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. At SDCC 2012, in front of the Omni, I saw these autograph hounds, along with some media outlets, swarm Andy Serkis when he left the hotel. It was awful. They had absolutely no respect for Andy or anyone in their way. I was pushed twice – I pushed back, harder. One guy shouted in my face, “I’m doing my job.” I shouted back, “Get a new job!”

    They didn’t treat him like a person, shouting and shoving things in his face. How anyone can behave like that to another human is beyond me.

    I’ve seen this behavior at the theatre after a show. People, who haven’t even seen the show, pushing and shoving people who PAID to see the show, trying to get autographs on something that they can sell.

    Other fans, reasonable fans, understand you and, though we aren’t the targets of this behavior so it’s not the same, we hate it too.

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