Author Topic: Crowds Seeking Autographs  (Read 3881 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Verity

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Crowds Seeking Autographs
« on: July 26, 2011, 08:18:43 AM »
Yesterday, Wil Wheaton posted to Google+ regarding an experience where he was waylaid by people demanding autographs.  His post is quoted below.

Quote from: Wil Wheaton
On the way out of the Syfy party on Saturday night, a pretty horrible thing happened. I wasn't going to talk about it in public, but I can't stop thinking about it, and I think this needs to be said.

If you camp out in front of my hotel while I am on location or visiting a city, if you camp out in front of a party I'm attending ... basically, if you camp out anywhere so you can shove a stack of 8x10s into my face when I'm trying to enter or leave a location, I'm not going to sign them, and I'm not going to be nice about it.

I refuse to reward or validate that kind of behavior, and I'm done being polite about it.

when we walked out of the SyFy party on Saturday night, a pack of people -- probably 12 or 15, I'd guess -- appeared out of nowhere, and surrounded me. They shoved pictures into my face, thrust pens at me, and made it so that I couldn't even move. They separated me from my friends and my son, and, quite frankly, terrified me.

Let's stop for a second and think about this: in what kind of world is it acceptable to surround a person you do not know, separate them from the people they are with, and essentially trap them? Maybe in crazy entitled psycho world, but not the world I live in.

I tried to scrawl my signature on a couple of things, just so some of those people would move and let me keep on walking, but whenever someone took something away, something new immediately took its place. Somehow, +Felicia Day saved me. She reached through the mob, grabbed my hand, and said, "Sorry, we have to go meet some of our friends," before the literally pulled me away, to safety.

This is when the mob lost its poopadities. They yelled at me like I had done something wrong. They called me names, and they booed at me. (Seriously). A woman stormed up next to me and said, "If you don't sign these things for me, I'm going to tell Twitter what an Donkey's Patoot you really are."

I looked her square in the eye, turned on my dad voice, and said, "Really? Are you serious? We're done here." I quickened my pace, and for the next two blocks she followed us, screaming and ranting and raving about how she'd waited there for hours, driven all the way from someplace far, and that I basically owed her. I eventually tuned her out, and I guess she went back to the Syfy party to harass whoever else came out, next.

The whole thing was really scary, made me feel like a sideshow freak, and made me really, really angry. I was just trying to walk out of a hotel and go meet up with my friends. I didn't do anything wrong, and I'm not going to apologize for it.

I realize that a person who thinks it's entirely normal and not psycho to camp out in front of a hotel for hours and hours so they can trap a person isn't going to understand why I will not validate that behavior, but I need to make this clear for the future: I'm a person. I'm happy to sign things and take pictures with people in appropriate situations, but if some dude violates my personal space or freaks me out, and then gets mad at me when I try to get away from him, I'm not going to do anything beyond telling that person to go (I can't express myself without swearing) himself, and I'm not going to feel bad about it.

Edit, because this is important: I realize that anyone reading this isn't one of Those Guys. Please don't think the "you" here refers to, you know, you.


Thoughts?  What would have been the etiquette approved method of handling what must have been a difficult and terrifying situation?

“He professed to hate fanaticism, yet was himself a fanatic on the topic of toleration."
                                                                                                            -- Anatol France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9890
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 09:08:23 AM »
I think this is an unfortunate aspect of celebrity culture that's gotten worse over time. I also think that a threatened physical altercation is a safety over etiquette issue. On the one hand, I think it's ridiculous for a minor celebrity to need a bodyguard just walking out of a party. OTOH, that's now become a real issue for a lot of famous people, partly because with the advent of social media you can follow them physically in a way that was never possible before. One random person tweets their location and 50 people can show up in nothing flat.

Edited to add a random.  :)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 09:40:11 AM by Winterlight »
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21528
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 09:13:24 AM »
I think this is an unfortunate aspect of celebrity culture that's gotten worse over time. I also think that a threatened physical altercation is a safety over etiquette issue. On the one hand, I think it's ridiculous for a minor celebrity to need a bodyguard just walking out of a party. OTOH, that's now become a real issue for a lot of famous people, partly because with the advent of social media you can follow them physically in a way that was never possible before. One person tweets their location and 50 people can show up in nothing flat.

But that is what leaves me torn.  Tweeting your location could make the public think that you welcome their "camping out".  I don't know if that is how they foudn him but if he tweeted his plans/location then he contributed to the problem. 


Reuth

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 564
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 09:15:11 AM »
Whether or not he tweeted his location doesn't matter. Even if he would have welcomed having a crowd to sign autographs for, there is no excuse for the behavior of this crowd.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8640
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 09:19:53 AM »
I think this is an unfortunate aspect of celebrity culture that's gotten worse over time. I also think that a threatened physical altercation is a safety over etiquette issue. On the one hand, I think it's ridiculous for a minor celebrity to need a bodyguard just walking out of a party. OTOH, that's now become a real issue for a lot of famous people, partly because with the advent of social media you can follow them physically in a way that was never possible before. One person tweets their location and 50 people can show up in nothing flat.

But that is what leaves me torn.  Tweeting your location could make the public think that you welcome their "camping out".  I don't know if that is how they foudn him but if he tweeted his plans/location then he contributed to the problem.

I don't think it's the celebrity who tweets his/her own location most of the time. It's some random person--"I just saw Wil Wheaton entering the SyFy party!" who alerts the rest of the public to the celeb's presence. And then the fans flock to the spot.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7099
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 09:33:30 AM »
I follow Wil Wheaton on twitter and he didn't tweet where he was for the most part (he did tweet when he was in panels). He also posted it to a blog: http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2011/07/if-you-cut-me-i-will-bleed.html

so you might want to edit the OP so you aren't cutting and pasting the entire post.

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 09:38:32 AM »
I think it's perfectly fine for a celebrity to say something like what Felicia Day did in this situation..."Have friends to meet/an appointment to get to/places to be and won't be signing autographs." And if the fan/s keep pressing "That won't be possible." And if the fans are really pushing and/or don't back off, then "I'm leaving now. Good-bye." And then forcibly tear himself away if needed.

Of course Will Wheaton could have distracted with "Look! There's Patrick Stewart!" and run like the dickens. ;)
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9890
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 09:38:58 AM »
I think this is an unfortunate aspect of celebrity culture that's gotten worse over time. I also think that a threatened physical altercation is a safety over etiquette issue. On the one hand, I think it's ridiculous for a minor celebrity to need a bodyguard just walking out of a party. OTOH, that's now become a real issue for a lot of famous people, partly because with the advent of social media you can follow them physically in a way that was never possible before. One person tweets their location and 50 people can show up in nothing flat.

But that is what leaves me torn.  Tweeting your location could make the public think that you welcome their "camping out".  I don't know if that is how they foudn him but if he tweeted his plans/location then he contributed to the problem.

I don't think it's the celebrity who tweets his/her own location most of the time. It's some random person--"I just saw Wil Wheaton entering the SyFy party!" who alerts the rest of the public to the celeb's presence. And then the fans flock to the spot.

Yes, that's what I meant. I'll go back and edit.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

JocelynCS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1362
  • Mom of 3 fluffies!
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 11:40:11 AM »
Aw, you beat me to it!

As a Star Trek and Wil Wheaton fan, this is downright embarrassing. 

The fact that someone is a celebrity/personality does NOT entitle fans/collectors to demand that the person be "on call" 24/7 and acquiesce to all autograph/discussion requests, however inconvenient.  Even celebs are entitled to say no. 

The  behavior of these people is beyond the pale. I don't think that because Wil tweeted his location that people are entitled to mob or harass him.  Hanging around and POLITELY asking for autographs (one or two) or a handshake or a picture is reasonable.  Surrounding, demanding a stack of signatures, and a long, drawn-out discussion is not.

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2390
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 11:48:48 AM »
That's absolutely unacceptable behavior for anyone, and good on Mr. Wheaton for calling it out.

Bibliophile

  • May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12025
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 11:53:49 AM »
That's absolutely unacceptable behavior for anyone, and good on Mr. Wheaton for calling it out.

POD.  They actually talked about a similar thing on the radio this morning.  A local celeb who deals with money/finance questions went to the hardware store with his very pregnant wife.  There was a line of people waiting to talk to him when his wife told him they need to go because she was having contractions.  The 2nd person in line told her "He can't leave, I haven't even asked MY question yet!!"  They were not there for a meet & greet - they were there as shoppers  ::)

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Akarui Kibuno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2646
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 02:59:50 PM »
I think that Mr Wheaton acted perfectly in this situation.

I actually did camp out once, hoping to see a celebrity and get either a picture or an autograph. I did not get it in the end because the celebrity used another exit of the venue, but I did not yell at anyone. In fact, when another celebrity got out, before the one I wanted, I did not stop him either and did not even say hi because he was with his son and very pregnant girlfriend :P .

I would not have been scary though. By the time Celeb2 and PregnantGF came out, I was the only person left waiting outside :P .
My FB rants blog (English) - My personal site (French)
A click on one of the ads every so often would help a lot if possible. Thank you <3 .

C0mputerGeek

  • C0mputerGeek
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1518
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 05:26:17 PM »
This must have been at Comic Con International in San Diego (SDCC). Wil Wheaton was there this past weekend for some of the panels. Many of the fans are quite gracious, but the crowds have gotten more out of control as the Con has gotten more "Hollywood." He behaved perfectly. The people that waylaid him did not.

SDCC has autograph sessions for people to (stand in line) and get autographs from the actors. I don't remember if Wil Wheaton was giving autographs, but if he was it makes it even more heinous. Really, those people could have gotten his signature. They just would have needed to wait in (a very long) line. There was a venue for them to do so and they tried to circumvent it.

Balletmom

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6850
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2011, 09:30:52 PM »
I think the only thing for Mr. Wheaton to do was keep walking, (as much as possible) wave graciously, and say loudly, "Thanks for coming, I'll be signing autographs later at X/Y!"

If he has to hire bodyguards to help with this, then that's just a cost of doing business for him. It's sad he has to do so, but it's better than being completely overwhelmed.

As long, of course, as they don't turn into the Patti LaBelle thugs at IAH.  ;)

Seriously, he was right to call them out on it, and I think the best thing for the future is to make it clear, nothing will be signed from anyone who acts this way. Anything else encourages people to become entitled stalkers.

JadeAngel

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 980
Re: Crowds Seeking Autographs
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2011, 09:42:09 PM »
Unfortunately it sounds like Wil Wheaton fell foul of a group of 'professional' autograph hunters, people who aren't really fans of the actor or artist, but who want autographs they can sell.

I saw an interview with one of these guys once, he carried a huge briefcase full of headshots and publicity stills of various actors and when he saw one he would immediately pull the appropriate picture from his case and approach them for an autograph. He was making a fortune onselling these autographed pictures. It's unfortunate that these kinds of situations have often caused genuine fans to be brushed off, because the actor is not signing anything for anyone anymore.

As for threatening to 'tweet' insulting and false things about Wil Wheaton in an effort to pressure him into doing what he wants, I think he handled it well. These people were ridiculously entitled and didn't deserve anything and it's sad that even minor celebrities are now having to surround themselves with security to prevent these kinds of situations, because we are going to get to the point where the only place you will be able to get your autograph is at a scheduled signing...