My Kids Deserve a New Story: A Plea for Help from my Readers
Two weeks ago, I shared a copy of a letter I’d written to the editor of Los Angeles Magazine, with copies sent to other editors listed on the masthead.
The lengthy profile of me that ran in LA Mag many years ago remains my number one search result on Google. It is devastating reading, and Heloise was shattered when she read it. As you may recall, I wrote the editor to ask him to consider one of two options: 1), take down the piece; 2) commission a new profile, focusing on what my life is like now.
I argued that there might be some considerable public interest in the story of a man who in essence cancelled himself, and has had no comeback or restoration — but has nonetheless found a modicum of dignity and acceptance in a very different, more modest world.
You will not be surprised to learn that I have not heard back from anyone at LA Mag.
Thinking about my children, and my daughter’s desperate hope that she (or her friends) might find something positive about me online, I’ve decided to write to every site listed on my first two pages of Google results. Where I can find emails for the journalists who wrote about me in 2013, I’ve emailed them directly; where I can’t, I’m writing current editors at places like Buzzfeed, the Telegraph, the Daily Beast, and so on.
As with LA Magazine, I’m asking for one of two things: for the articles to “disappear,” or a follow-up written by someone other than myself. Something, perhaps, to which my children could point.
I know some of my friends who read this have media contacts who could help. I can’t do all the work of changing the narrative by myself. Yes, it’s my own damn fault that my children have to deal with this shame and pain in presumable perpetuity. I accept that blame. I have no money to spend on hiring SEO experts who could rejigger my search results; I need something else, something fairer, something more recent — and no one will believe it if it’s just my own bleatings.
The children have both had therapy to deal with this, and that will continue as they grow and discover more and more. It would mean the world to all of us if we had a different story near the top of the search results.
(I know that some of you who subscribe to my Substack do so to keep tabs on me, and I accept that some of you are vested in making sure that the bad is not forgotten, and the good is not recorded. You will do what you think best, but you do not know me, and you do not know my children.)
In any event, I appreciate your support — and if you are the praying sort, I’d appreciate them on behalf of my children as they fight this battle.
Comments are open to all on this post.
I am very sympathetic to your situation (albeit without any power or clout to help in any meaningful way). But, I do think, writing for the public even in a limited substack, makes it a bit difficult to make the "no longer a public figure" argument.