Today, Anthony Cumia returned to his live show only one day after being released from Nassau County Jail. There had been a lot of speculation among media and fans on Sunday and Monday regarding whether Cumia would or should go on air. When his show went live at 4pm ET on Monday, Anthony was not in front of the camera. Instead, Dave Smith from the Legion of Skanks podcast opened the show. But Cumia was on his way, and called in to his own show to assure fans he would be there.
Cumia arrived about 30 minutes late for the episode they are calling “The Elephant in the Room.” He joined Dave Smith and Luis J. Gomez, (also from the Legion of Skanks podcast), explaining that he had to go to a few ‘meetings’ earlier in the day that tied him up. He joked about the elephant in the room, and then spent most of the remaining ninety minutes sharing details with his audience about his experience being arrested, booked, processed, and arraigned. Of course he was advised not to talk about the incident that led to his arrest- a fight with girlfriend Dani Brand aka Dani GoLightly. Cumia mentioned that he would “love, love, love” to be able to talk details about the incident but said that he had been advised by many people not to say anything. He described the incident only as “a little excitement at the compound” that resulted in him being “taken into custody.”
Despite his experiences over the weekend, Cumia seemed rested, in good spirits and appeared to be decidedly confident that he will be exonerated of charges. He thanked his fans and sponsors for being supportive and talked about the relentless press attention he’s been getting all weekend long.
Some of the details Cumia shared included meeting cops who are fans of his show and the Opie and Anthony Show, getting handcuffed in the ‘good’ way as opposed to the more uncomfortable way, being offered a meal of a warm baloney sandwich and a glass of warm milk, taking a side trip to the hospital because he didn’t have his medication with him, and experiencing a ride on the prison bus to be arraigned. He also showed a bruise on his arm which he apparently got from being shackled.
Cumia’s fanbase was thrilled to see him come back on the air so quickly after being involved in such a public legal incident with powerful civil and criminal ramifications. Listeners seemed happy to hear Anthony joke about his situation, laugh at his predicament, and show that he wasn’t hiding anything.
But was it a good idea to go live so soon? Even if Anthony feels confident about his case, and even if you assume he hasn’t done any of the things he is being accused of, could going on air live hurt his legal situation? On the one hand, showing off a confident, everything’s okay demeanor could help him. Maybe he gets the public and/or the media on his side, and his current fans clearly respect honesty and being forthcoming.
But there is a potential downside as well. At this stage, there’s no way to know if Cumia will face a civil lawsuit, and there are risks to his criminal case of being too confident. If the charges stand and Anthony ends up in court, then jury members could potentially be put off by Cumia’s lightness and confidence. Additionally nobody can predict what kind of pressure might be put on Nassau County prosecutors from Domestic Abuse groups and protestors concerned about women’s rights. Being visibly unconcerned about the allegations could rub some people the wrong way.
From an entertainment point of view, subscribers to Anthony’s couldn’t ask for anything more. Anthony has been an open book, sharing thoughts and details that most performers would shy away from. And Cumia’s career has been a virtual study in turning bad circumstances into good. Early in his career, Cumia turned firings into career promotions while working himself up the radio ladder to get market #1, New York City. And after Anthony’s last controversy Cumia arguably turned a bad situation– getting fired from a dream job– into a good one by starting his own podcast network with a successful show of his own and multiple other shows airing throughout the week. It all plays out like a reality show, which may be appropriate because there have been rumors that Cumia was courting networks over the summer to create an unscripted television show revolving around his life. Even without an official reality show, the media has remained very interested in Cumia’s story, sifting through shows periscopes and tweets even now. We’ll have to wait until January 4th when Cumia returns to court to see if that benefits or hurts his case.
Good move or bad move going live today? Let us know in the comments.