An investigative report by Fishtern Jamie Frevele:
Have you ever wondered if celebrities such as, let’s say, Steve Martin, knew what was going on at their official fan web sites? Now that you have wondered, wonder further: Have celebrities ever actually taken issue with the extent of their fans’ interest? FisbowlNY can indeed confirm that Mr. Steve Martin has done just that, calling for the ban of one poster on SteveMartin.com. After last week’s story in US Weekly (which was covered by FishbowlNY last week) revealed record-holding SNL host Martin with the New Yorker‘s Anne Stringfield in St. Bart’s, one poster going by the name “Gourmet Poker Club” was apparently banned from posting at the site after making speculative remarks about the unconfirmed romance, including a possible marriage upon the end of the trip. Other posters, including the webmistress (“Semidivine”), deemed some comments (including one about Ms. Stringfield getting a “Brazilian”) to be “over the line” and one wanted the poster in question to be “killed off.” (Webspeak for “banned,” for those of you who aren’t nerds.) Some posters did come to the newly minted exile’s defense, and several posts on the message board are now claiming censorship (fore example, here and here).
So, is “waxing poetic” about Mr. Martin’s beach romp the issue here? Maybe not. The comments may have reached beyond aesthetic activities and into the realm of privacy invasion. As a public figure, Steve Martin is bound to be photographed and has certainly acquired a loyal legion of fans who enjoy him. In turn, they want to know more about him and the people with whom he associates. In this case, the target was Ms. Stringfield. On the part of “Gourmet Poker Club,” there was a great deal of internet research conducted on Stringfield’s personal background — looking up (and calling) a phone number found in the phone book and tracking down people who appeared to be Stringfield’s parents. While all of this information may be available to the public, “Gourmet Poker Club” clearly went a bit too far out of the comfort zone of those running Steve Martin’s site — and Steve Martin himself.
According to Semidivine, the poster was “writing about extremely delicate and invasive things” that went beyond the casual, appreciative tone of the site, and that “it was Mr. Martin who wanted her privileges taken away.” She added that despite the claims of censorship, the ban was “a unique situation” that had generated specific concern. “Mr. Martin loves reading all the posts on the board…but we don’t hurt him or those he cares about, and that’s final.”