October 5, 2009

Following Up the "Prostitute" Accusation

Justin Katz

Callers to Dan Yorke's show, after the exchanges with both Megan Andelloux and Donna Hughes were particularly incensed by the latter's referring to the former as a "prostitute." What Hughes meant (and said that she meant) was Andelloux's sideline as a "foot fetish model." A 2008 Providence Phoenix article about her offers the description that she goes to parties monthly at which men pay to "admire her feet."

The article is not specific about where the boundaries of "admiration" are (and I, for one, am not particularly interested to know). One would hope, on Hughes's behalf, that she knows a bit more that might justify the accusation of "prostitution" — as opposed to, say, "stripper" or "erotic model" or something. Take my word for it, though, that Professor Hughes has information about activities in Rhode Island that would make even the worldly shudder.

Given limited information — especially in the context of a targeted conversation on talk radio — it isn't unreasonable to suggest that "prostitute" might have been hyperbolic but not, strictly speaking, inapplicable. It's worth noting that Andelloux's response, when Dan pressed her on the accusation, was that she doesn't "call [herself] a prostitute," has never taken money in exchange for intercourse, and has never done anything "illegal."


Not unrelatedly, Andelloux dissembled when Dan asked her, in response to an email from me, about her husband's affinity for abortion, casting it as simply a procedure that he — like many medical students and doctors — knows how to do. In actuality, it's the one specific medical intention he lists on his Daily Kos bio:

RPCV Senegal 99-01, Resident Family Doc in RI, Future abortion provider.


Just realized that this post doesn't link to my June post about Mr. and Mrs. Andelloux.

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Unless andelloux has held herself out as a prostitute or been convicted of prostitution or loitering for prostitution she may have legal recourse against Donna Hughes because Andelloux is in no way a public figure.
Opening a business doesn't make one a public figure.Of course,not being a lawyer,what do I know?
BTW, I think Donna Hughes is one of the more obnoxious people I've listened to on radio.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 5, 2009 9:43 PM

The slander question is very interesting, in this case. Ironically, it may not be legally defamatory to accuse somebody of engaging in an activity that's actually legal in the state. It also might be a matter of debate (one of particular interest to us bloggers) whether Andelloux is a "public figure." She's had lengthy profile articles about her in at least one local local paper. She gives public presentations, writes for publication, and participates in cultural events.

I'm not implying answers, here; just noting some interesting aspects.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 5, 2009 9:48 PM

"The slander question is very interesting, in this case. Ironically, it may not be legally defamatory to accuse somebody of engaging in an activity that's actually legal in the state."

I don't think it makes much of a difference for a slander claim whether the alleged activity is legal or not, mainly just whether it damages their reputation and whether it is true or not.

If she was being called a prostitute as a metaphor for what she is doing, or if it's simply unknown whether she is a prostitute or not, the slander claim would be very weak. Particularly, as you've said, since she is a sort of public figure and opens her self up to the debate.

I oppose all slander laws in any case, but that's my 2-cent legal analysis.

Posted by: Dan at October 5, 2009 10:12 PM

I couldn't believe what I was hearing from Hughes. Straight out of 1984. The book, not the year. She said she "doesn't like" and would want to criminalize such things as whipping, spanking and bondage. Are you kidding me?

If you don't like it, don't do it, but keep your opinions out of the bedrooms of others. Actions between consenting adults where no one else gets hurt and no children are affected are and should remain legal.

Posted by: Patrick at October 5, 2009 10:19 PM

"Actions between consenting adults where no one else gets hurt and no children are affected are and should remain legal."

But Patrick, when you engage in "immoral behavior" (as defined by ME) then you are "degrading" our "society" and there are "externalities" that "harm" us all in incalculable and unknowable ways. That's why you need to be violently dragged from your home and thrown in jail for possessing a plant or paying somebody for a hand job. Get it?

Posted by: Dan at October 5, 2009 10:24 PM

It's possible I misheard, but I'm pretty sure Hughes was objecting to such things being taught to students. She mentioned high school and said something about a grant falling through.

Look, main street commerce is not a private act. (I expect there'll be degrees of agreement and disagreement about the degree to which it should be.) One can object to teaching kids things and to selling counseling services legitimizing those things without its being a mere step to dragging people out of their homes.

(Note, please, that I'm not arguing on behalf of Pawtucket's action, just on behalf of their right to take it.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 5, 2009 10:35 PM

Speaking as we are of consenting adults "behind closed doors" can anyone tell me if the "Black Key Club" is still operating in Pawtucket?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 5, 2009 10:45 PM

I have been following this debate about the prostitution issue and Ms. Hughes has made some sense until she got on the radio today with Yorke. She came across as arrogant and adversarial. Yorke also caught her in a lie when she said she didn't have any communication with the Mayor or Pawtucket City council, then later in the conversation she admitted to sending a email to the city council informing them of the business that may open in Pawtucket.

Posted by: 68Tempest at October 5, 2009 11:10 PM

And that's when I changed the dial when Dan didn't pick up on Megan's statement of "not doing anything illegal".

First thoughts that came to mind is: Well, in RI, if it's indoors, it's not illegal.

Kind of like what Nixon said to Frost. When the President does it, it's not illegal.

Okay, when a prostitute does it 'indoors', it's not illegal. Same difference.

Now, when I got home, I turned on the radio and the Yorke show came on and there was discussion of either her husband being a future abortion provider and I got the sense the Megan will be channeling her energies to a future abortion clinic.

I guess once you get your sex issues resolved, except the 'wanted baby' syndrome, you can always get her husband's brand of sex ed.

Posted by: Roland at October 5, 2009 11:45 PM

Roland, I know Megan. She's never had sex for money. That's all that needs to be said about that. Anyone who knows her knows that she's under a -lot- of pressure, media makes her nervous, and it's very easy to say something that can be misconstrued.

So she and her husband are far-left people, obviously. They're also -wonderful- people to know, they're very friendly, honest, and they stand up for their ideals.

I just can't believe that anyone would have an issue with an adult sex education service indoors, with no public signage outside, and nothing 'physical' happening inside. It's not like the liberals are vying to close churches and shutter the Christian Reading Room. It's also not like Megan is going to be trouncing down the street, handing out vibrators when school gets out. Why shouldn't someone looking for this information be able to get it from a real, live human being who can answer more questions than any single book?

Also, if paying someone to admire their feet in a group setting is a crime, then we have a whole lot of books to burn, firewalls to put up, and strip joints to close before we even get to that moral bridge.

Posted by: mangeek at October 6, 2009 1:31 AM

Remember, not all prostitute's are hookers. For instance, our General Assembly is full of "prostitutes" - for sale to the highest bidder.

Posted by: Will at October 6, 2009 2:55 AM

I think the Black Key Club was in Woonsocket.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 6, 2009 5:32 AM

The Black Key was closed down a few years ago - Sue Menard made sure a very big whoop was made about it. It actually operated in a house on one of the city's main drags, but these people's discretion enabled it to go on for quite awhile.
Didn't catch Yorke yesterday, but from her op-eds in the ProJo, Donna Hughes has always struck me as a Gladys Kravitz (the too-nosy neighbor from "Bewitched").
For the record, she is not the same Donna Hughes who cruised the bounting mane with Gary Hart (and now mines similar territory crusading against porn).

Posted by: rhody at October 6, 2009 8:19 AM

"It's possible I misheard, but I'm pretty sure Hughes was objecting to such things being taught to students."

Ok, but what's a "student"? 4th grade? 12th grade? College? Grad student? Someone who takes one of Megan's classes? "student" is a bit of a vague term.

In my opinion, there should be sex education for any student, but with parental permission if the student is in high school or younger. If this is college, heck, it should be a for-credit class. The university should condone it. Most do and most do offer this kind of education.

And the points brought up about the "breath play" was very interesting how Megan explains first that she simply educates on it and informs people so they don't kill themselves, but Hughes then comes out and says that Megan encourages it.

It's just amazing that the number of lies this woman was able to spout off in such a short amount of time. And then yes, get extremely combative when Yorke caught her in one lie. Rather than seeming defensive, she went on the offense and went after Dan, and really harming her own credibility.

And as for the "I didn't offer an opinion on the topic", that's another lie. When you write a letter and put quotes around things like "sex shop", it certainly conveys an opinion. If you don't intend to put more behind the message, what's the point of the quotes?

I think what I want to do is to legislate, pass a law, that no one in RI can have any kind of sex with the same or opposite sex ever again, punishable by 10 years in prison, in solitary confinement. Clearly anyone who we put in prison for such a deranged disgusting act needs to be kept separated, for fear of spreading their perversion among the other inmates.

Where will this moral policing all stop?

Posted by: Patrick at October 6, 2009 8:36 AM

It would seem that Justin agrees with one of my points, and one that Yorke was making on the radio yesterday. That Hughes *was* in fact sending an opinion to the Pawtucket city officials with her email, if not with the words chosen, but with the actual punctuation. Taken from the earlier post linked in this one, Justin wrote:

"quotations are implied around any and every title and credential; we print the punctuation merely as an expression of personal opinion about a particular one."

I agree. The quotations do indicate a personal opinion. Exactly what Prof. Hughes denied. She's obviously not a stupid woman, but her honesty clearly has to be called into question.

Posted by: Patrick at October 6, 2009 8:46 AM

I am a conservative. I always vote republican, but I can never understand why republicans are always on the wrong side of this issue? I think it has something to do with rallying the base (who are really fringe) but the government has no part in our bedroom. If it is 2 consenting adults, what should it matter to the government?

Posted by: conservativegal at October 6, 2009 5:43 PM

Donna Hughes calls regular women prostitutes, she calls prostitutes pimps, and anyone with an opinion that is not lock step with hers is a radical. She is the queen of twisting language to fit her agenda. I would not call her a "expert" in prostitution, seeing that her schooling is in genetics, what does genetics have to do with prostitution? I would call her an expert in dodging a question, so I think she would be a great politician.

Posted by: Tara at October 6, 2009 10:29 PM

mangeek, I sort of blurred two thoughts at the same time. I wasn't saying that she did have sex for money or that she was a prostitute. I was just referring to the play on words of not doing anything illegally. Hence, the follow through of the current legal indoor prostitution loophole in RI.

I was understanding to her issues of trying to open a new business. I wouldn't exactly call it a plight. Most new businesses face challenges either from established competing foes or facing the wall of community standards.

HOWEVER, when it was mentioned that her husband were looking to provide abortion services on his own right outside of her business, then that put the brakes on it all and there need not be any further discussion on the matter.

Murder is murder regardless of what the law says.

Posted by: Roland at October 6, 2009 11:42 PM

OK, Roland. I disagree, but I totally respect your opinion on abortion.

What does it matter what her -husband- aspires to do for a living? I don't think abortion services are in the cards for an indoor shopping mall setting, and the building certainly could never get zoned for a medical practice. Her husband would probably go work at Planned Parenthood or open a practice himself. The Center is a tiny little office, about the size of two cubicles, and it has nothing to do with Megan's husband's career.

Trust me, this place is what she says it is, and it's not an abortion center.

Posted by: mangeek at October 7, 2009 4:49 PM

Am I following this right? The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health just went from a place that might be involved with prostitution to a place that might do abortions? This is the problem with conservatives, throw up as many outlandish statements and hope that one might stick, meanwhile all you are doing is destroying free market the lifeblood of your failing party. I would really think you should do some research, talk to the people you want to make these accusations about or even stop by and take a look at the space before you throw mud.

Posted by: Tara at October 10, 2009 10:52 AM

Happy to correct, Tara: Nowhere in this post did I mention the center. Rather, I addressed two statements that Andelloux made to Dan Yorke.

Regarding those two:

At no point have I (or anybody whom I've heard) suggested that she wouldn't keep the foot-fetish thing and the sex-center thing separate. The link to abortion arose when Yorke mentioned (summarizing a statement made before I'd turned on my radio) that Mr. Andelloux might in the future pick up the medical end of the business. Given his proud declaration of an intention to slaughter pre-born children, it's not a stretch to suppose that such services would be offered, if not on these particular premises, then elsewhere.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 10, 2009 11:19 AM

Good day, let me introduce myself, I am the aforementioned "slaughterer of preborn children" Doctor Derek Andelloux. I don't exactly know how my wife's adult sexual education and counseling business has been so misconstrued in the course of public debate, but I'm sure that patently false and defamatory statements such as these are partly to blame.

First off, I am not an abortion provider. Mr. Katz, in a display of typical blogger abdication of journalistic responsibility, has latched on to a comment from 5 years ago when I was interested in becoming an abortion provider. For a time, it is true; I was planning on going into OB/Gyn and specializing in reproductive health/abortion services. Of course, during my medical school training there were times when I also wanted to be a trauma surgeon or treat kids with Cancer. If Mr. Katz had bothered to ask me, he would have learned that I have since abandoned that plan to become a family medicine doctor (I.E. the type of all too rare primary care doctor that is disappearing amongst my med school classmates), and not an abortion provider. I apologize for not adequately updating a single random on-line profile page from half a decade ago, I was busy helping take care of sick people.

It's unfortunate that Mr. Katz has been disseminating this falsehood, and more despicable is the personal attacks and muckraking that he and others like him are spreading with these lies. If the City of Pawtucket wants to run my wife out of town because they're against the idea of adult sexual education, that's one thing. But to try and slander the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health by implying that it's to become an abortion factory, a retail "Sex Shop", or some kind of brothel (amongst other stories) is just wrong.

Let's stick with reality people: My wife, Megan Andelloux, is a Nationally Certified Sex Educator trying to open a resource center to reach, teach, and help adults with Sexual questions and dysfunctions, no more no less.

I hope that I've helped clean up some of the mud that's been dirtying this debate. Can we stick to the facts now?

God bless and Happy Holidays.

Posted by: 3rdeye at November 27, 2009 8:33 AM
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