Monkey Business (yacht)

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Monkey Business is an American yacht built for the use of the Turnberry Isle Resort Marina in southern Florida. It is best known for its role in scuttling the campaign of Gary Hart for President of the United States.

History[edit]

An 83-foot (25 m) Broward motor yacht, Monkey Business was custom built for the Turnberry Isle Resort. The hull was made from aluminum; cabins had rosewood paneling and amenities included a hot tub and full bar.[1] Guests hosted aboard included Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Julio Iglesias.[1]

Gary Hart incident[edit]

In March 1987, at which time it was owned by developers Donald Soffer and Eddie Lewis, the yacht was rented by William C. Broadhurst, a Louisiana lawyer and lobbyist.[2][3] Together with former US senator Gary Hart, Broadhurst sailed it to Bimini for an overnight trip with two women, one of whom was Donna Rice. After Hart became a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1988 election for President of the United States, the issue of whether he was having an affair with Rice was raised in the press.

As rumors began circulating about the supposed extramarital affairs, Hart challenged the media. He told The New York Times in an interview published on May 3, 1987, "They should follow me around... They’ll be very bored." As the NBC anchor John Chancellor explained a few days later, "We did. We weren’t."

Seldom if ever has a major presidential candidacy crashed and burned so quickly. On May 8, 1987, a mere five days after issuing his challenge, the Colorado senator withdrew as a candidate after the cruise on Monkey Business became known.[1][4][5][6]

On Sunday, May 3, the Miami Herald published a bombshell story with the headline Miami Woman Is Linked to Hart. It caused a sensation. A few weeks later, a picture appeared in the National Enquirer, and then in hundreds of newspapers worldwide, showing Donna Rice sitting in Hart’s lap, with Hart in a Monkey Business T-shirt.[7][8]

In 2018, Democratic media consultant Raymond Strother made public a conversation he had with Republican operative Lee Atwater in the final weeks of Atwater's life in which he told Strothers that the photograph of Hart and Rice had been arranged by Atwater to discredit Hart.[9]

The yacht returned to popular culture in the film The Front Runner, a 2018 American biographical drama directed by Jason Reitman and starring Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Charter Yacht Has Carried Lots of Celebrities AM-Hart, Bjt". Associated Press. May 7, 1987. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  2. ^ "How Gary Hart's Downfall Forever Changed American Politics". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  3. ^ "Marijuana Is Found On Yacht Hart Once Used". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA. May 15, 1988. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  4. ^ Dionne, E.J. Jr. (May 9, 1987). "Courting danger: The fall of Gary Hart". The New York Times. 'The Bimini trip did it - it just finished him,' said one former political associate.
  5. ^ Pohlen, Jerome (2004). Oddball Florida: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 255. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  6. ^ Cramer, Richard Ben (1992). What It Takes. New York: Random House. pp. 436–37, 452. ISBN 0-394-56260-7.
  7. ^ "30 Years Ago: Gary Hart's Monkey Business, and How a Candidate Got Caught | AMERICAN HERITAGE". www.americanheritage.com. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  8. ^ "How Gary Hart's Downfall Forever Changed American Politics". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  9. ^ Fallows, James (2018-10-16). "Was Gary Hart Set Up?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  10. ^ "Hugh Jackman captures 'Front Runner' Gary Hart's fatal hubris". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2018-11-22.