Richard Quest is described by CNN as “one of the most instantly recognisable members of the CNN team”. Quest describes himself as gay and Jewish. Gawker, on the other hand, describes him as a “park-cruising meth-head”.
The reason for this slightly unexpected description was a story involving Quest that broke last April.
He was found in Central Park at 3.40 am with drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his car boot.
“What can one say?” the former Leeds University student told the Guardian in an interview published today. “It was what it was.”
Quest, who worked for 16 years at the BBC before starting an eight-year career at the American news network CNN, may have been expected to disappear after news broke that he’d been found in possession of methamphetamine in such questionable circumstances.
However, he is in fact in the process of publicising his new show – Quest Means Business, which CNN describe as “the definitive word on how we earn and spend our money”. Quite a turnaround.
The British business and finance journalist told the newspaper: “Everyone wants to know the inside story of the event last year and I’m saying quite clearly that those that will know the inside story will be my close family and no one else. That’s not because I’m hiding anything. I’m just not about to reveal or discuss my innermost thoughts. All I would say on the subject, besides the standard line that it was a highly regrettable incident, is that nothing is as it seems – and certainly not the way it was reported at the time.”
This “regrettable incident” was defended by Quest’s lawyer, Alan Abramson, as being much less controversial than the facts may suggest. “Mr Quest didn’t realise that the park had a curfew,” he argued. The lawyer went on to claim that Quest was merely “returning to his hotel with friends”.
At the trial, Quest was ordered by State Court Judge Anthony Ferrara to go in to rehab and to undergo drug counselling for six months.
“It was a fairly awful and dreadful time,” Quest said. “I got myself into a very nasty situation. I don’t blame anyone else for what took place. But I got back from that position because of other people. That I’ve yanked myself back is not so much a testimony to what I can do, but more a testimony to what other people can do when supporting people. And that’s what I take from it.”
Quest Means Business, is shows on CNN at 7pm from Monday to Friday.