One of Colorado’s biggest political stories of the year, if not the biggest, is Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s wild behavior in September during a performance of Beetlejuice at the Buell Theater in Denver.
We know the details — and can see them for ourselves — thanks to 9News, which obtained security footage from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) of Boebert at the Buell that evening.
But in its breaking story revealing the Beetlejuice video, 9News didn’t feature the segment of the security footage that would later be seen by much of America: the portion where Boebert and her date enjoy some serious groping.
Instead, 9News zoomed in on a segment of video showing that — contradicting her claim that she didn’t vape in the theater — Boebert took a big hit on a vape pipe during the performance, drawing a complaint from a pregnant woman behind her.
“The DCPA says she was vaping. Boebert’s team denies that, said the haze was from fog machines in the show. That claim goes up in smoke when you see the video,” reported 9News’ Kyle Clark during the Sept. 14 piece, showing a video that zooms in on Boebert vaping and blowing out the smoke in the theater.
Clark’s piece contains a portion of the groping scene, but it’s not enlarged — like the vaping video was — and it flashes by so quickly that you can’t tell that Boebert’s date has his hand on the Congresswoman’s dress on top of her breast. And it completely omits the part when Boebert grabs her date’s crotch.
Clark narrates the breast section with, “Boebert occasionally took a break from being disruptive to enjoy the company of her male companion. He briefly had a grasp on the situation, before ushers returned and told Boebert she had to leave.”
I’ve been wondering why 9News didn’t highlight (enlarged so you could better see it) the explosive groping segment of the DCPA video.
So I asked Clark why he didn’t do more with it — enlarging it or describing it in more detail – like he did the vaping segment.
“Our political reporter Marshall Zelinger obtained the DCPA security video for the purpose of determining whether the DCPA or Rep Boebert was telling the truth about the vaping,” Clark told me via a direct message of X, formerly known as Twitter. “Either way, it was newsworthy. Either a public institution was falsely smearing a public official, or Rep Boebert had lied. That’s why we focused on the issues of vaping and truthfulness in our report. I didn’t enlarge or examine other portions of the video. Other observers could certainly criticize that choice. I mentioned that Rep Boebert’s companion was getting handsy because it was too obvious to ignore. It didn’t occur to me to enlarge and examine the video of her companion’s nether regions to determine if the Congresswoman was performing an act of public service in the theater.”
When I saw the enlarged groping segment for the first time, I said to myself that I wouldn’t have posted it on the Colorado Times Recorder site. It felt like it was too much, that it went too far. Lots of people grope in the “darkness” of a theater; I have. Boebert deserved some baseline of privacy.
In retrospect, after watching the Beetlejuice saga unfold, I came around to thinking that I would publish a personal video of Boebert, taken in similar circumstances if I had the chance. Boebert shined the spotlight on herself — and so why hide the details? She danced, vaped, sang, groped, and disrupted her way into getting kicked out of the theater and having the police called. The groping segment of the video just filled out the picture and deserved to be spotlighted and enlarged along with the rest of the footage.
But 9News didn’t hide the video of the groping. The TV station published it on its website, where it was available for enterprising viewers to see.
It appears to have been first found and pushed out beyond the 9News website by ProgressNow Political Director Alan Franklin, who also hesitated before posting a GIF of the grope on his personal Twitter account, where it subsequently was viewed over 5 million times and spread across the planet.
Even Franklin, a well-known progressive activist who works for a progressive group, said he had “some trepidation about posting it because of the salaciousness of it.”
“So, I’m pretty tolerant of people getting their thing on,” he wrote on X when he posted the video Sept. 15. “But there were kids all over this theater. I’m sorry. This is conduct unbecoming.”
But Franklin doesn’t fault 9News for burying the segment, saying “9News just releasing it was enough.”
“If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have found it,” he says.