on her and now she expects sympathy because HER man cheated? Well...now you see what it's like from BOTH sides...huh?!?!?!

    March 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Jolene

    Drew: I don't believe Ashley will be left in a dark shadow. I'm sure she will rise more from the media attention than we all think. It's seems to me that most young women who are involved in these types of scandals end up getting a show, book or movie deal. Heck, we might just see her as a contestant on the next American Idol. She's no dummy, you may think that she was the one exploited here but it takes two to tango and at least she was getting big bucks for her part of the dance.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    March 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  20. Rapid

    Are you kidding?

    CNN has given her music more airplay this morning than she could have bought.
    Her 15 minutes is already on it way to hours thanks to the widespread media coverage.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  21. Jo Ann


    Please tell me you aren’t serious! First of all it looks like the media is in no hurry to focus their “lights” elsewhere. Do you really believe that this woman will not benefit from all the publicity you guys are lavishing on her? She’s not a victim; she’ll “write” a book and be on every talk show there is. I wouldn’t stay up nights worrying about it if I were you.

    You guys really need to get over your “Pretty Woman” obsessions. I wonder if you would have the same concerns if this were a male prostitute.

    We talk about Eliot Spitzer’s poor choices, but Dupré is not a child and she made some poor choices of her own. Let’s stop rewarding bad behavior.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  22. Ram

    This is a high pressure & extremely demanding society. Ashley comes from a broken family, very young & there was no support system for her survival. So, she had to do whatever it takes to survive & should be admired for her courage. Elliot 's career also demanded intense work & balancing act to run the NY state which is under 6 Billion dollor deficit. There is a natural tendency to gasp for a breath & vent it out. On route to success & what is expected in this society people cannot think the route to happiness. Happiness & contentment can be found in a good family life & simple way of living. This is the essence of success. Unfortunately the Western world either do not know it or do not have time to think about it or totally misguided.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  23. Irish Kate

    I've heard so many people say lately that prostitution should be legalized. They say that if women want to do that, they should be permitted to. Do they really believe that if this girl had Silda's education and wealth, and all the options that are therefore available to her, she would CHOOSE to serve the basest needs of any man with enough cash in his pocket? Doubt it.

    Wake up fellas. You know these girls are being used in the most despicable way. And this one is going to have to endure yet another humiliation, this time in a very public forum. There's nothing happy about this hooker. Never was. Never will be.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  24. Lucy

    I think she should get financial aid and go to school and she won't be left in a dark shadow.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  25. Eugenia

    The way our society works:
    Someone will offer her a music deal.

    San Francisco, Ca

    March 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  26. Charlotte D


    Pullleeezze, Drew, cry me a river to quote an old song since music is Ashley's "life." Yes, you were glamorizing prostitution standing outside Ms. Dupre's apartment waiting for a glimpse of her or a chat with a neighbor. Young, confused, used–give me a break. Is she a single mom with children to support? Is she a scared immigrant duped into the sex slave trade? Was she sold by her parents at the age of 10 into prostitution? Is she an abused woman victimized by her husband or pimp? No. No. No. No.

    And boo hoo. The man she was living with left her? Oh my gosh, what is a girl to do when she doesn't have a man to support her. Maybe TMZ will pay her rent for her story. Or, yes, she could get a job as a waitress. That would be hard work standing on her feet all day, but I bet she would earn good tips. And who knows, some famous music producer will discover her and this will just be wonderful Cinderella story. Or Playboy. I bet Hugh has pitched her to be July's centerfold already. She has lots of options.

    The ones I feel sorry for in all this are Spitzer's family. While his wife can stay or go as she chooses , the hurt and humiliation she must be feeling I can't imagine. And his daughters–he is their dad and to betray them like this with a girl not much older than his daughter–and Ashley is also someone's daughter.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:32 pm |
  27. Arachnae

    Drew, when you were a little boy dreaming of a career in journalism, did you ever dream that some day, YOU could be the one on stake-out in front of a callgirl's apartment? Ah, dream big, children. Someday... that could be you.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  28. Jorge

    Come on! don't portray this girl as a victim! I have seen many young people (boys and girls) with integrity and willing to work hard $8-10/hour to make a poor but decent living. A lot of these people in this kind of shady business do not want a real job, they think they are smarter by "renting" their body for sexual services. The other thing is the lack of self-respect and self-esteem too. In my view, as long as you are legally an adult, you are responsible for your own actions, people who play the broken family card are just trying to point to other to blame for their own failures or wrongdoings. Rough ride? come on! she was charging $4,300 to be for a while for a man. I make half of that in a month. But her problem is that the more she "earns" the more she spends...so, she is broke...somebody gotta tell her that there are decent ways of becoming rich...I do not know any rich or famous people that were in their beginnings prostitutes...just plain, prostitution does not lead to anything goood.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  29. Rosie Knows

    I like the article, but disagree with your conclusions.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm |
  30. Renee


    The tragical sadness of that entire report last night was that CNN had you, an Emmy awarding winning journalist, in front of the this lady's apartment.

    Your time and talents in my humble opinion should be spent on investigative journalism like earmarks, government pensions and this current Southwest crisis. I love your reporting and often time I sit at home kicking myself for not majoring in journalism doing investigative work.

    You are one of the only real ones left out there not taking about himself, but talking about the real issues. We can sit at home and criticize Mrs. Spitzer for standing by her man. I have to sit at home and say what is CNN management thinking when they are sending their most talented reporter to stand out in front of this lady's apartment? Isn't this type of reporting for the E! network or Entertainment Tonight?

    The public needs reporters like you more than ever! Please get back to the Southwest crisis!

    March 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  31. TA Cheramie, PhD

    Maybe last night's broadcast does help glamorize prostitution. But so does TV, the movies (who can forget Pretty Woman?), and magazines. Even Barbie dolls have hooker looking outfits that you can purchase. The difference between you and the rest of the world is that you are looking at what happens to her now and in the future, you are covering this from different angles, and you hopefully will show the fallout from this case. Just please don't make this woman a victim. She's a grown adult, she knew what she was doing, she had to understand the consequences, and attractive 22-year old women can do more with their lives today than be high priced call girls. Playing the game comes with costs. I hope you show that part of this story. Everyone needs to know the downside of this world.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  32. Madeliene

    The world of prostitution is a sad world. Young women who have been abused and have no support systems and no means, usually fall victim to prostitution. I have heard of so many young girls who move to New York in search of fame and fortune, only to end up prostitutes on the street.
    Being a high-end prostitute is no better. Prostitution is prostitution no matter who is the customer.
    I hope that in your story you tell the truth of prostitution in New York. What this woman's life is truly like. "What glitters isn't always gold," that is what my grandmother tells me. This story seems to have that angle.

    March 13, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  33. Cindy

    I have to say that I thought that 360 had turned into a tabloid show when I saw you standing outside of her apartment like a vulture waiting on it's prey. To me that is just senseless. There really was no need in it. It was just so tabloid-esque and ridiculous!! Who ever gave you that assignment needs their heads checked!

    As far as the "girl" goes. She made her bed so to speak now she has to lie in it. I don't feel sorry for her because she knew what she was doing was wrong. Now she has to face the world and own up to her part in this mess. And to say that she didn't know who he was...I don't believe that for a second! And a lot of people come from broken homes but not all turn to prostitution to make a living. She did it because she wanted that high class life style. There are other jobs out there that you can easily get. They may not pay nearly as much but they are legal and you aren't selling your soul to the devil!

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 13, 2008 at 11:51 am |