Reimer: Prostitution charges against Robert Kraft are degrading and beneath him

Alex Reimer
February 23, 2019 - 3:06 pm

Robert Kraft, one of the most powerful and recognizable men in the country’s preeminent entertainment industry, visited a seedy day spa in a Florida strip mall twice last month and illegally solicited prostitutes, law enforcement officials say. Even worse, police say Kraft’s alleged acts are captured on videotape. 

TMZ staffer Evan Rosenblum told “Dale & Keefe” Friday he thinks it is “almost a certainty” the videos get released. Florida does have one of the most transparent open records laws in the U.S., which mandates any records received by a public agency, such as state law enforcement, be made available for examination, unless the state legislature rules otherwise. 

This embarrassing ordeal could become indelible not just with Kraft’s name, but American cultural lore. 

Authorities in Jupiter, Fla. announced Friday Kraft was one of 25 men facing prostitution-related charges for their alleged visits to several massage parlors throughout the Treasure Coast region. BuzzFeed News reports police have produced 300 arrest warrants in connection to the wide-ranging case. 

Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Kraft’s supposed parlor of choice, is part of an international human trafficking ring that spreads all the way to China, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters earlier this week. Officials surveilled five establishments.

Through a spokesperson, Kraft denied any wrongdoing. “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” the statement reads. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

The NFL said it is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”

I am not here to make any moral judgments about Kraft, regardless of the veracity of the charges. If they are true, I will not be angered, disgusted, disappointed, or sad, unlike the Globe’s Tara Sullivan. The Patriots’ owner should not be kicked out of the league, as the New York Daily News’ Jane McManus suggests, nor should New England be stripped of its draft picks, which is what Bart Scott recommends

But I do think this: if Kraft did solicit prostitutes at a place where some of the workers were kept against their will and forced to sexually service customers, it was really gross. He is the patriarch of the Kraft family and worth $6.6 billion. His alleged actions are degrading. 

The details of this elaborate sex trafficking operation –– authorities say they’ve captured $20 million between China and the U.S. –– are gruesome. The women were forced to service roughly 1,500 men per year and their hygiene was “minimal,” according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. Some appeared to sleep at the spas, too, where they lacked amenities such as stoves and showers.

It seems like the sleazy spas were open secrets as well. One Yelp reviewer for the Orchids of Asia Day Spa penned a scathing one-star review, saying her male friend was offered a happy ending. Neighboring business owners of the targeted spas say they suspected some sketchy activity was going on behind the darkened windows. 

“It just didn’t seem like it was an up-and-up situation,” one store owner told the TCPalm.

NFL owners are held to the same or even higher personal conduct standards as the players. The policy says, “Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from 'conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in' the NFL.”

The allegations against Kraft, which carry a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail, certainly violate the code. 

"The true monsters are the men,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told BuzzFeed. “The men who go in there have the key to (the slaves’) freedom. If they stop frequenting these places, the sex trafficking would stop.”

Above all else, the entire act seems beneath the 77-year-old mogul. Kraft and his limited edition Nike sneakers travel from the Grammys to Air Force One. If authorities are correct, what in the world were they doing at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa?

It’s a question Kraft is probably asking himself right now.