The Sexist

Marijuana Policy Project Cancels Playboy Mansion Fundraiser, Citing Obvious Reasons


Rob Kampia
with Chief of Staff Alison Green

Last month, Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia took a three-month leave of absence from the nation's leading pot advocacy organization in order to receive therapy for his "hypersexualized" condition. In the office, symptoms of that condition included: Pursuing MPP employees for sex, sending e-mails to a subordinate stating his intention to administer a "breast massage" to an MPP donor, allegedly telling a female employee that she's look "hotter with a boob job," and staging MPP's annual fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion.

In Kampia's stead, MPP no. 2 Alison Green has stayed on to manage the fallout of Kampia's longtime workplace obsessions. One casualty of Kampia's therapy leave: The Playboy party appears to be kaput.

In an organization-wide e-mail, Green informed staffers that "MPP will not be holding a party at the Playboy Mansion this year." Green attributed the cancellation to Kampia's absence: "without Rob doing his normal major donor fundraising we simply don't have the cash flow to pay the up-front deposits that would be due now," she wrote. She also admitted that corralling MPP's staff into a mansion devoted to porn and staffed with professionally naked women isn't the best way to combat recent public concern over MPP's sexually-charged environment. "Plus, the PR ramifications of holding the event right now are probably obvious," she wrote.

Green then encouraged staffers to parrot this official word on MPP's choice to vacate the Mansion this year: "While MPP greatly appreciates and benefited from our association with Playboy over the past four years, in 2010 our VIP and major donor event calendar will showcase our flagship fundraiser at a new venue that will represent the diversity of MPP's supporters."

Playmates aren't the only MPP extras getting the ax in the new year. In another e-mail to staff, Green detailed the immediate financial effects of Kampia being temporarily benched:

As you know, we're working on a very tight budget for the next few months, since we currently don't have either of our top two fundraisers raising money for us (Rob and Troy). As a result, please be very frugal with your expenses — including travel costs, books, printing, etc. If in doubt, please check with your department head or me before incurring an expense. There may also be additional barriers to getting a trip approved, so please clear any travel ahead of time. Our ability to move forward without additional cost cuts is 100% dependent on our ability to pay our expenses with the amount of money we're taking in.

Also getting the forwarding treatment—a note from MPP Trustees outlining the organization's plans for the company's "immediate future," including possible downsizing of the organization's grants program:

We apologize to the staff for the uncertainty that has resulted from the Board's efforts to resolve the issues relating to our Executive Director's behavior.

We realize that it's harder to work at an organization where the staff or leadership are in transition or turmoil.  We continue to seek to minimize that turmoil.

Because Rob is on leave, currently both MPP and MPPF have no acting Executive Director.  For the duration, the organizations will be managed by two leaders at the top.  Karen O'Keefe will be responsible for Federal Policies (Aaron Houston will report to her) and State Policies and State Campaigns (Steve Fox ditto).  Alison Green will be responsible for Communications (Kurt Gardiner will report to her), Online Outreach (John Berry), Membership (Marsha Wallen), Events and Outreach (Andrea Farnum) and IT (Eric Smith).  Karen and Alison will work out issues that overlap.  They will both report to the board, and will be invited to participate in board meetings.

Alison and the staff have prepared a budget suggesting that MPP can sustain most of what has already been planned between now and May. This depends on Peter Lewis contributing $200,000 per month, as he has committed to do, and on other committed contributions arriving.  Many board members are working to make their contributions early in the year, to offset the loss of our fund-raising capability from Rob's leave, Troy's departure and our decision not to have the Playboy party.

Though Peter is donating toward MPP operations, he has decided not to  donate to the MPP grants program at this time.  Unless we can quickly  raise significant grants-program money from elsewhere, there will be serious impacts on some of our grantees.  We will be working with the staff and with those organizations to minimize those impacts.  Most of our state grantees were not expecting grants over the next several months, and will not see an immediate impact; the organizations at risk are the national ones.  At this point we do not know whether there will be an MPP grants program later in the year or in future years.

Thank you for persevering through a difficult time for the organization.  Despite that difficulty, it's a great time for accomplishing our goals.  The public is coming around to our point of view.  While they are with us, let's change some marijuana laws!

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  • http://catherine-a-traywick.com Catherine A Traywick

    I appreciate the coverage of this issue. Maybe now the Feminist Majority Foundation will stop listing the Marijuana Policy Project as a feminist job on their job site.

  • Dave

    This is strange. Is Peter Lewis fucking Kampia too?

  • Luigi

    Kampia dodged a bullet this week. All of the City Paper vending boxes are buried under mountains of snow!

  • http://www.outrightusa.org/ Angela Keaton

    As a donor to MPP and a feminist, I would hope that MPP would not have any affiliation with the Feminist Majority Foundation and its pro-occupation policies.

    It's utterly distasteful that any organization that is committed to ending the drug war would support an organization that essentially is encouraging the murder of civilians on "feminist" grounds.

  • Freedom Fighter

    This isn't news. This is gossip. While Amanda obsesses over the personal affairs of one man and his organization's internal communications, I'm going to go back to actually working to making this world a better place.

  • http://www.hempiremedia.net Todd McCormick

    I would like to say that I think this is a terrible loss for MPP, as somebody that has worked with MPP for the last three years to help them produce these parties I can say for myself, and I think I speak for many of the staff that were involved year after year, that those parties were never about the bunnies or Rob's penis; what they were all about was building a bridge to the ever so important Hollywood community that, like it or leave it, has a huge impact on the way society thinks and the trends that affect our lives. And because we as a movement cannot afford to buy huge billboards and spend millions on a marketing campaign, we really need the FREE cooperation from people who have a large megaphone to the world. Jack Herer ran around the country for many years trying to tell people about Hemp, but I would bet anything that more people heard about the environmental benefits of hemp in the six months after Woody Harrelson planted a few hemp seeds
    then Jack was able to reach in 10 years prior. Our movement is no different from Nike sneakers, our popularity will benefit from celebrity endorsement just like Nike did having Michael Jordan, it's just that we can't afford Michael Jordan.

    For those of you who don't live in Los Angeles and do not realize that the Playboy mansion has been an island oasis for not just Hollywood's elite, but mainly for Hollywood's forward thinking liberal elite, as aside from overt sexuality that challenge society's norms, Playboy has contributed quite a bit to the journalistic tone of our times and it has always attracted some of the brightest celebrities of our culture. I know it was personally my goal to help build a bridge between the advocacy work that we on this list all are doing, and the celebrities who could carry our message to the masses; using the Playboy mansion to do it has proven pretty effective.

    While many of you see it as a just an expensive one night party, it is actually a year-long production process that during which time gives us the opportunity to approach celebrities with a project they can easily support, a simple party they can attend. That gives them the opportunity of learning about our message, seeing how we perform and hopefully turning their cooperation and support into more political projects: think of it as an icebreaker to start conversation. Just the fact that we are using the Playboy mansion gives us credibility to the celebrities that know that Playboy has a vetting process and does not allow shady nonprofits to use their facility's. And for those of you who do not know your marijuana advocacy history; Hugh Hefner was the guy who wrote the $50,000 check back in 1970 to take Keith's idea of an advocacy group and turn it into what we all know now as NORML. The Playboy foundation has been supporting this movement long before
    some of the people on this list were even born.

    And as well as the bridge between the movement and Hollywood celebrities, the parties at the mansion also have the potential of bringing in up to $500,000. net. If you don't think that the movement can use that money you're smoking something better than what I have got.

    I, like many in the movement, are just embarrassed by the media buzz this is all created, what annoys me the most is that, we who are embarrassed in the movement by this, are all victims of alcohol abuse at this point; because if this were two potheads there would be no conversation about not remembering what they did the night before. I have no respect for people that drink themselves into a stupor and then use it as an excuse for irresponsible behavior. None of us can really know what happened that night between Rob and that girl, but I personally hold them both responsible as adults for their behavior and now their irresponsible alcohol use is affecting the media attention our movement is getting.

  • Chantal

    Someone needs to explain how Rob Kampia gets any women at all to sleep with him. Honestly, he is just one of the most FUGLY men I've ever seen. Between that atrocious visage and the reports of his narcissistic and misogynistic personality, I fail to understand how he could be in trouble for sleeping with the wrong people in the first place.

  • Maui Groove

    @ Todd:
    It sounds like someone is really disappointed that he doesn't get to ride Rob's hypersexualized coattails again this year at the mansion. So you know, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson, and Cheech and Chong aren't exactly "some of the brightest celebrities of our culture." Unless of course you are referring to the insular MPP culture, in which case they are your supernovas! Unfortunately for you, to the rest of us they are just the same tired losers MPP has been trotting out for years. Where are the fresh faces? Rob's too busy chasing intern tail around the office to get some actual endorsements that would ring any sort of bell for people under 50. Again, sorry you won't have a shot at Rob's castoffs at this year's party. Guess you'll have to troll MPP's headquarters instead.

  • Jonas Ashby

    Chantal, i sat though those dare classes in school where they said marijuana impears judgment and i thought it was ridiculous but then again i look at this guy and i think, well, maybe they had a point after all because your point about being fugly is well taken. i dont know either. it is hard to think of another explanation inf act. Just about the only thing you said that I disagree with is that he is a narcassistic because i dont think he was ratting on people or anything, that would have been even more lame.

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