Mike Jones, the escort who brought down the Rev. Ted Haggard in a sex and drugs scandal, will read from his new book, I Had to Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall, 8 p.m. July 5 at Books & Books on Lincoln Road.
I'll be introducing Jones. I interviewed him last November, just after Haggard resigned as pesident of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals.
Here's the Nov. 23, 2006, story and a picture of Jones taken during his stay at Miami Beach author David Leddick's home.
Photo of Mike Jones by Ronna Gradus / Miami Herald Staff
MAN WHO OUTED HAGGARD STANDS BY HIS DECISION
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Mike Jones hates the word "prostitute."
"I was an escort, all right? Not everyone I went with wanted sex, " said Jones, who this month brought down evangelist Ted Haggard. "I think I give escorts a good name."
Jones just spent three days in Miami Beach, where he did a photo shoot and interview for an upcoming book by South Florida writers David Leddick and Heriberto Sanchez and photographer David Vance. The title: Escort.
"Forty profiles with photographs of men who sell sex. I'm not taking a moral position myself. It's fascinating, " said Leddick, who finds the escorts in magazine and website ads.
Each escort in the book will be paid $100 and get copies of his photos, he said.
Jones, 49, is Leddick's star. Three weeks ago, the muscular massage therapist went public and told the world that he had a three-year relationship with Haggard - married president of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals, a confidante of President Bush and a leader in the anti-gay political movement.
Haggard, 50, paid $200 cash per session, "plus tips, " said Jones, who said he also helped Haggard buy methamphetamine.
At first, Haggard denied even knowing Jones. Within days of the scandal breaking on Nov. 2, Haggard amended his story, saying that he had paid Jones only for a massage and that he did buy meth - but that he had thrown it away, unused. The reverend soon resigned from all church leadership positions and publicly called himself "a deceiver and a liar."
Jones said a man named Art first called him about three years ago.
Six months ago, Jones saw Haggard on television discussing the Antichrist. "I said, 'Oh my God, that's Art!' "
Haggard helped lead a successful election battle this month to ban gay marriage in Colorado. "He was reaching millions of people and that was difficult for me to swallow, " said Jones, who decided to out Haggard at a local newspaper and radio station.
Jones' life has "been a whirlwind" the past few weeks since he has become a minor celebrity.
Many, though, decry him for ruining Haggard's career and hurting the reverend's family.
"People have scolded me for that, particularly right-wing people, " Jones said. "But did Ted Haggard go to his wife and say, 'I'm going to have a gay affair. Is this going to hurt you and the kids?' I don't want to have this guilt over my head."
Jones' fellow sex workers are not happy, either.
"All the escorts are [angry] with me. This was such a unique situation. I could have ruined many careers in my day. A lot of politicians and athletes and clergy. But none of them got up and ranted and raved about homosexuality, " he said.
Jones said his relationship with Haggard was strictly business.
Jones says that he retired from sex work two years ago, but that Haggard "begged me" to continue their sessions.
"I'm sure he regrets begging me now, " he said.
Jones got into the sex business as a young gay man.
"Gosh, when I started going to bars, I had a fake ID at 19, " Jones said. "As time went on, more and more people offered me money."
Jones eventually posed nude for gay men's magazines and made one porn film. He doesn't remember the title.
He has no issues with getting paid for sex and says prostitution should be legal.
Still, he holds being an escort above being a street prostitute.
"That's what people have in their heads, streetwalkers and such. I never, never did that, " he said. "I hate to use the word, 'classier, ' but it is in a way."