dear people who stake out airports and other places

I am never going to sign the stack of things you have. I am never going to take pictures with you. Waiting in an airport or some other place waiting for me (or someone who isn’t me but does similar work) is profoundly inappropriate. It makes me very uncomfortable, for reasons I’ve written about before, and I will not reward or encourage this kind of behavior.

In Dancing Barefoot, I wrote about signing autographs at conventions:

Over the years, I’ve learned something from this experience: it’s never about the signature. It’s about that brief moment, that brief encounter with a Star Trek cast member, that is so important to the fans. That 30 seconds or so of hopefully undivided attention is what they’re really paying for, and I always do my best to make sure they get their money’s worth. Contrary to popular belief, sitting at a table signing hundreds of autographs for several hours without a break is hard. It’s not just mindlessly scrawling my name; It’s stopping and listening to the always excited, sometimes shaking, always sweating, sometimes scary dude who wants to know exactly why I did “X” on episode “Y” and would I please sign his picture in silver, because Marina signed it in gold and now he wants the men in silver and the women in gold, and I hated your character and here are 25 reasons why and I expect an answer for each one of them and I’m not leaving until I’m satisfied.

The crazy people who camp out don’t care about that brief moment, that brief encounter. The crazy people only care about taking a piece of $Celebrity.person and possibly selling it, or hording it, or … you know, I don’t even want to think about where that path leads.But that’s why they behave the way they do. It isn’t about our work, or about saying “thank you” or “high-five!” or anything about that. It’s about entitlement and being crazy, and I will not validate or condone that kind of behavior ever again.

I realize that a crazy person who thinks it’s entirely normal and not psycho to camp out in front of a hotel for hours and hours so they can trap a person isn’t going to understand why I will not validate that behavior, but I need to make this clear for the future: I’m a person. I am a  human being and if you cut me I will bleed. I’m happy to sign things and take pictures with people in appropriate situations, but if some dude violates my personal space or freaks me out, and then gets mad at me when I try to get away from him, I’m not going to do anything beyond telling that person to go fuck himself, and I’m not going to feel bad about it. To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, I am not your bitch.

So, people who stake out airports and other places to try and grab a piece of me (or someone who isn’t me but does similar work), please let the word go forth among your peers: Wil Wheaton is a huge asshole who won’t even sign a single thing for you, even after you’ve waited in an airport for hours, and even followed him into the bathroom to badger him about signing things. Don’t waste your time with Wil Wheaton, because even though he says “don’t be a dick,” he’s the biggest dick of all.

It would be really great if you could get the word out about how much of a shit Wil Wheaton is, and how you’re really just wasting your time with him, because then he wouldn’t have to feel freaked out when he’s just trying to travel like a regular human being.

Thank you.

69 thoughts on “dear people who stake out airports and other places”

  1. Yikes. If I see you in an airport, am I allowed to say “I’m sorry to bother you, but I enjoy your work. Thanks!” without getting punched in the face?

    1. There is a marked difference between a fan randomly running into a celebrity in an airport, and someone who waits for said celebrity (or others) to arrive at the airport for their arrival. The first is happy coincidence. The second is basically stalking.

      Imagine running into someone who recognizes you from your blog and wants to chat with you briefly about what you write (I write a style blog where I post pictures of myself, this has happened to me and many other style bloggers I know). This doesn’t creep me out, this doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. Imagine, however, if that person had found you by looking at the pictures you post on your blog, discerning where you are from those pictures, and waited for your arrival at your work / home / hotel / favorite coffee shop. How would that make you feel? Violated? Uncomfortable?

      While the interaction with this imaginary individual might not be any different for either of these incidents, the level of appropriateness regarding the situations are WILDLY different. One is ok – the other is DECIDEDLY not.

  2. I don’t know why anyone would think behaving that way is appropriate. It is, in fact, rude and disrespectful, and people like that absolutely deserve to be punched in the face for being a dick. You’re absolutely right, Wil, it’s not about being appreciative of a person that was part of a thing you like. It’s about not knowing or caring about that person’s boundaries or even the fact that they are a person.

    Ugh. I’m sorry that these types of people exist.

  3. Totally get where you are coming from I worked for a larger film festival and I helped the guests get to their transportation. I couldn’t believe how nasty some of these autograph hounds could be. They would literally stake out the exits with mountains of stuff they expected folks to sign it was disgusting and there were more than a few that I had to physically hold back. You have always been very friendly in the appropriate settings. Some people just don’t grasp the creepy factor when strangers approach you with the mind set that you owe them something. Stay Classy bro

  4. People who stalk celebs — for any reason (and especially into bathroom stalls!) — are no better than paparazzi. And those folks are as low as they go.

  5. Yep, it’s easy to forget that privacy is something that everyone needs.

    I always thought about acting, but unfortunately this stardom is gettting worse and worse these days. I can not imagine how it must be not to be able to just step into a store w/o being recognized and having your peace.
    In that sense I’m lucky being a normal dude with a somewhat normal job… :-)

  6. I have seen these assholes too often. They’re not real fans and are only doing it for the mighty dollar. Each time I see them and their big folders of 8x10s, I want to chew them out. ‘Eff them!

  7. I promise I will never ever do that to you (or anyone else I admire). It’s creepy and weird, and people who have any sort of fame deserve to be treated as people. And you don’t bug your mailman for an autograph, right? Or the lady who just sold you a cheeseburger?

    I don’t get the whole cult of celebrity thing…

  8. I’m very sorry about the parasites, and flabbergasted that they keep trying this despite it not working, despite your very public condemnation of exactly this thing only two weeks ago.

    What the hell, humanity.

  9. We actually did see you in an airport – but I swear we weren’t stalking you, we were actually on the same flight. My husband only said hello to you because he had his Karateka shirt on.

    1. Not to speak for Wil, but I don’t think just saying hello is what he meant about not being bothered. There’s a difference in someone being genuinely excited to meet him, to say “Hello, my name is [your name here], Wesley Crusher changed my life…” and camping out because he’s a celebrity to get him to sign pictures, stacks of pictures, that they intend to sell.

      1. Well … yes and no, I think. No, we weren’t the people who had a stack of things for him to sign. But he didn’t know that when my husband said hello to him. Just like a woman doesn’t know if the guy hollering “nice legs!” at her is going to be the one who gets mad and follows her home. Technically we were still bothering him.

        Funny thing though. I don’t much like flying, but having Wil on my flight illogically made me feel better. We can’t crash, Wil Wheaton’s on board!

  10. I would say to anyone still having a hard time understanding him, go to the Lifetime channel and find movies about women being stalked and you should get how he feels.

    Thanks for your awesomeness and your outright truth telling!

  11. Im disabled, in part due to social anxiety, and other stuff. i carry around headphones at all times because i will lose my s–t sometimes if overwhelmed with noise or people talking politics near me, etc. there have been numerous times i have felt cornered or trapped by people, and luckily once i explain my disability and why i have to literally shove headphones in my ears and crank ‘Freak Momma’ by Sir mix a lot and Mudhoney just to, literally, drown their existence out, most people back down. so i mention that to imply i *think* i can partially relate, although i am not famous.

    But the etymology of the abbreviation ‘fan’ is fanatic. You sound… bitter? a bit when i read it, and (especially since i am disabled from mental illness issues) your repeated usage of the word ‘crazy’ as a perjorative for people who genuinely worship the ground you walk on seems a bit harsh. Then again i dont know how many are just gonna sell it on ebay, nor do i know how aggro they can get. i heard some story about a fan trying to rip off a persons clothing.

    Maybe im not understanding that there is a difference between people ‘liking’ you and wanting to say hi, sup dawg… and people who want to suck your blood as you try to sleep because your connecting flight is hosed by mechanical problems.

    I just realized you’ve been doing this since a tender young age too, maybe i have nothing to offer. It just seems like an actor complaining about fans is like a cop complaining people keep asking him to solve crimes.

    I think your time would better be spent trashing fake celebs who are the real people who have poisoned your well – people see kardashians famous due to sex tapes, real housewives getting more coverage than mars rovers, jersey shore getting ANY ATTENTION AT ALL – there has been a culture shift so radical that the boston terrorist guy is getting marriage proposals left and right.

    When you started out acting, (Im 39 so i think i can comment on that era), fame was a sign of talent so i think people understood they should show some reverence. Now, fame means you killed someone or showed your cooter. The masses have been trained to react to celebs accordingly.

    Following true internet comment protocols, i have no useful suggestions. UUNet 4 Lyfe

  12. This reminds me of something that happened 21 years ago. I was attending a play at the Cassius Carter Theater in San Diego with my first wife. We were in the gift shop, when in walked Jonathan Frakes and his wife Genie Francis. At that time, I was a HUGE ST:THNG fan, and right at that moment I had a Playmates Will Riker action figure in my trunk.

    Before my inner geek could get too excited, I thought to myself “hey. He’s not here to talk to fans. He’s here to see the play. Cut him some slack.”

    He never knew I was there.

  13. Good for you. When my ex and I used to conduct ghost tours in a small town, people who recognize you can’t wait to stop by your table while you are trying to eat dinner and tell you about the “ghost” that they heard of in their friend’s grandmother’s attic that one time. They don’t care that you are trying to enjoy some quiet, and eat your meal. I can’t even imagine what you have to go through on a daily basis. Kudos to you for calling out the crazies. God knows there are enough of them out there. If I happen to run into you, I will be sure to respect your space and privacy. :)

  14. I am so sorry it was necessary for you to post on this subject AGAIN! I feel compelled to make you a ball cap that says, “Inappropriate Situation – Don’t be a Dick!”

  15. You’re completely right about that moment at the cons. I’ve had such moments… with you and with others who do the work you do… and I am always VERY careful to be respectful and to maintain an appropriate space. Even at that I worry over such things as ‘should I offer to shake hands?’ etc… because I know some celebrities don’t want that contact.

    Folks who do what you describe here do not DESERVE that 30 seconds of time. They aren’t giving you the respect that someone who calls them self a FAN should give to one who had given them hours worth of entertainment pleasure. I’m sorry you’ve had that experience and I hope they all read this post!

  16. Just so you know, you have fans who see you (like in the PDX airport) and just let you be a person. Because …you’re a person. You are no one’s bitch.

  17. Unfortunately the people who need to see this most likely never will.

    Inappropriate attention can be very unsettling no matter who you are or what level of fame you have. It’s never OK to treat anyone like they owe you something simply because they’re *there*.

  18. I took my kid to her first con last weekend (VidCon, if you’re curious). She’s 18. She was SHOCKED at how some of the celebrities were mobbed. Especially by the teenage girls. She and her friends were hanging out in the lobby of one of the hotels, waiting for another friend who was late, and two of her fave YouTubers came down. My kid and her friends waved and said hi. But *stayed where they were*. No mobbing. No demanding shit. I was so proud! She said they were wary of them. She found that sad.

    She did run into one later and ask for a picture because she’d waited for one for hours earlier and it was SO blurry, she was in tears. He politely obliged. YAY!

    Best part of all of this? My kid is autistic and completely misses most social niceties, and STILL she figured out what was creepy and not okay.

  19. It is also disrupting to other travelers too. When I hear of a celebrity that is traveling (usually announced by fans on twitter) I avoid that area because it really is annoying to go about your own business with fans camped out.

  20. While this isn’t an episode of stalking, I was at a comic con in which Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum was there as a civilian. Even though there were some really cool people I wanted to meet at the con, I really wanted to tell Pirner thank you for his music. At first, I decided against it because he was there to enjoy the con with his kids. Later, he randomly came to same booth as me without his kids and I just had to tell him thank you. His music was a friend to me in ways that some of my real friends couldn’t be. I didn’t ask for an autograph or a picture (even though I really wanted one!), because you are right Wil…it’s about that small connection…the expressing to an artist of how they enriched your life. The best part of telling him thank you and not asking for something was the genuine look of gratitude in return for loving something he created instead of wanting something. It’s by far my favorite con memory.

  21. You know what Wil? I am SO GLAD I did NOT take the trip to O’Hare. Wanted to see another celeb on your flight…and honestly I didn’t know you were on the same flight until I saw the Twitter pics you both posted. Brilliant BTW. Anywho, I decided not go because I didn’t want to be “one of those” people.
    Quick story: I grew up in Jersey loving Bon Jovi. I knew girls in my High School who knew where Jon and Richie lived. They would leave school during lunch sometimes and go to their house. I never went. I thought that was too creepy! Although I have never met Jon or Richie or you or the other celebs on your flight tonight, I would much rather it happen naturally….or Sunday at Comic Con. I hope to see you there Wil, and a Happy Birthday to Anne :)

  22. This post really rubbed me the wrong way.
    There is a difference between the guy with the folder full of c,d,e and beyond grade celebrities pictures hoping you’ll sign 10 and he can sell them all for $5 on ebay to people who recognise you and like you say want a few minutes of your time. Heaven forbid you smile, scribble a signature pose for a picture and walk away. A minute or two of your time is (and why knows why) seemingly precious or valuable to someone else.
    Obviously you have some sort of social anxiety which I agree it would be hard to meet and speak to many complete strangers all the time. but you know what? You signed up for it. You made a choice to become an actor and in your informed choice you know acting can come with fame and with fame comes that je ne sais pas phenomenon of people wanting a little piece of you. I don’t necessarily agree with it, I think its ridiculous that a “star’s” opinion or comment is worth more value then a layman but hey we live in a celeb obsessed world.
    I truly think you’re lucky to have stretched a childhood role into something more. You have found a community of people who still relish who you are and love what you were unbelieviably lucky to be a part of. So the only “appropriate” time to get your autograph or approach you is when you pay for it? At a convention? Because your time is worth that? A side note, i think comparing sitting at a desk meeting people who (judging this artcile why?) are so pleased and happy to see you and as you said want a moment of your time for a few hours is HARD WORK? By all means if it is so hard, i’m sure you can just give it all up, the blog, tbbt, conventions the lot and go do something actually useful to the human race and then maybe you can complain how hard something is.
    Never had an opinion on you one way or another. My husband is a star trek fan so i’ve seen some episodes here and there. So i am familiar with who you are but you know what, I know it may be tongue in cheek but you really did come across in this as a dick. And i’m not one of those people who want to meet you and so will say anything in the hope you’ll reply or give them a minute because apparently they’re all crazy and insane to sit outside something in the hope they’ll meet you. What a bunch of assholes.

    BTW yes that woman in your other story is extremely rude and I agree with what you did. But man, don’t paint everyone with the same bruch you just come across as an entitled jerk. ‘Oh i want to be famous and make so much more money then people actually working normal jobs and I want to be recognised by my peeps so i can suck up to them and so on, but normal people if you so even look my way you’ll be branded crazy and i’ll be a dick to you but i’m not really a dick you’re the dick for expecting me to be civil because you know i’m not a normal, i’m an ACHTORE’

    1. Think of it like this: I work retail. My job is literally about helping people find what they want and being nice to them. And I’m good at that. I’ll smile and help all day. But when I get home, I need a couple of hours of alone time before I’m in shape to be nice and friendly to the people closest to me. Because being nice and friendly and helpful takes energy.

      If I was in a store while I was off work, I doubt that you’d find it offensive that I wouldn’t want to tidy up that store, or guide the customers around on my free time.
      Why should it be different for celebs?

      I don’t understand why we would assume that celebs should be at work at all times. Which is what we’re doing when we approach them and ask them for photographs in inappropriate situations.
      It IS work. It’s not the same work as stacking shelves or repairing a truck or brain surgery, sure. But it is something they do as part of their job. I don’t think it is appropriate to say: You Are Famous, therefore you should always sign autographs (as long as the person is a ‘real fan’). It can’t work like that.

      There are appropriate times to ask for an autograph, and inappropriate times to ask for an autograph. Just as there are appropriate and inappropriate times to ask me to find you the product you’re looking for. At work? Appropriate! Happy to help! Not at work? Inappropriate.

      And for celebs, that might mean that it’s mainly appropriate to ask for an autograph at a convention. I’d probably consider most PR-events appropriate as well, though. So on their way out of an interview on a popular show, for example. On their way out of their own theatre play, or their own concert… maybe. Play it by ear. Is the celebrity “at work”?

      But a bathroom? NO. Picking up their kids from daycare? NO. And waiting for them somewhere… yeah, I find that creepy. How would you feel if a complete stranger waited for you to come to your hotel room? Or waited for you to check in at the airport?

      Why do we think that this seems less scary when it’s a celeb on the receiving end? It’s Schrodingers Stalker. Remember that they get approached A LOT. And that not everyone is as nice and polite as you assume. We get to hear the occasional “crazy fan” story. The celebs get to experience all of them. Of course our view of the situation is going to be different.

    2. “You signed up for it. ”
      Just because you know there are people out there who cannot respect other people’s rights doesn’t mean you have to accept it when they don’t respect your rights. (Or anybody else’s, for that matter.)

    3. I knew as soon as I read this post, there would be at LEAST one comment in the theme of “asking for it”.
      Obviously, you have been raised by a pack of feral cats and not humans as you missed one of life’s most basic lessons:
      No one has the right to invade personal space. I don’t care what job they have, you don’t have that right.

      As an adult human, to not know that a bathroom is definitely not an appropriate place to ask for an autograph or a picture is so mindbogglingly obtuse it’s hard to comprehend.
      Equally boggling is that you couldn’t grok the difference between a regular fan encounter and the stalking POS making a fast buck.
      You see most of us are raised with an awareness of when you should approach someone and when it’s not a good time.
      Wil has every right to be a dick when it’s a dickish situation being hefted into his personal space.

      I’d recommend you reading Harlan Ellison’s “Xenogenesis” but it might give you ideas.

      Give the best to the feral cats, they did the best they could with you.

  23. Even though I know you technically are a celebrity, reading this blog and seeing TableTop and so on actually made me think “Why are they camping out at the airport? It’s just Wil, nothing major…”

    I think that is because you actually ARE so accessible, on your blog, on Twitter, on YouTube, and at cons. You actively try to give people that chance to meet you at appropriate times, and are a genuinely nice guy (unless someone gets your goat, then it’s Ranty McCapsALot time.)

    1. That’s awesome, and fundamentally different from what I experienced today, and when I was flying out of Portland.

      1. I have an ex in Portland – if she asked you to read fanfic of a BTVS and star trek crossover, and had red hair, i’m the one who drove her nuts =(

        PS you’d make an awesome Watcher

  24. Please don’t take this the wrong way: I admire your work and think you have a fantastic sense of humor, but I don’t think you should speak for everyone in your situation.

    The truth of the matter is that you have stated – repeatedly – that you don’t like to be accosted by fans in non-professional settings (ie outside of conventions and the like) and that should be more than enough information for fans to respect your wishes; actually, once should have been more than enough, rather than you having to go through these situations over and over again.

    That being said, not every actor/musician/whatever-public-figure is going to feel the same way. I remember the first time we (and by “we” I mean an entire fanclub’s worth of people) went to the airport to say hi to members of my favourite band (Marillion). Their manager had told us what time the flight landed and off we went. Their singer hadn’t made the flight, but everyone else (guitarrist, keyboard player, drummer and bassist) was incredibly nice and – to our utter surprise, since we had only been aiming to say “hi” in passing – more than willing to take photos and sign autographs. In the end, leaving us stunned, they told us the flight the singer was in so that we could come back and greet him. When he arrived, at the end of the day, he was visibly exhausted, but was still up for meeting, greeting and everything in between. The point here? They didn’t *have to*; they could very well not have *wanted to*; but they actually liked that we were there with our “Welcome to Portugal” sign – they felt welcomed by it.

    After reading the first of your posts about disliking these meetings, I would not only never purposely seek you out, as I would also never say “hi” in a situation you clearly consider inappropriate. Like I said at the beginning of my reply that’s your prerogative and should be respected as such. It doesn’t make you an asshole or any other unflattering word, and it won’t make me admire your work any less, nor should it. No one is *entitled* to a portion of someone else’s time, and certainly not perfect strangers.

    But me going to the airport to greet my favourite band? It shouldn’t automatically make me a psycho stalker in your eyes either. Not every person in a similar-enough line of work to yours is going to feel the same way, not everyone feels trapped. All points of view should be valid enough just as long as no one’s rights and express wishes are being infringed upon, no?

    1. “Their manager had told us what time the flight landed and off we went.”

      I’m glad you got to meet the band you love, and I’m glad that it was an awesome experience for all of you … but let’s be clear: if the manager told you all these details, the manager was setting up a press opportunity. You were explicitly invited to the airport by a representative of the band, and that’s entirely different from what’s happened to me recently.

  25. Sorry you had to deal with such crazy people. :( They give all of us fans a bad name.

    If it makes you feel any better, I promise I will never stalk you in your hotel room or wait for you in an airport or chase you into a bathroom. Just like I wouldn’t do that for ANY other human being.

    Hypothetically, however, how would you feel if someone bought an extra ticket for True Dungeon at Gen Con 2013 in hopes that they might have a chance to give it to you and have you go on a True Dungeon run with them? Would that be creepy or cool?

  26. Well Wil I certainly hope that if we ever run into each other I would get a photo op. But knowing me if I bumped into you somewhere all I would do is smile and nod. And then brag to my friends how I met you. lol.

  27. Good for you.

    I heard an interview with Paul Newman who said he made the decision to stop signing autographs after some guy stood beside him at a urinal, bugging him for an autograph. People can be shockingly rude.

  28. What about the random encounter? The “I’m checking in at the airport and Boyz II Men are checking in right next to me” situations (yup, that happened to me once). Cause I’d probably have an urge to say “Hi” in that case. With Boyz II Men I just asked them where they were headed to and they were glad that someone talked to them like real people, instead of my friends who were begging autographs and pictures (this was in the mid-90s so we didn’t have social media or cell phones).

    I saw Kat Van D at the airport once when I was checking in and tweeted about it. Some random celeb magazine tweeted back at me asking me all kinds of questions. I ignored them because it was early in the morning, it was the airport, and I could tell that she wasn’t interested in talking to anyone.

  29. As I said when this first came up, if ever I find myself witnessing a situation like you describe, I got your back. I’m just a little wabbit, but the Knights of the Round Table underestimated my fellow lagomorph in Monty Python, and looked what happened to them! I’ll gladly bite a few heads off if I ever see this. Or at least, you know, run interference and call security.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with this. It sucks, and that’s all there is to it. *sigh* I’ll be sure to spread the word that you’re a complete jerk (who went out of his way to greet me at Austin Comic Con because he was just having an off day that day and didn’t take his jerk pills) so maybe these asshats will leave you alone. Never let it be said I don’t follow orders! ;)

  30. Sorry to hear about that, Wil! I admit I’d be super excited to run into someone I was a big fan of, but would certainly hate to come across as stalker-ish or entitled, or how much they would even mind me taking a moment of their time to be excited towards. Saw this earlier, and immediately thought maybe you’d get a laugh from: (just mentally picture all the paparazzi types falling into the space hole) :)
    http://unstoppablyplushjuggernaut.tumblr.com/post/57606236866/kirk-this-why-you-gotta-fill-out-the-log

  31. Good for you for being strong about your boundaries, but for your own sake to keep your anxiety down, you might want to try to practice compassion for their craziness–something is definitely not right in their lives.

  32. Wil,

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I hate being followed around and stalked. However, I have always been faced with a dilemma. How to tell when the person approaching you has been squatting at a hotel or airport for hours just waiting to catch a glimpse (and maybe some signage) versus the person who is in an airport line or sitting waiting on their flight or in the hotel bar enjoying a craft ale and happen to spot you and would like to just say “hi”. It is a tough call. I mean, to the squatters, I want (and will be) a dick. However, to the fan who, let’s face it, is now gushing, being a dick to them is worse than a kick in the crotch.

    Some of my best times have been hanging out with those type of people, for a moment or over a beer. Hell, one time during a flight delay, we sat down and played a game (Zombie Dice).

    So, to those stalkers and autograph hounds, up yours. To the fans, <3.

    JR

    P.S. Hope to run into you at Gencon (and no, I will not be stalking you).

  33. I totally get where your coming from! I am a huge fan of Pat Benatar and helped run her online fan club for the last 18 years. During that time I had seen a lot of rude “fans” invading her space or trying to get backstage because they felt entitled to… just because they purchased her albums. Not to mention those that would bring numerous items for her to sign even though they had met her and had her sign things in the past.
    Nathan Fillion has often said that if a fan sees him at a restaurant or in passing, they could just say “Cap’n” and he’d understand. They’d share a knowing moment without an intrusion. Perhaps you could come up with some kind of similar “code” for those of us who’d love to just let you know we appreciate your work. I think shouting “WHEATON!” might be a bit over the top though. ;)

    1. I agree! WHY do people have to be such DICKS!!! That being said, if I saw you in public, being the caliber of fan I am, I would NOT rush you because of the aforementioned reasons… However, I would very much want to be able to express that you are rad, I saw you, you’re a good dude… maybe you need a signal… a quick little flash of a “Hey, you totally didn’t suck in ‘Toy Soldiers'” type of head nod… cause that’s all I would like to express, sir… and all while I kept walking my way and you yours…

      Entitlement…creates some ugly people and ugly circumstances… and kills me!!! Also, I would like to hit all these folk with a bolt of lightning every time I hear about it…

  34. So this will probably illustrate how dumb I am – when you posted that stuff on Twitter, I thought you were kidding. Like I thought you were “complaining” about some cool comic book artist or something (who I didn’t recognize) “stalking” you at an airport. And I was thinking – that’s so cool, Will is having fun. Then I saw this and thought, man, Will wasn’t having fun at all. On behalf of human beings everywhere, sorry. I swear we aren’t all dicks.

    1. Well, the picture I posted on Twitter *was* a joke. That’s my friend John Barrowman. The thing at the airport, though, wasn’t.

  35. I want to defend the crazies for a second, while not condoning their actions. I think this phenomenon stems from the distinctly one-way relationship that TV and movies provides the audience. We watch you act and interact and emote, and we become enthralled with the result. Whether a spaceship or a comic book store or a trip down the railroad tracks, we get those stories stuck in our souls and I can see how that becomes difficult for some people to handle.

    So let me stand up for the accosters and say that I think they do that because they want to be your friend, and because they do not know how irrational a thing that is. Again I’m not condoning, I’m just speculating. And I don’t want to minimize your feelings or imply that you should change your policies. I’m sure many of them have genuinely unfriendly motivations, but I think there are people who just get caught up in emotion and instinct, and who really aren’t so bad.

    Y’all have a good weekend! =)

  36. Wait…I got it, a Do’s and Don’t training video on celebrity interaction. I’m not sure it changes anything but it would make me laugh. Bring a shrubbery into a restaurant and obviously hide behind it while watching a nearby table with binoculars. The tragically bad possibilities of the dramatized “don’ts” are endless and hilarious. This needs to exist!

  37. Sheesh! I mostly don’t even comment here because I think it’s a bit intrusive to inflict my opinions on you. I can’t even imagine how someone gets to feel so entitled that they would do this to ANYONE (famous or not). And the “He’s a celebrity – he deserves it” excuse? I call bullshit!

    Hang in there Mr. Wheaton – and I hope it helps a little bit to know that the people most touched by your work are NOT camping outside your hotel.

  38. I am posting in hopes of clarifying my understanding of your statement so I can be certain not to offend you should our paths cross. If my son and I are traveling, and are quietly seated at the gate awaiting boarding, when suddenly goose bumps rise on his arms, he briefly loses his ability to express himself and draws very near to tearful overload when you walk around the corner of the gate seating area. His game falls from his hands and he doesn’t even notice, because all he can think of is having the opportunity to tell you how amazing you are to him. Because we are in an airport and not a venue where we’ve paid to see you I am supposed to restrain him to his seat and try to explain why it is that you don’t want to be troubled by your fans? I sincerely look forward to your reply.

    Lisa

    (By the way, I’m genuinely not interested in hearing how other fans interpret the meaning of your disclaimer.)

    1. In these situations, it’s up to your judgement. Usually, it’s totally appropriate to say hello. There’s a fundamental difference between what you’re describing, and deliberately staking out a place.

  39. I should…attend events where he has announced he will be available for public meetings.
    I shouldn’t…sit on his suitcase in baggage claim untill he agrees to sign my collection of action figures, even the Battlestar Galactica ones.

  40. I live in Vancouver and it’s relatively common to see a celebrity wandering around. My personal policy if I happen to see someone I’d like to meet is to smile and wave, if they’re in the mood they’ll stop and wave back if not then you’ve not disrupted them too much. Also don’t approach them while they’re eating at a restaurant or with family especially kids, it’s just creepy. If you really want to meet someone specific then go to an event for that or somewhere they’ll be expecting press like before going on Letterman, or if you live near a shooting location maybe try that and respectfully wait behind the fence where the crew tell you to. Basically unless it’s a specific fan event make it so that after GENTLY indicating you’d like to talk to them (eg: smiling, waving) they have to reciprocate by coming over to you not the other way round.

  41. I sat in a seat RIGHT next to you at the SF airport maybe 15 years ago — it was the ONLY empty seat at the time actually — and, out of respect for your privacy, said nothing to you. (I sure did call my girlfriend a few minutes later and went all w00t and stuff.) I figured leaving you alone was the best way to thank you for having entertained me for so many years.

    :)

  42. I’m sorry this happened to you, and I’m sorry it happened at ORD, my home airport.

    We blog readers of good will (good Wil?) need some signals we can flash should we ever encounter you by accident.

    I’d flash a sideways “W” for Park West, where Wootstock 2.0 was a thing that happened, then a bit of lizard-Spock (less disruptive than bellowing “WHEATOOONNN!”). Others may choose to shake Invizibul gaming dice or indicate the wearing of a Utilikilt.

    But then how to indicate my long-running appreciation for this blog? I’ve been reading it off and on for more than a decade? It was reading your world of wordcraft here that turned my opinion around from a sneerer (is that even a word? It is now!) to a cheerer. Perhaps that signal would be to cradle the mousing arm, because RSI is the blogger’s bane.

    Enjoy your time here, and I hope you get a chance to visit a fine brewpub.

  43. Wil

    As 1 of the “crazies” as you like to refer to us as. I have a viewpoint that differs from yours on this matter.
    I realize you will probably never read this, and even more certain you will likely never respond to 1 of the “crazies”, but I will say my viewpoint on this anyways.

    While I understand your frustration & SOME of your annoyance. You fail to realize that autograph hounds are also potential customers. Whether its at a con you are at, or a show you are promoting, they are possible customers. It is perfectly fine to say “no, sorry.” as you did to me at Vancouver Airport while you were here filming Eureka. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t take offense to it. Its another to make an international incident out of it.

    Unfortunately for you, you signed up for a job where you are continually in the public eye. You have CHOSEN to do a job where you are seen by the public, and sometimes put in a position where people want to meet you & /or get some type of memory of meeting you. This means people will encounter you at places outside of scheduled meet & greet events. You simply don’t do enough of them to appease everyone who might ever want to meet you. So when a public meeting happens, most people (myself not 1 of them, I am used to celebrities & that they too are human & can be moody) don’t see it as “Wil Wheaton is just standing up for himself” but as someone who doesn’t appreciate the fans.

    Again, I re-iterate that YOU CHOSE this as your profession. You chose a job that puts you in the public eye & a recognizable figure. Expecting all people that recognize you & not react is unacceptable. I get that you are also aiming this message more at the professional autograph dealers. Its not lost on me. But you are also telling the casual person, who simply might see you in an airport waiting room, or the lobby of the hotel they too are at, that approaching you to say hi & get their airline ticket signed by the 1st celebrity they ever have seen is rude & inappropriate which I think is wrong.

    It does annoy me that I wont be able to get you to sign since I will NEVER ever give the Fan Expo here, my $ again ( I would have no problem paying a reasonable fee directly to you outside of the conventions financial reach). You will surely never come here to do a signing just randomly at somewhere that isn’t an event like that. So if I see you at the airport, or your hotel while you are here doing a guest spot on something in the future, you wont sign for me. Despite the fact that there is no other reasonable place, in your mind, to ask you. Despite the fact that I don’t give 2 expletives about the only work fans generally pester you to sign stuff from for profit, Star Trek. Despite the fact, I would actually keep the 1st 3 items I would get, since I would have 1 from 3 different things I am a fan of that you have had notable roles on. Leverage, Eureka & The Big Bang Theory.

    I do believe you are entitled to some level of privacy. I don’t begrudge that of you. I feel however, as someone that’s chosen to take a job in the public eye, your expectations of that privacy is less than the guy working at the Gap or Starbucks. I can understand your anger if the story of the washroom is legit. I’ve heard situations like that happening, but I still for the most part, find it hard to believe. To me, this is the off limits areas IMO.
    – washroom
    – while they are seated at a restaurant, whether they are by themselves or with friends.
    – in a store
    – at their personal home. Hotels is different, as you are there for business.
    – with their children
    – anytime the person is in a conversation with anyone in person, or if on the phone, wait at a reasonable distance till they are done.
    – Obviously any places like a hospital or police station.

    Outside of those type of situations, I DONT see the problem with asking you. You can say no. That is your prerogative, but I don’t feel like I am doing anything wrong asking.

    I’m truly sorry if the situation you described in the bathroom happened. There are absolutely lots of prick autograph hounds. I can attest to that. I personally don’t THINK you ever encountered that type of harassment here in Vancouver, but if you did, I apologize for us as a whole. But asking you in a public setting, I don’t see the issue with. If that is upsetting to you, you might be in the wrong line of work.

    Sincerely, John H.
    – Canadagraphs

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