This is not a new topic at FreakSpeakers. The first time we posted about this issue was back in
We only have glimpses of what really happens in his life or the seriousness of the crazies, we can lurk at online communities, have your skin crawl with some of the comments, but that might be the tip of the iceberg. We have been vocal against this behavior, we have been labeled as “anti anderfans” for our criticism, and we don’t care. We stand for it.
One of our initial points was against Nick Denton and his Gawker Media. We asked people then and again to take their content at face value, as gossip. Gossip sites are NOT news. Are NOT reliable sources. And to compare
Even the Out Magazine Editor in Chief, Aaron Hicklin, admitted to an E! reporter Mark Malkin that the cover with models with Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper masks was for marketing and sales purposes:
“It's also a business decision to try to sell magazine. "We needed a good cover," Hicklin says. "What kind of covers are going to move" on the newsstands?
The truth is that Planet Out – Out Magazine’s parent company – has faced the plummeting of its subscription sales and circulation, and they needed to have a publicity wave to bring attention to their publication. Will it work? I think the reaction has been a big backfire.
Down on page 15 of their 2006 SEC filing, PlanetOut explains:
"We have a history of significant losses," they declare. "If we do not regain and sustain profitability," the filing continues, "our financial condition and stock price could suffer."
John Carney of Dealbreaker.com:
PlanetOut has a chart that's almost painful to look at. It's slid from highs a couple of years back around twelve bucks down to Vonage territory. The company has been chopped-down by Wall Street analysts, who have noted declining revenues from ads and travel biz. Mounting debt and insider sale last year probably don't help. It's not clear what the companies core business is. Is it a publishing company? A travel site? A web 2.0 portal? Investors don't like companies when they can't tell what it's supposed to be doing.
To make matters worse, at start of the year PlanetOut adopted a "Shareholder's Rights Plan" which is the phrase companies use to describe something better known as a poison pill. Basically, it's a device that prevents an outside shareholder from acquiring the company without the consent of the insiders. These things hold down stock prices because they make acquisitions less likely and discourage outsiders from acquiring substantial portions of the company. No one has ever successfully swallowed a poison pill.
Recently we had a golden opportunity of watching, ironically through CNN, the “editorial genius” behind Gawker: Emily Gould.
And how the idiocy increases? We don’t live under stones, we read about the Equinox Gym piece. What is a shame, particularly from the gay online sites, that that story had more legs than the Thomas Roberts story. And THAT is reprehensible for a “community” – mostly represented by gossip publications - that claims they want visibility, leaders, rights and equality.
I will concede that gossip is fun. But with Anderson Cooper the line have been crossed. Its no longer funny. The entire situation is directed to undermine him, and CNN promoting him as a celebrity instead of a journalist is a huge disservice.
Gossip Blogs: Freedom of Speech or Blunt Opportunism
"Bloggers and other amateur journalists have some of the same problems any amateurs do: They make up the rules as they go, and they run the risk of screwing up and hurting someone. But because blogging isn't their day job, they have little risk — they aren't going to be fired."
- Andrew Kantor USATODAY.com.
He is no Rupert Murdoch, but the once journalist is clear upon the role of his blogs:
" a blog is much better at tearing things down - people, careers, brands - than in building them up" - Nick Denton
And that is the focus of his main property: Gawker. With tales out of a cheap soap opera, many post are created based on personal grudges, of no public interest. One of its features, the Gawker Stalker map, have earned the criticism of publicists and celebrities with the valid claim that it jeopardizes their security. But surpisingly
His former editor in chief, Jerry Oxfeld, apologized to a series of public figures - including Anderson Cooper - of the editorial lines "he was forced to follow" against them. Truth, you won't find it there. Write whatever you want. Accuracy is not important in the blog business. The trashiest, the better. Personally I am guilty of "planting" a couple of sightings for the Stalker Map in order to evaluate their fact checking techniques, and my team just laughs when they post them... particularly because we don't live in the USA!
But what happens with the reader? they swear over the "facts" that are presented in these blogs. "If it is printed and over the internet it has to be true!"... "Towleroad and DataLounge, are always right!" Why this individuals can't see this gossip blogs at their face value? AS GOSSIP BLOGS! Are these the same people who are still searching for the weapons of mass destruction in
Appreciation vs Obsession
Experts believe television is a significant factor in the increasing number of attacks on people in the public eye. The box in the corner brings brings famous faces into the homes of the lonely and disturbed.
The object of the obsession may unwittingly reinforce the fantasies of the delusional fan by showing them kindness in stopping to talk to them, or personally answering fan mail.
According to one theory, the "nicer" and more approachable a celebrity appears, the greater is the likelihood that they will face this kind of attention.
Sometimes, the stalker will inflict violence on others in an attempt to impress the person they admire. John Hinckley tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan because of his obsession with actress Jodie Foster. Tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan of Steffi Graf.
But what is stalking?
Stalking is a legal term for repeated harassment or other forms of invasion of a person's privacy in a manner that causes fear to its target.—from Wikipedia
This harrassment can include
- contacting targeted person repeatedly
- unwanted attention
- watching targeted person over a period of time
- contacting family members, friends, co-workers in hopes of meeting targeted person
There are different types of stalking, most affecting women, but this article will be discussing celebrity stalking.
Who stalks celebrities? And why?
“Stalking” celebrities has become a pastime for many people. Consider the popularity of websites such as Gawker, which incorporated a separate section to their site entitled “Gawker Stalker,” where readers could send in celebrity sighting reports. What kind of behavior does a site like this promote? Is this harmless fun? Anyone can send in a tip, and anyone has access to this information.
Most people know where to draw the line, but what about those who don’t? Does a site like Gawker promote celebrity stalking by allowing anyone to post and receive messages regarding a celebrity’s whereabouts? Does this type of site put celebrities in harm’s way?
Consider the case of Rebecca Schaeffer. Schaeffer was enjoying her work on the popular TV show My Sister Sam when, at the age of 21, she was gunned down at her home in California in 1989. Her murderer? An obsessed fan, Robert Bardo, who had been trying to initiate a relationship with Schaeffer for some time. Bardo had even accessed the Warner Bros. studio where the TV show was taped in order to meet Schaeffer, but was turned away by a security guard. Bardo was carrying a large teddy bear for Schaeffer—and a knife.
"It's like having a relationship with Jesus Christ," Bardo would later say. "People don't know him, but they want a personal relationship. I identified my happiness with public figures. That was Rebecca Schaeffer."
Is this the reason why people stalk celebrities?
Most celebrity stalkers are psychotics, say experts. Many spend years chasing the object of their desire, hoping for contact with the celebrity because they can’t form emotional attachments to people in their own lives. Some believe the celebrity would love them, if only they had the opportunity to form a relationship. And there begins the trouble.
“The experts say only a small proportion of stalkers are dangerous--just 2 percent. But think about it:
If you're a celebrity who gets a million letters a year--and many do--and just 5 percent of those are from potential stalkers, you're talking 1,000 who may be homicidal.”—E! Online
In October 1986, as Rather was walking along Park Avenue in Manhattan to his apartment, he was attacked and punched from behind by a man who demanded to know, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?," while a second assailant also chased and beat him. As the assailant pummeled and kicked Rather, he kept repeating the question over and over again. In describing the incident, Rather said, "I got mugged. Who understands these things? I didn't and I don't now. I didn't make a lot of it at the time and I don't now. I wish I knew who did it and why, but I have no idea."
In 1997, a TV critic writing in the New York Daily News claimed to have solved the mystery, and published a photo of the alleged assailant, William Tager. Rather confirmed the story: "There's no doubt in my mind that this is the person." Tager is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for killing NBC stagehand Campbell Montgomery outside The Today Show studio in 1994.
News broadcasters are increasingly becoming victims of stalking. Because of the nature of their job, they are more accessible to the public than movie stars and rock musicians, who are inevitably surrounded by tight security.
A recent survey showed that threats to
At a recent conference, US broadcasters were given the following advice on dealing with stalkers.
- DO NOT ASSUME THAT THE SENDERS OF THREATENING LETTERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO APPROACH YOU THAN THOSE PROFESSING LOVE. TAKE BOTH EQUALLY SERIOUSLY.
- DO NOT RETURN GIFTS AND LETTERS; SAVE THEM FOR THE POLICE.
- DO NOT EAT ANY FOOD SENT BY A STRANGER.
- DO NOT REVEAL PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT BROADCASTERS ON THE AIR.
- USE BULLET-PROOF GLASS TO PROTECT ON-AIR STAFF WHO ARE VISIBLE FROM OUTSIDE THE STATION
digital illustration by Christiane
Article with the collaborative effort of Courtney
Portions of this post were previously published at the FreakSpeaker website