Thursday, April 24, 2008

Playtime in Central Park

Over the years, CNN reporter Richard Quest’s distinctive speaking style and over the top delivery have become comedy fodder for everyone from Daily Show host Jon Stewart to great (and modest) bloggers like myself. Now, I’m not going to deny that the man was once a serious and talented journalist but he has successfully turned himself into a punch line. And sadly Quest’s actions last Friday will only add to the chuckles.

I look forward to my monthly doses of Business Traveler and Quest as much as the next girl but I have a sneaking suspicion that the events of this past weekend are about to overshadow Richard’s semi-serious career. “I’m Richard Quest and this is an American prison!”
Travel presenter Richard Quest in a bind over drugs scandal
By: Mark Frary and Ginny McGrath

The future of quirky CNN presenter Richard Quest hangs in the balance today after he was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning in Central Park.

CNN said it had “no comment at this stage” on whether Quest would continue to work for the channel or, if he does remain, whether his programmes – the monthly feature programmes Quest and Business Traveller – would continue to air.

The decorated journalist has won a number of awards for his broadcasts, including Business Travel media personality of the year.

A spokesperson for the New York Police department confirmed that Quest was arrested in Central Park on Friday 18 April at 3.42am. “He was arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance, believed to be methamphetamine and for being in Central Park after closing time. He was stopped initially because he was spotted in the park after the curfew,” said the spokesman.

Methamphetamine – also known as crystal meth or ice – is said to “bring on a feeling of exhilaration and produces increased arousal and activity levels”, according to the Frank drugs campaign.

However, the story has been given extra legs by rumours published in an article on Friday in the New York Post, owned by Times Online’s parent company News Corporation, about other items that were found on Quest – a rope tied around his person and a sex toy in the boot of his car.

Contributors to Quest’s Facebook webpage have been largely supportive, with some asking CNN not to sack him.

Quest’s programmes on CNN, sponsored by Egyptian international investment group Artoc, are very popular, and his sacking would constitute a blow to the cable channel.

Liverpool-born Quest, 45, holds a law degree from Leeds University and worked for the BBC’s News 24 channel before joining CNN in 2001.

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