Debra Lafave Speaks: Too Bad She's Not Really Saying Anything
I swear -- when I made the joke in my last post about sneaking Debra Lafave on my page, I had no idea NBC was going to make it so easy, previewing quotes from her talk with Matt Lauer on Dateline NBC, now shifted to air at 9 p.m. Wednesday night instead of 8 p.m. (did the Peacock network conclude that talk about teachers sleeping with 14-year-olds was inappropriate for early prime time?)
I have a feeling this Dateline will mostly appeal to folks who know her from the occasional tabloid headline or news clips. For those of us around here who have been living this story, off and on for years, it will just seem like a bad rerun.
Still, NBC has made my shameless quest for pageviews even easier; feel free to wallow in the tabloid-like excess. And click on the photos to enlarge. You know you want to.
Below are excerpts from the interview, mandatory credit to "Today" and "Dateline NBC":
LaFave: I don't know.
Lauer: I'll say it. Do you think it's because you're pretty?
LaFave: I think so. And sex sells.
RE: How the affair began:
LaFave: I think he just became very flirtatious and you gotta remember that at that period in my time or in my life I didn't feel like an adult. I was crashing fast.
Lauer: I would imagine there are parents watching right now Debbie and...they're saying, "Wait a minute. She just said that he became very flirtatious." You know a) is she blaming him for how this started? So the answer to that is?
Lauer: And b) She was the older one...She was the teacher. She was the role model.
LaFave: I did. I crossed the line that never should've been crossed.
Lauer: Did you and this student have open conversations about the fact that you two might be getting into very dangerous territory?
LaFave: You know there was very little conversation to be honest with you. You know looking back he was 14, you know what is there really to say to a 23-year-old...
Lauer: ... At any point during sex with this student or after sex with this student did you say, "In the eyes of the law, I just committed rape" ?
LaFave: No. I never said that.
RE: How she thinks this may impact her victim's life:
LaFave: I think he's gonna have a hard time trusting women one day. I'm sure he has to be living with the guilt of quote, unquote ratting me out.
RE: Being bipolar:
LaFave: I don't want to blur the lines between doing something as heinous as what I did, and being bipolar. But, yes, symptoms of bipolar definitely contributed to my mind frame.
LaFave: That I committed a sex offense. But I'm not a sex offender, even though I'm labeled as that. I made a really, really, really bad choice.
Lauer: You don't see yourself as a predator?
LeFave: It's hard. It is so hard because I lived 23 years of my life, you know, knowing who I was. I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law. I was a good person. And then now everything has just changed. So it's just really hard for me to accept that.
Another New Tabloid Hits Locally
Back when I was just media critic, rumors swirled that Media General was planning a free, tbt*-style tabloid to ratchet up the newspaper wars locally.
At that time, the speculation was that it would be formatted around its local entertainment TV show, The Spot. But instead, they've hit on the name Orange magazine -- printing up 15,000 copies, targeting 18 to34 year olds and featuring at least one name familiar to folks who regularly read the Times: former music/pop culture writer Gina Vivinetto.
I must apologize -- I've been so busy catching up on my TV gig, I've slept on writing about Orange, which debuts tomorrow. But I'm hoping to pull something together soon on the area's newspaper war and how Orange advances it.
If you have any ideas, blogosphere buddies, feel free to speak up.
Divorce Court Judge Fired due to Racism?
Say it isn't so! If an email purportedly from Judge Mablean Ephraim is to be believed, she was replaced after seven years on Divorce Court because she wanted to wear her hair in cornrows! (and, well, she wanted a raise).
Now she, assistant Princess and daughter Darlene (who was head of wardrobe. On a show starring a judge. Who presumably wears a black robe every day. Could there BE a cushier gig?) are out on the street.
Talk about "much ado about a hairdo..."
Hidden racism or a TV network coming to its senses? Read on, dear blogging friend, and decide:
It is not true that I "decided to step down after seven years".
The truth is that Fox and I were unable to reach an agreement, after several months of negotiations. I was willing to stay. Fox was unwilling to pay.
After seven years of a successful show run, the deal Fox offered me was substantially less than all of the other court show judges. The most unacceptable demand to me was when Fox said, "There will be no changes in the current hairstyle to avoid time consuming issues regarding her hair." I found this to be offensive.
The requirement also comes very close to a violation, if it does not in fact violate, the Fair Employment Practices Act. An employer cannot demand one to wear a particular hairstyle unless it directly affects or impacts the employee's ability to perform his or her employment duties. My hairstyle does not meet this criteria, it is, however, a racial and ethnic issue. Suddenly, after seven years of a show that has run neck-in-neck with the other top rated court shows, why is my hair an issue?
Why, I ask? Because of my ethnicity - African American, Black, Negro,
whatever term you prefer to use. Because of my genetics (short, curly, hair) which requires the use of chemicals and/or a hot pressing comb to straighten and curlers to style. It cannot be styled by a wash, blow dry and set. Therefore, in Fox's opinion, it is a time consuming issue. I wore a short hairstyle which was my own hair. Due to a misapplication of a chemical process, I lost a substantial amount of hair in season six.
Out of my desire to maintain continuity, and the image I had created (for
the last five years), I elected to wear a wig last year for continuity. Had Fox asked me to maintain a short hairstyle for continuity and for image, it would have been a different issue. But they are saying I must continue to wear the wig because that would expedite the hair styling process. However, my hair has now grown. I had not yet decided what hairstyle I would wear for season eight. If I were to accept their demands, I would have been unable to make that decision.
I therefore ask the question, when will Fox and the rest of America accept our cultural differences as African Americans and embrace us with all of our different hairstyles, hair textures, hair color, skin color, skin differences, whatever it may be? We take the time to learn about them, to learn about the different cultures in our society. They however have still chosen to neglect us, to disrespect us, and refuse to see us.
We are still the invisible person. The fact that it takes more time to style my hair than my Caucasian sisters, in general, should not be an issue. What is more interesting about this demand is that I have never caused time to be an issue because of my hair. I have been conscious and aware of the fact that it does take more time to style my hair.
I bring up these issues not out of the desire to seek any legal actions toward Fox, but to raise awareness, to appreciate cultural differences, and diversity.