Sunday, May 2, 2010

Even Nice People Can Bully

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Those of you who have been following this blog know that, on occasion, I'll post strange and/or unsettling emails I've received, in an attempt to warn actors about possible scams or unscrupulous characters out there. (You can see a bunch of these by clicking here.) This correspondence is related to a blog I posted called Really, Who Are You? (Note: The below text is copied verbatim- all spelling and grammatical errors are his):

"Dear Ms. Cronican,
In March of 2009 you wrote a piece on your webiste titled 'Who are you really?'. I believe I am the individual you noted in that piece. To spare you the lengthy details, in late March of this year I came to learn that someone had gained access to one of my email accounts and had been using it for various purposes. I am embarrassed and sadenned that it took so long for me to realize that; for you and others were impacted by this. This past month I have taken various measures to prevent this from happening ever again. I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to you and others for any inconveniences this has caused. While you certainly don't owe me any favors, I am wondering if you would be willing to modify that blog and it's responses by either removing references to my last name or by only using the initial of 'R'. As mentioned earlier I am very embarrassed and distressed by all that has transpired and again I am sorry. Thank you for your hopeful understanding of this matter.

My humblest apologies,

DR

I don't, for one second, believe his story. Sure- he was kind and seemed reasonable, but there were too many red flags in his communications for me to take him at face value. So, this was my response to him:

"Hello- and thank you for your email. Since you have suggested that someone unscrupulous has been emailing actresses using your personal information, I think it is even more important to warn people about these emails. So I will not be removing the name "Dale Rehm" from the post, nor will I adjust the name to just a first name or initial. However, I will be posting your email, in its entirety, to the blog so that my readers can see what you have said.

As you may know, I have had multiple individuals send strange requests for headshots, and in an effort to warn others I have written blog posts about anything I found to be fishy. What you may not know is that on several occasions, I have received follow up emails from the "real" individual to say that their identity has been stolen and could I please alter or remove the post. I personally find the fact that you are now saying the same thing to be, well... odd. It seems odd to me that there are criminals out there stealing people's identities for the purposes of asking for autographs. It also seems odd to me that only since "late March of this year" you are seeking to clear your name, since it has been well over a year since I received my first autograph request from "Dale Rehm." (Strangely, I also received a second request from "Dale" in January of 2010.) Finally, another thing I find very odd- in your email, the FROM field says that your name is "William Dale" but you signed the email "DR." It makes it difficult to know who I am REALLY talking to.

I hope that what you are saying is true- and that the incessant requests to actresses by "Dale Rehm" will stop. For that reason, I'll happily post both your message and my response on my blog.

My very best, Erin"


He then writes back:

Thank you for the response. I certainly understand and respect your opinion, given what you have mentioned. I only ask that when posting your response that you remove the reference to the current email name as that was part of the process of trying to prevent further issues. Thank you again.

So, I reply:

"I'm sorry, I won't be making any changes to my post. It is very important that I report things accurately to my readers, and they need to be fully informed about this situation, especially if it involves such a serious crime as identity theft. But I will happily post your response on my blog so that my readers are aware of the situation.

I will make one offer- I will write no new blog posts mentioning Dale Rehm and William Dale if there are no further requests by Dale Rehm or William Dale-- to anyone. If a reader is contacted by one of these names and asks me to comment, I reserve the right to post a blog in response. I also reserve the right to comment on my current blog post if readers pose a question. Further, I reserve the right to post blogs about communications from any other person requesting autographs, no matter what their name is.

In return, I am requesting that you cease all communication with me. If I am contacted again, I reserve the right to re-post whatever communications have transpired. So, in the best interest of all parties, I request that this be our last communication.

Sincerely, Erin Cronican"


As I have mentioned, it is our responsibility to look out for each other, and part of that is sharing experiences that are uncomfortable or even downright scary. By putting this in print, and by being as even-handed as possible, I am striving to provide a service to other actors and I hope this inspires you to do the same.


Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.erincronican.com.

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