E. Cleveland Mayor Bites Back in Cross-Dress Photos Fracas
East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer struck back after a TV news report aired photos it suggested were the mayor dressed in drag, clad in negligee and a wig.
The TV news station, WKYC Channel 3, invited the public to make a side-by-side comparison of the photos with pictures of Brewer to judge the resemblance.
Brewer’s predecessor, former mayor Saratha Goggins, announced her own conclusion. As quoted in a story carried on Sept. 25 in the Plain Dealer and posted at Cleveland.com, Goggins declared that, "It’s him, alive and well."
Goggins added, "Because the guy got demon eyes. You can’t put them on a woman."
The mayor read from a statement the day after the broadcast, excoriating the news station but declining to confirm--or deny--the suggestion that the photos depicted him dressed in drag.
Some of the photos were reportedly graphic in nature.
Brewer accused his opponent in the mayoral election, Gary Norton, currently the president of the city council, of providing the pictures to the news channel.
Norton said that neither he nor anyone associated with his campaign had made the photos available to the news station.
"We never would have put anything out like this," Norton was quoted in The Plain Dealer article as saying.
However, "People are lining up to get back at [Brewer]," Norton said.
Brewer also complained that the news channel had aired the images without having sought commentary from him.
Tom Meyer, a WKYC reporter, and Rita Andolsen, the channel’s news director, denied that they had not sought comment from Brewer.
Brewer, whose father had died just before the broadcast hit the airwaves, did say he’d gotten calls from reporters during his father’s last days. However, Brewer said that Meyer had not been the one calling; Brewer also said he had not known of the story before it broke.
Declared Brewer, "I had not seen any of the pictures until WKYC’s broadcast yesterday evening."
Brewer apologized for the "embarrassment" the pictures caused the city, again laying blame at Norton’s feet.
The newspaper article said that Brewer also blamed individuals from the police for the news channel getting the photos, speculating that it was revenge for Brewer having purged police ranks of officers allegedly involved in misconduct.
Rumors that the mayor had appeared in photos dressed as a woman had circulated for years, the article noted.
The article noted that the broadcast was made with fewer than seven days remaining until the Sept. 29 primary election. Whichever candidate wins that election is expected to be mayor for the next term, since he will be running unopposed.
A Sept. 24 article in the Cleveland Leader said that the photos had been passed around the streets of East Cleveland.
However, the article said, one common response was that even if the pictures are of the mayor, they should not be allowed to take the attention of voters and city officials away from the issues.
Norton himself was quoted as saying much the same.
Said Norton, "There are big issues in East Cleveland and I don’t want these photos to serve as a distraction to problems that face our residents."