Articles,  Beyond the Buzz

Can you be too careful? Um…no. Not in this business.

mhBImMYThis started out as a Facebook post, but it grew and grew to the point that I realized it would be better handled as a blog entry/article. So here you go!

Over the weekend, a close friend of my family texted me to ask me about a potential agent that had reached out to her via Facebook. This girl is like a daughter to me and she knows how much I care about her, so protective mode kicked in. Where did you hear of this guy? Who recommended him? What’s he offering? The answers were a bit murky. All she had for me was his name, a link to his Facebook profile (he’d contacted her via Facebook) and the name of the agency he said he was with. She said that he told her that there were some stories about him online but they all went back to one unhappy person.  I told her I would ask around and see what I could find out.

At first glance it all looked relatively okay. I had her ask him a few questions and none of the answers gave us pause. He knew all the language and his answers made sense. I still wasn’t sure about things and asked her to give me a day or two to do some more research.

Thank God I did.  With much research, I discovered that he’s changed his name several times, created multiple modeling agencies – none of which are legally registered entities according to public records and I found a long trail of incidents documented across the internet.  But it took a lot of digging (and a lot of help from friends) to put together all the pieces.

What I found out was nasty, awful, and big enough that I’ve actually contacted friends in my local police department. The man has entire blog posts that were written specifically to warn other girls and women away from him. They were not easy to find – but once I uncovered things, I found specific incidents, dates, times – and corroborating stories and comments from random strangers who had similar experiences with him. I found posts across social media from girls warning other girls to stay away from him and even a trail of discussions about him across sci fi forums. (It seems one of his favorite places to hang are sci-fi conventions and he’s well known for approaching cosplayers.)  I uncovered (after much searching) a blog post from a woman who claims that he approached her about a modeling gig and asked her to come to his car while he grabbed a business card. When she got there, he opened his trunk and it was full of rope, gags, handcuffs and a variety of other things. He told her he had a bondage shoot coming up and he asked if she was interested. When he has approached women online, he’s been found to stalk them – follow them online – and continually harass them. Sometimes for up to a year or more. EVERYWHERE THEY GO ONLINE. Across forums, social media, websites – even professional complaint forums where these women have warned others. In short, this man is far worse than just a scam artist, everything I’ve found points to predator.

This girl he approached is savvy, smart (she actually WORKED ON CAGED NO MORE with me so trafficking and targeting is not something she’s naive about) and she was drawn in. If you would like to know his name, I’m happy to share in messages. I fully believe he’s more than a scam artist – he’s a predator. If you want his info to share with your friends, folks in the biz, etc – please message or email me. I’ll happily share everything I’ve found.

I’m constantly asked about how to get into this business and let me tell you this: YOU CANNOT BE TOO CAREFUL. Many young women or men (all of us really!) want to be liked and tend to be afraid to offend. They don’t want to burn someone that could potentially benefit their career.  They won’t stand up for themselves, ask the hard questions, or push back. They’ll accept friend requests and buy all the promises without doing their research.

ANYONE LEGITIMATELY IN THIS BUSINESS WILL WANT TO PROTECT YOU AS MUCH AS YOU DO. No one who is honestly building a legitimate business will be offended, angry, or drop you if you ask the tough questions and call them to accountability.

Quick tips:

  • Do not give ANYONE your personal cell phone number, email or address. You can have a Google voice number for FREE that will allow you to screen your calls without losing your privacy. If you want advice on how to do this, let me know. NO ONE WILL KNOW it’s a Google Voice number – you can call with it or have people call you on it and it acts just like a regular phone number.
  • Do not give access to your private profiles. This means accepting random friend requests on Facebook. It seems harmless enough to accept a friend request and it’s a great way to network. Look! I’m friends with this person! Yay! But look at it this way. This also gives these people access to your map (everywhere you’ve checked in!) your friend lists, etc. It also enables them to download all of your personal pictures and you have given them free reign to talk to all of your friends, family, and make note of EVERYTHING you’ve ever posted. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but look back up at that part where the woman said his trunk was full of ropes, gags, etc. If you met someone on the street who had all that stuff in their car, would you hand them ALL of that information about you? Didn’t think so.  Again, anyone legitimately seeking to work a business deal with you will not randomly friend request you. This step should come after actually working together – or at least a short time of conversation. NOT immediately.
  • Do not agree to allow someone to take pictures of you based on promises. Check their work. Ask if you can talk to other models. See if they have business references who have hired them previously.
  • Google. Bing. Yahoo. USE THEM. Search the name of the company they are with or any company they’ve ever been with. Search their names (any combo of first, middle, last or whatever you have), their name with the city, their name with modeling/acting, etc. Don’t be afraid to go deep, look in older records, and ask lots of questions. Anyone legitimate in this business will applaud your research.

You can’t be too careful. You really can’t.

Now back to scary predator guy above. I’m not naming him publicly because he has this wonderful habit of violently harassing and stalking anyone who posts about him publicly online. I found many, many, many trails of him following these young women across social media sites, blogs, and even forums like the BBB and complaint forums. He claimed they were stalking him but in reality, he began to stalk them and he continued, in some cases, for years. He did everything he could online to destroy their careers. Some of them were simply because the women turned him down when he offered them contracts.   If you are concerned and would like to know his name(s) and company(ies), please drop me a comment, email me or message me on Facebook.