A Family Or Corporate Matter? CNN Contributor Andrew Gillum Found Inebriated In Miami Hotel Room With Illegal Drugs

It is less than 24 hours since the story broke but CNN contributor and former Democratic candidate for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum is already being referred to as a “former rising star of the Democratic party.” That is not a good sign. Gillum was found “inebriated” early Friday morning in a hotel where meth was also recovered. The story may rekindle a long controversy over “morals clauses” in media contracts.

There are various reports that the other man, Travis Dyson, 30, is an escort or may work in the porn industry but that has not been confirmed. A person with the same name and general description self-identifies as a male escort. All that is really known is that Dyson was hospitalized and both men were described by a witness of being found in the room vomiting. There is no clear criminality that I can see in this incident.

The incident raises an issue that we have discussed before about how such private conduct can result in severance by media corporations. Indeed, CNN faces such a controversy with the arrest of Richard Quest, who has continued with the company as a major contributor.

Gillum, 40, was in the room at the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach and police report that “Mr. Gillum was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state.” 

Gillum is married with three children and issued the following statement:

“I was in Miami last night for a wedding celebration when first responders were called to assist one of my friends. While I had too much to drink, I want to be clear that I have never used methamphetamines. I apologize to the people of Florida for the distraction this has caused our movement. I’m thankful to the incredible Miami Beach EMS team for their efforts. I will spend the next few weeks with my family and appreciate privacy during this time.”

Officers reported that they could see three small clear plastic baggies containing suspected crystal meth on both the bed and floor of the room. Such observations in “plain sight” allow the police to seize evidence without a warrant. However, mere possession of meth in the room is unlikely to result in criminal charges against Gillum, particularly because the ownership or use of the meth remains unclear.

Dyson is referenced in some articles as being treated for an overdose. He is a friend of Dr. Aldo Mejias, 56, who said that Dyson used his credit card for the room and he found both men vomiting. After Dyson collapsed, Mejias said that he performed chest compressions and other aid.

CNN’s reporting thus far is highly abridged and notably does not contain any additional information despite the fact that Gillum has been a contributor since 2019.

There is no question that Gillum would have been doubly benefitted from following the advice for “social distancing” in this case but the controversy again forces the issue of whether we can separate the private lives (and controversies) of celebrities from their work. In the media, such incidents can trigger clauses allowing for the termination of contracts for conduct that would bring embarrassment or discredit to the news organization. The standard “morals clause” is triggered by criminal conduct or conduct that brings “public disrepute, scandal, or embarrassment.” These clauses are written broadly to protect the news organizations and their “brand.” The very reference to these contractual provisions as “morals clauses” raises the question of their contemporary value. We are thankfully past the time when companies regularly confronted employees on their moral standing. Many of us do not feel comfortable judging the morals of others. More importantly, these clauses are often used as excuses to jettison anyone who threatens the “bottom line” of an organization.

Enforcement under these clauses can be dangerously subjective or ill-defined. Indeed, one commentator observed, what is embarrassing for one employees can be enhancing to another: “Different industries have diverse views on morality, which accounts for the discrepancies in morals clause enforcement. Although a newscaster’s reputation hinges upon his or her intellectual credibility, a rap artist’s depends only on his street credibility, or ‘street cred.'”

As private companies, media outfits are not subject to the type of free speech or association limits imposed on the government. As we discussed dozens of cases where companies have severed employees for notorious or embarrassing conduct from the bicyclist who flipped off Trump to drunks at sporting events to offensive social media postings. I have often been critical of such moves as inimical to free speech. I have previously written about concerns that public employees are increasingly being disciplined for actions in their private lives or views or associations outside of work. We have previously seen teachers (here, hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, here), students (herehere and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a prior career in the adult entertainment industry (here).  This includes Halloween costume controversies.

In the case of Gillum, he is not accused of any crime and, even if he was in the hotel for a tryst or drug use or both, would such a finding diminish his value as a political commentator? Gillum lost in a close race for government of Florida. Until this incident, he was viewed as one of the party’s most outstanding prospects for future elections. Quest is an example of someone who continued to contributed greatly to CNN after his arrest. Moreover, Gillum has proven consistently insightful and talented as a contributor on CNN in my view.

I have been generally critical of morals clauses and this incident highlights my concerns. However, I honestly cannot remember the last time that a media figure was severed under such a clause. Perhaps our readers in the media might be able to help in this regard. What was the last time that a media organization fired someone for such conduct? The more common approach is to keep someone on ice (and off the air) while seeing if they can weather the storm. Most of these contracts run year to year so that the organization can simply not renew if the on-air talent cannot recover. [For full disclosure, all of my past media contracts have contained such clauses, including my current contracts with CBS and BBC].

What do you think?

144 thoughts on “A Family Or Corporate Matter? CNN Contributor Andrew Gillum Found Inebriated In Miami Hotel Room With Illegal Drugs”

  1. In this situation, the homosexual sex worker, is that guy OK?

    tough situation for the sex worker who needs emergency medical care while “working” — the more famous the “customer” the greater the danger of being left to die

    lucky for this fellow, there was a third man there who was coherent enough to call for help, since, apparently gillum was totally wasted and could barely talk.

    now I just wonder is Gillum going to get the fifth degree for having a private um meeting with an escort offering presumably erotic (and unlicensed) massage? or is that only reserved for heterosexual old white guys who see licensed asian massage providers, like that Kraft guy?

    see here is where again, i say, let the (consensual, adult) sex work be legalized, and then the cops can stop playing all their unfair games with these laws

    1. Indeed, everything about this reads like a party foul gone way wrong. If the escort was actually working he wouldn’t have gotten that f’ed up.

      Not saying Mr. Gillum didn’t have any social connection with these guys. But it’s a rando party mission flailing until crashing into the wall.

      I for one am glad Gillum ended up in rehab behind it. He’s clearly in need of help. Probably a recognition of who he very well may be, etc. I wish him the absolute best. Ditto for the escort and everyone involved.

      Turley is ambulance chasing on this one, taunting victims. Finding it a bit too clever.

  2. Turley, you have sunk to a new low with this trash piece. You no longer have any credibility because there is no longer any doubt that you are carrying water for Trumpy Bear. Anything to help him attack media he hates, especially CNN. “reports” of this or that are nothing–not even hearsay, and beneath the dignity of a law professor to repeat. That “meth” could have been planted by anyone. Reports that some man may be in the porn or escort industry is just gossip, but what’s really revealing is that you use your blog for this kind of tripe while completely ignoring the big stories out there: Trump’s lies, his incompetence, unprecedented shortages of essentials, fear, rising morbidity and mortality and shut downs of schools, churches, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, Broadway, the list goes on.

    They say that fear is driving the hoarding behavior, so I have to wonder: what are you afraid of Turley that motivates you to write garbage like this? Not being able to afford the best colleges for your kids or exotic vacations or an expensive lifestyle? Is that what drives you to write trash like this? That’s what I wonder.

      1. Yeah, keep believing what Fox News tells you about “the left”, “the Dems”, the “libs” and “lame stream media” as being the problem with the rising morbidity and mortality rates due to COVID-19, schools, churches, businesses, restaurants, bars and nightclub closures and the stock market free fall. What does this reporter’s arrest have to do with today’s crisis? Why even bother to report gossip and innuendo? I can only think of one reason: to help Trumpy Bear. People, businesses and the economy are literally dying because of him, but you Trumpsters keep the faith: be sure to tune in to Hannity, Levin, Ingraham, Rush and Tucker to hear what Kellyanne came up with to blame Obama, the media, libs, Dems and the left. Most of all: keep believing–those aren’t empty shelves in grocery stores, but even if they are, it’s Obama’s fault, or the lame stream media or the Democrats who caused a panic, because it sure isn’t Trumpy Bear’s fault. He doesn’t know anything about how the pandemic rapid response team got disbanded, so maybe that didn’t really happen, either. So what if the WHO offered tests and Trumpy Bear turned them down? Go ahead and not wash your hands. It’s all a hoax promulgated by the Democrats and lame stream media. Besides, if you’re worried, you can get a test whenever you want–right? It’ll all be over soon–in April, which is just 16 days away. The rest of us can’t wait until November.

          1. jiggy – you can tell Andrew that if he has corona virus that meth will make him care less about it. 😉

    1. Yeah. The meth was planted. That’s totally what happened. [eye roll]

  3. Prof. Turley, I’d have to disagree about the practicality of charging Andrew Gillum with illegal possession of methamphetamine. Those bags ought to retain fingerprints very well, and if any match Gillum’s, well, that supports possession charges.

    This is the latest of many incidents in which first responders have declined to charge the politically well-connected who were found during a “domestic disturbance” call with lots of cannabis, meth, and other cotnrolled substances in their vicinity, and… Orwell said it best in 1984 “Some animals are more equal than others”.

  4. Why the hell is Joe Biden always squinting his botoxed eyes and shouting like an angry mofo? WTF is wrong with Joe Biden? Keep that senile nut job away from the White House.

      1. Brain tumors pressing on the optic nerve will cause so of this types of effects also.

        I know such a case.

        1. Biden’s facial expressions remind me of the same kinds of facial expressions we were seeing on John McCain and then we find he has brain tumor/cancer. Biden has had what, two brain aneuryisms? That’s not a small thing.

          1. As I understand it, if the tumor is close to the edge of the skull, small enough, it’s operable, if not one is screwed.

            Also if it’s small they can ciber knife, sic, it with radiation a time of 2.

            And knock on wood/pray the crap doesn’t come back.

            With Biden’s case running for Prez & his know health issues I don’t think it’s out of line to see his latest brain scans.

            It could be hollow. lol;)

    1. “WTF is wrong with Joe Biden?”

      Not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a functional PET scan showled lesions in his parietal and frontal lobes. The confusion of his wife and his sister and another campaign speech earlier this year in South Carolina where he asked his audience to vote for him for the US Senate remind me of cases neurologist Oliver Sacks discussed in his book “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”.

      1. How many times tonight did we hear Joe mention the Situation Room? His answer to the question “How would you handle X?” was “I would gather experts in the Situation Room, that’s what I’d do. And those experts would know science. And we’d talk about science with the experts, that are all gathered in the Situation Room cuz we got a situation to handle. So that’s how he’d handle it. Joe would gather experts in the Situation Room.

        Bernie told us to “go to the You Tube” to look up stuff.

    1. Squeeky

      Hysterical video. Notice that the speakers are all black leaders


    1. Who is Buddy Cianci and why is it relevant to this article. More needs to be said.

      1. Buddy Cianci was mayor of Providence who was convicted, and jailed, twice yet still worked in on the air political commentary until he died. The first conviction involved him holding his wife’s lover hostage while burning him with cigarettes and urinating on him. Later, after getting out of jail and being re elected, he and his administration went down in a massive bribe taking operation.

        He died soon after running for the mayor’s job for a third time and losing. And just as an aside he used to attend the thrash keggers my friends and I had on the beach in the early ’80’s with a state police escort.

        And he gave great political commentary on the air.

  5. Surprise, Surprise, another Democrat caught in a compromising position. The Grand Ol’ Party of No Morals.

  6. My Argument With Diaper Man

    By The Hated Shill

    Continued From Lower Thread

    Diaper Man, your last response is obviously from an article of some kind.  But you won’t tell us where it’s from, a familiar void.

    Note the year mentioned in this Acorn matter: ‘2009’.  Black voters just helped elect our first Black president.  

    Conservatives are furious!  They thought they owned the White House.  So Project Veritas responds with a sting on Acorn whose mission was registering Black Voters.

    Now one can stop right here and ask: ‘Why was Project Veritas focused on Acorn at this point in time?”  Perhaps the Acorn sting was meant to discourage activists registering Black voters?  Southern states, in particular, have a history of such efforts.

    During the Obama years Red States throughout America devoted considerable attention to voter suppression schemes.  Elderly Blacks, born in Jim Crow times, found themselves disenfranchised for lack of birth certificates.  Voter Suppression efforts in Wisconsin and Michigan may have given those states to Trump in 2016.

    Those voter suppression efforts used the Project Veritas sting on Acorn as a pretext for changing voter requirements.  How odd that Project Veritas spearheaded such a drive.  One should note that in 2009 a major recession was causing widespread lay-offs and evictions.  Many felt that Wall Street had engineered too many derivatives.

    Yet amid all this financial turmoil, Project Veritas focused on stinging an organization responsible for getting Blacks to vote.  Was that a journalistic priority?  Or was it the work of Dirty Tricksters?  Political descendants, perhaps, of Nixon’s Dirty Tricksters.  Yeah, that’s James O’Keefe a Young Republican from the Nixon era infiltrating enemies.  He seems perfectly cast for the part.

    Note: Becaue he is hated so much, The Hated Shill is going ‘Anonymous’ until further notice.  Crazed Idiot keeps acting a little ‘too crazy’.

    1. The Shill, AKA Paint Chips, “is going ‘Anonymous’ until further notice”. The wet noodle that cried about standing on principle and not posting anonymously is now going anonymous and making excuses for it. He has been anonymous before and has had umpteen names. He has no backbone so he lies in the street littering and providing another obstacle for people to avoid.

    2. Paint Chips claimed that there were no Washington Post retractions. This retraction by the Washington Post was one of many and listed on page 2. Apparently Paint Chips is referred to his articles by a left wing blog and doesn’t actually read the Washington Post.

      Instead of admitting he was wrong he shifted the discussion from the retractions to the discussion of motive and in the process makes the same argument that the Washington Post had to retract so maybe it is a good thing that Paint Chips retracted himself from the community of posters that aren’t afraid to use a single name specific to themselves.

      I won’t go into the history written by Paint Chips because both Democrats and Republicans in the House voted to defund ACORN 345-75 (Senate I think 83-7) for its actions which were heinous. The vote speaks for itself no matter how the left spins the dialogue.

    3. ” Black voters just helped elect our first Black president. “

      Take note of the spin from Paint Chips. Black voters mostly vote Democrat so that meant a lot of white voters voted for Obama, but the Shill, AKA Paint Chips wants to again play the race card which IMO is racist.

      ACORN was funded by the American people and was shown to provide advice that was illegal and by doing so promote prostitution among women that were still considered children. The only question that remains is since Paint Chips supports ACORN’s child abuse so strongly and illogically we have to ask ourselves is he a pedophile? No one should raise their voices to protest such a question because Paint Chips has no problem lying about the people he writes about just like he does in this piece.

    4. ” But you won’t tell us where it’s from, a familiar void.”

      This is from Paint Chips one that expects government to do everything for him and people to do his research. Don’t you think the person that wrote it is more important. That was written at the top, Ken Shepherd. Further down one will see written in print where the article came from and finally one can look it up in about 10 seconds.

      Paint Chips is a helpless prevaricator that doesn’t belong on a blog of this nature whether using his own name or an alias.


      1. Paulie, you can see here how unstable Diaper Man is; just vaguely saner than Crazed Idiot. Keep this in mind before wasting 20 minutes on even a garden variety discussion with him.

        1. Meth is adopted by gay men because it provides them temporary escape from many of their problems due to being conflicted like Andrew Gillum, self-loathing like Gillum, being out of congruence with their character like Gillum and sometimes a gurl just wants to be a gurl like Anonymous @ 12:50 PM aka Peter Shill, The Shill, John Burgoyne, Enoch Poor, Seth Warner, Paint chips, WTF and butt buddies R us

  7. I predict a slap on the wrist for Mr. Gillum and soon crickets. Yet had it been a conservative it would be discussed daily for a good 6 months to a year.

    1. Yup

      Observe the foul comments by some on here desperate to change the subject

      Trump grabs puzzie

      Gillum grabs crystal meth and a rent boy

      CNN full report at 11 PM….right?

    2. But.. but… but… it’s not NEWS when the progressive media’s screen stars are founf in flagrante and in possession, in a hoter room. It’s called the “Marion Barry”

  8. Strange that the gay rent boy has bigger 🍒 in being authentic about who he is versus Gillum being a liar, a cheater and a fake in hiding his lust for gay men while putting forth a persona he is not

      1. Oh look, a comment we’ve all come to know and love, a comment deep from the child’s mind. Good Job!

    1. Calling an opposition politician gay isn’t exactly rare. The Democrats once implied that Lindsey Graham had unrequited love that dared not speak its name for Trump.

      But this was a documented paramedic call. The circumstances surrounding that call reported in local media, like this blog’s name, speak for themselves.

  9. OT and infinitely more important than this garbage about Gillum. These are troubled times, JT. You have a forum, here. Use it for something good:


    “Sanctioning countries in a way that denies them the ability to purchase basic medical supplies in the middle of a deadly global pandemic is a form of mass murder:”

    1. “Not Me. Us.”


      #China helps #Italy and #Iran fight the #coronavirus – while #Washington tries to strangle half the world with its spiteful economic #sanctions

      E’ stata una notte ricca di emozioni, all’Aeroporto di Fiumicino. Le oltre 30 tonnellate di materiale sanitario donate dalla #Cina all’Italia saranno distribuite presto, e da oggi il nostro team inizierà a collaborare con i colleghi italiani per sconfiggere il #COVID19 !


      Translation of above:

      It was a night full of emotions, at Fiumicino Airport. The more than 30 tons of medical material donated by #Cina to Italy will be distributed soon, and from today our team will start collaborating with Italian colleagues to defeat the # COVID19!

  10. CNN doesn’t have a good reputation left to protect. Gillum should be safe.

    1. Travis Dyson is former military and very passionate about being authentic. CNN will be offering him a contract. any. day. now.


      Dyson Was Formerly in the Military

      In the bio section of the website, Dyson says of himself, “I like kissing and foreplay… lots of kissing and foreplay. I enjoy my nipple rings lightly played with. Mutual touch and intimacy goes a long way.” Dyson says that he was formerly in the military. The profile ends with Dyson saying, “If it is a dating atmosphere you desire, I definitely have an eclectic taste for dates. I don’t only enjoy one type of fun… but the type of fun we have is definitely up to you. Let’s have fun💋.”

      1. mespo – I like a guy who tells you uo front what they like. 😉

      2. So, I had a good chuckle out of Mike Esposito’s comments. I had an idea of what Travis Dyson would look like in my head. And a Vin Diesel look-alike was not it. Boy, my idea, and the actuality, two separate things. But I must say that is quite the Loving Life smile 😁 Travis has….mine looks much more forced like 😐 this face with some teeth, awkward. Just awkward. But now, I know what Travis is on, some upper happy time drug, so I guess that’s why…

        1. And I heard nothing about Gillum on the news in CA, maybe I just missed the piece, but nada. Were these two found naked too? I would be very peeved if I was his wife. Oy Vey! Hijole! O.m.g.!

        2. WW33 – I am looking forward to the body camera releases on this one. 😉

          1. Ohhhhh, noouuwaahhh 😲😲😲😵😵😵 😦 😦😦

            Smh, like Live P.D., the show.

            1. WW33 – the Juicy Smollett cams were very telling. This is comedy gold.

  11. In the society Andrew Gillum espouses, he would, today, be stood up against a wall and shot.

    But, then, so would most of us.

  12. I think Gillum is perfect for representing the CNN brand.

    Could do MSNBC as well.

    The ‘morals clause’ in their contracts should be a promise to have no morals.

    1. I foresee a CNN panel show with Shepard Smith, Don Lemon, and Anderson Cooper in Andrew Gillum’s future. And perhaps a rebranding in CNN’s future. Maybe Bravo will buy them.

  13. The lords of commerce know when a celebrity’s conduct leads to the red ink; that’s when it’s decided, clause or no clause. They can always be “persuaded” to resign. In fact, to rely on the clause is a risk the employer doesn’t want to take, because it keeps the smell in the air longer if the celeb tries to fight it in court.

    But with journalism celebs, it gets more complicated. A news organization’s image is part of its work product. It sells moral judgment, the harsher the better, and to have one of its own do the same disgusting things it condemns others for, diminishes its value.

  14. Another Cable News Person In Trouble:

    Trish Regan Shelved For DIsmissing Virus

    Fox Business announced this week that the show hosted by Trish Regan will be on “hiatus” following controversial remarks she made about the coronavirus. 

    “Fox Business’s prime-time programs Trish Regan Primetime and Kennedy will both be on hiatus until further notice,” the network said in a statement, referring to Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery, who hosts her own show on the network. “Due to the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage, we are deploying all resources from both shows for staffing needs during critical market hours. Fox Business will run long form programming in prime time for the foreseeable future.” 

    Fox Business added the hiatus for Kennedy was related to staffing. 

    The announcement from Fox Business came amid fallout from Regan’s claims that the coronavirus is “another attempt to impeach” President Trump. 

    “We’ve reached a tipping point. The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him, and only him, for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president,” she said Monday, adding that Democrats and the “liberal media” were using the coronavirus to “destroy the president.” 

    Regan’s comments led to an avalanche of criticism, with some saying the host should be permanently fired.

    Regan, a reliable supporter of Trump on her show, took a milder tone when discussing the coronavirus Friday night shortly before her hiatus was announced.

    Edited From: “Fox Business Says Host Trish Regan On ‘Hiatis’ Amid Controversial Remarks”

    The Hill, 3/14/20

    1. Olly, for some ‘odd reason’ your comments sound like those of a lifelong sour apple with no purpose whatsoever. A perfectly dreary soul that no one would have ever missed.

      1. for some ‘odd reason’ your comments sound like those of a lifelong sour apple with no purpose whatsoever.

        Your feedback would have considerably more value if you had built a foundation of reasoned commentary. Given your history on this blog, that ain’t gonna happen.

    2. Olly, your comment was funny to those that recognize the truths behind it. The others might be Woke but they aren’t Awake.

      1. Allan,
        I’m sure Anonymous recognized the truth behind it. It’s not funny to him because he’s on the wrong side of the truth.

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