Andrew Gillum, the disgraced former Democratic candidate for governor, has retained a high-powered criminal defense attorney to go after news outlets that published a photo of him lying in his own vomit.
According to police, Gillum, 40, and Travis Dyson, a known male escort, participated in a drug-fueled sex party during which Dyson overdosed in room 1107 at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel on March 13. Dyson, 30, was treated at a hospital and discharged.
Alex Spiro, who has ties to rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill, fired off take-down letters to media outlets that published a photo of Gillum sprawled naked on the bathroom floor. The photo shows Gillum lying on a pillow and a towel that is covered in his vomit. Another towel under his lower torso is soiled with feces.
"To be clear, The public has no legitimate interest in any such photo, and its release appears to be based not on any such desire to shed light on an important public event, but rather to appeal to the prurient interests of certain members of the public. Moreover, this blatant attempt to damage the reputation of a devoted public servant seeking treatment in the midst of a national emergency and global health crisis is appalling and demonstrates an utter disregard of decency and the privacy rights of Mr. Gillum and his family. The article is a violation of Mr. Gillum's rights to privacy and must be promptly removed."
Out of compassion for Mr. Gillum's wife and their 3 minor children, Javier Monjarres, the publisher of the Floridian Press, complied with the request and removed the article and photo.
However, the Central Florida Post has made it clear that they will not remove the image, not only because Spiro's demands are "legally without merit," but because "Mr. Gillum is a public figure whose life is of considerable public interest."
"Despite Mr. Spiro's claims that the public has no legitimate interest in the photo, they clearly do. After our report, dozens of news outlets around the globe used our exclusive in their own commentary and Andrew Gillum began trending on Twitter."
The viral image has been turned into memes across multiple digital platforms.
Enrique Tarrio, who helped the Post obtain the photo, says he plans to resist any legal action by Spiro.
"[Gillum] was almost elected governor of Florida. If he had won, we would have had a sitting governor involved in a meth fueled gay sex orgy with a known male prostitute as we faced down the Wuhan flu pandemic. The public would have been placed at great risk and it is likely that people could have died due to delayed response times related to Mr. Gillum's needs to enter rehab. Mr. Gillum is not a dedicated public servant as his attorney claim. If he was a dedicated public servant he would have remained dedicated to his public image. That means not cheating on his wife, procuring male prostitutes, and engaging in meth fueled sex orgies while his young children were left home fatherless. Thank God that Florida was smart enough to elect a true leader like Ron DeSantis."
The Central Florida Post has filed an open records request with the Miami Beach Police Department under the Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) for "unredacted" police bodycam footage of Gillum in the hotel room.
Gillum apologized to his wife, R. Jai Gillum, friends and supporters before announcing his plan to enter an alcohol rehabilitation facility. It is unclear if he actually entered rehab.
"This man could have been our governor and a phony rehab stint is clearly a ploy for sympathy before re-entering the political arena," wrote Jacob Engels, an Orlando based journalist who owns the Central Florida Post.