James O’Keefe’s plan to secretly film fake seduction of CNN reporter on ‘floating pleasure palace’ scuttled by disgruntled co-founder of his organization
Conservative activist James O’Keefe, best known for his heavily-edited videos of employees at the anti-poverty ACORN, is now alleged to have planned to turn the same tactics on news network CNN.
The plans, however, blew up in his face when the executive director of his Project Veritas tipped off CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau before O’Keefe could lure her onto what CNN describes as “a boat filled with sexually explicit props” and record her reaction to his “sexually suggestive comments.”
Isabel Santa, who saw O’Keefe’s planned sting as an “incredibly bad” idea and alerted Boudreau to what was happening, has since been relieved of her duties and erased from the Project Veritas website, where the link to https://www.theprojectveritas.com/izzy now comes up as “Page not found.”
The Google cache shows that the same page formerly read, “Izzy Santa is the Executive Director of Project Veritas. She and James are the original architects of Project Veritas’ model. She is responsible for building the institution, overseeing its operations, and strategic planning.”
Boudreau was working on a CNN documentary about young conservative activists, “Right on the Edge,” which the network will be airing this weekend. According to CNN, when she asked to be present during the shooting of a music video starring O’Keefe, the video director, Christian Hartsock — who previously worked on the ACORN sting — told her that O’Keefe was reluctant but would call her to discuss the request.
O’Keefe secretly recorded that call, during which he asked Boudreau to meet with him in person and alone, and emailed it to Santa and two other colleagues under the heading “Getting Closer.”
Ben Whetmore — who gained notice last winter for playing host to O’Keefe and his associates when they were arrested in New Orleans for attempting to tamper with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phones — participated enthusiastically in O’Keefe’s plans. He produced a 13-page memo which described CNN as “a kinown unfriendly media organization” and suggested that O’Keefe should outfit his boat as a floating pleasure palace and then secretly film Boudreau as he came onto her privately.
“I’ve been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is,” O’Keefe was to say in the video. “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. … 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.”
Those were the plans that Santa saw as an “incredibly bad” idea. “I have a problem on my hands that I think has the potential for unnecessary backlash,” she wrote to an unidentified donor to Project Veritas. “She doesn’t know she is getting on a boat but rather James’ office. James has staged the boat to be a palace of pleasure with all sorts of props, wants to have a bizarre sexual conversation with her. He wants to gag CNN.”
Boudreau says that when she showed up, an obviously distressed Santa explained to her “that James was going to be dressed up and have strawberries and champagne on the boat, and he was going to hit on me the whole time.” As a result, Boudreau confronted O’Keefe when he appeared, told him he did not have permission to record her, and left.
“That is not my work product,” O’Keefe told CNN when asked about the plans outlined in Whetmore’s memo. “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.”
According to Santa, however, this is not true and the emails which she supplied to CNN reveal O’Keefe’s true intentions.
Neither O’Keefe nor Whetmore has commented further on the matter, but on Sunday, Whetmore twittered “I liked a YouTube video — America’s Most Trusted News Source, CNN, reporting falsely o…” The video posted by Whetmore shows brief clips of CNN reporters criticizing the ACORN sting as “entrapment” and “propaganda.”