Mayor Melton Responds To Controversial Photos

JACKSON, Miss. — Since Monday, the 16 WAPT newsroom has received several phone calls and e-mails about photos of Mayor Frank Melton that appeared on gossip blog www.MediaTakeOut.com.

The pictures were taken by professional photographer Daren Gray, of Atlanta. They show Jackson’s mayor posing with three provocatively dressed women in front of his Chrysler 300. Gray said the pictures were taken over a year ago for a car magazine named Spare Dime. But he recently posted two of them to his Jackson Free Press Lounge List Web site, he said, by accident.

Gray said he wanted to stress that the pictures aren’t what they seem.

“Honestly, I feel bad that we’re being framed in an unflattering light when all the man did was stop, get out of his van and meet some of his constituents,” Gray said. “People wanted to be photographed with him.”

Tuesday night, Melton responded to the controversy surrounding the photos.

“That was very innocent. I was having lunch at Peaches Restaurant on Farish Street and they were shooting a commercial across the street. I was so excited to have someone on Farish Street shooting a commercial and that was the extent of it,” Melton said. “The dress was — they were doing a commercial — I guess that was all I can say. It was innocently done.”

WAPT 4/1/9