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NEWS RELEASE: Pro-Tect addresses growing threat to local celebrity security ________________________________________________________________________
Ever since actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed
by a crazed fan in 1989, Hollywood has taken the threat of stalkers
and kidnappers very seriously. An obsessed Michael Douglas fan last
year threatened to “slice up like meat on a bone and feed to the
dogs” his wife, actress Catherine Zeta Jones. Few people realised
that Russell Crowe attended the 2001 Oscar ceremony under armed
guard, because the FBI were investigating a plot by Al Queda to
kidnap the Gladiator star. In 1997 police apprehended
a trespasser on director Steven Spielberg's Malibu estate and later
found pictures of Spielberg and his family in his possession, along
with duct tape, curtain rods, handcuffs and a utility knife, uncovering
a plot to kidnap and rape the director. And Victoria and David Beckham
have already had two kidnapping plots against their children, Romeo
and Brooklyn , foiled by British police.
Does that mean that our local celebrities are in
similar danger? Local television personality Colin Moss made headlines
recently when he went public with a stalker threat against him.
He is by no means the first South African celebrity to discover
that obsessed fans can cast a dark shadow over the glamour of fame.
Former Miss SA, Batsetsana Khumalo, was plagued for five years by
a man who called her his “wife”. According to a Sunday Times
report she called in the police when he turned his attention
to her newborn baby. Another former Miss SA, Joan Ramagoshi, spoke
out on Carte Blanche about how constant harassment by
a Pretoria boxing coach made her life “a nightmare”.
“[Celebrity stalking] is more common than people
realise,” Prof. Lourens Schlebush, head of medical psychology at
the University of Natal 's Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine,
commented in a debate on the Vicious Delicious talk show
on the DSTV channel, Go. “I would take it very seriously,” he added.
Pro-Tect International, the undisputed leader in
celebrity protection in South Africa , is addressing this risk by
joining forces with media consultants Sharon Bezuidenhout &
Associates to form Pro-Tect Celebrity, a full-service celebrity
protection, logistics and media agency. “Our local celebrity culture
is growing fast, and with it comes increased risk,” says Pro-Tect's
Adriaan Heijns. He says local celebrities still tend not to take
adequate security measures, because they generally appreciate informal
contact with their fans and don't want to create a pretentious image.
“But there are a variety of ways in which a discreet close protection
expert can make a public figure's job easier and – more importantly
– safer,” he said. “More than ten years experience protecting visiting
celebrities has taught us that effective celebrity protection is
inextricably intertwined with all other aspects of celebrity management,
like logistical planning and media management. Together, our two
companies can cover all those aspects.”
Pro-Tect Celebrity clients can make use of any combination
of a wide range of services, ranging from a discreet bodyguard presence
for public appearances, to full-scale tour management.