This is the escort service operated by Deborah Jeane Palfrey in Washington, D.C.. Palfrey gave her client phone numbers to ABC and tonight ABC's newsmagazine "20/20" told us about the clients on Palfrey's list:
In what had become a highly anticipated story about an escort service operating in the capital for the last 13 years, ABC News reported Friday night that the business catered to many men throughout the federal government.
The network also disclosed that some customers were prosperous businessmen from out of town and that the women worked for the service to earn extra money.
If none of that seemed surprising — or even mildly interesting — what about the names of the men who supposedly sought respite from their high-pressure duties by paying $300 to have the women attend to them in 90-minute sessions?
Friday's broadcast of the program "20/20" did not disclose any names beyond those of the two men who have already been identified as customers of the escort service.
"Our decision at the end was not to name any names," said Brian Ross, the news correspondent who presented the segment. Mr. Ross said that the network went with a "conservative approach," and that "based on our reporting it turned out not to be as newsworthy as we thought in terms of the names."
Nothing to look at here. Please move along.
I have very complicated thoughts on whether I should even write about any of this (over and above pointing out the Tobias case because of its relevance in judging his professional opinions). But I'm not happy with what looks like a deliberate attempt to out as many escorts as clients, if not more. The escorts are unlikely to be as wealthy or powerful as the clients and this makes them less able to survive the outing with few scars. Add to that the fact that many people view being an escort as worse than using the services of one, and you have something quite unsavory here.