Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Lurid Story with (Tenuous) "Reality Show" Ties- Sort of. According to One Version of an AP Story

When is a "reality show" a "reality show"?

I think most people would agree that "The Bachelor" is a reality show. One man judging from among twenty (or so) women who will be his best possible mate. They parade before him in different outfits. They show off their talents. They answer his questions.

It's almost like a beauty pageant that lasts for weeks. The Associated Press apparently suffers from some confusion as to how to define a reality show. It's come up because a contestant from a television show called "America's Sexiest Bachelor" has been charged with murder.

The expectedly sober piece is headlined:

Former 'America's Sexiest Bachelor' contestant charged with killing ex-porn actress near LA

Now that the headline has managed to conjure in your mind lurid images of reality show contestant decadence, along with of course images of people having sex, you're primed to read the article.

A self-proclaimed preacher who was on the TV beauty pageant "The Sexiest Bachelor in America" will be arraigned next week for allegedly torturing and murdering his girlfriend, an ex-adult movie actress.

They waited until the first paragraph to tell us about the "allegedly torturing" part? How does that not make it into the headline? And, why should we care that he was a contestant on a "TV beauty pageant"? (Not that it matters, but he represented Nebraska.)

But this is interesting. In the paragraph I quoted above, the Associated Press refers to the show as a "TV beauty pageant." The story is dated 9/25/09, 5:28 PM. But check out the Associated Press's story from 3:37 PM:

A self-proclaimed preacher who was on the reality TV show "America's Sexiest Bachelor" will be arraigned next week for allegedly torturing and murdering an ex-porn actress in suburban Los Angeles.

In less than two hours, the "reality show" has become a "TV beauty pageant." What happened, AP? Did they send out the story before bothering to check what "America's Sexiest Bachelor" actually was? I suspect someone couldn't resist piggybacking on the terrible story of Ryan Jenkins and Jasmine Fiore.

The story does feature some superficial similarities. We know this because the last paragraph of the AP story helpfully points it out to us:

Lee's murder is reminiscent of another case last month, in which Ryan Jenkins, a former contestant on the reality TV show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," allegedly killed his wife, ex-model Jasmine Fiore, in Los Angeles, then fled to Canada and killed himself.

Ah, of course.

But there are some similarities. Like Jenkins and Fiore, they met in Las Vegas. According to the LA Times:

Those who knew the couple said they began dating after meeting in April at a swimming pool at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. At the time of Lee’s death, they had been living together for about four months, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Philip Wojdak.

Jenkins and Fiore married very soon after meeting, just as Brian Lee Randone and Felicia Lee moved in together soon after meeting.

And then, of course, he (allegedly) killed her.

So you can see how remarkably similar are the two stories.

Back to the AP:

Brian Lee Randone, 45, was charged last week with one count of murder and one count of torture. He was scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 29 and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Randone was arrested on Sept. 11. Prosecutors said he beat and choked Felicia Lee during a domestic dispute at their apartment in the foothill community of Monrovia, northeast of Los Angeles.

He then dialed 911 to report she was unconscious, investigators said.

That's another similarity: Apparently Ryan Jenkins also notified the police shortly after (do I still have to write "allegedly"?) killing her.

In 2000, Randone appeared on the Fox special "The Sexiest Bachelor in America." He vied with contestants from other states but did not win.

A Fox spokeswoman said Friday that she was not immediately familiar with the show.

Not even a Fox spokeswoman knows that the hell "America's Sexiest Bachelor" was. I would like to have listened in on that phone conversation. "America's Sexiest what? No, I don't doubt we aired it-- we air a lot of crap no one remembers. I just-- well, I'm just not immediately familiar with that show."

But what about the victim?

Lee, who was born in Singapore, had parts in the movies "Rush Hour 2" and "The Fast and the Furious" and had done some modeling for the Playboy television channel, according to her Web site, which she shut down last year.

She also appeared in several adult movies under the name Felicia Tang. Candace Kita, a model who had worked with her, said Lee was nude in the movies but did not portray any sex acts.

In the headline, she's described with the extremely loaded phrase "ex-porn actress." It's only until we get eleven paragraphs into the story (I counted!) that we learn that she merely appeared nude, but didn't perform sex acts in the movies.

I guess if she appeared in a pornographic film, and acted in said film, then that literally qualifies her for description as an "ex-porn actress." She'd done some modeling for the Playboy channel, and appeared in some big-budget films (probably as "atmosphere," or an extra, but still). And she'd taken down her website.

She'd taken down her website!

Come on, AP-- she'd taken down her website, and you still describe her as an "ex-porn actress" in the headline. Do you have to start smearing her like that so soon?

Moreover, it turns out that Randone was not only a contestant on a "TV beauty pageant" or "reality show" (depending on the time of day), but he was also an evangelical mime.

I am serious.

Randone was involved in ministry as a mime and did "some evangelistic types of entertainment," [homicide detective Sgt. Brian] Schoonmaker said. He did not know when or where Randone performed.

Something is seriously wrong at the AP. They had a murder (allegedly) committed by an evangelical mime, and they go with the (tenuous at best) reality show angle?

There are so many reasons for someone to get fired over this.

Murder suspect, evangelical mime, and former reality show or TV beauty pageant contestant Brian Lee Randone.

Brian Lee Randone pic source.

1 comment:

shampoo said...

omg, how awful. I am more concerned with the way they referred to ms. lee. if she was credited for being in rush hour 2 and tfatf, wouldn't that make her a regular actress? she didn't even do the nude only porn stuff under her own name, so... it's weird that's in the headline. also they missed the playboy connection for ms. lee and ms. fiore.

ryan jenkins is dead, so I don't think you have to worry about his rights. after all, ms. lee and ms. fiore were called "porn star" and "stripper" all over the press and that's not exactly correct. but, I guess it's just fine to defame the victim according to the "legit" (in their own mindnovels) press. they suck.