By Cerise Fukuji
May 17, 2009
We live in a culture filled with celebrity news and sightings. We can’t get away from it – it’s on television 24-7, in magazines, newspapers, online, everywhere and, of course, we all have our favorites. Imagine that your favorite celebrity is coming to town, performing a concert and doing a book signing. Now imagine that you decide to attend the concert, buy a t-shirt with her on it, buy her book and then decide you’ll go down to the bookstore to get her to sign it.
And, you should be able to do this and not think twice about it. After all, you’re just acting like any normal fan might. Right?
Now imagine that after you see your favorite celebrity, wear your t-shirt proudly and find out the latest news about her life, you get a loud knock on your door. You answer. It’s the police and a psychiatrist trained in recognizing potential killers and stalkers, those fixated on public figures. You are accused of being a stalker for doing the above actions and taken into custody for further investigation. No evidence. No trial.
Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t because it is already starting to happen. The lines between what constitutes a fan and a stalker are being increasingly erased. Many governments around the globe have already established specialized units to target individuals who may be deemed “stalkers” and pose a direct threat to VIP’s, including celebrities, Royal Families and government officials. These teams are made up of police, as well as psychiatrists and psychologists who have been given the authority to evaluate, accuse and detain you against your will. This is all done under the guise of “anti-terrorism.”
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, specialized units that have been cropping up around the globe, like the Fixated Threat Assessment Center (FTAC) there and the countless Counter-Terrorism Bureaus set up around the United States, have been created to identify and track individuals who are involved with terrorist activity. However, more and more, the definition of what terrorism is and what constitutes an act of terrorism has broadened to include those arenas which may not have applied in the past. For example, when did stalking begin to be classified as a terrorist activity? How might a psychologist accurately determine if one were a stalker or just merely an adoring fan?
Don’t get me wrong – I realize that there is a need for protective security services and measures. In fact, a very good friend of mine owns an agency that does just that for some of the most famous celebrities in the world. He works very hard to make sure that his clients are safe wherever they go in the U.S. or abroad. However, I fear that because the medical evaluations of these special units can lead to the “legal” detainment of individuals without criminal charges or even a trial, then our civil liberties are in grave jeopardy. When the lines between government and medical evaluation get crossed, something is very wrong in society.
Personally, as a producer and writer myself, I like keeping abreast of the things that other celebrities are doing artistically. That certainly doesn’t classify me as a stalker, but if these lines get increasingly more blurred, it just might.
About the Author:
Cerise Fukuji is a writer and producer with over eighteen years of experience in the entertainment industry. She has produced and written over 100 hours of television for various networks including: Discovery Channel, Lifetime, Animal Planet, MTV, Turner Broadcasting Systems and Fox and has also worked in various consulting, development and production capacities at several major production companies and film studios.