News & Politics

Post Watch: The Racy Retirement Lunch

Look out for footage of Len Downie's lap dance on YouTube...

The Washington Post is not known for throwing racy parties, especially under staid executive editor Len Downie.

So when the photo department bid farewell to retiring staffers, it did not intend to get bawdy. Photo editor Joe Elbert booked Perrys, a sushi restaurant in DC’s Adams Morgan, for a Saturday-afternoon gathering. Owner Saied Azali promised to do something special because he was friends with legendary Post photographer Lucian Perkins.

Special sushi? Free Champagne? Not exactly.

Azali invited male dancers dressed as women who perform at Perrys’ Sunday drag brunches. Downie made an appearance just as the queens began to mingle. According to witnesses, one performer sat next to Downie and wrapped him up in a generous hug.

Downie seemed taken aback, but a photographer says, “He took it in good humor at the time.”

Downie was less amused by the photos and videos being shot, and he asked that they be kept private.

No leaked pictures so far, but many of those retired photo staffers would like a print of Downie in the embrace of a drag queen.

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