Wednesday, July 7, 2010


OK, so the whole Brad Garrett stalking/impersonation thing is a little creepier than I originally concluded. Having spent a couple of days examining the situation and doing what other journalists declined to -- ask the accused for her version and check out her claims -- I'm in a slightly different place than I was earlier this week.

Before I go any further, I want to mention that you can hear the accused woman answer all my questions on a special edition of The Strip. Click here to play that or right-click here to download it and hear it at your leisure. It's, uh, unusual.

To review, over the weekend, the new Tropicana headliner told celebrity journalist Robin Leach that he was being stalked by a "he" who was impersonating him on Twitter under the name BaddGarrett. The same person, Garrett said, was calling ticket brokers pretending to be him, seemed to have uncomfortable access to images of him and his family and may have even been at his comedy show in the first week. Leach not only took to his blog to report Garrett's accusations without comment from the accused person, but he also was on his Twitter telling the BaddGarrett Tweeter that she was sick, twisted and heading for the slammer.

I interviewed Garrett on Tuesday for this coming Saturday's regular edition of The Strip, and we discussed this. He seemed aware by that time that the "he" was actually a woman and he knew, as I do, her identity and location. Yet he refused the suggestion that her mischief was nothing more than a Twitter parody or, at worst, a fraudulent impersonation. He thinks it's active stalking.

Having spoken to this woman twice now, I admit that it's really, really hard to know. Much of what she claims is zany and time after time what she said about what she's been up to on Twitter does not comport with reality. She initially claimed she had never impersonated Garrett but only intended to do some loving parody and help promote the comic's endeavors.

That may, in fact, have been largely true in the public Twittersphere, but she engaged in several private chats, known as direct messages, in which it is clear she is permitting and encouraging people to believe she is actually the comic. One person misled was Vegas comic Keith Lyle, who shared with me several DMs received from BaddGarrett over the course of weeks.

During the week of June 6, for instance, Lyle wondered why this account was not "verified," meaning the Twitter puts a blue check on it to indicate it really belongs to a celebrity or notable person. These were three responses from BaddGarrett:

1. @Kevin_Nealon does not have a check 2. Enough ppl here know me IRL. 3. I don't want a ck, too many hassles. So, believe what you want

I honestly don't care who people think I am. I don't do the ego thing. This is for fun, to test drive material, sharpen skills and PR.

Who wants the checkmark and the associated assholes that come with it. I can achieve evrything I want here without it

The correct answer, of course, would have been, "Oh, I'm not really him."

At one point, BaddGarrett about family to Lyle: "I kid abt my ex, but she's really a wonderful lady & we're still friends. You have to for the kids too."

So, OK, let's posit that this woman was pretending to be the actor in some instances on Twitter. Oddly, in others she was not. Both Las Vegas Sun ace John Katsilometes and the PR team at the Tropicana had asked and were told forthright that she was just a fan, and the Trop folks told me as late as last Friday in a public Tweet -- BEFORE the ruckus began -- that they considered @BaddGarrett to be a great advocate for the show.

When I confronted the woman about the Keith Lyle direct messages in my interviews, her answers were all over the place. First she claimed she never led him to think she was the real star, then she said she didn't want to disappoint him by saying she wasn't, then she admitted she had "used bad judgment" and that "it snowballed and I didn't know what to do."

The question is, does any of this make this woman a stalker? Does it make her physically dangerous? Here, again, matters are more complicated than they appear. This woman pleaded guilty in 2006 to stalking a cop in her hometown, and she explains the details of what she did quite openly on the podcast. She says she learned her lesson, would never do that again. But Garrett knew and mentioned that, so clearly that influenced his alert as to whether she was dangerous to him.

That's understandable. So I asked her this set of questions:

Friess: Have you ever had any personal contact with Brad Garrett?

Alleged Stalker:

Never met him?

Alleged Stalker:
Never met him.

Never seen him in person?

Alleged Stalker: Never seen him in person.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas?

Alleged Stalker:
Never been to Las Vegas.

So when Brad says you’ve been taking photos of him and his family and his children, where did you get those pictures from?

Alleged Stalker:
I got them off Google. Off blogs, websites, Twitpics people take and post on Twitter. That’s it. I have no way of getting any other pictures of Brad.

I asked the alleged stalker to show me her credit card statements to prove where she's been. This got weird, too, as what she showed me were charges up until June 25, often more than one a day. She claims in the interview that after that she using all cash, but that's also coincidentally the same weekend the Garrett show opened in Vegas. What she provided didn't prove anything regarding her whereabouts in the time period during which Garrett says she might have attended the show.

I totally understand why Garrett is unnerved. But as inconsistent and strange as this woman's version of events is -- and you must listen to the interviews and see for yourself -- I've also never heard of a dangerous stalker who gives interviews to reporters or provides her phone number and address to them. The most likely scenario here is that this is a woman with a bit of a fantasy life and celebrity fascination who got carried away.

As you know, Robin Leach has taken great umbrage at my decision to examine this thing more closely, to question his decision to attack this woman so viciously and publicly and to try to tease out what made sense and what didn't. I forget sometimes that Robin isn't just some colleague but someone who enjoys celebrity himself. I'm not even sure he'd deny he has an obvious bias toward believing what longtime celebrity friends tell him.

This may be precisely where my background as a classically trained reporter clashes with his approach: People are innocent of crime until proven guilty. For powerful journalists to publicly declare someone a criminal without there even being any charges trips a switch in me. That's not what we're supposed to do.

If Garrett had wanted to avoid publicity over this, he could have dealt with it privately or quietly through the authorities. Instead, according to Leach, he asked Leach to trumpet the problem all over the place. Once that happened, following up by analyzing what is going on and trying to make sense of inconsistencies on every side of this debacle was a journalistic duty.

Who knows? If Garrett has a criminal case to file, we may some day know more. If not, odds are good this is where this will end.


Michael said...

Steve, the interview raises some questions from the accused, definitely a bit weird. I do wonder why the Trop PR dept. didn't indicate that they were mistaken for a period of time and referred to the imposter's account as the real Brad Garrett. They had a series of tweets on June 9th that reference the discussion. Perhaps it was just a mistake on their part or the imposter reached out to them as well and pretended to be Brad Garrett. It's at the @Troplv twitter account.

atdnext said...

Well, this seems to be more complicated than both sides had originally claimed. This "BaddGarrett" person has been convicted of stalking, and now we learn she clearly has claimed to be Brad Garrett when DMing certain people on Twitter. But OTOH, there's still no hard evidence proving she's stalking Brad Garrett.

So there's something disturbing going on, and IMHO Garrett did make the right choice in contacting the police, but we still don't really know if this person is engaging in criminal activity and perhaps it's best to leave this to the legal system. (Last I checked, Robin Leach is not a judge or jury...)

Keith Lyle said...

Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to put this out. I've been contacted by others that have had problems with this person that also wish to offer their thanks. Because of their fear of her, they can't do it publicly.

Anonymous said...

I believe that atdnext has the correct solution. Leave it up to the legal system. This is between Brad Garrett and Badd Garrett, no one else. You can make assumptions but the legal system goes after facts. No one knows the complete story. All you are going on is gossip and claims. And it's no one else's business other than Brad Garrett. And you may be harming any potential case he MAY have with your interference. Garrett has plenty of resources to handle this on his own.

If other people have had problems and were in fear, why weren't they proactive prior to now Keith Lyle? They couldn't have been THAT concerned then if it's only being alleged now.

jptm said...

Good reporting, steve. She does come off as off-centered; perhaps a little wacky. There are A LOT of fake twitterers--Nick Nolte, Gary Busey & Mickey Roarke are ones I follow that are not the REAL people--but are very funny to read and follow. Seems this lady was trying to do the same sort of thing and indeed got carried away. Since it seems out in the open now, and if she hasn't gone anywhere to physically pursue B.G., I don't see how what she's done could be considered stalking. Thanks again for reporting on this; it's been interesting to listen to & read.

Anonymous said...

Stalking has come to mean a pretty broad definition. Impersonating someone on the 'net or any vague form of cyber-harassment is considered stalking. It no longer means just showing up and literally following someone around. Even writing a letter can get you in trouble for stalking if what's in the letter causes even the slightest concern for the person receiving it. If there's more than one thing that happens, then it becomes a pattern that is definitely considered stalking. Celebs now have stalking consultants on their side. If I were this lady, I would stop all of it. It's not worth getting in trouble over a guy like Brad Garrett. She should stop the fake Twitter account and start acting like an adult.

Anonymous said...

One simple thought on the whack-a-doodle you interviewed--she has no idea what the word "parody" means. "Any humorous, satirical, or burlesque imitation, as of a person, event, etc." She seems to think this covers pretending to be someone--it doesn't.

David Williams
Carlsbad CA

MICHELL said...

I believe this woman is INSANE!! She DM'ed me too and she said does Kevin Nealon have a check??? Your loss too bad and then blocked me....All for accusing her of being an imposter......I felt sooo bad that I apologized over and over...I REALLY thought that I had insulted Brad...Then I sent a pic of my son with a check mark on his forehead and she...Sorry...but even my baby is VERIFIED....She then unblocked me and put a check mark on her avartar for awhile...That's when I was convinced it was Brad:( Another attack soo bad from Badd and her followers for a misunderstanding...they actually started tweeting to her followers list what a B-word she was and to unfollow's was very weird! I recently contacted her to let her know BG was a fake...I didn't want her having a bad opinion of the REAL Brad
Thank you

MICHELL said...

Oh PS....I'm girlinair on twitter...AND how was she in a stalking romantic relationship 5yrs ago...when she says shes been in a relationship for 18yrs????

Jay Link Truth Blog said...

A year and a half later this crazy lady is still on twitter as @BaddGarret but she still has multiple accounts and love to harass people... especially me... but she is like a toothless old hound dog. the few that will even listen to her have plates in their heads. Birds of a feather... ty 4 the expose' you took the wind our of her crazy sails :)