April 7, 2004
Basic math for Observer reporters

observer_egirl.jpgIn this week's Observer, author Jake Brooks reveals his close reading of Mark Ebner and Andrew Breitbart's recent trash-tome Hollywood Interrupted, as he rehashes one of that book's chapters for a follow-up piece entitled "You've Got Chutzpah! E-Girl Mines AOL Data for Hollywood Gold" about "an America Online customer-service representative named Heather Robinson who allegedly mined her employer's database for the e-mail addresses of numerous actors, producers and movie-industry operatives." The article goes on to examine the ways in which she flouted her online persona to sexually titillate and seduce these selfsame operatives.

But a close reading of Brooks' close reading reveals some room for, shall we say, "inaccuracies" on the part of Ms. Robinson and her story.

"It's going to be more a take on how these celebrities and politicians helped me. Mark [Ebner]'s chapter was more of a darker version," said the 25-year-old Ms. Robinson with a staccato laugh. "This one is going to be more lighthearted," she added, "showing how I went from a customer-service rep at AOL to selling a screenplay and now producing my first screenplay."

Fair enough. It's 2004, right, and she's 25 years old. Continuing, we learn that

According to Ms. Robinson, for the period of roughly a year and a half in 1997 and 1998, she used her position at AOL to gain access to private information regarding celebrities, then sought them out.

Hmmm. OK, so in 1997, at the tender and inexperienced age of 18, she was a customer-service representative for AOL. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, potentially, if, in fact, AOL, the largest internet service provider at that point in time, was hiring recent high-school graduates to talk customers through installation issues and dial-up problems.

Oh, but we learn more:

She went by the screen name HooterR. Her member profile, which can still be found on AOL, identifies her as a single wine-lover splitting her time between Tucson, Ariz., and Santa Monica, Calif. And her personal quote—of her own making—sounds like the slogan from an old 70's T-shirt: "God Created Women with Breasts to Hold Beer."

Again, this is an 18-year-old. Old enough for agents to sleep with, certainly, but not to be pouring champagne all over her bosom before they climb on top of her. Though she was still apparently old enough to sell her first script, The Perfect Man, which

is scheduled to start production on April 26, with Hilary Duff in the starring role. It's about a teenager who lies and steals to create a fictitious suitor for her single mother. The movie is loosely based on another of Ms. Robinson's adventures in the virtual world—this one with real legal consequences. When she was 16, Ms. Robinson was arrested, along with a high-school friend, for purchasing a diamond ring for her mother that cost close to $4,000 with stolen credit cards. Because her friend lifted the plastic and doctored the ID herself, Ms. Robinson was charged only as an accomplice. And since she didn't have a prior record, the charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and she was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

So she was arrested and charged as an accomplice to stealing credit cards at the age of 16...all the way back in 1995, a mere two years before being hired as a customer-service rep for AOL. This alone is almost enough to cause one to become a proponent of outsourcing these sorts of tech-service jobs to India, right?

Meanwhile, with Hilary Duff slated to star as Ms. Robinson in the former AOL employee's first upcoming autobiographical film, we have the perfect suggestion for the role of Observer writer Jake Brooks in the eventual first-person adaptation of the events following the production of this film: Hayden Christensen.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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