Release the list of Zumba “Johns” in full –– we don’t mind waiting

Posted on December 04, 2012 in Henry's Head, Perspectives
By Andrew Henry

Andrew Henry | The Free Press

The list of people involved in the Zumba prostitution ring should be released in the same way the people want to lose weight: in one large, swift motion. As it stands, the list is long, but the names are only being released in bi-weekly segments, with merely a few names being revealed with each update. At this rate, we will be well into next year before the list is completely out in the open.

I understand the need for careful and tactical procedure with something local and as large as this scandal, but the people on the list knew what the consequences of involvement in a Zumba prostitution ring could entail. Why should they be granted the convenience of this segmented release of information? The police seem to be baiting the public in the same manner as a mid-season TV series finale: “stay tuned for more in the next few weeks!” While the scandal is certainly animated enough for adaptation into a TV series, it is a real life circumstance handled by real officials with real consequences for real people, and should be treated as such by those officials. Withholding the list doesn’t make sense.

Releasing the names of Johns a few at a time has also negatively affected people who aren’t even involved in the scandal, just as WCSH meteorologist Joe Cupo discovered. Cupo claims he was accused of being involved in the prostitution ring, and he refuted the rumor on live television. He said that the accusation has not only damaged his reputation, but his wife’s as well, who runs a small business. While we can only take Cupo’s word at face value, it stands to reason that such an implication would certainly do the damage that Cupo has described. Withholding names on the list has the potential to start speculation and rumors, both of which could be side-stepped if the list were released in full. The public would know who is and isn’t on it -– period. No speculation, no rumors, just names. Isn’t it more of a hassle to do damage control after the rumors, rather than to just release the list in its entirety and prevent it altogether? If I were them, I’d want to do less wrangling with the media, not more.

Really, there are only two avenues that make sense from a publicity standpoint: release it when it’s completely done, or don’t release any names at all. Instead of doing what I refer to as the “trickle-release,” they could just let out the entire list when they truly believe everyone on that list has a connection to the crime. Yes, this would take longer, but it wouldn’t stir up rumors in the way that the trickle-release does.