The $4,000 (£2,000) which former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer shelled out for his two-hour tryst in Washington with a high-price call girl turns out to be small beer compared to the money she is now raking in.
The would-be singer who turned to prostitution — codenamed “Kristen” identified by the New York Times as Ashley Alexandra Dupré – is making money from songs she recorded for use on her own website, but has had million-dollar offers from American magazines.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is reported to have offered her $1 million (£500,000) to pose nude in the magazine. Penthouse is said to have made an offer as well. There have also been approaches from movie makers – at least from adult variety. One company has already put the offer in writing. Ad agencies are already keen to sign her up, including one that runs advertising on New York buses.
Of course the American tabloids have already run many semi-nude pictures of her, notably the New York Post which ran what almost amounted to a special supplement.
The revealing pictures that ran in the New York Post were credited to Wesley Mann of Contact Press Images. But they did not please all readers. Among the letters that have poured into The Post was one from a reader in New Jersey who presumably doesn’t know British papers too well: “Please don’t turn my favourite New York paper into the Daily Mail. It’s beneath you and I expect more”.
Many of the pictures Dupré that have emerged in the US media appear to have come from Dupré’s MySpace page, leading to questions being raise about the copyright and privacy implications of their use.
The Associated Press, which first ran the pictures down, debated the question before deciding they were in the “public domain” – and legitimate news.
Associated Press national photo editor V.W. Vaughan told his own agency: “We distributed the photos that were relevant to the story. Those photos did not show nudity, nor were they explicit.”
Other publications, including the New York Times hame to the similar conclusions.
At times, it appeared that Dupré was activly changing her profiles on the social networking sites because she was aware that they were being used by journalists.
“It seemed she was trying to stay one step ahead of journalists, attempting to limit what information they could access,” wrote CNN’s Mallory Simon.
“She was seemingly aware that the press would have access to her friends and every word, photo and comment on her profiles, so she began by deleting connections between her friends on Facebook.”
On Friday, Dupré’s court-appointed lawyer Don Buchwald issued a statement calling on reporters to respect his 22-year-old client’s privacy.
He also charged that the use of the pictures charging infringement of federal copyright laws. He intends, he said, to take all necessary steps to protect his 22-year-old client from any unwarranted exploitation. But so far no writs have been served.
Meanwhile, though, his client appears to be profiting from her sudden notoriety. The songs she recorded are available on a music sharing site AmieStreet.com which prices its music based on popularity. Dupré’s song quickly became bestsellers, rising to the top price of 98 cents (49p).
More than 300,000 people have visited her pages on the site. Artists collect 70 per cent of songs’ sales, so she could already have made up to $210,000 (£105,000) from downloads.
In fact, it is unknown how many people have actually purchased the song, rather than simply listening to it. One online commentator estimated Dupré’s earnings are probably closer to $13,720 (£6,800).