When the late David Bowie worked on some of his lyrics, he used the “cut up” technique, where he would write phrases on sheets of paper, cut them out with scissors, and then select and arrange them randomly. “I’ve used this method only on a couple of actual songs,” he said during the Cracked Actor documentary.. “I’ve used it for, more than anything else, for igniting anything else that might be in my imagination.” As strange as some of Bowie’s cut-ups could be, he couldn’t have pulled out a more evocative, imagination-igniting selection of words than “Waffle House Sex Tape.”
On Wednesday, Mye Brindle, a former housekeeper and personal assistant to Waffle House chairman Joe Rogers, Jr., and two of Brindle’s attorneys were found not guilty on charges that the three of them had collaborated to make an illegal sex tape of Brindle and Rogers.
In 2012, Brindle allegedly filmed herself performing sex acts on Rogers, which was problematic both because it ruins the idea of ever eating at Waffle House again, and because the state of Georgia requires all parties to consent to being recorded. (And, as Above the Law points out, Brindle actually made 17 total recordings—SEVENTEEN—of herself with Rogers).
The tapes were reportedly made at the request of attorneys David Cohen and John Butters, who suggested that they would prove that Rogers was sexually harassing Brindle. Cohen then wrote Rogers a letter, demanding $12 million dollars for his client. When that check never materialized, Brindle filed a harassment claim against her former boss. Rogers swiftly responded with a countersuit for emotional distress.
“Brindle sued Rogers, Rogers sued the attorneys, prosecutors lodged felony claims against Brindle, Cohen, and Butters, and the trial judge tossed the felonies,” Above the Law wrote, a synopsis that covers what has happened in the six years since this nonstop nightmare fuel first entered an Atlanta courtroom.
The somehow-still-married Rogers has always insisted that his sexual relationship with Brindle was consensual; Brindle has always said otherwise, and this week she told the court that she feared that she would lose her job if she said no. During his testimony, Rogers said that he started asking Brindle to give him massages—and paying her for them—shortly after he hired her in 2003. “It never occurred to me that it might be a bad idea,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rogers also said that he believed that Brindle was both attracted to him and “got the sense that she liked” watching him get dressed. After he started asking for massages, he soon began encouraging Brindle to finish with various sex acts. “After that first encounter, Brindle’s massages began to frequently include sexual services, with Rogers initiating the contact about 60 percent of the time,” the AJC reports Rogers as saying. “These encounters continued after Rogers married Fran Maynard in 2006.”
But Brindle said that she “tried every way under the sun” not to perform sex acts on Rogers—which leads us to the sex tape. In the tape, which was shown in the courtroom, a naked Rogers asks Brindle to “pop his back.” Brindle moves the camera around from room to room (Rogers can be heard “moaning” offscreen at one point) and then takes it into the bedroom, where the two “engage in a sexual act.”
After several days of testimony—including a former Waffle House executive who admitted to an affair with Rogers, and another of his former employees who said she was ready to quit when he asked her to massage “underneath his scrotum”—the jury acquitted Brindle, Cohen and Butters on charges that the recordings violated state law.
The American Bar Association notes that Rogers’ civil lawsuit against the three of them is still pending. As for those of us who read about this troubling situation, it’s tough to say when we’ll be able to enjoy a breakfast special at Waffle House again.