In order to secure an interview with George Zimmerman, CNN reportedly offered to put up Zimmerman and his brother, Robert, at the Ritz-Carlton for three nights and pay for “everything” else they needed. At the end of their stay, CNN was given a $3,600 tab that included a large room service bill, spa treatments and “swag” from the gift shop, according to GQ.
When the bill was sent to a CNN producer, he reportedly told Robert Zimmerman, “You and your brother are evil!”
More from the GQ profile on the Zimmermans:
The Zimmermans seized on their brief stint of subsidized luxury. They ran up a big room-service bill, cleaned out the minibars, got their clothes laundered, made several trips to the spa, treated a party of ten to dinner at the hotel restaurant, and bought swag—from bracelets to bath fizzies—at the gift shop.
Toward the end of their stay, according to Robert, a manager presented him with a bill for $3,600. He says he called CNN, outraged, only to have the producer accuse them of splurging shamelessly on CNN's dime. "You and your brother are evil!" he remembers her screaming. The hotel manager threatened to call the police. Alone in his room, Robert started shaking. He wrapped all the blankets around him, ordered shrimp, chain-smoked cigarettes, got roaring drunk. Nothing helped. He called his mother in a panic. "I can't get warm," he sobbed. "I just can't get warm."
Unconsoled, Robert called the only person he could think of: [HLN's] Dr. Drew, who’d been kind to him when he went on Drew’s TV show shortly before George’s trial. He reached a producer, who told him Dr. Drew wasn’t available. But the guy was nice, at least. He stayed on the phone awhile and talked Robert down. Eventually CNN agreed to pay the bill, and the next morning Robert returned the only purchases he could: a bottle of Mercedes-Benz cologne and a Ritz-Carlton wallet that George had bought him to say thanks.
George Zimmerman reportedly refused to talk to GQ for the article unless he was provided with a “similar hotel room,” a request that the magazine declined.
Following a highly publicized trial in 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Read the full article here.