Bostonherald.com Article 3/16/19
You can bet there is at least one prominent politician or celebrity who won’t be invited to the owner’s box atop Gillette Stadium on opening day of the New England Patriots this fall.
That would be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democrat who is running for president, especially after she made that crack about Robert Kraft at the annual iconoclastic Gridiron Club dinner in Washington the other night.
Promising to be brief before a room full of reporters, Klobuchar opened by saying her remarks would be “shorter than a Robert Kraft visit to the Orchids day spa.”
This is not to say that Klobuchar would have been invited to the box in the first place as she is a hardcore Vikings fan.
Maybe, by the time the courts and the NFL get through with Kraft, he won’t be sitting in the owner’s box either, or even allowed in the stadium, let alone on the sidelines.
Maybe, when the television cameras make their traditional game-day pans of the owner’s box — accompanied with the usual obsequious comments about “Mister Kraft” and what he’s done for the NFL — the box will be empty, or Jonathan Kraft will be sitting there alone.
No John Kerry, no Mark Wahlberg, no Steve Tyler — nobody.
Also, there might not even be a football stadium named Gillette if a group called Care2 can gather enough petition signatures to persuade Procter & Gamble — Gillette’s parent company — to cut all ties with the Patriots.
Procter & Gamble, meaning Gillette, has naming rights to the stadium until 2031. However, Gillette cannot be too happy with Kraft given that Gillette recently launched its anti-toxic masculinity television ad campaign “The Best Men Can Be.” The ad, with its #Metoo overtones, is aimed at combating bullying, sexual abuse and harassment.
Rebecca Gerber, spokeswoman for Care2, a progressive network of activists, said the organization has gathered more than 13,000 signatures on a petition calling on Procter & Gamble and Gillette to cut all ties with the Patriots.
The petition comes in the wake of two charges against Kraft for soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Spa in Jupiter, Fla., Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 during a videotaped human trafficking sting operation. Authorities said the statewide sting operation targeted massage parlors staffed with young Chinese women, many of whom were sex slaves.
Kraft, 77, has pleaded not guilty and will be arraigned Mar. 27 at the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens.
Gerber told the Boston Herald that Kraft’s behavior “is exactly the kind of behavior Gillette said it would stand against.”
In addition to his legal and football problems, Kraft is in the middle of a public relations nightmare. He did not do his image any good when the billionaire drove up to the massage parlor for his alleged sex acts in a white 2014 Bentley one day and in a blue 2015 Bentley the next day.
And he did not help himself by jetting off to Hollywood pre-Oscar parties just after the story broke.
Granted the charges are misdemeanors, and granted that Kraft had nothing to do with human trafficking. But a case can be made that paying for sex with a young woman in these circumstances is aiding and abetting human trafficking.
This is only the beginning of grief for Kraft, who for years has been an enlightened businessman, the envied owner of the Patriots and an amazing and generous philanthropist.