I hope the media–Oprah included–leave Jaycee Dugard alone

Remember this horror of reality TV? Back in January 2007, traumatized Missouri teen Shawn Hornbeck appeared with his family on the Oprah Winfrey Show, only days after being freed from captivity.

Like Jaycee Lee Dugard, Shawn was 11 when he was kidnapped. And Shawn, like Dugard, had been sexually abused. Shawn was reportedly held at gunpoint for 51 months by a hulking, bearded, 300-pound man. Police found Shawn, 15 at the time of his rescue, at Devlin’s house while searching for another missing boy, 13-year-old Ben Ownby.

“Reality TV sunk to a new low,” opined one writer, Mark Stuart Ellison, about Winfrey’s interview. But as much criticism as this interview generated, Ellison said, “a number of prominent media pundits have said that if they had been given the same opportunity, they, too, would have interviewed Shawn. Of course, to be fair to Winfrey, Shawn’s parents agreed to the interview.

Dugard had been held in captivity for 18 years, for the most part, it is believed, in a hidden backyard compound in Antioch. She bore two daughters with her kidnapper, a paroled sex offender, starting when she was around 14.
The San Francisco Chronicle, citing sources, revealed that Dugard, now 29, is staying with her daughters at an East Bay motel. Is she, through the law enforcement authorities guarding her, being inundated with interview requests? From Oprah, or from Katie Couric, or Matt Lauer, as well as from the local media?

I wouldn’t be surprised if she is. And I admit that, back when I was a newspaper reporter, I would have been making the request, too. And I would have been oh-so delighted with myself if she agreed to talk to me and allowed me to get the big scoop.

But, the idea of being a reporter now hounding Dugard for an interview sickens me. I guess I’ve lost my edge. As I said in an earlier post my earlier post, hearing what Dugard has lived through makes me think of a Nazi concentration camp. Dugard’s stepfather, Carl Probyn, has been forthcoming with the media, granting interviews and explaining the experience about learning that Dugard, whom he had given up for dead, was now alive.

Isn’t that enough for now? Dugard has to adjust to life on the outside of that compound and with the family from whom she was taken. Her parents have to adjust to having her back and to the fact they are grandparents of pre-teen and teen girls, who are the daughters of their daughter’s kidnapper. And those girls? Well, who knows what they were living with, at the hands of Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, the two who have been arrested in Jaycee’s kidnapping.
As I said, isn’t hearing from Probyn enough for now?

13 thoughts on “I hope the media–Oprah included–leave Jaycee Dugard alone

  1. I hope they leave her alone too. I hope some other sicko neighbor or acquaintance doesn't sell photos to the media. I can imagine that someone over the years probably took a picture of Jacyee or her daughters.

    Claycord.com's comments revealed that the daughters may have attended a social outing in the past and seemed out of place interacting with other children. That may be true, that may be false.

    However, photos could have been taken by friends at that event. Anyone selling photos to the media will be regarded as lower than low of all time.


  2. I've been struck by some of the things the stepfather has told the media, some of which seem better off kept to himself, but then again, the police revealed most of the same information, and family members aren't always that savvy about dealing with the media, and the whole situation is so bizarre, people can't help but want to know more.

    On another note, I was glad to see that at least one commenter on sfgate said s/he was happy to NOT see photos of the adult Dugard on the site, so she could have some privacy. (how long that will last is anyone's guess)

    I never saw the Oprah interview that Soccer Mom mentions, but, I agree, one of the worst things in the world would be for Dugard to appear on some awful tearjerking show like Oprah or (god forbid) Dr. Phil or some such dreck. There are probably some interview shows that would treat her with respect, but what she probably needs most is her family, lots of love, lots of counseling and lots of time.


  3. At least she won't be on Maury. This poor woman KNOWS who the rapist is that fathered her two children. It's so incredibly sad what this animal has done to affect so many lives. Unfortunately I think more unimaginal horror will be forth coming when the stories of the two young girls is made public. I am sure he did to them what he did to their mother. Death is too good for this evil demon and his equally evil demented wife accomplice. Outrage and discust cannot even minimally describe the hate I feel for these two predators. SM, Thanks for letting me vent a little.


  4. Was listening to Ronn Owens show this morning, and his interview with a psychotherapist, Dr. Tara Fields, and she offered a hopeful assessment of how the media has been handling the case, for the most part, so far. She did object to references of Jaycee Dugard as a “sex slave,” saying that this kind of labeling could be harmful to her.

    On the surface, the media seems to not be going overboard, in terms of reporting too many salacious details. But who knows what is going on behind the scenes? I guess I'm cynical. I'm sure the local newspaper, TV, and radio reporters have put their requests in for interviews. They have to. I'm sure the broadcast and cable news networks–and maybe Oprah–are making their interest in talking to Jaycee Dugard and her family loud and clear.

    On the other hand, I understand that people want to understand how this could happen, and they want to learn about how this young woman survived all those years. I don't disagree that there could be a powerful, worthy story that Jaycee Dugard might one day be able to share. A story about human resilience, perhaps. But we probably need to give her and her family time to process what went on for the past 18 years.


  5. Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart's advice to Jaycee Dugard (from an interview with CNN):
    It included sticking close to her family and declining media interviews:

    ELIZABETH SMART: I would tell her to just relax and enjoy your family and spend some time reconnecting. Maybe if it's possible to think back and think of things that she enjoyed doing with her family, and maybe going out and doing them again, and finding new things she would want to do with her family. One of the things I liked the best, after I came home — and no offense to the media — but, we didn't do anything. We just my family we went on a vacation but we just spent time as a family, which was like — it was the best thing I could have done. Together as a family, it was the best thing that I could have have done.
    ELIZABETH SMART: Yes I would agree with my Dad, for me it's something very personal and I just don't talk about it all the time with everybody and so I would think maybe she feels the same way and if she chooses to never say anything about it, I think it should always be her decision and there are a lot of people out here that love her and support her in what she decides to do.


  6. Not to defend Oprah and Co. but don't forget many times the victims and their families see appearing on these shows as a quick way of getting their 15 minutes of fame and try to make a quick buck doing it.


  7. Am I the only person who was repelled by KCRA's broadcasting an interview with the monster Garrido? Their lame excuse of “he hasn't been convicted yet” is insulting. I read at Claycord that they had accidentally broadcast some chatter between the staff where they're gleefully talking about how great this is for their careers right after they finish the interview (a time when any sane person would be trying to find a shower and strong soap).

    If Dugard and her family choose to do interviews, that's their business. What they've been through is light-years beyond any experience I can relate to so I'm not going to judge how they get on with their lives.


  8. Wondering if they will start up some kind of a fund for her. You've got a 29 year old woman with two kids and no skills, no education. She doesn't deserve to end up in a shelter somewhere.


  9. Dan,
    I had the same thought, actually, about how a fund for Jaycee Dugard and her daughters were be very useful. The Victim-Witness program, funded by the state, might pay for the counseling, but a sufficient amount? Meanwhile, what about school for Jaycee, to get her GED, or finish high school, and then to go onto college. What about her daughters?

    (Oh, and thanks for your e-mail last week; I meant to respond).
    I woke up this morning w


  10. I've heard that the British tabloids are out and about in the Antioch neighborhood offering money to neighbors who have something to say. So much for the media backing off.


  11. CiS, you can hope all you want, but it won't happen. The media are jackals and without morals. They will beat us over the head with this story so many times that we will become sick of hearing about it and sadly even cause some to lose their sympathy for the victim.
    No, not all in the media are this way, but most of them are. Jaycee Dugard will be victimized again. She and her daughters will be abused by the media.

    And our system of “justice” will protect these two Cretins for years and years, when they should have been summarily tried and executed already. Child molesters deserve the death penalty. But thanks to subversive groups like the ACLU, the death penalty is a sentence in name only.


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