A screen shot from an anti-Brian Kemp ad.

Anti-Kemp ad brings campaign for governor to massage parlor

‘You scratch my back, and I scratch yours.’ 

A 1970s soft-core porn or a campaign attack ad? The latest TV spot in the Georgia governor’s race seems like a bit of both. 

The ad released Friday begins with a Brian Kemp impersonator wearing only a robe walking into a massage parlor to the soundtrack of cheesy 1970s music. He undresses as headlines flash across the screen. Soon, the masseuse hands him a wad of cash.

“You scratch my back,” says the Kemp lookalike, “and I scratch yours.” 

The ad was released by an outside group called Changing Georgia’s Future that backs Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the July 24 GOP runoff for governor. And it seizes on what Cagle views as one of his opponent’s greatest vulnerabilities. 

Cagle backers have called for a criminal probe into his handling of two Massage Envy clinics that face at least four complaints of therapists groping women during massages.  

The Board of Massage Therapy, under Kemp’s purview, has not sanctioned or revoked any of the accused therapists’ licenses, though an investigator looked into at least one complaint. Three of the therapists still have active licenses, and the fourth lapsed with no public action taken by the state.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation revealed the ex-owner of those clinics is a donor to Kemp’s campaign for governor. Chiropractor Patrick Greco gave $1,000 to Kemp, and in April he and his partner hosted a fundraising gala at their lavish estate in Madison.

Kemp’s campaign has said it was up to Attorney General Chris Carr and board members appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to hold licensees accountable. And it said he has refunded hundreds of thousands in donations from industries his office regulates but did nothing wrong in taking money from business owners such as Greco. 

Kemp’s campaign called it a “desperate attempt to distract voters from Cagle’s corruption scandal” and said the ad is “falsely attacking a private business owner.”

The TV spot is part of Changing Georgia’s Future’s ad buy of more than $1 million for the final weeks of the race. 

Watch it here:

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.