So why my sudden fanatical interest in the Soho native? Whether playing Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo or breaking up Billy Crudup’s relationship with Mary-Louise Parker, his seven months-pregnant girlfriend, it’s not as if she hasn’t been around for awhile. My attitude readjustment is the product of an experiment to test the hypothesis that anyone with Internet access in New York City has the means to become an effective stalker. We chose Danes as our test subject because she’s a famous woman (nearly three quarters of stalking victims are female) who lives downtown, where there are no doormen to interfere; because she’s got enough star power to attract a stalker but not enough to have security around 24/7; and because we discovered that Parker Posey, our first choice, had moved out of town.
The inspiration for stalking Danes came from two recent high-profile stalking cases, one of Conan O’Brien and the other of Uma Thurman. Both involved seriously deluded individuals. Thurman’s stalker threatened to kill himself if he saw her with another man and lived in his car outside of her home, and O’Brien’s followed him to Italy and showed up at his studio. Here’s what the reporter writes:
But George Vomvolakis, Jordan’s lawyer, has a theory. “If the complainant weren’t Ms. Thurman, this would have been a misdemeanor stalking case,” he argued in court. “Mr. Jordan should not be prosecuted to a higher degree because the victim is a public figure.”
Maybe we are worried about our pin-up girls. Should we be?
How about we be worried about all of our “girls”?
Stalking isn’t a joke, and what the reporter does next is definitely not funny: She gives the reader step-by-step instructions on how to stalk someone. She gives the street that Claire Danes lives on (and it’s not a street like “Fifth Avenue” that’s pretty long; it’s a short, recognizable street). Then she camps out in the neighborhood:
I now knew where she lived, where she worked five nights a week and two days, and where she ate most mornings. It had been easier than I’d imagined. Information moves much more freely than ever before, as do people, and that, it turns out, can be a problem.
The article ends like this:
Twenty minutes later, we get our shot in profile. She’s aiming for incognito, with the hood of her sweater jacket up and the white winter hat pulled low on her forehead, but there’s no longer much point in trying to hide. We found her. Good thing it’s just us.
Yeah, I’m sure Danes is incredibly relieved.
Celebrities do give up a good deal of privacy when they enter the public sphere. But no one gives up their full rights, and fame does not give you carte blanche to stalk someone and then publish an instruction manual in a newspaper. Becca Tucker and the NY Press should be ashamed of themselves. I hope Danes hits back on this one, because if I were her, I’d be simultaneously livid and terrified. You can email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to level a complaint about this disgusting article.
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