OK

I wrote this as a comment on Mike's diary, but I'd like to diary it simply because as an entertainment industry professional, I have a different perspective on this than some.

I have always been one of Mike Stark's biggest fans and supporters.  From way back before CALLING ALL WINGNUTS.  I often wished I had Mike's creativity and cajones when it comes to fighting for what is right.  I think Mike is a huge asset to our community - a gem, in fact - and that progressive politics would not even exist without the Mike Starks of the world.  

But I gotta join the naysayers in regards to his O'Reilly confrontation today - I think it's way, WAY too much to go to a person's house.  

Yes, it's well within your first ammendment rights.  And Yes, O'Reilly is a public figure.  But I think when it comes to going to a person's private home and accosting him and his neighbors, it borders on harrassment.  My perspective after the jump.

For nearly 25 years I've worked in entertainment. From the very beginning I was working directly with some major major stars, and many minor ones.  I was a young woman who looked even younger than I was - so I had to get really competent really fast.  One of the things I had to learn was to be respectful of but not intmidated by celeb-types; to treat them as colleagues but not better than me.  

By the way, despite my resume and awards, I'm 99% sure Bill O'Reilly, would still treat me as a piece of meat.   Despite the fact that I actually have a REAL Peabody award, Bill.  All my own, thank you.  Oh man, would I love to shove that in his face!  (But he'd probably just be talking to my chest...)  

I digress.  What I'm trying to say here is, I work in entertainment behind the camera, with celebs of various levels and I see a lot harassment at their homes; by paparazzi, but also by harassers and stalkers and sometimes, just the curious. It is often devastating to their lives.  I'm not talking the crazies like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears who seem to be addicted to the attention. I'm talking about hard working actors and other on-air personalities. Believe it or not, most working actors work very very hard.  It's a gruelling profession.  Some of my professional colleagues (actors/on-air personalities and not always big ones at that) have to travel with body guards because of various threats that might or might not be real.  And contrary to how TMZ may present it, it's not "cool" to have a bodyguard.  It's a huge hassle.  And for many actors/on airs who don't make a fortune (and most of them don't), it's also incredibly expensive.

These people tell me how it feels to not know who could be waiting outside the door of your home.  To not be able to even walk your dog in peace.  One of these people is a star who is a very young, sweet, innocent woman.  Because of just one stalker threat - just one! - she can't even go to a restaurant or movie or shopping alone.

My closest colleague at the moment is not an actor but a tv personality growing in fame exponentially.  On a recent trip to an amusement park, he actually had to worry about the safety of his kids!  His wife (one of my best friends) and their kids were accosted in a movie line - without him even there!  He and his family have moved to a quiet home in an ordinary neighborhood and its understood by the neighbors that they don't brag about who lives in their cul de sac.  It's kind of like AA - mutual respect and desire for privacy keeps everyone acting neighborly and respectful.

I was recently fortunate enough to go to a high-end spa and as luck would have it, there happened to be a woman there who is right wing conservative political royalty. It was a small group at the spa and everyone was pretty shocked when she and her friend showed up w/out serious secret service protection. Maybe secret service were hiding in a massage room somewhere, but we didn't see them. There was also a woman who was one of the heads of a department that Bush has totally decimated and replaced with an unworkable, devastating system.  

Being both a writer and a natural snoop, I enjoyed sussing out both these women and getting my own impressions of them as people.  They were what I'd expect - and they weren't.  People are gray that way, when you take them out of context.  But I'm not going to share who they were, or any of the very personal things I learned about them.  (Maybe I'll fictionalize it someday, but I won't "report" it.) Why?  Because they were in a "safe zone."  I wanted to be in a "safe zone" there, too - and I don't always like to share my professional life.  When you go to a place like that, you go for peace.  I don't think that peace should be violated.

I don't agree when the paparrazi accost bad-behaving celebs at their homes.  And as much as I admire Michael Moore as a filmmaker - nay, WORSHIP him as a filmmaker - it bothered me when he went to Charlton Heston's home.  I worked with Heston way back at the beginning of my career. I was over my head (writing and directing a PSA at age 20 w/no experience) and he was a total gentleman and a pro.  He's not a bad guy - just has done a lot of things I vehemently disagree with.

I get outraged when people go to abortion docs houses.  I feel outraged when people like Michael Shiavo were accosted at their houses.  If anyone showed up at my house for any reason, I'd be over the moon livid. Even the mafia don't harass each other's families.

I do believe we should respect the sanctity of each other's "safe zones."  Our homes, our gynecologist's offices, whatever.  Yes, O'Reilly threatened Mike's home, and others. But that doesn't mean we should act as blindly bullying as the falafel man and his ilk.

O'Reilly is an asshole and a fool.  But I think even he deserves to have some peace when he comes home from a long day of lying on the air, spreading hate in America, and spitting on the Constitution.

I totally get the point Mike was trying to make - especially after the threats O'Reilly has made on air.  

I love you Mike, and respect your courage and convictions.  But I do strongly disagree with this choice of how to deal with this particular situation.

Originally posted to hopesprings on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 10:19 AM PDT.

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