September 29, 2010

Our Documentary Takes A Strange Detour

Posted: 07:46 AM ET

By Abbie Boudreau
CNN Investigative Correspondent

(Programming note: "Right On The Edge" airs this Saturday and Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m. ET).

I've been a reporter for nine years. My first official day on the job was on 9-11. I was the bureau chief in Dubuque, Iowa, working as a one-man band. I shot my own video, set up my own live shots, and edited my own stories. I would bring home the police scanner to make sure the nights were quiet in this modest town along the grand Mississippi River. Only one time, in my year and two months working there, did that scanner wake me up. (It would be the first murder story I covered. I remember being one of the first reporters to show up. The police were hosing down the blood off the sidewalk, and the bloody water washed over my shoes. It's something you don't forget.) Those days were long, and physical. I would go home and count the bruises on my legs and arms. There was nothing glamorous about this life. But that's what I liked about it. I was a reporter – and I was proud of that.

As a woman in the news industry you have to be tough. I have always had to work harder than my male counterparts to be taken seriously and to be treated with respect. As a woman in the news industry you have to ignore all of the silly talk from your managers about the clothes you should wear on-air or what color your hair should be. I have had my share of conversations like that, and to be honest, it stings. I'm left wondering, "When will my work stand on its own? Why does this always have to be part of the conversation?"

Recently, I was the target of a failed punk. James O'Keefe, the so-called "pimp" in the ACORN expose videos, was participating in a detailed plan to "faux" seduce me on his boat. For months, I had been working on a documentary about the young conservative movement. James had called me about concerns he had regarding an upcoming shoot. He asked me to meet him to talk about the shoot. I agreed to fly to Maryland and then drive to his "office" for a face-to-face conversation with him.

When I showed up, there was no office, as promised. Instead, he wanted to get me on a boat, which we later learned, was staged as a "pleasure palace." One of his colleagues, Izzy Santa, who was in Maryland that day, told me about the plan and stopped the punk before it happened.

Izzy told me he had "strawberries and champagne" waiting for me on the boat, and that he planned to "hit on me" the entire time. She said it would all be captured on hidden cameras that had been set up on the boat and in the back yard. She said the sole purpose of the "punk" was to embarrass me, and to make CNN look bad.

I would soon learn the details of the plan, in a 13-page document titled, "CNN Caper."

It explains the type of equipment needed to stage the boat for our meeting. Here is how the document reads:

Equipment needed

a. Video

1. hidden cams on the boat

2. tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine

b. Props

1. condom jar

2. dildos

3. Music

a. Alicia keys

b. 80s romance songs, things that are typically James

c. avoid Marvin Gaye as too cliche

4. lube

5. ceiling mirror

6. posters and paintings of naked women

7. playboys and pornographic magazines

8. candles

9. Viagra and stamina pills

10. fuzzy handcuffs

11. blindfold

James was supposed to tape the following script before the meeting on the boat.

"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."

It explains very simply what "the joke" is.

"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."

It goes on to explain how James should "adapt" to my mood on the boat.

"As the operation is going on, James will have to adapt and adjust to her mood and her reaction. If she is pulling away, withdraw and pull her back in. If she's unsure, comfort her and reassure her. Vacillate between somewhat serious interview and the come-hither persona as needed in order to confuse her judgment and also keep her on the boat."

James says that he wasn't really going to follow through with the plan. He e-mailed CNN this statement:

"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."

But that does not appear to be true, according to a series of emails we obtained from Izzy Santa, who says the e-mails reveal James' true intentions.

All of this is so disappointing. I never wanted to become a part of the story – especially under such strange circumstances.

I have worked so hard to have people pay attention to my work, and to be a respected journalist. I don't want to be judged based on anything other than my work. But apparently, I represent all of the things this group hates about the mainstream media. They feel because of the way I look that I do not matter, and that my reporting is a joke. They don't know anything about my work ethic – my history – my dedication and commitment – and my love for reporting. They just saw my blonde hair. And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette.

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Robert Conway   September 29th, 2010 8:43 am ET

I hope this story does something to expose this guy for the perverted little troll he is.

Tom   September 29th, 2010 9:02 am ET

To put it simply, Abbie you "done good". You stayed professional even in your debrief.
I'd have kicked the scumbag's a**.

Gord Metcalfe   September 29th, 2010 9:04 am ET

Interesting story.
Now this is an opportunity for CNN to go back and investigate the ACORN story for the first time because they apparently have not.
This morning Kyra Phillips said (paraphrased) James O'Keefe entered ACORN offices "dressed as a pimp and pretending to be a pimp". Sorry, Kyra, but this is completely counterfactual. **Neither ever happened**. Please inform yourself.

I urge CNN to research the facts behind the Breitbart/O'keefe ACORN fraud and report them accurately, CNN.
The reason for targeting ACORN is to disenfranchise black (Democratic) voters. This is about vote theft.
Start with the excellent investigative work on this subject at Brad Friedman's blog. The man is doing yeoman's work on this very subject. I promise you will learn much about this media predator, O'Keefe and his control, Andrew Breitbart.

Start here:

The media in the US, including CNN, owes ACORN a huge apology.

John Lane   September 29th, 2010 9:13 am ET

I find it hard to believe the sleazy tactics Project Veritas has gone to discredit stories. I saw the unedited version of the Acorn tapes. It is incredible the damage these guys did and got away with. If they had nothing to fear, then they should be upfront with everyone and wouldn't have to resort to these questionable tricks. I highly commend Abbie for her work and hope bigger and better things come her way.

Hang in there.


Bronwyn   September 29th, 2010 9:24 am ET

This whole story is just crazy. I cannot believe that someone would actually think that this was a good idea. That guy is out of his mind. I feel bad for the reporter. What an insult.

Ian Woo   September 29th, 2010 9:28 am ET

That's weird.

susanp   September 29th, 2010 9:34 am ET

And yet CNN still always gives airtime to this guy and his enabler Breitbart. Is it any wonder they think they can get away with stuff like this? Stop treating these guys like responsible journalists and maybe they'll just fade away to Fox where they belong.

Ian Woo   September 29th, 2010 9:34 am ET

And BUBBLE-HEADED? Maybe doesn't know who Abbie Boudreau is? Or maybe he's a wounded individual that feels the need to take out his insecurities/frustrations/etc on everyone else, and is now deeply paranoid?

Jake   September 29th, 2010 9:36 am ET

The sad thing is, Fox News viewers probably agree with this guy. They have been so brainwashed that they truly beleive that Fox News is the only un-biased news source available, and the rest are there simply to put a positive spin on liberals and bash anything Republican.

Very sad times we live in.

Kyle   September 29th, 2010 9:40 am ET

I'm a conservative and have nothing but disdain for this punk. He is becoming an utter embarrassment for conservatives like me, I wish he would just go away. Looking forward to your report though.

Ian Woo   September 29th, 2010 9:44 am ET

Maybe secretly hoping for um... ....
Honestly, that's way too much trouble to go to, and how could he have thought such a scenario would have much potential at all to embarrass anyone but himself?

Bob McIntosh   September 29th, 2010 9:45 am ET

I am not a lawyer, but If he was in Maryland when he recorded the phone conversation, I'm pretty sure he violated that state's wiretap laws. In any event, he conspired to break those laws once Ms. Boudreau got onto the boat (by planning with others and making preparations).

mados123   September 29th, 2010 9:46 am ET

Sad, sad, sad. How did document come to light? If it is from an email, you should post it as I am sure this reporting will receive some spin as well – further trying to de-legitimize you.

Also, please don't record while driving! I would hate to see it end in an accident. Good luck with your work.

David Vaughan   September 29th, 2010 9:46 am ET

Really? You are sad that James O'Keefe and his merry band of intrepid idiots stereotype you? That's like being sad a clown can't find shoes that fit. These morons live for the stereotype, for the "obscene" reality and the idea that only those they support have any real value. Sexism and racism are based in ignorance. Be sad that a rival network has rewarded this type of ignorance over and over, but don't take it personally.

mados123   September 29th, 2010 9:49 am ET

Never mind posting the document – just saw it was up.

ga73   September 29th, 2010 9:52 am ET

Sorry you have to deal with this stuff. Makes me sad what this country is coming too with jerks like O'Keefe.

Jay   September 29th, 2010 9:54 am ET

You should have gotten on the boat and made an ass of him in front of his own hidden cameras.

BubbleBlondLawyer2B   September 29th, 2010 10:06 am ET

O'Keefe is a sociopath. Kudos to Izzy Santa for doing the right thing, albeit at the last minute.

First impressions and stereotypes are a fact of life.
Ms. Boudreau, I wish you would have taken the high road. Whining about your uphill battle because you are so pretty is not the best way to garner respect. Further, by acknowledging that you have been treated like a "bubble headed bleach blond," you have actually given credibility to O'Keefe's position.

Stick with the facts – you are an experienced journalist, you've earned the respect of your colleagues, and you were smart enough to avoid the punk. End of story.

Japhet   September 29th, 2010 10:10 am ET

What a weirdo.

Btw, one the "Recommended Stories" below this post is entitled "Joke on Boat Leads to four deaths."


Mark   September 29th, 2010 10:11 am ET

What a piece a crap!!

Dorri   September 29th, 2010 10:19 am ET

This guys is obvious a pervert. Maybe this "caper" should be investigated as a possibly as an attempted rape. Blatant disrespect of woman appears to be a theme with him.

Charlie S   September 29th, 2010 10:23 am ET

Abbie, do realize you have fulfilled O'Keefe's prophecy with your last paragraph?

"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…"

And then you say:

"They feel because of the way I look that I do not matter, and that my reporting is a joke. They don't know anything about my work ethic – my history – my dedication and commitment – and my love for reporting. They just saw my blonde hair. And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette."

johng   September 29th, 2010 10:25 am ET

Seriously, why detail this out? These aren't "activists", they're post-college losers, who are on right wing welfare.

And, wow, O'Keefe's mantra is a 25-year-old Don Henley song that whines about his statutory rape getting into the news.

Ms. Boudreau, you are an accomplished journalist. Please don't get into a flame war with an overgrown fratboy.

Sooz   September 29th, 2010 10:27 am ET

If in fact the intellectually and spiritually constipated O'Keefe and his ilk in their party thought their candidates could get into political office based on their merits

.....they wouldn't need to resort to shaming their nation to the world who IS watching their incessant displays of bigotry, inciting violence, low class machinations, manufacturing non-existent enemies, election tampering, lack of morals and humanity, propensity for violence, honesty, ethics....and their hatred for personal responsibility and accountability.

jrshipley   September 29th, 2010 10:28 am ET

CNN was one of many media outlets that let O'Keefe get away with smearing ACORN. By your failings as reporters to reveal the deception of the ACORN tapes you were complicit in a conspiracy to destroy an organization whose biggest crime is registering too many low-income and minority voters. Now all of a sudden we're supposed to be indignant when you're targeted with the same tactics?

Jen   September 29th, 2010 10:31 am ET

My gosh, Abbie. What a ridiculous circumstance to find yourself in; I empathize with you tremendously and relate even more (being a successful woman in a male-dominated field). I'm glad that Santa saw the light, though sorry you had to be "part of the story." Thanks for sharing from your perspective...

gilbert neal   September 29th, 2010 10:31 am ET

How could she say no to such a charismatic, intelligent, mature man?


Connie J   September 29th, 2010 10:42 am ET

James O'Keefe is such a sleeze ball, and he proves it again, over and over.

Ben   September 29th, 2010 10:44 am ET

Does James O'Keefe not realize that Abbie is way out of his league? Really James, attempts like this (even if there was video) only makes you look creepy.

AzDesertRat   September 29th, 2010 10:48 am ET

okeefe is a punk

Gerald Lichter   September 29th, 2010 10:51 am ET

Truly sucks. Here is a person,I feel , who is working to portray you, CNN, and their upfront news as deceitful and mean. I think this guy is part a smear campaign by party afilliates against the current administration. Pray to god he and his people never become the larger voice of America. You are a good reporter and deserve this story to be voiced on the news and an investigation into this punks agenda be shown to the public
Keep up your hard work

Geedavey   September 29th, 2010 10:55 am ET

I'll tell ya, the handcuffs and blindfold kind of scare me. If things had gone really wrong, we could have been looking at a kidnapping and rape.

Carl Skaggs   September 29th, 2010 10:59 am ET

James O'Keefe is nothing but an opportunist looking to extend his ill gotten fifteen minutes of fame.
He obviously has no sensible boundaries and has no grasp of the Christian morals that the conservative set espouses so regularly.

emma   September 29th, 2010 11:01 am ET

What a pathetic d-bag. Abbie, laugh at him with the rest of us, the idiot is not worthy to be taken seriously for one second.

Ian Woo   September 29th, 2010 11:03 am ET

Abbie you're honestly one of my absolute favorite living journalists! Maybe my absolute favorite. And not because you happen to be really really really really really pretty. Beautiful really. I can't say it hurts anything or anything. :)

I still would have thought you were definitely among the best of the best even if I'd never actually even seen you at all. And not because you also happen to have an absolutely adorable voice too. :)

You're among the best of the best (at least) because you're among the best of the best (at least) at revealing just how little we know. This is a country where people take things they know nothing about and call it their IDENTITY.

I can't recall seeing or hearing ANYTHING out of you that would lead me to believe you're biased towards ANYTHING. Except possibly humanity? Ignorance is the only real enemy we have. Your reporting opens up WORLDS. Things all of us should be thinking about, yet rarely (if ever) do. Things most of us couldn't have ever even imagined going on in this country.

Unless I'm just crazy, you can't really have a democracy without informed citizens. MISinformed doesn't count either. I wish we could have 100 of you.


Rachel   September 29th, 2010 11:03 am ET

Why are you taking this as a reflection on you? He's the idiot who has been exposed (again) as the juvenile right-wing robot that he is. I have a hard time believing that you were at any risk at all of falling for the latest of his pea-brained schemes.

Chad Howland   September 29th, 2010 11:04 am ET

What a terrible, weird rejection of all reason. O'Keefe is obviously crazy and confused but PLEASE do not do what he has done: this country is not divided into "conservatives" and "liberals." Do not say that this "group" hates you. What group? His co-workers (or maybe coconspirators?) backed out of his idiotic plan. Go ahead and sue this guy but don't make his same mistake of putting an entire organization into a box. Most of us prefer reason over partisanship–even in my conservative Utah county.

Deanna Jones   September 29th, 2010 11:04 am ET

Note to fathers: If this young man comes near your daughter, break his legs. He obviously has no respect for women, and is a deviant.

james   September 29th, 2010 11:06 am ET

Is this for real? It seems too elaborate for the hidden camera antics from before. This is a planned scenario wher the others were just entering an area and letting the victim do all the damage. If this is true, why doesn't CNN provide some dock records, or boat leasing documents for James having the boat at the suggested location. I am also confused why CNN is going so far on one person's testimony, Izzy could very well be a disgruntled group member and CNN is being punk'd for believing it. Bad press on James may prove to be an elaborate scam to discredit CNN on the investigative story they have been doing thus far. More evidence before you go forward with an article like this, seems like you are falling for a pimp scam all over again.

Joel   September 29th, 2010 11:07 am ET

Did he seriously think he's such an irresistable cassanova that this would work? The misogyny behind that presumption is monstrous.

james   September 29th, 2010 11:09 am ET

And it would have been more convincing if they had a tape and not a transcript of what James was supposed to tape. The whole scam is full of easily chargable sexual assault – and there is a two-party consent in maryland for video taping, unlike the DC and Virginia area. All of this would have had James facing some felony charges and I think he is a little too clever for that while on probation.

Robin   September 29th, 2010 11:10 am ET

I feel like I wanna puke. We need a very bright light shined on this kind of psycho extremism.

btw, I think there might be a few bleached blondes on the fox networks too. Funny how he didn't think to "punk" any of them.

Dhulfiqar   September 29th, 2010 11:11 am ET

Would have been funny to watch CNN get punked :)

William   September 29th, 2010 11:21 am ET

Abbie – Keep your chin up. This guy has only highlighted the minimal value of his opinion and his worth in this world. You've handled this situation very well and come out of this looking better (figuratively) than before. As the significant other of a reporter, I know how hard she works, what integrity she has and what a fantastic job she does, despite the fact that she is easy to look at. If this guy tried that on her, he'd be swimming with the fishes under his pleasure palace. Hang in there, you handled this superbly and should be proud for that.

Michael B.   September 29th, 2010 11:25 am ET

Hello Abbie -
I grew up with this kid's aunts, uncles and grandparents. They were a hard-working family who were genuinely nice folks who achieved a lot and eventually moved to a more affluent part of NJ.

For Mr. O'Keefe to be carrying on like this is greatly disappointing and I hope he gets help for this. His stunts are getting more serious – even more serious than trying to infiltrate Senator Landrieu's offices – and more lewd & lascivious. This has ceased being a cute prank and he has a lot to learn about being a real journalist or investigative reporter.

Valkyrie607   September 29th, 2010 11:27 am ET

This really reveals an enormous amount of sexism and misogyny on O'Keefe's part.

Of course he's also delusional for thinking that merely being on a mood-lit boat with porn and candles would convince anyone to have sex with him.

Maureen Hawkins   September 29th, 2010 11:30 am ET

It just means we can add misogyny to the list of O'Keefe's bigotries. That Ms Boudreau has experienced such misogyny from those who are, unlike O'Keefe, not sociopaths, just suggests how far we still have to go. Keep up the good work, Ms Boudreau!

Raenelle   September 29th, 2010 11:32 am ET

Ms. Boudreau should not take this idiot's plan personally, as a statement about her own skills or integrity. O'Keefe is clearly delusional and unstable. He is so mean-spirited it's hard to dredge up any pity for him and his shriveled little life.

CTDavis   September 29th, 2010 11:37 am ET

The sad part is, that as embarrassing as this is for O'Keefe, he has much less to lose than ACORN did. In that regard, he's not unlike a bus bomber.

Mary Chlopek   September 29th, 2010 11:43 am ET

I am sympathetic to your situation here and think this guy is a major jerk. However, your last sentence about irony and blondeness bothers me and speaks more to his point than yours. For a woman wanting to be taken seriously in journalism, going blonde seems like a poor choice. Are you eye candy or a serious journalist? You can't have it both ways - be who you are and let your work speak for itself.

Jymn   September 29th, 2010 11:48 am ET

Little people like O'Keefe and Breitbart build these victim strategies in their heads until they become reality. Calling the Erick Erickson Network 'liberal' is beyond preposterous. If the media isn't doing their bidding, they become outraged and blame the media. Trying to entrap a CNN reporter is not helping their cause.

Paul_D   September 29th, 2010 11:48 am ET

If the Marlyand secret taping laws are actually enforced as in the case of his ACORN caper, maybe Jimmy could carry out his little fantasies in Jessup correctional.

James Madison   September 29th, 2010 11:51 am ET

Should this boy be in jail?
He after all did try to wiretap and try to trespass.

Not to mention the slander and defamation suits against him.

Jason   September 29th, 2010 11:52 am ET

Maybe this is insight to the why the news women of FOX act like retarded cheerleaders.

Perhaps that's whats expected.

Terry Washington State   September 29th, 2010 11:55 am ET

These people are seriously disturbed. Representative of the decent, honest and God fearing conservative of today. Why on earth do this, even if it's to slime a damn good journalist. They could simply do a Jerry Springer type show. Guess this is the network of Faux Noise... there's obviously an audience for it. Especially that darn Bible belt. They give Christians a bad name.

purrmonsta   September 29th, 2010 12:02 pm ET

Abbie, you should NEVER have to discuss your hair color or any aspect of your appearance with regards to your work. You are on CNN because of your reporting talent. Your appearance may have been a small part of what attracted CNN to you as on-air talent, but appearance alone would not have been enough to get you the job as we all know. The fact that this dim-wit O'Keefe could not see past your appearance and did not bother to do his research regarding your actual work is a reflection of HIS incompetence, not a reflection of YOUR talent.

Perhaps Izzy Santa should reconsider who she's working for now and switch sides. It worked for Arianna Huffington! O'Keefe has now been exposed for the moron he truly is. He should just give up on politics.

Mike Johnson   September 29th, 2010 12:02 pm ET

Was Karl Rove his mentor?

jimmyjack   September 29th, 2010 12:03 pm ET

Perhaps you can get this cretin on camera and take him apart piece by piece, from his pathetic idea of seduction, to the 8th grade sexism displayed in his plan, to his entry under false pretenses to a federal building to his misleading editing of the acorn tapes. People like O'Keefe and Breitbart should really be exposed for what they are.

Bill Bartlett   September 29th, 2010 12:14 pm ET

Why does this approach as a conservative not surprise me. Like everything else they long for an era that never existed. An era when women 'knew their place'. I would deplore such a world. His paragraph on "adapting" is telling of his utter naïveté and ultimately his contempt for successful, intelligent women, and women in general. It would be laughable except for the fact that this Breibart virus is about to be honored by the GOP.

Anna   September 29th, 2010 12:14 pm ET


I'm an attractive female in a male-dominated field: engineering academics. Like you, I have worked hard at proving myself intellectually, harder than my male colleagues. I have had to downplay my femininity and am >always< attentive to my appearance - ensuring it's not too tight, too revealing, too sexy, too girly. I hardly wear jewelry, for fear I will garner attention or compliments.

As a child my father trained me to respond to compliments with "I have a brain too." It took a few well-meaning people by surprise.

I've being deemed a bitch, arrogant, and aggressive...for a woman. Keep up the good work.

Trent   September 29th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

As a former state Teen Age Republican Charmian, College Republican chapter president, and YR chapter president, I can say I am not surprised. Oh the stories I could tell!

Now I sit without health insurance, dying, a victim of my own party's failed policies I helped propagate.

The Midnight Review   September 29th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

The list indicates O'Keefe was going to have Viagra – where would have O'Keefe obtained the pills? Also, isn't Maryland an all party consent state, so by secretly videotaping Boudreau, O'Keefe would have violated state statutes.

William LeJeune   September 29th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

Abbie Boudreau is way above little children like this jackass.

Morgan   September 29th, 2010 12:16 pm ET

Don't feel bad, Ms. Boudreau. The only thing this whole fiasco demonstrates is that James O'Keefe apparently has personal issues with how seductive he feels you are. Which, needless to say, are hardly his only issues.

Patrick   September 29th, 2010 12:19 pm ET

Miss Boudreau, you can't treat this scumbag like he's a real journalist of any kind. He's a spoiled, misogynistic brat who released an absolute fabrication of a video (the ACORN works he spoke to all tried to turn him in to the police after he left) and yet he somehow expects to earn the respect of anyone even remotely acquainted with journalism. Drop the pretense of this documentary and expose him for the scum he is. No one has a right to treat you like this, and it's about time women like you fought back. Make him sorry he ever messed with you.

lou   September 29th, 2010 12:24 pm ET

This is absolutely revolting. I am actually nauseous reading this. These people have got to be stopped. Please don't stop reporting how disgusting and misguided they are. The truth must be told.

HJA   September 29th, 2010 12:25 pm ET

A failed punk..... that pretty much describes James O'Keefe. Ah yes...the true colors of the Republican party.

sarchasm   September 29th, 2010 12:28 pm ET

"Pimps" & "love boats" .. I see a pattern here. Why is this crazy conservative so obsessed with such weird sexual fantasies? And what on earth does making a CNN reporter look bad have anything to do with anything? This whole episode is just mind boggling strange no matter how you look at it.

Annemarie Dickey   September 29th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

It is amazing to see what depths of depraved infamy some people will sink to in order to score social and political points against a chosen "enemy".

O'Keefe seems to have conspired to lure an award winning female reporter from the "Lamestream media" under false pretenses to his demesnes and then sexually harass her on secret camera...or worse.

Blindfolds? Handcuffs?

I wish the police had been called. Those items would have been useful for establishing motive.

Waffle   September 29th, 2010 12:32 pm ET

While this guy is clearly both unfunny and a supreme douche, the words they used were "bleach-blonde". Which is not a reason to judge someone by any stretch, but it was at least accurate. Become a redhead. Just to spite him.

Jimmy   September 29th, 2010 12:37 pm ET

I am glad that their plot failed and I am also glad that you are doing a report on the "new" conservatives. They were clearly messing with the wrong person and even the wrong network. But I do think that your work is being recognized and that you are recognized as the Journalist who, exposed flaws in car tires that probably saved many lives, ridiculous FEMA giveaways, postal service giveaways etc...
I have always been a big fan and I hope that you will continue your investigations. I regret asking you to look into what the rich and powerful are doing to make certain that the level of education in certain States are not at the standards that they should be. It may be too dangerous ... they are probably way too powerful. But clearly, you are intelligent enough to choose your battles carefully so I need not be worried about such things.
Please keep up the great work!

Phideaux Xavier   September 29th, 2010 12:38 pm ET

I don't understand how this guy is allowed to continue to play his games. I suppose he is like a modern day dadaist. Trickster indeed, but of the malignant sort.

Coma   September 29th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

The only flaw in your story is that were you an exceptional reporter only concerned with her work, you would have taken a camera on that boat to record the state it was in as soon as you got there, and turned the tables on him. Running in cowardice then pointing fingers at him did nothing to improve peoples opinion of you. Yes you obtained damning emails but you saying you have emails is nowhere nearly as effective as a few well taken photographs would have been. This could have been an epic segment on Jon Stewart :D

I do applaud your integrity nonetheless.

johng   September 29th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

The definition of irony is a result that is the opposite of that which was intended, almost as if to mock the subject.

You being a brunette would not be ironic. It might be curious, or even coincidental, but I wouldn't call it a result that is the opposite of that which was intended.

Fermi   September 29th, 2010 12:41 pm ET


I am sorry for the fact that you almost were a victim of what I'd call sexual harassment. For what it's worth, this no-talent moron's opinion of you doesn't mean much at the end of the day. He's a paid hack, he knows it, and he's trying to compensate for that and whatever other perceived inadequacies he possesses.

Dave   September 29th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

Have you investigated the possibility that this being exposed was also part of the plan? It seems too surreal otherwise...

mojopo   September 29th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

High fives, Abbie Boudreau, for figuratively crotch-kicking this little twerp on CNN. You did not deserve to be treated this way.

Marguerite Felice   September 29th, 2010 12:54 pm ET

He calls this a joke but the truth is he would have carried this joke all the way to ruining your career as he has done to so many others. These new 'Christian' extremists are so vindictive they have no sense of pity for anyone they trample on, they simply want to wage wars and destroy lives.

Mary Indy   September 29th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I can't believe this idiot O'Keefe. Poor little rich boy. Just shows the fanatics on the right have a bag of dirty tricks that doesn't have a bottom.

mike   September 29th, 2010 1:03 pm ET

That's stupid..women reporters are just as good as guy reporters

CJ   September 29th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

Wow. What an immature little twerp. Doesn't look so smart now, though.

Chris   September 29th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

Amazingly bizarre! That guy needs professional help dealing with his issues. Hope he gets it. Glad his target didn't have to go through with more than she did. Wow!

pws   September 29th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

Give him Hell, Abbie!

Mrs. Polly   September 29th, 2010 1:12 pm ET

O'Keefe ought to thank his lucky stars that his co-worker put the kibosh on his idiocy, or he might very well be up on some sort of charges for sexual menacing.

Yes, he saw you as an object, which is more than disappointing, but of course has nothing to do with your professionalism and everything to do with his vile mindset, which has plenty in common with ordinary criminal predators.

The mystery is how he thought this "punk" would embarrass YOU.

MNP   September 29th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

It's a shame you don't bring up that the ACORN expose has been proven false, just as everything else this man has ever done.

KMG   September 29th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

I'm guessing that as a woman, Izzy Santa saw how incredibly creeptastic this scheme seemed (as should have any right-thinking person) and sought to warn Ms. Boudreau. This whole thing is incredibly twisted.

Al Levin   September 29th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

And I thought Glenn Beck was bad. This guy is a danger to the right as well as the left, thus a danger to democracy.

I See Stupid People   September 29th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

O'Keefe's "pleasure palace" is Breitbart's underwear. squared.

I find it bemusing O'Keefe has a problem with a blond woman on CNN and has no problem with the stable of talking point cued Oblivia du Hasbeen blonds on Fox taking his place in front of a camera.

Truly, his 'take' on sex is seems to come from 1950's school films and some old 9mm dirty movies. Would someone get him laid by someone he doesn't have to pay so he can see the light?

O'Keefe's pleasure palace "fluffy handcuffs", mirrors, etc ROFLMAO . . wash, rinse and repeat ROFLMAO!!!! seems inspired by that old Goldie Hawn flick, Foul Play when she's hiding from thugs in some guy's apartment who's so narcissistic he thinks she'll be banging her head on his wall because in his alternate dimension he's breathing..

The guy hits a few switches when she's looking out the window ....and a "pleasure palace" appears with strobe lights, disco ball, sex toys, blow up dolls and mirrors.

JoshA   September 29th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

"I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use for a video."

Does O'Keefe believe that Austin Powers was a documentary? Otherwise, I'm not sure why he thought this would work. I'm fairly certain that if someone as successful, intelligent, and attractive as Ms. Boudreau is interested in romantic companionship, she can do better than a convicted criminal who resembles Quaismoto.

Speaking of criminality, I'm pretty sure its against the law to tape someone having sex (without that person's knowledge or consent) with the intention to exploit that footage for commercial gain.

Mark Petty   September 29th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

This criminal O'Keefe is not a conservative. He's just a Republican.

Bruce, MD   September 29th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

Ms. Boudreau-

On 9/11 my daughter was seven. I imagine 9 years from now she will be about your current age. I hope she learns to conduct herself as you did in this incident. I appreciate your fine work.

The only part of this I don't understand is your gracious assumption that this was intended to be a "faux" seduction. The evidence for that is weak and to this observer Mr. O'Keefe's actions were criminal: a conspiracy to commit sexual battery and wiretapping.

His last "joke" also involved a strong theme of sexual control featuring a "pimp" and plans for a house of prostitution. This "joke" involved a pretty real effort at an unwelcome seduction involving a real female victim, props, sexually explicit devices, and cameras to record his exploits.

It would not be surprising if his behavior continued to escalate until he actually raped a woman, if he has not done so already.

You are a great reporter and you should report. But you should also do what I would hope any other woman would do –my daughter for example– and call the police.

So should Ms. Santa and her organization should loudly voice their full support of her.

This should not be about politics. The protection of psychopathic behavior has no place in the maintenance of journalistic or political integrity.

JC   September 29th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

While I find O'Keef a whitetrash, wannabe, film maker I'm not surprised he'd try a stunt like this. I do however have a hard time believing this attempted punk was solely because you represent "ALL" that he hates about the MSM. Assuming he's a fan of FOX News which has no shortage of blonde, female reporters that would make him publicly hypocritical. I'm guessing he has a bigger beef with CNN in general and he saw an opportunity to embarrass them. You're just one strand of this hairball we're all forced to accept as journalism. Nothing against you personally but you're all the same FOX, CNN, MSNBC, ABC.... Because of the 24/7 news cycle I can't watch TV news anymore. Haven't been able to for several years now.

Ben   September 29th, 2010 1:33 pm ET

Unfortunately, anyone that had not already been disturbed by his willingness to lie and distort the truth in order to get a reaction will most likely not be as disturbed by this as they should be. It was already clear that he was morally absent, but this is a whole new level of creepiness.

I suspect that this has little to do with the reporter herself, and that he would have tried something similar with any female CNN reporter that was looking into their little movement, so I hope that this doesn't impact her beyond a disturbing and slightly amusing (in some ways) anecdote, as anyone with a commitment to reporting the news is desperately needed these days.

It's almost interesting in an abstract way how dedicated O'Keefe is to being a real-life troll, something I'm mostly used to just seeing behind the anonymity that is afforded to people online. I've regretted each of his victims, but this is the most personal (attempted) attack yet, so I'll be curious as to what will be his next ridiculous ploy, and hoping that at some point he will actually receive some sort of reprimand for his twisted cries for attention.

Bob Lees   September 29th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

I think O'Keefe is quite possibly a dangerous person to be around. Who knows what may have happened on that boat if he managed to pull this reporter on there by herself?

Sarcastro   September 29th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional ...

Mission accomplished!

Joe   September 29th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

Well she is hot. Everyone knows that reporters love to make news instead of just reporting it.

If we had reporters just reporting news none of the sheeple would watch it because it'd be too boring. Bread and circuses are a necessary component of a news model anymore and that's that.

Beechbum   September 29th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

This is actually textbook lemon-aide from lemons Abbie Boudreau. You have succinctly described the criminality at the base of the conservative mentality by exposing one of its heroes as just another fraud similar to James O'Keefe's cohort-in-crime Andrew Breitbart.

Debi   September 29th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

James O'Keefe is a pathetic creep.

Alix   September 29th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

I'm so sorry - I hope after this, no one listens to those creeps, They think they're above the law, and so far they've been proved right...they should have had jail time for tampering with Landrieu's phones.

jeff in Cincinnati   September 29th, 2010 1:44 pm ET

Ignore him, Abbie. He obviously picked on the wrong 'blonde'. :0) I agree with Robert, he's a troll who got his 15 seconds of fame (deflation thanks to the internet age) by using a heavily edited video to sell lies. He's built in the Faux Noise factory, and he'll die a long, slow painful (career) death just like Faux Noise eventually will.

olshanski   September 29th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

Kudos to Izzy Santa, she is a hero. She deserves far better than to be assoicating with mysogynists like James O'Keefe.

Sam   September 29th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

Personally I think there are charges that can be brought against the guy somewhere in there.

Attempted kidnapping? Attempted imprisonment? Perhaps even attempted rape, when you consider all the sexual implements he had on the boat and how he's openly suggesting how he's going to "seduce you" no matter what.

I'd get a good, mean, lawyer and go after him. Until someone does, he's going to continue his hobby of lying, distorting and manipulating people.

Clearly he is a sociopath. There's a big nasty ending in the future for this guy. And it'll be all his own doing. I just can't wait to watch it unfold on tv.

Peg   September 29th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

This story highlights the constant struggle women in any business have. If you appear to be friendly, it means you are trying to charm and seduce, if you appear strictly professional, you are a frigid bitch. I give major props to Izzy Santa for seeing that this was a disgusting trick and thank him for being adult enough to stop it.
Hopefully, the third time is the charm and James and his criminal enterprise will have lost all credibility and no one else will damaged. What he did to acorn should have been enough once the tapes in full were viewed, when he tried to wiretap phones, he should have gotten more than a slap on the wrist.
I am sorry that this happened to you, but I honestly hope it brings about his complete downfall.

Shades   September 29th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

Will somebody please do something about this idiot before people get hurt?

Michael   September 29th, 2010 1:53 pm ET

..more the "The Failed Debriefing" amirite??

Yawgmoth   September 29th, 2010 1:53 pm ET

That is a step-by-step date rape plan if ever I've seen one. Especially with it slated to take place on a boat (making escape impossible).

Dawn   September 29th, 2010 1:53 pm ET

Dear CNN,

This was not a "punk", but a disgustingly dirty political tactic from a well known GOP operative & criminal to damage CNN's credibility just before an important election.

A "punk" is a prank, a joke made in fun, not a staged attack to slander a news organization for political gain in an election. This was no joke. You were set-up by Republicans to damage your credibility.

You have misreported the story & buried the headline.


Denny   September 29th, 2010 1:54 pm ET

You are a brilliant reporter – you do your job with integrity and honesty. It's unfortunate that this character receives any attention at all – his attacks (the ACORN workers, Sen. Landrieu, and now you) have all been women. He typifies a privileged misogynist and last time I checked, this sort of thing represents an illegal attempt at kidnapping, at least. He's an employee and protege of Andrew Breitbart and so his tactics shouldn't surprise anyone who's familiar with their behavior. Same sort of thing the Republicans attempted under Nixon at a little hotel one time.

Kevin   September 29th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

Abbie – You should have played along with his little plan and when he made his first move, stand up, scream and unload a can of pepper spray in his face. Now that would have been funny!

grape_crush   September 29th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Thank God you got tipped off, Abbie...once O'Keefe's warped 'prank' seduction failed, the real prank would have begun...which was to deny it ever happened in an attempt to really discredit you and CNN.

Adam   September 29th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

Keep your head up Abbie!

nan   September 29th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

Um. This isn't a prank or a joke. It's a planned sexual assault. Stop referring to it as less than that.

Matt Foreman   September 29th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

He needs exposing? I thought it was already obvious...

Publius   September 29th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

It's a hoax. No-one could be that stupid and crude, as in the 13-page 'document'. It's a ruse.

Jazabel   September 29th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

This guy is truly demented and should be serving time in prison for his attempt to tamper with the phones in Rep. Landreau's office in Louisiana. Instead he got a slap on the wrist (if that's what you could call it). He will eventually end up in prison and it won't be a pretty ending for this punk. Too bad his family doesn't commit him and get the help he very obviously needs.

Nicole   September 29th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

Wow, I'm speechless. He obviously has severe issues with women and this whole thing sounds to me like attempted sexual assault. If he's the face of young Republican activism, they're in more trouble than I thought.

Patrice   September 29th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

Thank goodness it was you - brave and resourceful and not afraid to stand your ground. You do matter.

You didn't ask to be in the middle of this. But because of this story, O'Keefe will be even more clearly exposed as the dishonest provocateur that he is. Thank you for that.

I'm a novelist shopping around a political story where wild and crazy things happen - but fiction can't do justice to some of the wingnuts out there today.

Keep on doing what you do so well.

Al Swearengen   September 29th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Here's an investigation for you– How does this guy survive? It seems like he's got the time and money to fly around the country buying disguises and "outfitting" boats...who pays his living expenses.

What's the old term? "Follow the money."

Mac   September 29th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Ms. Boudreau, you just keep letting the quality of your work speak for itself. There's no reasoning with this kind of fringe craziness, but there are a lot more of us out here who appreciate good journalism... whether it's coming from a man or a woman, a blonde or a brunette.

Cary   September 29th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

Abbie, it is too bad that women continually suffer because, to generalize, men are pigs. For men, I am sorry.

hrm   September 29th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

From what I just read it seems both journalists are sleeze.

Chandler02   September 29th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

He sounds like such a prejudiced fool in the documents. The crazy thing is that the Media ignored the follow up to the ACORN story. He was not dressed as a pimp when he went in to the ACORN offices, he was dressed as a college student. When the video was found to be edited and false, the story had already died in the mainstream media.

Lynne   September 29th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

Good for Izzy!
From other reports, it sounds like she was pretty shaken up about it, and it took a lot of courage and character to do what she could to stop this wanna-be predator in his tracks, even at the possible expense of her own job.

Steffan Piper   September 29th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

The whole thing comes off as VERY CREEPY. And not only has a stalker angle to it, but something more sinister and threatening. I'm surprised charges weren't filed against him for this. If I was a woman going into the situation, I would've been horrified.

This guy clearly wanted to have his way with her. Point blank.

Jim H   September 29th, 2010 2:30 pm ET

This kid is a cheap hustler. He got free publicity with his dishonest attack on Acorn, and shamefully, the mainstream media never fact-checked it before he scored a political victory helped by Fox. Then he got nabbed for attempting to wiretap a U.S. Senator, and got off easy with some political help. He seems to work with the justification that the end justifies the means. That's totalitarian belief, not the news.

Antoinne   September 29th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

This sounds like a classic set-up to get Santa even closer to you and CNN for an even bigger con "punk". Be very careful with these people they are not funded by fools and do not have idiot's as advisors.

Ardiva   September 29th, 2010 2:41 pm ET

O'Keefe is a very sick man.

ravenguerrero   September 29th, 2010 2:44 pm ET

"And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette."


schugarmama   September 29th, 2010 2:45 pm ET

Blondes don't always have more fun. Sorry that you had to pull your story because of this neanderthal.

The prank doesn't do much for inspiring credibility in this guy's brand of journalism. Ironic that he didn't think enough of himself to let his work and his interview present him the way he'd like, instead choosing to sabotage yours.

Glad you caught it in time to save yourself the uncomfortable experience.

Dugan J P   September 29th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

Why say punked?
attm-rapist blackmailer ya, Who really knows whats up in that sick thing he calls a mind?
He is a GOP operative real criminal just delusional.
Anything is right if its for the right-RIGHT.
BUT punked no and thats HELL NO.

ttyp00   September 29th, 2010 2:55 pm ET

I think you're a fabulous journalist and a great woman who has done everything right in order to be respected as anyone would respect the next person that deserves it. These "faux" whistleblowers do nothing more than stage fake interviews and hack the video editing process in such a way as to shine the worst light possible on people. Kudos to you for shining a light upon them that needs no spin. A bright, white light that they never saw coming. We don't need the sensationalism that they bring to media. All we need is unbiased truth. Something O'Keefe knows nothing about, apparently.

Ster   September 29th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

We need to kick this guy to the curb. I admired his ACORN work, but he seems a tad insane. This was just disgusting.

We don't want a Bill Maher or Ed Schultz on the right... we have to shame this guy and bury him!

Ster   September 29th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

Doing something like this? He can't be a conservative. He must just be a fame loving punk.

ttyp00   September 29th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

Sorry.. in addition, being super-hot, like you said, it has nothing to do with your reporting. As a professional.. well, I guess you could say that you're getting hotter and these dolts just made you more popular than Gaga :^) Sooo... Thanks? I guess? to Jimmy O'Keefe!

John Kim   September 29th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

This revelation makes it clear once again that O'Keefe and his colleagues are anything but journalists. His utter disregard for the sanctity of the law and morality as shown in his wiretappings and in this story exposes him as a juvenile delinquent. I am truly sorry that Abbie had to witness O'Keefe perpetrate his indecent acts. She deserves better.

Ash   September 29th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

I smell a restraining order or sexual harassment lawsuit. Isn't this little punk on probation? I would be EXTREMELY uncomfortable to know that some creep was trying to lure me onto a sex palace alone and go to all measures to ensure that I stay there with him. Isn't that what Phillip Garrido did to his victim before Jaycee Lee Dugard? He had a room filled with creepy sexual things that he proceeded to rape a woman in. Creepy minds think alike. Take legal action against this guy. Then we'll see who really "learns their lesson." Good luck Abbie.

Ezra Pendleton   September 29th, 2010 3:07 pm ET

Taking politics aside, there seems to be a very strong psychological thread through O’Keefe. His low regard for women as revealed through his choice of the pimp, prostitute angle with ACORN, and now using the sexual angle again to essentially embarrass you and CNN and potentially harm your career.

But, the most vile aspect is that O’Keefe seems to take pleasure and pride harming other people he doesn’t even really know (or care to really know) in order to further his own “career” in political showbiz. His antisocial behavior, his egotistic behavior, plus lack of guilt and shame (Mary Landrieu phone plot) – well he sounds like a textbook psychopath.

Look forward to seeing your documentary. Keep up the good work and stay true.

AppeaseThis   September 29th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

I think this episode is very revealing of O'Keefe and the right's real perception of women. In his Acorn, heavily-edited and since debunked punking operation, he brings a woman along as an object.... a prostitute. Now, in this next episode, he sees the reporter as a sexual object. That's how O'Keefe and The Right sees women... as objects to be controlled and used as a means to an end. Women are to be seen and not heard, and if seen, they must be sexually appealing.

Jeff Temple   September 29th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

Good job Abbie. James O'Keefe is truly a low life. It's actually Fox News that keeps getting punked over and over. They ran with the original ACORN mockumentary created by James O'Keefe without checking facts. This is something they do over and over again.

I applaud your integrity and please keep your head high.

Pete   September 29th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

Sound more like a rape setup than seduction. Wonder if there was date rape drugs waiting too.

mommadona   September 29th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

Does this mean that .@CNN , who just hired on a fascist racist Erick Erickson might be willing to report on #domesticterrorist Breitbart and .@FreedomWorks for the #johnbirch #seditious #scum against the United States they all are? Not gonna hold my breath.

Kudos for your bravery and report. Sorry it won't matter much to the pubahs at .@CNN who are in bed with #Murdoch , all wrapped in a flag and carrying a bible.

It is so sad to see the 'free press' prostitute itself for such short-term gain for so few at the expense of freedom and security for so many.

Rebecca Taylor   September 29th, 2010 3:23 pm ET

What a horrible thing to have happen to you, and I feel like you just barely escaped what sounds like what was going to be an attempted rape. I work as a sexual assault advocate, and I just wanted to lend my support and say that if you are having any feelings of fear, anxiety, or a strong reaction to what happened, it would be completely understandable. I hope you have someone you can talk to if you need to :)

Jason   September 29th, 2010 3:24 pm ET

Just goes to show that the right wing crazies have no bounds. It should also be pointed out that the idiots are out breeding normal people on a scale of about 10 – 1.

prsturm   September 29th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

This guy seems strangely fixed on using sexual fantasy to pursue his agendas.

Kris Craig   September 29th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

+1 what Robert said....

I wish the Justice Department would reconsider its decision not to prosecute this dipshit for his attempt to illegally wiretap a congresswoman's phone last year.

This idiot troll has shown that he will continue his pattern of fraud, burglary, and sexual harrassment until he finally winds up in prison where he belongs.

Kris Craig   September 29th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

Oh and btw, you're an awesome reporter, Abbie, and we all have a great deal of respect for you and all the hard work you have done to bring us the news over the years! Please don't the occasional jackass like this troll get you down.

4th Guard   September 29th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

I think he still punked you. Say bye bye establishment media. Did you see the new Rasmussen poll that came out today? No one believes you anymore.

H M Bascom   September 29th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

O'Keefe is to journalism as creationism is to science.

JoAnne   September 29th, 2010 3:31 pm ET

You must feel like you just avoided stepping in a big pile of dog waste. You didn't actually get any on you, but you're still disgusted.

mike corbin   September 29th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

LOLOL...I would have PAID to see that interview. Here's this cnn reporter who is something special in her own mind going over to "interview" (with total objectivity no doubt) James O'keefe and he decides he's going to hit on her and make a mockery of her whole "interview" THAT is funny.

Pagan   September 29th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

This is disgusting behavior and this creep ought to be in jail – kidnapping, sexual harassment...hmm. Izzy is to be commended although I am sure she will/already has lost her job as reward for her integrity. I am absolutely stupefied that this piece of garbage can get away with this. I am very sorry Ms. Boudreau was placed in this position in the first place – she deserves better. I am confused however as to how James thought his little "punk" would/should be an embarassment to CNN. Why would CNN or Ms. Boudreau for that matter bear any shame for a stunt HE pulled? I thought the U.S. had gotten away from victim blaming – oh that's right, when the victim is female, it's always the victim's fault. This is flagrant misogyny and unfortunately, no one will even notice as usual. DISGUSTING!!!!!

K. Weatherford   September 29th, 2010 3:51 pm ET

If he was in Maryland when he was taping your phone conversation, he might have violated Maryland's wiretapping laws. I hope that you and CNN press charges if he violated the law.

steve ftazlo   September 29th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

This kid has one major flaw in his approach. Look at a picture. There's no way in the world this guy could pull of hitting on a girl and have it be believable. Unless he was at the local Star Trek convention.

Steve   September 29th, 2010 3:54 pm ET

So you don't want to "be part of the story", but you've published this story in several sections on Really?

Louis   September 29th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

Truth is he probably is attracted to you and was simply too juvenile to admit it (hence this elaborate 'ruse').
In any case, I'm glad this little punk is slowly being exposed for what he is. His attacks on ACORN and the offices of at least one Senator are as unjust as Andrew Breitbart's attack on Shirly Sherrod.

And some people actually think of them as journalists.
Wow. . . how did we sink to this as a society.
I hope your documentary pulls no punches.

Jay   September 29th, 2010 3:59 pm ET

Prediction: O'Keefe will continue to appear on cable news and be interviewed, definitely by Fox, possibly even by CNN.

Cynthia Dudley   September 29th, 2010 4:05 pm ET

Thank you for your work. I hope that morally stunted twerps like O'Keefe don't get between you and the success that you deserve.

Fred   September 29th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

I'm sure the young conservative documentary will have a much more interesting piece on that slimeball, now.

Of course, he assumed he was being persecuted, and used that as preemptive justification for a much more vile act than the original, perceived persecution. That's the straight out of the neo-conservative playbook.

kbcarter   September 29th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Yes, what this mentally disturbed little child O'Keefe does is considered "journalism" on FOX (see his fellow bigot Breitbart), proving just how correct our president was in calling them out as destructive to this country.

How sad there are so many willfully ignorant out there who believe whatever the foreign owned GOP propoganda machine spews out.

Amy J   September 29th, 2010 4:10 pm ET

I'm so glad Ms. Santa gave you the heads up. I can't imagine a scarier or riskier situation than being alone on a boat with such a dishonest, arrogant, and petulant man. I'm glad you're okay, and frankly can only hope that this signals the end of O'Keefe being taken seriously.

Dobbs   September 29th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Could you explain why he's not in jail? He's on probation which means if he commits another crime, he goes back to jail. From Maryland, where it is is illegal to record a conversation without both participants' permission, he recorded a conversation with you. What am I missing?

Extremist Moderate   September 29th, 2010 4:17 pm ET

"They just saw my blonde hair. And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette."

Coloring your hair blonde just proves the point - you are striving to downplay intelligence (brunettes), while maximizing sensuality (blondes.) Obviously, this is done to seduce those poor, hapless men you interview into saying whatever suits the CNN agenda. ☺

Pete Heinricher   September 29th, 2010 4:22 pm ET

Just watch: O'Keefe, or his mentor, Andrew Breitbart, will prepare another smear, and CNN will breathlessly push it as real news, with no context, no examination, no critical thought process at all.

Scott D   September 29th, 2010 4:26 pm ET

Remember this is CNN and a CNN reporter.

They cannot be trusted to report facts without spinning it with a liberal progressive theme.

They are NOT the most trusted name in the news.

This reporter knew this guys reputation and she has us believe that she was doing a legitimate story about the young conservative movement FOR CNN?

I don't think so!

Steve   September 29th, 2010 4:26 pm ET

You play with fire, and you get burned.

You lay down with dogs, and you get fleas.

If you weren't trying to boost ratings by giving this shameless little PR addict exactly what he wants, then you wouldn't have given him the opportunity to attempt to portray you as a "bubbleheaded bleached blonde".

fred   September 29th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

Can somebody help me with O'Keefe's logic here? His sexually harassing Boudreau was supposed to damage her credibility and prove how not misogynist he is?
Then again, there are a lot of people like him who default to "she was asking for it," in every case, so maybe it would have worked along those lines. It's just ridiculous.

K Sinclair   September 29th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

I am glad Ms Boudrieu is dealing with this in a professional manner, and that she and CNN will likely come out well for it, but O'Keefe singlehandledly destroyed a relatively innocent organization, ACORN, that was doing good work among the underprivileged.

What I want to know, is why isn't this sad and malevolent little boy in prison, where he can do no more harm?

Mark Pritchard   September 29th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

"Izzy Santa" ?

Mepster   September 29th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

Why isn't anyone prosecuting this guy – interstate wiretap, fraud. His last felony charges were dropped to misdemeanor and he turns around and records her conversation. Why wasn't some form of probation made part of the plea bargain. His sexist remarks and grandiose plan exposes him as a delusional little pervert. Book him Danno!

hauksdottir   September 29th, 2010 4:58 pm ET

sex, sex, sex.

ALL this wimpy little pervert has is a filter so even news stories are seductions and every word or deed is seen in a sexual context. He needs therapy. He is not manly, and it bothers him.

If he was trying to seduce me, he'd also need time for the wounds to heal.

And... thanks to Ms Santa and kudos to Ms Boudreau!

Liz   September 29th, 2010 5:00 pm ET

I don't know how you handled this sexist, and potentially dangerous situation with as much class and determination as you did. James O'Keefe is scum, and has certainly showed what type of person he really is. I hope you know that as women like you continue to wade through the ridiculous amount of misogyny and backlash dished out to working women, it makes young women coming up through the ranks, a little more aware and a lot more determined

As a progressive and feminist, I thank you for continuing to be awesome.

yg bluig   September 29th, 2010 5:04 pm ET

Abbie, I would have loved to have seen the footage when you punched the little turd's lights out or maybe a knee to his little ACORNs. If only you had gotten on the damn boat.

incidentally, 'bubble-headed beach blonde who comes on at 5' is a lyric from the Don Henley song, "Dirty Laundry." ("She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye."

TheMadRealist   September 29th, 2010 5:11 pm ET

Creepy. Although I suspect if it was Jon Stewart and crew doing this to a conservative or Fox reporter then this same reporter would be laughing it up. Because he is a "comedian".

Joe   September 29th, 2010 5:14 pm ET

Well if he's looking for blondes, isn't Fox News the place to go?

nm   September 29th, 2010 5:16 pm ET

Well, at least it'll make for one whale of a story once it's all over. In the meantime, I hope you take the guy to court for attempted kidnapping, at the least.

Jake Jackson   September 29th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

A few right-wingers have distanced themselves, but what's notable to me is how many "conservatives" are continuing to defend James O'Keefe.

amanda   September 29th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

sounds like Attempted R@P3 to me...

someone should put that brave young woman in a safe house

Dorkus Maximus   September 29th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

This is the guy being hailed by the Right? This is the guy who was lauded for "exposing" ACORN? Now we learn that his ACORN "expose" was even phonier than the video of the Dept. of Agriculture woman in Georgia who was forced to resign after a Right Wing blogger used a video snippet to try to smear her as a racist.

I thought the conservatives believed in things like honor, fairness, and claiming the high moral ground.

Phyllis   September 29th, 2010 5:34 pm ET

Rape culture, alive and well. Sob.

DesertRose   September 29th, 2010 5:36 pm ET

Ms. Boudreau, I'm so glad that Izzy Santa warned you off, for your personal safety.

As to your career, I wish that all journalists were judged upon their work, and not their appearance. That day can't come soon enough. Keep up the good work, in the meantime.

And I agree with Robert Conway above; I hope this story exposes James O'Keefe for the jerk he is.

Melanie   September 29th, 2010 5:41 pm ET

I find "Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me" to be incredibly insulting. It seems that he is blaming HER for his attraction to her. It's degrading and demeaning. James O'Keefe is a creep to the highest degree and this proves it.

Megan S.B.   September 29th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

Dear Ms. Boudreau
The work you do is as invaluable to the news service as it is to women everywhere. Being a woman can be hard sometimes in this world, but with each passing generation it gets a little better. Our generation might not be the one to realize complete gender equality, but maybe if we all keep working as hard as we can, the next one can. So thank you for all the work that you do. I know that you are probably well aware of all this, but I figure if a relative stranger can try to hurt you so, then maybe another stranger can try to make you feel a little better. So stay strong and doing what you love and do best.

Bethany   September 29th, 2010 5:53 pm ET

Perverted little troll–yeah, that sounds about right. I can't believe he thought this plan would humiliate Abbie Boudreau. And not, y'know, himself. Then again, I'm sure his posse of misogynist jerks would have considered it high journalism. Good for Ms. Santa for quashing the whole thing and letting Boudreau know what had been planned.

Janet B.   September 29th, 2010 6:12 pm ET

I really think that this guy is a creep and an unbelievable lunatic. This whole situation makes me angry and uncomfortable.

I really get a feeling that he was under the impression that you would perform sexual acts with him in exchange for an interview with him. I think that's how he thought he was going to "punk" CNN, by trying to show a female reporter sacrificing dignity and ethics for a "good" story.

I think the whole thing is extremely sexist, but also criminal! What he set up and attempted to do is NO LESS than sexual harassment, in my opinion, and I am honestly grateful for your safety, Abbie, because this guy really seems unhinged in a lot of ways.

The Intransigent One   September 29th, 2010 6:13 pm ET

It seems your interviewee showed his true colours even though you didn't get to interview him. And that colour is just plain ugly.

Matthew   September 29th, 2010 6:13 pm ET

O'Keefe sounds like a real creep. I am just surprised that he risked the possibility of being in your documentary for this stunt. I guess for him, any publicity is good publicity.

However, your last sentence is a bit off; your being really brunette is not "ironic". At no point does he suggest that your status as an attractive reporter is conditional on being a natural blonde. Quite the opposite in fact.

I guess it would be ironic if you were distractingly sexy as a brunette, and were coloring your hair blonde to make yourself less distracting.

By the way, the "bubble-headed bleach-blonde" bit is a quote from Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry".

Enoch Root   September 29th, 2010 6:14 pm ET

To me, the real story here is not whether O'Keefe tried to 'punk' you, or that you were tipped off about it, but contained in these lines:

"That is not my work product. When it was sent to me, "

'Work product?' 'Sent to' him? Answer this question O Journalist: Sent by whom? That's the story I want to hear about.

Alex   September 29th, 2010 6:16 pm ET

Apparently this guy isn't aware that it's illegal to film someone engaged in a sexual act without the person's consent. He should be behind bars. It's disgusting that he's using a person in such a sick and twisted way just to get back at CNN for accurately portraying him as a crazy little nympho.

As for you, Ms. Boudreau, keep up the good work – there will always be people who second-guess you, but you're a good journalist and you are above their pettiness.

Methuselah   September 29th, 2010 6:16 pm ET

Hopefully the MA AG will pursue O'Keefe for illegal wiretapping of your phone calls. Too bad it's not illegal to plot 'attempted career murder'.

Izzy Santa deserves credit for having the moral courage at the critical moment to alert you to O'Keefe's predatory scheme. She may have done so to protect her organization from potential illegal activity, but just maybe her sense of fairness - and maybe even a sense of loyalty to the 'sisterhood' - helped her make the critical moral decision to step in to protect a fellow professional woman from the machinations of a predator.

There's no telling how far the deeply mysogynistic O'Keefe would have pushed his videotaping scheme to "burden" - destroy - your career.

O'Keefe should've been put in jail in Louisiana, not given a plea agreement - clearly he believes he is above the law because he continues to break it.

Mich   September 29th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

This guy only succeeded in showing how morally bankrupt, pathetic, and sexist he is, and in a perfect world he'd be drummed out of any serious political or media movement, and even the right-wing crazies he represents would shunt him off a cliff somewhere. But unfortunately in these times, when some of the worst sexist, misogynous drivel from past decades is coming on strong, I fear that this waste of perfectly good oxygen is probably going to get some high fives from his equally pathetic virginal cronies.

Lucy   September 29th, 2010 6:51 pm ET

LOL So this talentless liar fancies himself a seducing Don Juan, too? Obviously, he hasn't seen himself in his own movies either.

Jennifer Armintrout   September 29th, 2010 6:53 pm ET

He has certainly proven what I've believed for years: conservatives view women as objects and seek to put us all in our places.

Flutterby   September 29th, 2010 6:58 pm ET

Wait, he planned to essentially kidnap you (on a boat, hence unable to leave under your own power), sexually harass you, and then publish that to make YOU look bad?!

It's unbelievably misogynistic of him to assume that you were sent there to seduce him. I imagine his thought process to be something like "Oh, I find this women attractive! Since all women I think are hot exist as sexual objects first and foremost, clearly she's being sent for sexual reasons!"

You're an amazing person for working so hard to make a place for yourself in an industry that's stacked against you. He's in the wrong here, no doubt about it, and I can't comprehend why so many media outlets are still referring to this as a 'joke' or a 'punk'. For what it's worth, you have support.

And props to Izzy Santa for doing the right thing.

Little Miss Patriot   September 29th, 2010 7:26 pm ET

I am so sorry you were targeted in this way. It certainly is not fair. Although it does sound like if you were a mousy plain woman, or a man of any looks, he would have found a way to use THAT in the trick, he's just a bully that will use whatever he needs to. Thank you for exposing this prank and showing the bully for what he is.

Susan   September 29th, 2010 8:02 pm ET

Why is this sleazy attempted rapist not in jail? Good for Ms. Santa, and thanks to you for telling the story. The more light shown on this scumbag, the better for anyone he's around.

bob sa cramamento   September 29th, 2010 8:27 pm ET

I find it hard to believe that this attractive woman has not used her looks to help her gain access and insights into stories. While this okeefe guy is sleeze, Boudreau seems manipulative and conniving and i will doubt her as a journalist. Maybe she could moonlight as a waitress or secretary until this all boils over.

Eliza Smith   September 29th, 2010 8:28 pm ET

It's important that women continue to point out the countless ways they are undervalued, underestimated, and judged for their physical appearances before or despite professional considerations. Thanks for sharing this. Taking the high road doesn't mean you should have to put up with whatever misogynistic garbage the world throws at you. Sometimes the schmucks need to be called out on their bad behavior.

Andrew   September 29th, 2010 8:28 pm ET

I love that this O'Keefe guy thought he'd be able to convincingly seduce her, "pulling her back in" if she recoiled. I kind of wish the punk had succeeded; the resulting video would have exposed him as an awkward bitter little twerp creating an awkward and thoroughly embarrassing (for him) scene.   September 29th, 2010 8:59 pm ET

O'Keefe is a total loser—a post adolescent wackoff. Were any laws broken, recording the CNN lady? Visit my web site for a genuine journalistic experience. See the Vehicle for World Peace. Listen to the story of Adman and Even in the Gar Den ov Edum.

Danielle   September 29th, 2010 10:38 pm ET

This doesn't sound like a planned seduction, it sounds like intended rape. This guy is a pig.

Don in CT   September 29th, 2010 10:39 pm ET

Would someone please give this little boy a detention? Or make him write "I will not run over the little people and put the car in reverse more than once" on the black board?

Justin Gayle   September 29th, 2010 10:45 pm ET

If it's any consolation, you look like the professional in what amounts to a ridiculous and sad attempt to embarrass. I would just like to know what you are going to do for the actual special report. Would this have to be included? I suppose it must... how can it not? A shame, because it seemed like you were taking an honest look at a growing trend. That's journalism!

unclesmrgol   September 29th, 2010 11:24 pm ET

O'Keefe has gotten everything he needs from you rubes. He's absolutely right about the ambush, and Abbie fell for the setup perfectly. He gets his publicity for an entire slow news cycle, and the two paragraphs O'Keefe was supposed to utter have been uttered by none other than Bodreau herself.

Now, Abbie, how about some close-up shots of that yacht?

hahahaha!   September 29th, 2010 11:50 pm ET

"....they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional...."

Looks like he did a pretty good job of that all on his own! I'm convinced!

Molly   September 29th, 2010 11:59 pm ET

What O'Keefe was planning is absolutely unacceptable, despicable, and misogynistic. It is not a "prank" - it is a crime. His planned actions were not "funny" or "clever" - they were frightening and potentially incredibly harmful, and could very well have resulted in sexual assault or rape.

I admire you, Ms. Boudreau, as well as Ms. Santa, very much, and wish you the very best. And if you decide to take this despicable human being to task (including through legal means) then please know that I am completely behind you.

s   September 30th, 2010 1:16 am ET

Why would you go to a boat alone?

jp   September 30th, 2010 1:17 am ET

Okeefe gives me the creeps, but I find the whole report kind of odd.

Matthew   September 30th, 2010 1:45 am ET

I think that a lot of the commentors here who have pointed out that Ms Boudreau is "out of O'Keffe's league" are missing the point somewhat. O'Keffe seems to believe that journalism is transactional, and that since he had something that Ms Boudreau wanted (his participation in her documentary), and since she is an attractive women who could only have succeded in her profession by trading sex for favors, she would be prepared to offer him sex in exchange for his participation.

It is interesting to wonder where he learned these "facts" about women and the media. It might give soke insight into how things woork at Fox, but we'd have to be careful about reading too much into his beliefs. He is clearly an emotionally under-developed narcissist with tendencies towards delusions, and a simplistic view of women.

BobA   September 30th, 2010 1:57 am ET

that story is scary as he says he only wanted to dupe you but you never know what he might of done to get "his" story if you had gotten on that boat unaware of his plan.

Creeps like O Keefe need to be given counseling :0P. To help him understand and feel his inner self :0P, Maybe one day I will have that opportunity to meet and discuss this with him.

I am glad Ms Santa had the courage to inform you and stop the event event before you were there. That was the right thing to do, as again you don't know what might of happen being alone with him or any creep like that.

I have enjoyed your work and reporting, good luck with your career

plooger   September 30th, 2010 2:10 am ET

Yes, as many others here have voiced, I would hope that your program includes coverage of both the ACORN hoax perpetrated by O'Keefe/Breitbart and the Shirley Shirrod scandal, also spearheaded by Breitbart.

Jason   September 30th, 2010 2:23 am ET

"Bubble-headed bleached blonde comes on at 5" is a lyric from the Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry", the former Eagles singer's indictment of tabloid journalism.

Evidently, Mr. O'Keefe is as confused now as he was when he chose to clumsily infiltrate the office of a sitting U.S. Senator in the most transparently phony ruse imaginable.

CNN isn't tabloid journalism. Investigative reporting DOES matter. And while sometimes it can veer into the sensational (To Catch a Predator, I'm looking at you), it can also bring the light of public scrutiny to bear on issues that might otherwise be overlooked by a complacent audience (try Edward R. Murrow's seminal "Harvest of Shame").

O'Keefe should channel his energies into more productive things rather than become what he beholds. If he wishes to indict faux-journalists who are merely entertainers in his eyes, he ought to cease being an entertainer, himself. CPAC has enough videos to rally around without an egregiously unentertaining piece of nonsense at the expense of an honest, ethical reporter.

timid tim   September 30th, 2010 6:55 am ET

Hey babe, look at it this way, if you weren't hot and were an ugly broad he wouldn't have attempted this. I'd take it as a compliment.

Cindy   September 30th, 2010 6:57 am ET

Oh Abbie, you put yourself in a dangerous sitituation! Never, ever met anyone alone!! What if you hadn't been warned of his misdeeds? You could have been in deep water.

John Atlas   September 30th, 2010 7:19 am ET

My new book “Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group” is available at and book stores everywhere. The book goes beyond the headlines of the 2008 Presidential campaign and today’s controversies to describe the truth behind ACORN’s massive voter registration drives and how it confronted its internal divisions and a prostitution scandal.

Because of its success fighting poverty by reinventing community organizing, I show how for 40 years ACORN grew into an organization of 400,000 dues paying members, from all walks of life, in 38 states, with over 1,000 staff. And then how it was destroyed. CNN should do a story to correct the poor and inaccurate reporting it did that contributed to Acorn's downfall.

Talking Figleaf   September 30th, 2010 7:57 am ET

One angle that's so far been overlooked would be O'Keefe's entire premise: that he's so egregiously toxic that a grown woman who has sex with him must be career-endingly humiliated.


S.L.   September 30th, 2010 8:26 am ET

To appreciate this article in its proper context, the Talking Heads' tune "Psycho Killer" should be blamed in the background.

Does anyone have the number for Jimmy O'Keefe's parole officer?

John Bryans Fontaine   September 30th, 2010 8:35 am ET

Once again, James O'Keefe proves himself to be an obnoxious, underhanded, fascist piece of slime. More power to Abbie Boudreau for further exposing this reactionary scum ball.

arliss   September 30th, 2010 8:36 am ET

This guy is going to "Punk" the wrong person someday and wind up getting himself killed.

Kevin McGuirk   September 30th, 2010 8:38 am ET

It saddens me that such an insulting and demeaning stunt would be attempted against a talented and respected reporter merely because she is a woman. O'Keefe seems to believe that the mere fact of being attractive disqualifies any woman from being taken seriously. It's shocking, too, that he thought there was the slightest chance that any professional reporter would fall for his crass program for seducing her, especially while she was on assignment.

All of this reads like a bad episode of "Big Brother." Well, O'Keefe, consider yourself voted off.

Desiree   September 30th, 2010 8:54 am ET

Here's my theory, at least till we know more about Izzy: The O'Keefe cretin actually has half a brain after all, and finally realized Abbie would have made spiced luncheon meat out of his plan to embarrass her, and/or CNN.

So at the last minute, he (or more likely, this Izzy) came up with the idea of "exposing" the plot to Abbie. So he wouldn't have to go through with it, and make a further fool of himself.

But he'd still get coverage for it, so mission accomplished.

For that reason, I wish the whole rotten, freaking mess had never seen the light of day.

Strangetimes   September 30th, 2010 9:08 am ET

What was he wearing when he got off the boat? Was his hair slicked back? Why didn't you contact the authorities?

Marcel Reid   September 30th, 2010 9:24 am ET

I'm the chair of ACORN8, we were the Directors of ACORN who found out about the embezzlement and demanded to see the books. And for exercising our fiduciary responsibility were expelled from the organization. We have waged a nearly 2 year battled (which I might add CNN, helped with). The story was too big and had betrayed the trust of too many people to be reduced to the lowest common denominator ( Sex and Whores). I guess in O'Keefe's attempt to be the story never stopped to consider that he was hurting people.

If you would like to know about our ongoing battle with ACORN and it's minions go to our website

Marcel Reid
Chair, ACOR8

Orlando J.   September 30th, 2010 9:45 am ET

What a disturbing (and remarkable lame) notion by this unpleasant, dishonest child. It speaks volumes that Breitbart's boy wonder would try to fight perceived charges of bigotry with a profoundly sexist and misogynistic scheme like this, and that his assumptions about Ms Boudreau were informed by nothing more intelligent than Don Henley's most obnoxious song ever.

Perhaps, though, it's also time for CNN to stop referring to O'Keefe's ACORN smear as "expose videos." He, Breitbart, and the GOP destroyed a valuable community organization responsible for helping the poorest Americans' voices be heard with a a wildly misleading video scam, the "discovery" of which was barely reported, as was the fact that no charges were brought against ACORN for any wrongdoing, and it turned out O'Keefe's main "villian" called the cops as soon as he walked out the door (in his dress shirt and tie, not the "pimp" costume he showed on the video, of course).

I would hope that perhaps now that O'Keefe's lame, vicious tactics have come knocking directly on CNN's door, that it correctly identify his dishonest smear job on ACORN for what it was, rather than continuing to refer to it as though it was not.

Jay Stewart   September 30th, 2010 9:56 am ET

Abbie. You should file attempted kidnapping charges against James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart. This is an attempt by the right wing to intimidate investigative reporters from doing their job.

A Hermit   September 30th, 2010 10:16 am ET

I see some people suggesting Ms Boudreau should have gone on the boat and turned the tables on O'Keefe, and I have to admit that was my first thought. But on reflection she would have been walking into a trap; she had no camera and O'Keefe is notorious for selectively editing his work to distort the truth. And given the twisted scenario he and his apparently unstablefrat-boy friends had in mind it could have been physically dangerous.

You did the right , smart, professional thing in walking away. Now see if you get the little twerp in front of a camera for a live interview in a CNN studio. Make him squirm...

Jac   September 30th, 2010 10:20 am ET

"As a woman in the news industry you have to ignore all of the silly talk from your managers about the clothes you should wear on-air or what color your hair should be... I have worked so hard to have people pay attention to my work, and to be a respected journalist. I don't want to be judged based on anything other than my work."

It seems like your managers actually are using you for eye candy. Maybe you should stop dying your hair and start wearing suits like your male counterparts. However, that does not make what O'Keefe and his posse did any less reprehensible.

R. Miller   September 30th, 2010 10:39 am ET

On whose house and boat was this event to be staged? Whose money backs this creep?

Dormammu   September 30th, 2010 10:51 am ET

Being an Iowa City native, the only thing I am going to say is that O'Keefe is lucky he didn't try to mess with a girl from Iowa. We crazy, not stupid.

Dougie Fresh   September 30th, 2010 10:52 am ET

This O'Keefe kid is just more blood on your shoes.
You won't forget him, but in time, everyone else will.

Jennifer   September 30th, 2010 11:15 am ET

"We got the bubble-headed bleach blonde/who comes on at five./She can tell you 'bout the plane crash/with a gleam in her eye."
They were paraphrasing Don Henley, as though that gives them some sort of credibility.

Kara   September 30th, 2010 11:21 am ET

This isn't a prank or a joke. It's a planned sexual assault. Stop referring to it as anything less than that.

ashton   September 30th, 2010 11:26 am ET

PUNK'D 'pretends' something terrible has happened to get the celebrity's reaction on camera. Nothing bad actually happened.

This person was planning to do something terrible and put in on camera. To quote the person above: This is not a prank. It's a planned sexual assault. Stop referring to it as anything less than that.

Justin Gaetano   September 30th, 2010 11:33 am ET

I'm surprised you weren't worred that a creep like O'Keefe didn't have the potential to go "Ted Bundy".

Next time you have to be around any weirdo Young Republicans, make sure you bring a taser and some pepper spray.

Justin Gaetano   September 30th, 2010 11:34 am ET

sorry, had a typo in my email address.

I'm surprised you weren't worred that a creep like O'Keefe didn't have the potential to go "Ted Bundy".

Next time you have to be around any weirdo Young Republicans, make sure you bring a taser and some pepper spray.

Charles   September 30th, 2010 11:45 am ET

I can't help but wonder whether Ms. Boudreau should have reversed the punk. Play along, get him on the bed in handcuffs (hopefully still clothed to preserve delicate eyes), give him a verbal whipping regarding his misogyny, dishonesty, and ultra-cliched lameness, and take the tape back to CNN. Legal would have conniptions, though.

Neliah   September 30th, 2010 11:47 am ET

Wow. That is date rape level of slimy.

Geoff   September 30th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

If O'Keefe's mother and father are still around, or if he has sisters or a girlfriend[?], you all have failed this nitwit. You should have worked harder at keeping him away from society.

If he were my kid, I would kick his ass for being such an embarrassment.

Wendy   September 30th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

Thanks for sharing your story. As a woman in a male-dominated field myself, I've had to work harder than my male counterparts to be half as successful. It pisses me off. You took the right approach. You first humanized yourself in your post above and just stated the facts. Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing your experiences. Misogyny is still alive and well and it needs to be constantly exposed.

john gardner   September 30th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Please, this ulgy bastard didn't even have a chance in hell, in his scheme to seduce this reporter. She is way out his league, I mean way, way , way out of his league. This little pervert needs to get a reality check... go seduce somebody in your league; like somebody like Jan Brewer or something

Bob   September 30th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

Sounds like this guy thought he was going to have a party.

Lisa   September 30th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

Doesn't anyone see the irony? This guy did a whirlwind tour of Fox News when they released their edited videos on shows like Fox and Friends where Gretchen Carlson shows the world what a truly dumb blonde looks like. There is no shortage of dumb blondes on Fox News, like Megyn Kelly.

Lee   September 30th, 2010 1:52 pm ET

James O'Keefe is delusional, misogynistic, and has documented himself in conspiring to commit rape. I hope CNN is investigating pressing charges.

mabel floyd   September 30th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

well here we go again-the "family values" bunch are at it again. they set up people in order to ruin their perceived character-they lie and think that is ok as they are "exposing" those who have the the guts to stand in their way. their way is God's way they think. i do not think God would give a sleazy bunch of bigots and fake christians permission to lie , cheat and try and set up the real journalists and real christians. they just want to order stop those who thwart honest real journalists from standing in their way. these sleaze balls think they are much more important than they are. those who fall for their nonsence deserve what they get. these kids need to grow up and stop playing games. they are playing in a field they do not understand . they do not have any ethics because their god is power, not in acting in a grown up responsible way.

Flipper   September 30th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

"All of this is so disappointing."

Oh come on, admit it. You laughed at this hilariously incompetent scam too.

Janet   September 30th, 2010 2:30 pm ET

eeewwwww. Imagine if he went through with it – in that case he wouldn't have published the video, but wouldn't it have been great watching you deal with this with professionalism and showing him up for what he is. Of course you would reject him because 1. you are a serious reporter (and for some strange reason, your blond hair has not affected your brain cells and 2. you are very attractive and how many guys really think they could seduce you, I mean seriously?? What an ego on this guy, on top of the stupidity and lack of integrity.

Thank you for sharing this. You are not "whining" as another commenter said, but simply sharing something we should know about this person.

Dan Stevenson   September 30th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

If O'Keefe was taping Boudreau's phone calls without her consent it might be a violation of either Maryland or Georgia law and therefore of interest to law enforcement and the judge in Louisiana who placed O'Keefe on probation.

BBegeonia   September 30th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

O'Keefe assumes that if the female of the species speaks with him, it is an act of seduction.

Imagine what kind of evangenital parenting created his state of mind.

The American prisons are full of damaged goods men who were raised with mindsets just like O'Keefe and his cohorts.

MichelleZB   September 30th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

"And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette."

Not that that matters. Because the important thing is that looks are irrelevant. Don't let this article become an elaborate blonde joke.

Gideon Balzar   September 30th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Okeefe is indeed a loser, but he answered one question for me. So this is the type of guy conservative women fall for. Oh well, you have to take what you can get I guess.

Disenchanted Journo   September 30th, 2010 4:24 pm ET

More proof of how political activists and are not journalists –

jawvbone   September 30th, 2010 8:48 pm ET

I'd like to join with all here who have asked CNN to do an indepth report on exactly what O'Keefe did to bamboozle the media and the Democrats into destroying ACORN.

Such a sad thing that the media and Democrats swallowed the flashy video and would not believe the innocent victims of the scam.

Worse, though, is that the media does not correct the initial story with every possible reference to the ACORN scanda and James O'Keefel.

How about a few words like "edited, false and misleading videos" when referencing O'Keefe's video - which can only be described as edited, false, and misleading.

Wat?   September 30th, 2010 9:18 pm ET

I don't even know what to say. Obviously I can only comprehend so much preposterous behavior at once. Sorry Abbie. You owe that guy a swift kick in the nuts.

s katz   September 30th, 2010 9:24 pm ET

Andrew Breitbart's employee .. should we be all that surprised?

This is what Republicans, TeaBaggers, Birchers and the KKK bring to 'the discussion' of politics.

People are SURPRISED by this?

Haven't you been paying attention?

Blotto von Bismarck   October 1st, 2010 1:08 am ET

Abbie, you handled yourself admirably, especially considering that O'Keefe's intentions were MUCH darker than being a simple prank.

I'm not surprised that O'Keefe was behind this. That little pimple felt the need to doctor his videos in order to attack ACORN. He felt the need to break the law in order to attempt to make some 'point' about Mary Landrieu. This vile cretin is willing to go to any length necessary in order to make his story, even at the harm of others.

The sad thing is that our media and legislators take this conniving little huckster seriously.

ratfacedgirl   October 1st, 2010 8:07 am ET

This wasn't a 'punk'. It was a cruel and unproductive plot, with an idiot for a writer.
I'm elated that you weren't forced to deal with this waste of space's idea of a hoax. Kudos to Izzy for having the courage to come forward, before that ever happened.
Too bad that you shelled out the money for a ticket and wasted a minute of your time...I surely hope he'll be held responsible and be forced to compensate for all that. It's not like he can't afford it...Good Lord, look what he spent on props alone.

You know what I love the most about this? That he proved that he and his cohorts were exactly what he thought you were conspiring to report about them...

"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…"

He did a fine job at the big reveal, all by himself.

I heart you Abbie, you rock.

John K   October 1st, 2010 9:26 am ET

"Punking" is an old left-wing activist tradition (a la Abby Hoffman). This caper went too far, but in general I support his work. I think he doesn't have a brain storm group to hash out his projects before initiating them.
I do find her "poor me, struggling girl journalist" 'tude a bit self-centered, as all on-camera talent goes through similar things. When was the last time you saw a fat, ugly old man on-camera? Women are judged more harshly, but guys are judged on their looks, too.

Aroundtuit   October 1st, 2010 10:59 am ET


CNN is punked every time it plays any Fox originated story.
CNN is punked every time it allows Fox talking heads air time.
Remember that Fox "News" channel was created by Roger Ailes, of Republican fame.
CNN was punked badly when it played the O'Keefe ACORN fantasies.

As for this story – it looks like O'Keefe has punked himself.

Raza   October 1st, 2010 1:52 pm ET

Send him to prison, then he can really get punked

Tyl   October 1st, 2010 4:33 pm ET

What proof does she have besides her own story?

chris   October 1st, 2010 9:58 pm ET

I took the time to read all 259 previous posts. Oddly, only two made mention of Ms.Abbie Boudreau's stated project. A documentary about the young conservative movement. Mr. James O'Keefe's purported actions should be included in the larger commentary. I look forward to viewing the finished production.
On another note. Conspiracy to Commit. He got way lucky last time he 'pranked' a Louisiana Senators office. Good thing that one of the co-conspirators had a powerful judicial father. Got off with probation. I would have to believe that Ms. Boudreau has the E-mails she spoke of and more. I hope and contend that she will forward them to the proper authorities.
Next up from Breitbart: A documentary from James O'Keefe- How Going To Prison Is Just Like Going To Hell, Except For The Eternity and Dead Part Which May Have To Be Amended Because That Funny Investigative Thing I Did About Pimps And Whores Kinda Loses It's Humor A Couple Of Times A Day .

isa kocher   October 2nd, 2010 10:11 am ET

that person is so devoid of ethics conscience decency that words fail me. that any news organization failed to demand the take outs before airing his libel is just a measure of how far journalism has fallen.

anyone in knews knows that fotos and videos can be doctored to show black as white and all you have to do destroy a saint's reputation is photoshop some cloven hoofs to their feet.

O'Keefe believes journalism is making things up and finding a way to "proove" it. god save us.

Mickey   October 2nd, 2010 12:43 pm ET

Abbie says she didn't want this story to become a story about her – but she is purposely trying to make it a story about her.

SHE wasn't O'Keefe's intended target. CNN, and by extension, all of mainstream media, was the target. Abbie was only the tool to make it happen.

The story is James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart, and how deranged and unethical the tactics of right-wing media have become in their efforts to overcome the supposed liberal bias in mainstream media.

But, by sharing her personal history and the natural color of her hair with us, Abbie is making it about herself. She doesn't have the soul of a reporter. She has the ego of an anchor. And I suppose, thanks to this, she'll be one very soon. ...sigh...

Igy   October 2nd, 2010 1:01 pm ET

e-mails, off-cause, were obtained legally? Clearly it was not proposed no positions in CNN to Izzy Santa?

Jane   October 2nd, 2010 7:30 pm ET

I love that these conservative kids are doing these projects. It's the type of stuff that NBC does with "To Catch a Predator" or what 60 Minutes has done in the past. It also is refreshing to see young people who are against abortion. For too long, the media has led the public to believe that the young, and especially young women, speak with one voice when it comes to the issue of abortion.

Catherine Bullock   October 2nd, 2010 8:09 pm ET

I just watched the CNN documentary. These young conservatives demonstrate the lack of maturity and critical thinking skills that are present in the Republican party today. This is what happens when education is not valued. Their parents must be so disappointed.... or perhaps they are similar. Poor judgement, bigotry, hiding behind religion, pathetic.

Mike   October 3rd, 2010 12:22 am ET

This is what republiKKKlans Do! Over & Over & Over Again! He had Cheers from karl rove! Will FOX Noise find it "Not so bad?" Will Lush dismiss it as a childish prank? Will beck make light of it, while saying he isn't? & which one of them will be the 1st to make Okeefe the Victim?

IdahoSpud   October 3rd, 2010 9:30 am ET

So, Ms. Reporter... Since you are now part of this freak-show, do some reporting for us. Who is the owner of the yacht? I am guessing this bozo doesn't own it, so who bankrolled him?

Eats Spuds   October 3rd, 2010 11:55 am ET

IdahoSpud "that yacht" you hope it is, is a tiny sail boat

dawn wannabe   October 3rd, 2010 7:31 pm ET

strange people these young "conservatives." on the edgte is right.

Dan   October 3rd, 2010 8:19 pm ET

Ms. Boudreau;

I'm glad someone in the establishment got a close up look at how deranged this movement is, and the lengths it will go to in pursuit of those aims. As usual, there just is no one on the left doing anything like this, employing lies, hidden cameras and dishonestly edited footage to pursue an agenda. It's what Nixon's crew called "ratf**king" and a new generation of right wing wingnuts have taken up Nixon's torch, the only difference being the technology used.

Now that you've seen it, you will hopefully recognize other instances of this, so the next Shirley Sherrod who gets assailed by these sleazy people isn't fired in nothing flat before the truth has a chance to arrive.

I suggest anyone interested in this topic read David Neiwert, Max Blumenthal and most of all, historian Rick Perlstein for the long history of vile tactics used by the right.

Vicki Wampler   October 3rd, 2010 11:15 pm ET

Dear Abbie,

I believe James is guilty of an entrapment scam. He is conducting his life, which is on probation, in a manner that is an illegal scam, which is to be considered entrapment. You can not deliberately set someone up in an illegal, illicite, or unethical scam, unless you have made them aware that you are. Since Izzy told you about his actions, and intentions, it is obvious he is conducting an illegal entrapment campaign. Sue the crap out of him, you have a right to ethical treatment as a journalist. Freedom of the press!


Vicki Wampler

Ed Himes   October 4th, 2010 4:11 am ET

OCTOBER 04, 2010




Justin   October 4th, 2010 8:57 am ET

Seriously...Marvin Gaye is too cliche....but all that other stuff is not?!?! The whole plot was one big cliche!

Chantal   October 4th, 2010 10:30 am ET

Ms Boudreau,

You did a wonderful piece, and kept your word, Thank You! I'm outraged at James plan. Izza was very brave and I commend her for speaking to you. James has lost all credibility and I hope from now on he gets ignored. I hope Izza stays far from him, as he might want to avenge his loss of respect.
Again, you did a wonderful piece. I suspect both conservatives and liberals will respect you and your wonderful work.

Penny   October 4th, 2010 7:53 pm ET

Ms. Boudreau,
I am glad you were (are) canny enough to be suspicious of the set-up and that Izza, of O'Keefe's group understood this was a potentially dangerous situation for you, and broke "solidarity"
with O'Keefe. Thank you, Izza, for breaking that juvenile "code of silence. What if you had gone on the boat and O'Keefe had become enraged when you did not "buy into" his plans? Assault and rape are all too potential in this type of set-up.

Now, I just hope networks will offer their female reporters paid martial arts training, as well as a free copy of "The Gift of Fear".

Jillian   October 4th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

You are an amazing journalist. I loved watching your documentory–wonderful job.

Richard   October 5th, 2010 12:48 pm ET

I think everyone is missing the point that the fratboy overshot on...he never meant to actually have relations with this reporter, just to show the public that many reporters lower their moral standards below that of a politician in order to get a scoop.

That a player found out she was being played and then cried about it? Please, interview any sleezeball and/or belly shirt skank in a club and ask them to recall some horror stories and you'll get much better stories than this.

If you don't want to get treated like a particular stereotype (many are in place for good reason, just because you're in the minority or a fake doesn't rule out the stereotype) then stop looking like the stereotype. Go back to being the brunette you have thrown to the wayside, though I doubt you'd have quite so many of the fans that you enjoy due to such changes. Can't have your cake and eat it too, if you're going to enjoy the benefits of dolling up like a sex object you forfeit your ability to complain when someone treats you like one.

Bram Floria   October 6th, 2010 8:26 am ET

...So I get to the last line: "And the ironic thing is that I'm really a brunette."

Ironic? You might say that. Haven't you just spent 20 paragraphs pleading with us to take you seriously for your WORK, and not your LOOKS?

thinkingriddles   October 6th, 2010 9:17 am ET

Abbie, this is a nice note, and I'm very sorry that you got in this tangle while being a professional about your work.

Within the journalistic culture, it's hard to realize how a professional journalist like yourself is used by the establishment to push agendas that make mainstream America hostile to the media. At the same time, there is absolutely no excuse for O'Keefe's behavior and attitude. You, and decency, win, on this go around. Wish you the best.

sue   October 8th, 2010 11:22 pm ET


This sounds juuuust a little like a stereotype to me. And is THAT not being judgemental?? It is amazing to me the absolute hate and negativity that is directed to people solely based on being associated with a particular political party. And that goes for BOTH sides of the aisle.

"CNN was punked badly when it played the O'Keefe ACORN fantasies"

It's interesting that you think those videos were 'fantasy' when the people recorded actually trying to help the 'pimp'(and not all did) were fired, and ACORN lost federal funding after these videos were shown. But most of his other videos have backfired on him because HE was stereotyping others. Serves him right.

Dean H.   October 9th, 2010 8:33 pm ET

I'm going to keep this real short. Its to bad that a smart but classy woman can not be all that she can be with out ((Others being jealous)).

mike   October 14th, 2010 9:20 am ET

Boudreau and ACORN make a better contrast than comparison. Boudreau handled herself like a professional, and refused to participate in in unprofessional activity when she was confronted with it. ACORN, on the other hand, willfully participated in unprofessional activity to the point of committing illegal acts (conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, at the very least, which is itself a felony). If ACORN had held itself accountable to professional standards in a manner like Boudreau, then ACORN would still be in business. ACORN deserves no apology, only the scorn it gets.

toxictown   October 14th, 2010 11:21 am ET

I only hope this helps to discredit the already reprehensible philosophy and tactics of the conservative movement.

Kim Kar   December 8th, 2010 6:18 pm ET

Nice post, kind of drawn out though. Really good subject matter though.

A.J.   February 6th, 2011 6:22 pm ET

Perhaps the actual goal were much different than perceived, e.g. avoidance of an interview with CNN, which could have in effect been a successful "punk" or in the least achieved the desired outcome.

ed   March 9th, 2011 9:43 am ET

There you go. 98% of posters think the guy was a piece of manure. There are issues that transend politics. People know when there is a woman who can be their neighbor, friend, sister, daughter, treated this way, and that a guy like this is a loser and a lowlife. Also, people are not stupid and can smell the difference between a woman who is earnest and honest, being dealt with improperly by a lowlife, as opposed to women who are playing some sort of a sexual game. It comes through loud and clear that you are a young woman journalist who was assaulted by a weird loser creep with sexual issues that he is trying to hide behind the guise of being a 'political activist.' People like this need to belong to a group of some sort so they can have the social affirmation of other people to mask their own neuroses and be accepted as valuable people. The real people who were taken for a ride by O'Keefe are conservatives, who allowed themselves to be used as a peanut gallery, showering affirmation on someone who has the words creep and weirdo written all over him. People have a 'sniff-o-meter', and can see that this is about a together, with-it person who also happens to be attractive, and a loser who fantasized that he would 'have a chance' – oldest nerd fantasy in the book – while wrapping the fantasy in a veneer of political activism, in order to 'seduce' a cadre pf peanut gallery supporters, 90% of whom would actually have been appalled if they knew what this guy really was. Bottom line: Boudreau and Santa – come out smelling like a rose, O'Keefe – joins the panoply of criminals/losers/stalkers in the American psyche from Bundy to Manson to John Hinckley. If it's any consolation at all, O'Keefes's ignominity is going to follow him for a long time, and he will always be seen as the weirdo/loser who no-one wants to be in an elevator alone with and as someone you wouldn't want to set up your sister with (even if his ignominity fades to the background, it's not something people will forget – they learned what he was and now know they were duped). You passed the test of the sniff-o-meter. O'Keefe failed it. You're the classy victim people love to cheer. He's the slimy loser people love to hate. Enjoy it.

Scarlett Williamson   May 18th, 2011 4:07 pm ET

How LOW can some people sink? What O'Keefe tried to do should be illegal! How can anyone take him and people around him seriously after this and (after his silly impersonation of a pimp) in the ACORN situation ? How sad that some people discredit you because you are pretty and blonde. AS if it is impossible to be those 2 things and intelligent, hardworking and successful, too. THis is ignorance and Sexism at it's worst!

Best of luck in your caeer.

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