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Laura Bennett Really Steps In It This Time.

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In a move certain to have thousands of high-strung mommies calling for her head on a platter, Laura writes of her skepticism regarding peanut allergies in her latest Daily Beast column:

"Our children are now taught that a classmate might die right in front of them if they bring PB&J for lunch. Where were these kids when we were in school?

A Massachusetts school district recently evacuated a school bus of ten-year-old passengers after a stray peanut was found on the floor. Not an unclaimed backpack that could contain a bomb, not a mysterious white powdered substance—a peanut.
There are parents with legitimate concerns, but I also believe there are a few people needlessly involved in the peanut panic. Here in New York City, the land of Alpha Parenting, every now and then I encounter a parent who is determined to have a child who is special in some way—any way—that keeps them dependent. What better way to have a child strapped to you for life than to have a life-threatening allergy? It’s a kind of Munchausen’s by Peanut."

Also, if you happen to be home this afternoon, you'll be able to catch Laura in a pre-taped segment on Oprah. Our girl's made it to the big time!

[Photo: Thedailybeast]]

Source: Sandwiches That Kill [TheDailyBeast]



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Oh wow. They surely will be calling for her head. I am really glad my kids don't have food allergies, but I know some moms with kids who do, and it doesn't seem like much fun to have to be so vigilant, prepared to stab your kid with an epipen if a peanut should sneak past your defenses. On the other hand, Laura always has been one to speak her mind. And this will certainly have people talking about her. So, win?


Yeah, folks are going to lose. they. minds. It's real, though, most of these insane allergies. I live in a decidedly unfashionable corner of the universe and we still have this going on. And I find it a bit appalling that we've just kind of accepted it. "Oh, okay, everyone is allergic to everything now" rather than saying "What did we break?! Why is this happening now?"

But Laura is still a hoot and a half.


Um, wow. Laura isn't my favorite but she's usually not completely ignorant.

My cousin is deathly allergic to peanuts. Depending on the amount, he can't even be near them in the same room. Perhaps she can tell him as his body swells up with hives and his throat constricts to the point of asphyxiation that it is all just a ploy for his parents to coddle him into adulthood.

Whether or not they needed to evacuate the entire bus over a stray peanut is one thing, but her comments are completely stupid. Sorry. (And no, I see nothing "satricial" or "parodic" or even "humorous" about what she said, so please don't even try it.)


It's true--I never had this peanut hysteria in school, and nobody I know of ever died.

Well, they didn't die from allergies, anyway. Accidents happen, you know.


The thing about the advent of these allergies - it's not that they're more common, it's that before the precautions and the epi-pens and all of the preparedness, the people who had these allergies died from them, usually after the first big reaction. They simply didn't survive long enough for it to cause a problem.

It's sad that these allergies exist, but Laura Bennet's statements are absolutely true.


As most of her blog entries seemed to be written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I'm not going to get ruffled, although Laura might do well to do a little reading on the subject of food allergies before taking a dismissive attitude. It's a little more complex than her laissez-faire perspective would have her believe.
I know people who developed allergies to certain foods because they gorged on them as a young child (bananas, peanut butter, etc.).
Another theory making the rounds is that with kids being vaccinated for every childhood disease now instead of actually getting them, their immune systems aren't getting a workout, and allergy and asthma rates are climbing. This thoery would explain why peanut and other food allergies seem to be more prevalent than when she was young.
Agree w/ Danielle: I guess it's good for Laura to keep herself in the public eye. No such thing as bad publicity, eh?


Big OOPS! Mrs. Shelton!

But a funny read just the same.


Thank god I don't have any kids. I'll just stick with cats.


Eh. I think Laura has a valid point. This shouldn't minimize the reality that there are people who are deathly allergic to peanuts, bee stings, you name it. I am married to one.

I do believe that kids these days have WAY more allergies than past generations because of all the chemicals we put in our foods and also because of many of the multitudes of vaccinations we pump into them seconds after they're out of the womb. We're sure to keep pharmeceutical companies in big business.

People just accept the growing trend in allergies for what they are. We need to question it a lot more. It's not just that we have more advanced research technologies and better recognition of allergies now--it's that something about the way we live is making us sick.


Bailey said...

Um, wow. Laura isn't my favorite but she's usually not completely ignorant.

My cousin is deathly allergic to peanuts. Depending on the amount, he can't even be near them in the same room. Perhaps she can tell him as his body swells up with hives and his throat constricts to the point of asphyxiation that it is all just a ploy for his parents to coddle him into adulthood.

Whether or not they needed to evacuate the entire bus over a stray peanut is one thing, but her comments are completely stupid. Sorry. (And no, I see nothing "satricial" or "parodic" or even "humorous" about what she said, so please don't even try it.)


Perhaps in your usual rush to anger you missed this:

"I fully acknowledge that there are a percentage of children for whom nut allergies are a serious, life-threatening situation."


Yes, peanut allergies exist. But do we need to have peanut-free schools? By the time kids go to school,most of them should be able to decide for themselves what is safe for to eat. I babysat a 3yo with PKU (can't have protein) and she knew what she could and couldn't eat.


My brother can't be in the same room when mom is putting walnuts into a salad, sucks for him and also for the rest of us since nut products and byproducts are no longer allowed in my parent's house. But I'm many states away, so I fill my nut needs before visiting.
While I agree that it is excessive to go so far as to have a allergy division of the police force with SWAT capabilities, I do think that it is important to be aware that such sensitivities to these allergens exist.
Mom is a bit on the extra protective side at the moment, but she'll back off more once Homer learns how to effectively deal with nut crises on his own.


If you read the thing, she is talking to a mom who has her kid carry an Epi-pen because "nut allergies are life-threatening and can develop at any time", not because it was prescribed by an allergist after he was tested for nut allergies. I think that qualifies the mom to be mocked.


LOL!
Love Bad Mommy's candor! That was really funny-- Munchausen By Peanut!

Bailey darling, why is it OK for you to speak your mind, which you incontrovertibly do, but not OK for Laura? @ least she adds a caveat.
PS: Here's an article you might find interesting on this very subject:
http://www.denverpost.com/iraq/ci_11921744
Hopefully this type study & research will help your cousin for what no one is disputing is a serious condition.


My cousin is deathly allergic to peanuts. Depending on the amount, he can't even be near them in the same room. Perhaps she can tell him as his body swells up with hives and his throat constricts to the point of asphyxiation that it is all just a ploy for his parents to coddle him into adulthood.

So does your cousin have to avoid grocery stores, nut houses, and baseball games altogether, then? I think that sometimes instead of demanding that the world conform to your needs, you need to conform to the world's. If someone's allergies are so bad that they can't even be in the same room (or bus) with a peanut, they probably don't belong in public schools in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps in your usual rush to anger you missed this:

"I fully acknowledge that there are a percentage of children for whom nut allergies are a serious, life-threatening situation."


Yeah, well, excpet I hate when people let off a string of crap then end with a one sentence qualifier which basically says "I know everything I just said is bullshit." Makes you wonder if her original 'point' even needed to posted, no?


Sigh...I think the point she was making was that there ARE parents who use allergies and the like to make their child "special".

I don't think she was saying all peanut allergies are bogus.


I can't stand any type of hysteria.


And uh, yeah, my cousin avoids places with peanuts. What does that have to do with anything? I didn't say the world has to stop for certain people's allergies. I just think making stupid comments about people's allergies doesn't do really do much good when there ARE people out there who don't believe they are real. I could understand Laura's "tongue in cheek" comments if they were like, cute or funny or interesting or something. Alas, only in Laura's head...

And Emma P., where did I say Laura couldn't write she wanted? She can, and I am free to say it is dumb. Awesome. Reading comprehension is fun, isn't it?


She's lucky that she's never watched her 1 year old's eyes swelling shut or had to call 911 because they couldn't breathe after trying a new food (eggs, in our case). I think allergies are very over-diagnosed, and it's true that everyone who has a stomach-ache after eating something thinks they are allergic to it, but that doesn't negate the fact that life threatening allergies are real.

It's easy to dismiss when you aren't a parent who has to carry an epipen around and consider every stray crumb of food on the daycare floor as a potential killer of their child.


I think allergies are very over-diagnosed, and it's true that everyone who has a stomach-ache after eating something thinks they are allergic to it, but that doesn't negate the fact that life threatening allergies are real.

Nor did she say anything of the sort. You seem to be making up a disagreement.


does anyone know the term "psychosomatic" ?

ok, i am not an expert when it comes to medicine, i do however live outside of the US, eastern europe to be exact, in a place where "allergies" are a relatively new concept. you must admit that, whatever the reason, be it different climate, foods or even different TV shows, it is kind of perplexing why at an average school you won't find a single kid allergic to any foods, well at least there was not a single case of anyone dying during the lunch break in the school cafeterias.

at the same time, PE teachers are complaining that the kids are becoming less and less fit, they are getting fatter, less flexible and agile, their parents just make up conditions so their kids won't have to participate in the classes, and in turn their kids believe that they realy have "oversized ankles" and they simply cannot exercise.

i guess, allergies will be the next big fashion here as well, such a pity that we are always a few years behind...


You should've read the whole thing on dailybeast.com, later she gives an example of a boy who has never had a peanut-allergy, but always has to carry his epi-pen with him and isn't allowed to eat anything containing nuts because he possibly COULD be allergic to them.
And I think, there she has a point when she's talking about parents making their kids dependent on them.


I think Laura has a valid point. I work with a woman who insists that her 10 year old daughter is allergic to nuts just like she is and refuses to get her tested for it because she doesn't want to "put her through the trauma" of what might happen. PU-LEASE!! I stopped baking anything for school functions 3 years ago due to the peanut allergy scare. I still pack my 7 year old his favorite peanut butter only sandwhich. His school has a peanut free table that the outcasts have to sit at, poor things! I'm sure there are many children out there with real allergies and I'm sympathic. I'm lucky THANKFUL that my kids don't have those issues. Life is hard enough!


My older brother is allergic to peanuts. I didn't even know that until I was 19 because it was such a non-issue. He's also allergic to fish. We never made a big deal out of it. If you're allergic to something then don't eat it. There's no reason to act like you have a disability.


Ms Sangrail said...

Another theory making the rounds is that with kids being vaccinated for every childhood disease now instead of actually getting them, their immune systems aren't getting a workout..

...if we are gonna get all scientific here, let's clarify this: the whole purpose of the vaccine IS to get the immune system a workout, the vaccine are usually constituted of the same bug (attenuated version or products of) they are trying to protect against. So when you get vaccinated you are teaching the immune system what to fight against. The theory you might be thinking is the one called "The hygiene theory" which postulates that all the cleanness we live in has made us more sensitive to other type of diseases, like allergies and autoimmune diseases. So, next time you see your kid picking up some food from the floor (unless it's a peanut and he/she is allergic) don't panic, it's actually a good thing.

anyway, I agree with Laura's article.....


Good God, I love her. Don't always agree with her, but Love. Her.


tripletmom96

"Munchausen’s by Peanut." -- Too, too funny!!!

No, peanut allergies aren't funny, but i have to agree that there has been such a HUGE deal made about them... i, too am sick of entire schools having to accommodate one child with a severe allergy. when he was in elementary school, my son only liked peanut butter sandwiches for his lunches. since there was a peanut allergic kid in his class, he and all the other peanut butter eaters were banished to a separate table for lunch -- i always felt this was unfair. i have no problem trying to protect the allergic child, but i always felt it would have been more fair for there to be a "peanut free" table for the allergic kid(s) and anyone (without peanut butter) would be welcome to join them at their table instead of making my kid and others like him feel like an outcast.

i agree with other posters that if the child is SO allergic that a stray peanut on the floor of a bus could kill him, then perhaps he shouldn't be in the mainstream school system. sorry, but this PC garbage is getting to be too much. so many accommodations have to be made for every little issue that kids can no longer just be normal kids.

Go Laura!!!


Thank you Laura! It's about time someone stood up to the peanut-allergy hysterics.

No-one, certainly not Laura, is saying that children with real allergies should be subjected to things that will make them ill or threaten their lives. But as anyone who has had school-age children during the past 10 years can attest, the peanut hysterics have taken things to ridiculous levels. I have serious allergies, to bee stings and clams and I always read labels and make sure to avoid them. And I would be diligent in protecting my children if they had allergies (thankfully, they don't). But as someone noted earlier, if your child has a condition that is so serious that simply being in the same room as a peanut or a peanut butter sandwich will cause possible death or other serious problems, then that child should not be in public school or out in public at all. They should be home-schooled where the environment can be strictly monitored and controlled.

And the entire time I was growing up, I didn't know a single person, adult or child, who died of an allergic reaction or even had to go to the ER. There's clearly some hysteria going on here that has nothing to do with the medical realities.


My goodness, Ms. Laura Bennett surely has a way to get people worked up no matter what she writes about...
Perhaps SHE should come with a warning label?


Nobody will like this comment and I doubt it will be posted, but hey, I'm up for slapping my head against a brick wall, so here goes. Two words:

NATURAL SELECTION

If your genes are producing children that can't be within a mile's radius of a peanut or a crustacean, maybe those genes need to die out. Otherwise, we're looking at an even grimmer future where everyone will have to live in their own plastic bubble, not be able to touch or interact with each other in a normal way, or lead any kind of life worth living at all. NATURAL SELECTION DOES WORK. Maybe such bizarre allergies are a part of it.


Before calling for her head on a platter, people should read the entire article. Laura isn't denying that very real food allergies exist and can be dangerous; she's pointing out that certain people are taking it needlessly too far.

Parents hear these things on the news about all these new problems their kids can have, and they freak out and begin looking for problems, like a hypochondriac. They feel like they need to solve problems that aren't even there. It's like parents whose kids are a bit hyper sometimes, so they decided their kids must have ADD or somehing.


I totally agree with Laura...it is getting ridiculous in the schools! My 3rd-grader came home & told me as her teacher was explaining that a fellow classmate could die from peanuts(as explained to her by the parents) in order to stress to the kids how *important* it was not to ever bring food to school with peanuts in it, the student piped up & said "no, I just get a slight rash if I touch peanuts. No big deal." My Kindergartener has had food confiscated & sent home with *nasty* notes because the package said that it was made in a plant where items with nuts are also made (but this food item did not itself contain nuts). The last straw was when I showed up to do an art project with the Kindergaten class & brought a bunch of acorns from my yard. The poor *nut-free* child was not allowed to use them & was given tiny apple seeds instead & I was given a very dirty look from the teachers for even thinking of bringing "nuts" to their classroom. Tell me what do acorns have to do with peanuts? Geez. I give up! Do I even need to mention that the 3rd grade Nut-allergy child is also one who picks on all of the other kids? Maybe I should report that my child is allergic to bullies!


"Laura said: Here in New York City, the land of Alpha Parenting, every now and then I encounter a parent who is determined to have a child who is special in some way—any way—that keeps them dependent."




First of all, I think that Laura is exactly right in her essay. The peanut panic is ridiculous. When I was a kid, I had friends who had peanut allergies (one who had severe allergies); they could not eat peanuts, but that didn't mean the schools had to be swept for peanuts.

Secondly, as for the above statement: BRAVO! And I'd go farther by saying that most of these parents, who make big shows out of their kids being 'special' or whatnot, are only doing so to over-compensate for not spending any time with their kids (and not spending time because, truth be told, they'd really just rather be doing something else - and will never admit it).

Laura will, no doubt, to be attacked by the mommy mafia on this. In fact, I'm thinking she should watch her back, because when she least expects in, a MacLaren stroller is going to come out of nowhere and knock her down.

--GothamTomato


Also, when I was in grade school, I did have a classmate who was so allergic to peanuts that he couldn't be near someone who was eating them. However, the school never erupted into mass hysteria and we weren't forced to change our routine. The boy simply didn't sit near someone who was eating peanuts/peanut butter


Oh no. People's heads are going to explode when they read what she said. OK - I get it... life threatening peanut allergies are real and those who do have them need to have them taken seriously...

But "Munchausen’s by Peanut?" She should get a pass for the sheer hilarity of that statement.


Lessee...
La Bennett has commented on ADD, mixing martinis with motherhood, her oldest son's foray into sexuality, nannies and "mannies," the scourge of organic food, and how inferior men are to women.

And she gets the Oprah stint discussing the hot button issue of.....peanut butter.

More kids die in traffic accidents than from food allergies. Perhaps we should ban children from riding in cars?


" Peanut hysteria seems to be part of a wave of new serious conditions that either went unnamed or unacknowledged when I was growing up. Conditions like lactose intolerance, formerly known as burping and farting;"

Hahaha, I just love her. And totally agree with her by the way.


Anonymous wrote:
Nobody will like this comment and I doubt it will be posted, but hey, I'm up for slapping my head against a brick wall, so here goes. Two words:

NATURAL SELECTION

If your genes are producing children that can't be within a mile's radius of a peanut or a crustacean, maybe those genes need to die out. Otherwise, we're looking at an even grimmer future where everyone will have to live in their own plastic bubble, not be able to touch or interact with each other in a normal way, or lead any kind of life worth living at all. NATURAL SELECTION DOES WORK. Maybe such bizarre allergies are a part of it.


So, why would all of these genetic anomalies be happening now? all of these allergies cropping up are more of a nurture than nature thing. Please don't write about natural selection since you clearly know nothing about it.


Oh no she didn't.


LOVE. HER.

Tell it like it is, sister.


ITA we've become a hyper vigilant society. Yes there are those out there with true allergies. I am an epi-pen carrier myself, but evacuating a school bus over a solitary peanut is insane.


So, just to jump in and defend Bailey...diagreeing with someone, however harshly, is not the same thing as saying they have no right to thier opinions. All Bailey said was that he disagreed with Laura.

Its allowed - she ain't Jesus.

As for Laura herself? Whatever. I dont read her column...the few entries I have read have been so rooted in privilege that I find them hard to relate to. But good on her for having a forum! Long live diversity of opinion :)


Laura, Laura, Laura...


I wouldn't have survived childhood if lunches were peanut free! I ate a PP&J sandwich every single day for lunch from preschool all the way through wait...umm, now.


Uh, Jen in Philly. Here is a little word on natural selection from a biology teacher. Anonymous does know his/her stuff. In the past, people with an extremely serious allergy would die while they were young and not survive long enough to reproduce and pass on the gene. Because we now treat this, along with a lot of other disorders, people are more likely to survive and pass on those faulty genes. Natural selection would have weeded out the less fit. Nurture may have something to do with it, but it is probably mostly nature after all.


To Anonymous 3:15pm:
It's a "nut" allergy and umbrella statement for all things nut; acorns, being a nut, are therefore included.
In addition though the snack product that you put in your child's lunch may not have had nuts in it because it was made in a facility that also makes products with nuts gives rise to a possibility of product cross contamination.
For a person with an food allergy it is possible for their reaction worsen with each exposure to that allergen. The exception being the method currently being tested where study participants are being exposed to minute amounts of allergen in a controlled clinical setting.


Please don't throw the brickbats until you have read my entire post. I apologize for the length -this is a complex and emotionally inflammatory subject.

While I sympathize deeply with parents who have kids with life-threateningly strong peanut allergies, I have a practical observation here that, while likely offensive to many, is nonetheless true. Kids saddled with such a tragically deadly combination of severe allergies and critically unseasoned immune systems possibly will be goners -- it could be only a matter of time.

The parents of these kids need to huge have inner strength to face what their hearts already know could be the fate of their kid at any moment. And they try mightily to push that dread deep, deep down inside by relentlessly attempting to control as much as possible of the environment in which that child functions. Even though they may be able to alter the surroundings in which their kids function with tireless education and the occasional hysteria, they simply can't change the whole world. While some of the world can bend to accommodate severe allergies, not all of it can nor will it care to. Kids whose throats close immediately if they even breathe the tiniest flake of nut dust or, as happened last year, kiss somebody who had eaten a peanut butter sandwich hours and hours before, do not have strong enough immune systems to live, period. Sad as it may be, some people are just be too weak to survive - an unhappy confluence of inherited allergies and various environmental stresses.

In skewering hysterical parents who actually do have normal kids, however, Laura does obliquely raise a critical a point - parents of ACTUAL critically at-risk kids can't keep those kids strapped to them forever, either. It is simply out of the parents' power to control all the situations those kids will face each day and in life. The child will repeatedly be faced with potentially life-threatening situations, and living to adulthood will depend on rigorous preventive planning, medical and scientific advances, and a VERY large dose of luck in any particular threat situation. Those who live to adulthood (and the vast majority do) may have many scary near-misses in their lifetimes. Sad to say, some day that luck might run out.

Current science points to our constant cleansing with anti-bacterials -- kitchens, bathrooms, etc., as removing the germs a child needs to be exposed to in order to strengthen the immune system, creating or at least exacerbating the result. An incompletely developed immune system, combined with a pre-disposition to allergies, is thought to be the cause of these severe peanut allergies. This is an emerging understanding that we need to grapple with as a society, particularly the counter-intuitive notion that our current behavioral and cleanliness standards actually CREATE the problem.

So, in answer to Laura's question about where were all these kids when we were growing up? They were dead. Today's kids are very fortunate to be born into an advanced civilization with the medical knowledge and technology to help keep them alive.

And speaking of technology, the thing in peanuts that causes the allergy is a particular protein. Scientists are now attempting to breed a new peanut that lacks the offending protein. Further, one quarter of the kids with a peanut allergy outgrow it, suggesting that the immune system can and sometimes does get more seasoned.

So for that one quarter of the at-risk population (and nobody knows which particular kids these are), parental hysteria is, in fact, a pathway to keeping the worst threats away from the child until his or her immune system strengthens enough to have a chance at a normal life. And those parents pray every waking moment of their lives that their kid will be one of the lucky ones.

As to evacuating the school bus, I do agree with it, because arguably the immune system is still developing in schoolkids. A city bus full of adult passengers? No. At some point it has to become sink or swim for everyone. And then, a prominent medical bracelet, an Epi-pen, and the kindness of strangers hopefully will help those at-risk folks to live, laugh, and love yet one more day.


Oh Laura, sometimes you write things with the express purpose of getting the hen house all in a stir.
~~~~

We aren't supposed to send in "home-made" treats here either. Which I don't understand because it is much easier to track exactly what is in the home baked food than if it is store bought and factory made.
One class wanted pies at Thanksgiving so I sent in a homemade one (I'm not spend 15 damn bcks on a store bought pie)! I just played dumb (easy) and they have never ask me again (mission accomplished)!!


obligatory statement that peanuts are a legume, not a nut ;-) carry on!


I remember in high school when I was a sophomore and there was apparently this freshman girl that is allergic to scents.

My H. English teacher told our class that none of the girls were allowed to wear perfume, scented lotion, or scented deodorants in her class because of this one girl in the school that could have a reaction to them.

I never once saw this girl.


"So, why would all of these genetic anomalies be happening now? all of these allergies cropping up are more of a nurture than nature thing. Please don't write about natural selection since you clearly know nothing about it."

As time progresses, our ability to counteract diseases and severe reactions has increased. What would have killed a child a hundred years ago will no longer do so, provided that proper medical actions are done quickly enough. There were no such things as Epi-pens and whatnot back then.

As a result, people carrying those genes who normally would have died years ago are now able to reach an age where they can reproduce and pass down those genes. With more allergic people surviving, there is more of a chance of an allergic child being born.

I would suggest you don't tell people they know nothing about natural selection anymore.


To Sewing Siren:

I, too, think my own baked goods are perfectly safe. But even a tiny flake of nut in the kitchen could get into them, causing a life-threatening reaction in somebody who eats it. Can I honestly say that I swept up every last eensy weensy particle of nuts the last time I chopped them for a recipe? Even the ones so miniscule that they can't be seen without a magnifying glass?

Actually, no. Unless I HEPA-vaccuumed my kitchen, I could unknowingly be producing food just as risky as those facilities that disclose, on the package label, that they were made in facilities where nuts are also used.

Insulting to your and my cleaning skills as that may seem, we're simply not cognizant of these miniscule particles that could still be there and somehow get into a dish prepared in that same kitchen later on.

And, of course, another woman who sends in a home-baked pie might be a little sloppier about cleaning up after nuts, or honestly think "oh, that tiny speck won't hurt". I've seen folks GENUINELY not understand that their ignorance could cost a life.

So I reluctantly side with the school, here, on the issue of home-baked goods. It sucks, because it bars us from adding that personal touch. But it is safer for the at-risk kid.


I don't know about anyone else, but I am so hungry for peanut butter right now!


I have a lot of food allergies...BUT...I agree with Laura to an extent. People cannot stop living and going on with ordinary daily life trying to safeguard against every allergy or hidden danger out there that could potentially harm someone else...it's impossible. And peanuts is just one of the many hidden dangers. Besides...peanut butter is a staple in box lunches....no getting around it.

If there is a life threatening allergy...it's up to the parents to take responsibility ...notify teachers and bus drivers (or whomever is responsible) of the ailment and ask they take proper precautions...have a medical emergency plan in place, etc... To evacuate a bus because of a peanut is ridiculous unless it was known that a child on board had an allergy...then that child should be the one removed or isolated.


Sewing Siren said...

We aren't supposed to send in "home-made" treats here either. Which I don't understand because it is much easier to track exactly what is in the home baked food than if it is store bought and factory made.


How do you figure? Every ingredient is listed on store-bought foods, and it will list specifically if there are nuts in it or ingredients that were processed on the same machinery as nuts and might be cross-"contaminated." Whereas you might think there are no nuts in whatever you bake, your food or an ingredient could come into sufficient contact with it, and that's not even addressing the fact that the school has no idea if you are crazy or a liar (I know you are neither, for what it's worth haha). For these purposes, it would absolutely make sense for them to want store-bought over homemade, especially if it's coming in the original packaging.


To H:

I agree with you that kids with such a severe allergy in past generations would have died and thus not have passed on the gene for a weak or defective immune system.

However, there is still the issue of kids with otherwise normal allergies or predisposition thereto who become highly sensitized due to the antibacterials that remove all the germs we need to develop resistance to in order to have strong immune systems. We're creating situations where immune systems just don't develop normally. And THAT is significant because we're INCREASING the size of the at-risk population by means other than procreation.

I confess, it is this second part of the equation scares me. Like the whole autism -immunization/vaccination debate, it appears that something we are affirmatively doing for facially good reasons (here, cleaning the crap out of our kitchens, baths, and homes to remove germs) actually helps create the problem rather than resolve it.


acorn (\ˈā-ˌkȯrn, -kərn\):
the nut of the oak usually seated in or surrounded by a hard woody cupule of indurated bracts

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acorn


Laura H. said...

I remember in high school when I was a sophomore and there was apparently this freshman girl that is allergic to scents.

My H. English teacher told our class that none of the girls were allowed to wear perfume, scented lotion, or scented deodorants in her class because of this one girl in the school that could have a reaction to them.

I never once saw this girl.

LOL! Do you think this "girl" was actually your teacher?


For a very clear, concise summary of the peanut allergy phenomenon, including the issue of whether anti-bacterials actually foster or exacerbate such allergies, see:

http://www.beyondapeanut.com/Peanut_Allergy_Information.html


Laura H. said...

"I remember in high school when I was a sophomore and there was apparently this freshman girl that is allergic to scents.

My H. English teacher told our class that none of the girls were allowed to wear perfume, scented lotion, or scented deodorants in her class because of this one girl in the school that could have a reaction to them.

I never once saw this girl."


The teacher was smart not to identify who it was. Kids can be both stupid and cruel, and might have tortured this kid by conspicuously wearing scents around her. I'm one of those who also is deathly allergic to scents and perfumes, and I keep it to myself for just that reason. Never know when some jerk is going to deliberately try to force you into an allergic reaction, trying to make you uncomfortable and not understanding that it could be life-threatening. The only time I ever was forced to mention it was during a job interview, when I literally started going into anaphlactic shock due to some scented, dried flowers in a vase in the office of the person who was interviewing me. I was horrified to realize what was happening, and she claimed she wasn't wearing any perfumes, but that it might be the dried flowers. I insisted that we immediately leave the office and continue the interview in a conference room, and rushed out of the room choking. Several minutes later, we resumed the interview. She marked me down for that reaction, but others gave me the thumbs up and I did get the job anyway. But to tell you the truth, that was the farthest concern from my mind during those scary moments.


Also, for those of you who don't know what anaphlactic shock is, it's an extreme allergic reaction where the eyes and nose start running uncontrollably, the head starts pounding, and the lungs quickly fill up with mucus. You start choking and gasping but no air can get in because the lungs are full of water. So, unless a very strong one of these reactions is halted, it can cause you to drown standing up - literally, an out-of-water death by drowning.

Trust me, it's one of the scariest things that can happen to you. THAT's why everybody cares so much about severe peanut allergies.


"My cousin is deathly allergic to peanuts. Depending on the amount, he can't even be near them in the same room. "

Anyone who is THAT allergic to a peanut that they can't be in the same room with one, needs to be inside a bubble 24/7.

I think she's right---she's not saying that the peanut allergies don't exist-- the the mass hysteria is a bit much.


Yawn. So 2003. Get a new shtick, Laura, cause this supposedly daring mommy thing is played out.


To Anon,
Well, the request for packaged store bought treats was not accompanied by any rules as to what should be in the ingredients. Odd , right? And whenever I have been present at a party I have never seen anyone read the 40 or 50 ingredients that tend to be in the package product.
As to the honesty of the giver of the treats, I suppose if someone deliberately wanted to hurt a child they could. I suspect a nut job (pun) could do the same with a factory made treat. Industrial food preparation can be done in filthy conditions. If you knew what was in the icing on store bought cup cakes you might vomit.
I would hesitate to give my dog some of the stuff they serve at the school cafetria . The whole thing just seems so wildly out of proortion.


Anon of the autism/vax comment... just for the record, that's been so thoroughly debunked anyone who thinks vaccines and autism are linked in anyone other than someone who has an extremely rare reaction (ie brain inflammation) is equivalent to a member of the Flat Earth Society. Zero causal link. Period. End of discussion. Please drive through. Kill it with fire.

The heavy cleaning substance use is threatening our immune systems, yep. Also the lack of "go play outside for a few hours and just don't track it into the house" that most of us got growing up. I think some of the chemicals aren't helping, either. I just found out a little while ago that the air fresheners we're all told to use all over the place have NEVER been tested for allergic reactions for anything other than skin tests. The membranes on the sinuses and lungs are not the same as the skin. The first test done of some popular air scents on lab mice showed that yep, breathing them caused reactions in a fairly high percentage of the mice. A friend of mine developed multiple chemical sensitivity thanks to repeated exposure combined with other factors weakening her immune system. She has to tell people what substances they can use for soap, shampoo and deodorant if they're going to see her that day. Her house has HEPA-quality air filters all over it. One random person with perfume on can fuck up her week. And her diet is so carefully managed she has to keep track of how often she gets certain foods in a given week lest she overload and get sick. Even wearing a mask doesn't help if the load is too high.

We're doing it to ourselves as much as anything else. And the hypersensitive parents who think their kid MIGHT be allergic to something are not helping the ones who really are so sensitive that kissing someone who had PB&J for lunch would kill them.


Sewing Siren said...
Industrial food preparation can be done in filthy conditions. If you knew what was in the icing on store bought cup cakes you might vomit.


They do this store-bought-food-only thing at my daughter's daycare too. And this is the part that I wonder about as well. I don't really trust my supermarket bakery to be the cleanest, most sterile, most handwashy place ever.

There are kids with nut allergies in my daughter's class and they're super young, so I can understand the elaborate precautions. But I do hate all the extra additives in store-bought stuff. It makes me feel like a bad parent to bring this crap in for little kids.

I'd imagine that most kids are responsible enough by 9 years old to look out for themselves and not trade food with others at school or whatever.

I never knew that a lone peanut in the middle of a bus could cause allergic symptoms. That sucks. What do peanut allergy sufferers do on airplanes? There are a lot of peanuts passed around and opened in a contained area with regenerated air. They could be ANYWHERE!


I just wanted to let Ms Bennett know that lactose intolerance certainly was around 30 years ago, when my younger brother was forced to drink his daily milk at school and then chastised on a daily basis for crapping his pants. I also suffer from RLS, which in fact bothers me at night when I should be sleeping, not at a time when I might need to take a walk.
I do however wonder if many people have ever considered that the whole store-bought treats thing is more about food safety in general rather than peanuts - I can certainly remember being horrified at what some moms considered a clean kitchen as a child. Both the treats issue and the bus incidents more than likely come down to the fact that people need to protect themselves from litigation these days - no parent was going to sue a school 30 years ago.


Lysana said:

"The heavy cleaning substance use is threatening our immune systems, yep. Also the lack of "go play outside for a few hours and just don't track it into the house" that most of us got growing up. I think some of the chemicals aren't helping, either."

Absolutely. And, sadly, part of the reason we don't have the "go play outside for a few hours and just don't track it into the house" anymore is that doctors warn us of the pesticides and other chemicals on the lawns. Not to mention ticks with Lyme disease and mosquitoes with West Nile disease plus the planes that spray poison all over the yards during the summer to kill the mosquitoes.

Criminy.


"Where were these kids when we were in school?"

I'm the same age as Laura and I assume that those kids were DEAD by the time they might have been school age.

That's not saying that she does not have a point about the over-the-top reaction from schools.


"thousands of high-strung mommies"

Or, you know, just people who are used to making a living without spewing tired crap.

Can you not be Laura's gays without backing everything she says, no matter how tritely, calculatedly wrong?

Slim


FYI...
Kenley is going to be interviewed on Inside Edition.


Abby said:
4/6/09 5:26 PM

Yawn. So 2003. Get a new shtick, Laura, cause this supposedly daring mommy thing is played out.

---

Amen!
There's a difference between being bitchy and being a bitch.

LAK


Sally Sitwell

SUS said...

I never knew that a lone peanut in the middle of a bus could cause allergic symptoms. That sucks. What do peanut allergy sufferers do on airplanes? There are a lot of peanuts passed around and opened in a contained area with regenerated air. They could be ANYWHERE!


Lol. Someone clearly hasn't flown in awhile. Airlines started serving pretzels instead of peanuts years ago because of this exact reason. Now, of course, most of them don't serve any snack unless it is a long flight, and then it is usually a snack instead of the meal one used to get it. Airlines were cheaping out wayyy before the economy started turning to shit.


Wow. Kenley on Inside Edition? You're not kidding?

... Back to the peanuts at hand.

Who & how did they find a single peanut on the floor of a full schoolbus? Inquiring minds want to know. (I can't help picturing the school weisenheimer taking a peanut out of his pocket and brandishing it at the other kids).


(sigh) Timing is everything when talking about natural selection and evolution. That is what I meant by my post. I find it very hard to believe that because of the epipen that scores more children with peanut allergies are surviving instead of dying compared to the previous ONE generation. That indicates to me that the sudden increase in allergies is likely due more to changes in the environment rather than natural selection. Note that I say "likely," not "definitely."

If I spout my qualifications to talk on this subject, I'm gonna sound like an asshole, so I won't. :)


My own kid gets nothing but hay fever, but was in the "allergy" class at her school for two years. Now, the interesting thing about this class is that the teacher had a serious nut and soy allergy. Because of that, parental fears were kept in check and--guess what--keeping the kids safe turned out to be actually pretty easy.

The kids ate outside--there was a peanut/nut free table--or when the number was low, a taped-off version. Kids were instructed to not share food. The kids made the birthday treats in the classroom. On field trips, she made sure she rode in the same car with the epi-pens.

And that was it--no restrictions on other kids eating peanut butter, no hysteria about immaculate classrooms. And nary a reaction. Ever.

These kids did have allergies (doctor's notes and all), but I have seen the quasi-allergy stuff go on. One mom I've known for years is a real nut case (so to speak) and has been proposing possible allergies for her kid for years. In my experience, the more real the allergy, the more the parent's trying to make things as normal as possible. There are sensible precautions and they don't have to inconvenience everybody around them. (Though I understand making preschools nut-free.)


Glammy, absolutely right. Moms of kids with allergies really try hard to make things normal. Substitutions become second nature for the kid - foam pillow instead of feather, man-made fiber rugs instead of wool, Tide Free for washing clothing instead of perfumed detergents, Almay and Clinique instead of Lancombe, dog gets brushed OUTSIDE twice a week and doesn't sleep in the kid's room, no flowers or shrubs that attract the bees and hornets, etc. Staying calm is half the battle, I believe. It helps the child learn to cope and be creative in avoiding the items that cause allergic reactions.

I'm allergic to practically everything. Yet, after a childhood with many trips to the emergency room, I still manage to have a comfy, hysteria-free life life with minimal allergic reactions. Just no dog. *sob*


tripletmom96

"In addition though the snack product that you put in your child's lunch may not have had nuts in it because it was made in a facility that also makes products with nuts gives rise to a possibility of product cross contamination." this is what everyone means about things going too far...if you check the labels on many commercially baked goods they have a disclaimer stating that "may contain traces of peanuts"... so now what are we supposed to bring for our children's classroom celebrations? carrot sticks?

although my kids went to a school where the peanut butter kids were banished to another table (see previous post), they WERE sensible from the standpoint that parents were allowed to bring in homemade treats -- they were just asked to give notice to the teacher when that would be done so that the peanut allergic child could bring his OWN SAFE TREAT. what a concept!

while i would never consider bringing peanut butter cookies to school for a snack, the idea that parents can't even send in a homemade treat for the class is ludicrous.

there are going to be allergy challenges for these kids their whole lives, so they need to learn what is and isn't safe. sheltering them from the real world isn't going to help them learn how to handle these situations.


"Where were these kids when we were in school?"
---
There are many environmental and biological changes that have caused these increases in allergies. I guess Laura should just be happy she has very healthy kids. I guess she is just being intentionally provocative, which is her MO with the blog, so I guess she's just doing her thing


...carrot sticks would be healthier...


Anonymous said...

For a very clear, concise summary of the peanut allergy phenomenon, including the issue of whether anti-bacterials actually foster or exacerbate such allergies, see:

http://www.beyondapeanut.com/Peanut_Allergy_Information.html


Very interesting. Thank you.


Bottom Line: Though it may be an inconvenience to mill through the products that you send to school with your children, though you may think some of the measures taken are excessive, but would you ever want to be responsible for the death of someone else's kid because you disagreed with some of the restrictions and took it upon yourself to make a point? I think not.
So we can argue about it all we want, but at the end of the day just do what the school's ask


...I have a deadly peanut allergy and I'm not at all dependant on my parents. just saying.


Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Though it may be an inconvenience to mill through the products that you send to school with your children, though you may think some of the measures taken are excessive, but would you ever want to be responsible for the death of someone else's kid because you disagreed with some of the restrictions and took it upon yourself to make a point?


The chances of any kid dying from peanut exposure are so minimal as to be meaningless and the hysteria surrounding this "issue" is bad for all kids in the long run.


I really agree with Laura here, another funny and intelligent article. I don't think she is ignorant of the real danger of serious food allergies...but evacuating a school bus because of a peanut is absolute hysteria.

I understand that there are children, for whatever reason, with severe food allergies and it is a serious problem. But a child carrying an epi-pen JUST IN CASE they suddenly develop a food allergy is insanity if not abuse. I can't imagine what would happen if that poor child thought they were having a reaction and gave their little heart an unnecessary dose of adrenaline.

I agree--what do peanut sufferers do on airplanes? What about people who want to bring their cat into the cabin of an airplane and sit next to me with my severe cat allergies? (Or perfume--please people, do not wear perfume on an airplane!).

@J-Lo was she talking about lactose intolerance in the article? I missed it. But I've been living with it all my life and I can attest that it is indeed real, although I do think people over-diagnose themselves with it. In reality, a lot of dairy products DONT contain lactose and a lot of the over-the-counter treatments for it are useless.


Anonymous said...

"'Bottom Line: Though it may be an inconvenience to mill through the products that you send to school with your children, though you may think some of the measures taken are excessive, but would you ever want to be responsible for the death of someone else's kid because you disagreed with some of the restrictions and took it upon yourself to make a point?'"

The chances of any kid dying from peanut exposure are so minimal as to be meaningless and the hysteria surrounding this "issue" is bad for all kids in the long run."

Minimal, yes. Probable, no. Possible, yes.
The actions of the parents cause hysteria.
The actions of the school are precautions they take to protect themselves from legal action.


Better safe than sorry. Once one of her kids die because some stupid mother doesn't consider the needs of others, then maybe she'll stop blabbing about stuff she doesn't know a thing about.


Anonymous said...

Better safe than sorry. Once one of her kids die because some stupid mother doesn't consider the needs of others,


Congratulations. YOU are exactly the type of person she's skewering in that piece. Do you have any idea how many kids die each year "because some stupid mother [didn't] consider the needs of others?"

Bueller? Anyone?


Anonymous said...

For a very clear, concise summary of the peanut allergy phenomenon, including the issue of whether anti-bacterials actually foster or exacerbate such allergies, see:

http://www.beyondapeanut.com/Peanut_Allergy_Information.html


Interesting how their "facts" page has not one citation on it, nor does it offer any information on the likelihood of, say, death resulting from peanut exposure, or the percentage of children with peanut allergies. Also of interest is the fact that this is the page of a company that sells products to people who have children with peanut allergies.


Didn't this used to be a fashion blog?


First of all, peanuts aren't nuts, so... nut allergies? (As in, "acorns are nuts," said by someone above.)

Second of all, reading through many of the commments I find myself overwhelmed by deep gratitude that I never had children. Hosanah!


I'm surprised her kids never died of anything. What a reckless mother!


ForPeanutsOnly

Yes, cute article but very misinformed. Peanuts allergy is VERY SERIOUS.


She's nuts!!


Whether or not they needed to evacuate the entire bus over a stray peanut is one thing, but her comments are completely stupid.

You're contradicting yourself. That's exactly her point.


For a comprehensive, science-based look at peanut allergies, complete with citations, you can go
here.


some quotes:
"These reports might seem to be saying that more children today have diagnosed food allergies, but that is not what they are actually reporting. The studies behind these claims were surveys, all of which found that the percentage of parents who report they believe their children have food allergies has increased over the past decade. "

"He equated the growing panic over peanut allergies to mass psychogenic illness, also called “epidemic hysteria.” That’s the social network phenomenon where a cascade of healthy people develop anxiety about a perceived danger, and being around others who are anxious serves to heighten one’s own sense of fear. In other words, fear is contagious, not necessarily the actual thing being feared. He said this comparison is helpful in two ways. First, total nut avoidance may not actually reduce risks for allergies, as a new British study suggested. Second, well-intentioned efforts to reduce exposure to the perceived cause actually fans the flames of a food fear because they signal to people that the danger is real, encourages even more people to worry, and fuels perceptions of an epidemic."

"The rate of parent-perceived food hypersensitivity (54%) is considerably higher than objectively assessed cases (1.2%)"

"even a highly sensitive child with the most serious allergy to peanuts won’t have an allergic reaction through airborne exposures or breathing the smell of peanuts while someone else eats a PB&J sandwich."

"Perhaps the most accurate population data on peanut-related deaths among children comes from the UK. Its national death statistics and pediatric surveillance system has recorded death statistics for nearly all children and it reported that only one child, a 15-year old, died from a peanut allergy between 1990 and 2000. "


ForPeanutsOnly said...

Yes, cute article but very misinformed. Peanuts allergy is VERY SERIOUS.


How "SERIOUS?" Do you have any numbers?


Maybe Laura could write an article on people who have no sense of humor and get offended at the slightest generalization. Lighten up people! Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Gilbert Gottfried, Denis Leary, Lenny Bruce, Howard Stern, Lewis Black, Andre Dice Clay, Sarah Silverman and more would've never made it with you people around. Laura rocks.


Are kids really that traumatized by not being able to have peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, etc for a few hours?


I'd probably have the same attitude if I had 20 nannies, a driver, a chef, and a personal assistant.


Laura, you rock!! I can't wait for your show!


little girl from AK

Though I am terrified to be commenting on the same page as biology teachers, mothers of triplets, and other strongly opinionated individuals, I feel inclined to toss in my own two cents. As a student in high school, I have experienced the peanut allergy mania from the other side. Even the kids with the severe allergies are embarrassed to have outside parties make such a big deal over a situation they can easily hadnle themselves. I am sure it is different for high schoolers, who have the ability to leave school and thereby avoid the problem, but I confess I was angry when my AP World History class was forced to celebrate George Washington Carver's birthday.. sans peanuts. There was apparently a kid, next door, who was not going to be present at our festivities, allergic to peanuts.

After a certain age, the kids in question can handle their own biological problems. Parents have no place legislating nutriton in schools.


Is this whole allergy thing an American problem? As someone who lives in Africa, I never heard of people making such a big deal out of allergies when I was in school, or at any other time.


Usually the kids with the hysterical mothers sit alone...


I was never a Laura fan and I'm still not a fan. Can someone please make her go away...


Laura Bennett clearly believes in two things: 1)her superiority over anyone who isn't just like herself; and, 2)people will find her sense of superiority entertaining. BTW, there are quite a few high-strung daddies out there along with the mommies.


"Brooklyn Bomber: Second of all, reading through many of the commments I find myself overwhelmed by deep gratitude that I never had children. Hosanah!"



Right?

I felt the same way watching Oprah yesterday (and btw, can I have that hour back please). I think if I was force to spend the best years of my life socializing with those whiney, narcisisstic mommies my head might explode. You'd think no one ever had kids before (just like you'd think no one ever had allergies before).

--GothamTomato


"Anon said: Laura Bennett clearly believes in two things: 1)her superiority over anyone who isn't just like herself;"



I don't get that from her at all. I think that sounds more like the reader's insecurities being projected on to her.

--GothamTomato


Anonymous said...
The actions of the school are precautions they take to protect themselves from legal action.


Ding! That sums the whole matter up. In a nutshell, so to speak.


Kimberly said...

Maybe Laura could write an article on people who have no sense of humor and get offended at the slightest generalization. Lighten up people! Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Gilbert Gottfried, Denis Leary, Lenny Bruce, Howard Stern, Lewis Black, Andre Dice Clay, Sarah Silverman and more would've never made it with you people around. Laura rocks.


Haha, um, no actually, because most of those people are at least funny to some degree (Gilbert Gottfried being the glaring exception). Laura just thinks she is. Thanks for playing, Kim.


You know what - screw you peanut allergy people. Okay, that might have been a little strong. Allergies are hardcore - I know, since I have some. To cherries, pears, peaches, kiwi, dust, dander, mold, pollen, most household cleaning chemicals, laundry soaps and body washes. Also plums some fragrances and - get this Vodka. Some of my allergies are just moderately annoying - they itch and then they go away after I take some medication. Others, however, will literally MAKE ME DIE, but you don't see anyone freaking out when some stupid bartender makes me a Vodka martini instead of a gin martini, even though consuming said beverage or having it spilled on me will throw me into anaphalixis.

Allergies bad. Precautions good.

With that having been said, allergies are my problem, not yours. With the exception of that one time I almost killed my brother in law for nearly spilling his vodka tonic on me, I really don't get mad at the waitress or the bartender for making me the wrong drink or bringing me the wrong drink - even after I warn them. I take appropriate precautions, carry epenephrin and have someone taste my drinks.

Power to Laura!


Jesus H. What is wrong with some people that they can't have any sense of urgency for someone who isn't their own family member?

My son doesn't get pb for lunch because a classmate has allergies. My son got over it - and it taught him something about community.

I get Laura's schtick - I find it boring - and unoriginal. To the poster who put her in the same league as Carlin, Foxx, Stern, et.al - Please, give me a break - she doesn't have half their smarts.

JA


" Anonymous said...

Jesus H. What is wrong with some people that they can't have any sense of urgency for someone who isn't their own family member?"

And the point went right over your head.


I have to believe that most people who are objecting so strongly to this piece haven't read it very closely. She's not denying that children have food allergies and she's not denying that those allergies can be dangerous. The people she's skewering are those who *think* their kids have allergies they don't have. I posted a link last night with some facts and figures. Here's one that bears repeating:

"The rate of parent-perceived food hypersensitivity (54%) is considerably higher than objectively assessed cases (1.2%)"


I'm just glad that Camilla didn't go into anaphlactic shock wearing that "For Nuts Only" dress...


Allison - there was a mention at the end of the second page on Daily Beast about lactose intolerance being an excuse for burping and farting and restless leg syndrome being another name for needing to get up and take a walk.

At the end of the day I think Laura is making a somewhat valid point about the eagerness of today's parents to diagnose their kids with some allergy or illness in order to give them a reason to stand out. The allergy list at my daughter's daycare includes one kid who is allergic to tuna fish (but no other fish?), another one who is allergic to fish sticks and another who is allergic to Cadbury's chocolate.

Friends of ours have a child who is genuinely allergic to some of these things but she's allergic to all brands of milk
chocolate and all types of breaded foods. I don't get it.


Allergies aren't necessarily all inclusive. I get hives and my face swells up like Stay Puft if I eat lobster, crawfish, or shrimp, but I'm fine eating clams, oysters, mussels, etc.


What an arrogant, ignorant bitch. Sure there may be some neurotic parents out there but to paint all parents of allergic kids to be emotionally unstable manipulators is the height of smug ignorance. She's lucky that her children have escaped serious health issues but I imagine she wouldn't be so self-righteous if they had.

Why are allergies more common? That's a valid question. Blaming the parents of kids she doesn't even know is reprehensible.


I generally agree with her, if you actually research the numbers on food allergy deaths you find out they are teeny-tiny. Schools and parents would be better off worrying about more common risks.


Maybe Laura could write an article on people who have no sense of humor and get offended at the slightest generalization.

Maybe when she says something funny this will be a valid point. Making fun of people with life-threatening medical problems is rarely funny. It'll take a talent great than Laura's to pull that off.

People like Laura because she speaks her mind. Unfortunately, her mind is often mean-spirited. Remember her tattling on Jeffrey in the PR finale because his sewing looked "better than usual"? Petty, mean, and jealous. Just because you're wearing designer clothes when you're doing it doesn't mean you are not a small trashy person.


Oh for god's sake, READ THE GODDAMN THING. She's NOT making fun of people with allergies. She's making fun of parents who THINK their kids have allergies.


I read the entire article, and I think Laura has a point. She doesn't minimize the seriousness of food allergies.
She's making a statement about parents whose understandable desire to protect their children from harm sometimes mutates into mania.


My niece has a tree nut allergy that could choke her to death in under 5 minutes.I believe somewhere between pesticides,air pollution and industrial waste gone uncheck and unaccountable for decades we are left with children struck down with unexplainable sickness. Not surprised 'back in her' day these issues didn't exist. Things change honey keep up and keep alert of the world around you. How charming that the slightest inconvience has her whining victim.


Anonymous @ 11:39 AM said...

People like Laura because she speaks her mind. Unfortunately, her mind is often mean-spirited. Remember her tattling on Jeffrey in the PR finale because his sewing looked "better than usual"? Petty, mean, and jealous. Just because you're wearing designer clothes when you're doing it doesn't mean you are not a small trashy person.




Whoa, whoa, whoa....
Laura did have a legitimate gripe that both Mychael and Uli agreed with. She was just more ballsy with it. Jeffrey DIDN'T make as high quality stuff. Neither did she. But since she was around him at least 20 hours a day non-stop for a few weeks, she would have a better feel for what the competition can and cannot do. (And I'm speaking as someone who DEFINITELY thinks that Jeffrey didn't make those clothes. Sue me.)

Even though I'm not the biggest Laura fan, the fact that she made Jeffrey cry and then grin sheepishly about it made her ACES in by book. :0)

Sorry to get off track, TLo.


I get what Laura was saying. While nut allergies are real and very scary (says the teacher who watched a student turn blue while she frantically searched for the Epi-pen), people can take it to an extreme level. Most children with nut allergies are very aware and careful. Evacuating a bus because a peanut was found? SILLY!


Laura did have a legitimate gripe that both Mychael and Uli agreed with. She was just more ballsy with it.

If you define ballsy as running to the teacher and telling on him. I call it being a poor sport.


My child attends a peanut-free nursery school. They gave us a list of things we're allowed to bring in for snack - fresh fruit & vegetables, string cheese, one or two brands of crackers, and maybe two other things. I mean, whatever. Nobody in my child's class has a peanut allergy.

In my other daughter's first-grade class, there was a child with a life-threatening milk allergy. His mom baked all the treats for the class parties, and he had a table at lunch where he was seated with his friends whose moms packed lunches that weren't dangerous to him.

That seemed okay.

But a friend of mine said to me, about a week after her child (with multiple allergies) started kindergarten said, "For the first two weeks, I'm waiting for a call from the school all the time, saying that he's hospitalized or dead." Now THAT I understand.

It pains me to agree with Laura because she's just such an entitled bitch. Plus her whole, "Look at what a cool Mom I am, my kids handle turtle poop" thing got SO old for me so fast. I think parents get hysterical, but I also think that something your kid could die from is hysteria inducing.

Fine, I'm rambling. :)


people can take it to an extreme level

Of course there are always people who will take anything to an extreme level. That doesn't mean everyone with a deathly allergy should be dismissed as extreme. To do so is either the height of ignorance or the height of a publicity appeal. It sounds like Laura was desperate to get her name circulated. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter use this same tactic all the time. Say something outrageous and then watch everyone talk about ME! Who cares if it's true or hurts people, I have publicity!


Anonymous said:

And the point went right over your head.
----

Actually, it didn't. When someone doesn't agree with you, it doesn't mean they missed the point. It's called a difference of opinion.

I think Laura's rants are overrated. I wish she would stick to designing clothes.

JA


Anonymous said...

Of course there are always people who will take anything to an extreme level. That doesn't mean everyone with a deathly allergy should be dismissed as extreme.


Well, then. It's a good thing she didn't do that:

"I fully acknowledge that there are a percentage of children for whom nut allergies are a serious, life-threatening situation."

"There are parents with legitimate concerns, but I also believe there are a few people needlessly involved in the peanut panic."

Seriously, are any of you complainers actually reading the whole thing before you spout off?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

And the point went right over your head.
----

Actually, it didn't. When someone doesn't agree with you, it doesn't mean they missed the point. It's called a difference of opinion.


No, actually it did. You said this:

"Jesus H. What is wrong with some people that they can't have any sense of urgency for someone who isn't their own family member?"

And the whole point of the piece was about parents whose children DON'T have a peanut allergy. That's not a difference of opinion. That's a fact.


"Nobody will like this comment and I doubt it will be posted, but hey, I'm up for slapping my head against a brick wall, so here goes. Two words:

NATURAL SELECTION

If your genes are producing children that can't be within a mile's radius of a peanut or a crustacean, maybe those genes need to die out. Otherwise, we're looking at an even grimmer future where everyone will have to live in their own plastic bubble, not be able to touch or interact with each other in a normal way, or lead any kind of life worth living at all. NATURAL SELECTION DOES WORK. Maybe such bizarre allergies are a part of it."

Ha ha I love Laura and I love you!

All of this self diagnosis hysteria has got to stop. I've seen elementary teachers diagnose children as having ADD and then of course the parents who put their teens on Zoloft which actually increases their rate of suicide.

FYI Psycho Moms, I have a multitude of allergies and it is not "traumatizing" in the least to get tested, believe me I've been through it dozens of times starting when I was a little kid.


Here's why I love her: contrary to all you wackadoos, the op-piece is not really about peanut butter allergies -- it's about parenting. She thoroughly accepts that fatal allergies do exist and she's prepared to do her part to assure that no kid with one is harmed by her or her offspring's negligent handling of nut matter (present company excluded).

Her point is that there are some parents (more prevalent in helicopter-central NYC) who are so needy that they are choosing to protect children from sensitivies THEY MAY NOT HAVE. As it nearly always is when she addresses parenting, Laura's ultimate point is that your job as a parent is to raise an adult, capable of its own decision making, and not to infantilize your child at every opportunity to make yourself feel better. She prefers benign neglect to hovering, and frankly so do I.

You peanut conspiracy theorists amuse me.


GO LAURA.

The fact that food allergies are being overdiagnosed to ridiculous extremes has been making news lately--e.g. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101944263--but it's been something anyone with common sense could've guessed long, long ago.

Yes, some people can die from eating a peanut. But that number is a lot smaller than the number of hysterical parents who groundlessly refuse to let their children near peanuts for fear of death.


Anonymous said...
Laura did have a legitimate gripe that both Mychael and Uli agreed with. She was just more ballsy with it.

If you define ballsy as running to the teacher and telling on him. I call it being a poor sport.

4/7/09 1:37 PM



She told Jeffrey EXACTLY what she did. Studying the realm of what is reality-show rapport, most "poor sports" wouldn't have told anybody about it except the camera guy, because NOBODY would ever find out.

I do believe (sort of) Laura when she said she wanted to compete against Jeffrey fairly. How is it so bad if she told Jeffrey what her concern was?

So no, that's not being a poor sport. It was just a legit inquiry. Kayne turned in Keith's pattern books. Did that make him a poor sport?


"You know what - screw you peanut allergy people. Okay, that might have been a little strong. Allergies are hardcore - I know, since I have some. To cherries, pears, peaches, kiwi, dust, dander, mold, pollen, most household cleaning chemicals, laundry soaps and body washes. Also plums some fragrances and - get this VODKA."

:( My sincerest condolences on your vodka allergy. Thank God for gin, eh?


wow so many comments!

I agree with Laura too - as many have said and with posters who mentioned the hygiene theory and the natural selection theory, namely in previous years, weaker kids would have perished and dirt is good for you.

I'm fairly young, will be 21 end of the month and seriously the only people who had allergies in my boarding school in nigeria were the rich kids lol.

I'm not saying they made it up, some of them did but most were legit. I think maybe its all the processed foods people in the west eat.

Until I moved to US, I never had a frozen meal, we shopped in the traditional markets (not saying they are better, but less processed). The richer moms went to the supermarkets - don't know what they bought there though lol and if it had anything to do with their kids allergies.

all that being said, i'm allergic to pineapples lol - no fruit cups for me - i hate them anyway.


and to add to my previous post -

we did have a large number of asthmatics and sufferers of hayfever, some of them pretty bad, one of my schoolmates did die from an asthma attack gone horribly wrong (after she died, i think the number of people claiming to be asthmatic so they could be cool dropped significantly)

- but other than an inhaler, sitting far away from the chalk board and handy doses of hydrocortisone? at the clinic, we all lived normal lives in a region rather close to the desert (lots of dust, lots of pollen)


Mr. Anonymous of the "natural selection" comment from earlier here - thank you for some of the great responses to my "out there" assertion. Really, it's not out there.

As others have pointed out, if someone has those types of severe allergy reactions and grows up to reproduce, having kids with perhaps even WORSE allergic reactions, and this keeps happens, then the world will go either of two ways:

Either those who are so seriously disabled with allergies will have to live separate, partitioned lives, classified (rightly) as extremely disabled and unable to live in ordinary society due to their handicap and living in a sterile, protected environment...while everybody else continues to live normally...

Or....as Laura Bennett so cleverly points out...us "normals" will have our lives utterly dominated, abused, and made insane by parents and family members of those who DO have these serious disabilities because we will be constantly harassed into rearranging our whole lives to accomodate them.

If you're disabled, you're disabled. Nothing wrong with that. But don't blame ME for your disability. Don't force ME to not eat the foods I want to or live a normal life because YOU can't tolerate them or your child can't.

I think it's the parents' fault for trying to pretend that their kids belong in a normal school setting when they are obviously in deep, sad, denial.

I don't have kids. But if one day I have a child who God forbid has such severe allergies that they will spend their entire lives in fear of peanuts or whatever, I will do everything within my power to get that child properly tutored at home where he or she can remain safe in a controlled environment. I would never in a million years have that unique sense of insane entitlement that a lot of these parents do with expecting the entire world and other parents of "normal" children to create an environment for their child that THEY need to be creating.

Responsiblity - and reality checks - begin at home, folks.

We've been extraordinarily privileged in modern society to pretty much expect that we'll all live to 80 or so and lead normal, healthy lives. But these allergy kids aren't doing this. They may not outlive their childhood years. The parents need to face this and either take responsibility 100% with home schooling them in a controlled environment, or take risks in a fully conscious way by letting them go to normal school.


"But a friend of mine said to me, about a week after her child (with multiple allergies) started kindergarten said, "For the first two weeks, I'm waiting for a call from the school all the time, saying that he's hospitalized or dead." Now THAT I understand."

I don't understand it at all

If going to kindergarten puts your child at risk of death due to potential exposure to things that might cause allergic reactions, dont' send them to bloody kindergarten.

Again, take responsibility, parents. Acceptance, please. Your kid is disabled. Face facts. Home school and take responsibility.

I wonder sometimes if it isn't just all going to be about parents suing schools and childcare places. I think that's where this is all going. Lots of wrongful death suits, and with this mommycentric culture we're in ("THINK OF THE CHILDRUNNNNNN") I'll bet those mommies will make lots of money off their dead kids in the next years.


Is it really so horrible to not have peanut butter for a few hours? It's not like cigarettes, your child won't experience withdrawal symptoms.
I loved PB as much as the next, non-allergic, person if not more; still do. But one of my brothers, the youngest (9 yrs now), is allergic, so when I visit home I cut nuts, legumes, whatever, etc. from my diet.
When I was in HS, obviously still living @ home, our parents taught us the steps involved in how to handle his care should he have a reaction. No excess drama, just follow the plan and call the paramedics if necessary.
As long as no one goes around spraying essence of nut in his immediate airspace he's cool. It's a frightening thing to witness when it does happen, but nothing to completely freak about because he's/we've been taught how to handle it ever since his first reaction @ 5. There isn't a food restriction at his school, but the faculty, his teacher, and classmates (+ their parents) are aware of his food allergy. He knows to never accept food from his classmates/teacher w/o asking if their might be nuts in the food and when parents bring treats for the class they're very nice to either bring in something that has no nuts in it or have a small something for him, though they're not required to, so he doesn't feel left out. Sometimes they don't, but it's not the end of the world, my mom doesn't break out the pitchforks and torches or anything like that, he's tough enough, he'll get over it.
However, I've seen a lot of good points made throughout this comment section for both sides of the argument.
I'm perfectly fine leaving guidelines, restrictions,advice, etc. to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

http://www.aafa.org/index.cfm


I want one of the little helmets with a lightning rod on it! But then again, if I am wearing a little helmet I won't be able to lick the windows on the bus.....

;-)


Man that would stink to be allergic to peanuts.

You couldn't go to.. Five Guys Burgers & Fries


My son has a peanut allergy and I totally agree with Ms. Bennett. Teach your child to care for his or herself and move on. Don't hold the whole world hostage.


She witty, but in this case, ignorant.


On the resurrection of the "Was Laura a poor sport" argument, my response:

Yes, and a LOT worse as well. She slandered Jeffrey. She deliberately called his reputation into question publicly ["I don't care what anybody says, you just don't pull that kind of workmanship out of your ass."], and she did it intentionally and in reckless disregard of the facts. She could have verified her suspicions with Jeffrey, WHO WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE, before making such charges to Tim Gunn.

But nooooooo, she apparently was just so competitive that she was trying to get Jeffrey disqualified.

Y'all seem to have missed the very serious debates about whether Laura's actions were actionable as slander and defamation. The lawyers among us all thought she did.

Jeffrey was smart, however, to let it go despite extreme provocation. Laura, on the other hand, displayed poor judgment and greatly hurt herself in the public's and prospective business associates' eyes, IMO. No matter how she hard tries to rehabilitate herself or make us forget that unsavory incident, some will never forget that key insight into her psyche.


I think Laura's right on, actually.
The Munchausen's comment is hilarious, and sure to piss off the hausfrau....


The only reason Jeffrey let it go was because he was guilty.


I adore Laura but she is starting to take on the scent of someone trying just a little too hard. She's not a typical mom. Got it.

I hope she'll stop trying too hard with the hip parent shtick and get back to being amusing.

Kathleen


Y'all seem to have missed the very serious debates about whether Laura's actions were actionable as slander and defamation. The lawyers among us all thought she did.

As a lawyer, I disagree.

And sorry to nit-pick, but it's not accurate to say "slander and defamation," because slander is a form of defamation. Also, if it's broadcast on television, it's actually libel.

So please don't speak for all lawyers everywhere.

About the nut allergy issue - there was a recent Time magazine article about this very subject which might give the discussion some perspective:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1881985-1,00.html

I'm going to have to agree with Laura (and Time) on this one. No one wants an allergic child exposed to danger. But the hysteria is overblown, and there are definitely some mothers who imagine ailments for attention-grabbing purposes. One circumstance breeds the other.

In my opinion, making these observations does not make her a wannabe hip mother trying too hard. Sometimes you have to point out absurdities simply because they exist.


Anonymous @ 4/8/09 4:00 PM
said...

Jeffrey was smart, however, to let it go despite extreme provocation. Laura, on the other hand, displayed poor judgment and greatly hurt herself in the public's and prospective business associates' eyes, IMO. No matter how she hard tries to rehabilitate herself or make us forget that unsavory incident, some will never forget that key insight into her psyche.



I don't think Laura suffered all of this "damage" for bringing up a concern, so I don't know where that's coming from.

And she didn't do all of this devious plotting behind Jeffrey's back. She DID tell him exactly what she said to Tim. Whether or not she did it before or after telling Jeffrey is something that we don't know, since the show is edited to heighten the drama.

And if we went by Jeffrey's behavior up to that point, why wasn't he more hostile or offended by what she said? He isn't exactly the most mature person in the world, or likely to take the high ground.


"And she didn't do all of this devious plotting behind Jeffrey's back. She DID tell him exactly what she said to Tim. Whether or not she did it before or after telling Jeffrey is something that we don't know, since the show is edited to heighten the drama."

You need to watch more reruns! The recent airing of this very episode left no questions whatsoever about the sequence of events. In fact, the editors went overboard to document the timeline of how it all played out, from the mouths of the key players themselves.

Laura asked Tim if she could speak to him privately, then Tim (after huddling with the producers) uncomfortably confronted Jeffrey, whose total shock was palpable right through the screen. Moreover, Jeffrey later asked Laura why she just hadn't just come to him directly and asked him about it. She replied with something like: "You mean, if I had just come to you first, all this could have been avoided?" She then grudgingly admitted that it might have been better if she had done so.

Later, she attempted to save face by proclaiming that Jeffrey's continued participation was fine, and that she didn't want to win "in the accountant's office," she'd be happy to compete against Jeffrey on the runway. That, of course, was total BS. Her allegations had nothing to do with finance or dishonesty in the recordkeeping, they went directly to Jeffrey's honesty in the creation of his clothes. That's not a financial issue at all. That's an issue of personal integrity.

In a nutshell, Laura herself failed the personal integrity test. In public. For all the world to see. And in a way that could have gotten her butt sued big time.

As to how all this hurt her? We'll never know the exact extent. But I haven't seen any major clothing designer or fashion house scoop her up as the with-it face of style for the "mature woman," have you? She's tenaciously courted the TLo and The Scarlett to keep her name in the press. She writes for the Daily Beast, a good home for her elegantly sardonic wit. No doubt her excellent writing and speaking talents will continue to provide a foothold in the public eye.

But clothing production? Who, really, would hire a designer so willing to stick the knife in a competitor's back? She exposed her poor judgment and a nasty side that raises the question of whether she'd truly be a team player. Would her competitiveness or insecurity (both amply documented by the show's cameras, IMO) cause her to undermine others in an attempt to grab the spotlight or get praised? She might be viewed as potentially disruptive and just not worth the risk.


Anonymous said...

"You need to watch more reruns!"

Don't have the time. I wish I could, though.

"Laura asked Tim if she could speak to him privately, then Tim (after huddling with the producers) uncomfortably confronted Jeffrey, whose total shock was palpable right through the screen. Moreover, Jeffrey later asked Laura why she just hadn't just come to him directly and asked him about it. She replied with something like: "You mean, if I had just come to you first, all this could have been avoided?" She then grudgingly admitted that it might have been better if she had done so."

Still, given Jeffrey's track record on the show, I don't know how "honestly shocked" he was. Maybe he really was, I don't know, and neither do you.


"Later, she attempted to save face by proclaiming that Jeffrey's continued participation was fine, and that she didn't want to win "in the accountant's office," she'd be happy to compete against Jeffrey on the runway. That, of course, was total BS. Her allegations had nothing to do with finance or dishonesty in the recordkeeping, they went directly to Jeffrey's honesty in the creation of his clothes. That's not a financial issue at all. That's an issue of personal integrity."

Once again, how do you know? I don't, and neither do you.

"In a nutshell, Laura herself failed the personal integrity test. In public. For all the world to see. And in a way that could have gotten her butt sued big time."

Okay.

"As to how all this hurt her? We'll never know the exact extent."

Precisely. So I don't necessarily understand the exent of "damage" that that writer was talking about.

"But I haven't seen any major clothing designer or fashion house scoop her up as the with-it face of style for the "mature woman," have you? She's tenaciously courted the TLo and The Scarlett to keep her name in the press. She writes for the Daily Beast, a good home for her elegantly sardonic wit. No doubt her excellent writing and speaking talents will continue to provide a foothold in the public eye."

And I say good for her! (And QVC would have to say something about that.)

I don't think she's "using" TLo for anything, except for the fact that she became good friends with them. They chose to sing her praises entirely on their own because they love her style and attitude. Apparently, Laura feels the same about them. If she got some press from it, the intentions here were more as a friendly gesture than some calcuated business deal. As for the other press junkets, business or not, they saw something in Laura appealing enough to do business with her. And they're getting just as much credit and profit from using her as she does supplying them her services.

BTW, didn't Jeffrey cockily dismiss ever selling his line in Macy's? But they were one of the first companies that he signed with to sell his clothes. What does that say about HIS principles?

"But clothing production? Who, really, would hire a designer so willing to stick the knife in a competitor's back? She exposed her poor judgment and a nasty side that raises the question of whether she'd truly be a team player. Would her competitiveness or insecurity (both amply documented by the show's cameras, IMO) cause her to undermine others in an attempt to grab the spotlight or get praised? She might be viewed as potentially disruptive and just not worth the risk."

Boy, you don't know jack about the Fashion industry! LOL!


"In a nutshell, Laura herself failed the personal integrity test. In public. For all the world to see. And in a way that could have gotten her butt sued big time."

Laura sued for defamation? No.

If I recall correctly, some of Jeffrey's pieces had to be removed from the show because he could not provide receipts.

Truth is a complete defense to defamation, and this result indicates that Laura's concerns had merit. The rules of the competition requires that you provide receipts for everything, and Jeffrey failed, and was penalized for it.

And why didn't Jeffrey sue Laura? To successfully sue Laura, Jeffrey would have had to unequivocably prove that he didn't cheat a single cent. I.e., he would have to eventually provide the missing receipts and had them all add up to less than the competition's spending limits.

I don't think he could do that.


Gotta love an "anonymous" comment by an attorney. Just seems so apropos.

I wish the new blog format did away with the anonymous posting.


"Anonymous said: The only reason Jeffrey let it go was because he was guilty."




Exactamundo!

--GothamTomato


How ironic that Laura's essay about peanut hysteria would bring back the nutty defenders of the Angry Little Peanut.

Was this all a part of her ee-ville plan??!!??

I don't know, but there's some sort of bizarre symmetry there.

--GothamTomato


Gotta love an "anonymous" comment by an attorney. Just seems so apropos.

Not everyone in this world has a blogger account. Doesn't change the veracity of my statements.

- Anonymous Attorney who likes Project Runway


I supervise kid's lunches at a grade school and yes, there are children who would go into aniphylactic shock if they accidently are exposed to peanuts. My worst nightmare involves peanut butter and an epi pin located in the health clerks' office. I have requested that kids with potentially life threatening food allergies (we have had kids who have the same issues with shellfish- no more shrimp sandwiches for me!) be seated with their peanutless friends at an allergy table where we can limit exposure more easily. But guess what, the parents of the subject do not want their child to be singled out as "different". To complicate matters further, our school board doesn't trust us to have easy access to an epi pin so all we can do is hope for the best and breathe a sigh of relief when the child moves on to middle school.


Anonymous
4/9/09 6:26 PM "In a nutshell, Laura herself failed the personal integrity test. In public. For all the world to see. And in a way that could have gotten her butt sued big time."

Laura sued for defamation? No.

If I recall correctly, some of Jeffrey's pieces had to be removed from the show because he could not provide receipts.

Truth is a complete defense to defamation, and this result indicates that Laura's concerns had merit. The rules of the competition requires that you provide receipts for everything, and Jeffrey failed, and was penalized for it.

And why didn't Jeffrey sue Laura? To successfully sue Laura, Jeffrey would have had to unequivocably prove that he didn't cheat a single cent. I.e., he would have to eventually provide the missing receipts and had them all add up to less than the competition's spending limits.

I don't think he could do that.



BINGO!


First, you're characterizing Laura's complaint incorrectly. She did not claim that Jeffrey overspent. She claimed that he cheated by not doing all the work on his collection by himself. Note that the rules did allow some outside work to be contracted for (remember Santino sending out his signature dress to be pleated),and nobody said in Jeffrey's case that having an outside vendor pleat some leather was cheating. Rather, Laura was claiming that Jeffrey cheated on finishing all his garments so nicely because she believed him incapable of doing so. Her comments went to his ENTIRE collection. Jeffrey owned a factory and Laura seemed to imply that he had had his employees working on the clothing because she didn't believe he could possibly produce such fine work all by himself.

Second, the cost issue only came up after Jeffrey's receipts were reviewed. It isn't that Jeffrey lied about sending out some leather to be pleated, -- he freely volunteered that information to Tim Gunn and freely discussed how much it cost him to have that outside piecework done, -- it's that Jeffrey managed not to arrive with the receipt for the pleating and then couldn't reach the vendor for a copy on such short notice. The show concluded that Jeffrey failed to document the cost of some permitted outside piecework, NOT that he cheated by having an outside vendor do it. The show's remedy was to require Jeffrey to remove the pleated leather work from the finale collection. This was in no way accusing Jeffrey of cheating on workmanship. And, since he exceeded the budget even without the missing leather pleating receipt, they required that he also remove something else to bring his cost down to within the budget limit.

Tim Gunn also mentioned that the other participants turned in carefully prepared charts of the costs together with receipts, while Jeffrey just turned in an envelope jammed with receipts. It seems clear Jeffrey hadn't bothered to add up his receipts to make sure he was in compliance with the budget limit and also didn't realize he was missing a receipt for the leather pleating. Had Jeffrey actually totaled his receipts, gotten the missing one, and then edited down the collection to fall within the budget limit prior to showing up at the finale, there would have been no cost issue.

Second, Laura's comments weren't limited to the two pleated leather garments. Her comments went to his whole collection. She questioned the professional finishing of the non-pleated leather pants, the bound seams on the vests and jackets, etc. She clearly intended for Jeffrey's entire body of work to be questioned, not just the pleated pieces. The camera showed her being miffed that Jeffrey didn't have so much as a button left to sew on, and simply refusing to believe that Jeffrey could arrive with every last detail finished and every last thread already clipped. Her comment about "you just don't pull that kind of workmanship out of your ass" went to his entire collection. She appeared competitive, insecure, and jealous, IMO. She apparently was attempting to screw Jeffrey out of being permitted to show his collection.

Third, Jeffrey absolutely could have sued Laura for defamation.

"Truth is a complete defense to defamation, and this result indicates that Laura's concerns had merit. The rules of the competition requires that you provide receipts for everything, and Jeffrey failed, and was penalized for it."

Yes, but again, you miss the mark. Jeffrey was not penalized for cheating in the making of his clothing -- the core of Laura's complaint. Not once did anybody claim Jeffrey wasn't allowed to send out some leather for pleating. Rather, he was penalized for being sloppy in the receipts he turned in plus going over budget due to the wigs. Again, I remind you that the piecework for which he didn't have receipts handy was specifically permitted under the rules -- the episode made that clear. Moreover, Laura's allegations of cheating where NOT limited to those two pieces. Laura questioned Jeffrey's entire collection, and failed to even ask him about it before raising the "cheating" alarm. THAT appeared intentional, and in reckless disregard of the facts.

Remember, Tim Gunn specifically said they concluded Jeffrey hadn't cheated. However, they did find he was missing documentation of the leather pleating and had also gone over the budget. The remedy was specifically tailored to those two cost issues.

In point of fact, Laura might well have lost a defamation suit. Unless she could prove, in her defense, that Jeffrey's factory staff actually did sew some of his clothing, she might have been in deep do-do in a lawsuit.

This was the subject of intense debate on the Bravo boards. Non-lawyer Laura-lovers thought she didn't do anything wrong if she really believed that he cheated, while the lawyers concluded that she acted in reckless disregard by not simply asking Jeffrey if others helped make his collection. While "truth is an absolute defense," the key fact here is that Laura appeared to have made no effort to uncover the truth (like, for instance, by first asking Jeffrey, who was STANDING RIGHT THERE) before calling Jeffrey's reputation into question in front of a third party.

If the show did portray the sequence of events correctly (and the quote from the participants themselves in the episode indicate that it did), then Laura may well have exposed herself to a potential lawsuit. Jeffrey was supremely diplomatic in attributing her actions to "inexperience" and letting it go.

Note: This situation is different than Kara Saun, who had more than a mere cost issue. She broke the rules by accepting free stuff, when the rules required that they pay for everything. Since she was nearly at her budget limit already, she then tried to undervalue the shoes in an attempt to be found within budget, a move the producers didn't buy. In contrast, in this case Jeffrey never attempted to minimize the scope of the permitted outside work or the fact that he had spent contest money on it. He simply could not get a copy of the missing receipt from the vendor on short notice. He also didn't realize he was over budget in any event, and accepted without question or resistance the remedy specified by the producers.


Also, remember that Laura's basis for her allegation that others worked on Jeffrey's clothing was that she had never seen him produce anything so well-made. Yep, on the basis of her limited exposure to him during a handful of one- and two-day rush challenges, she concluded that Jeffrey, a highly experienced clothing designer, couldn't possibly "pull workmanship like that out of [his] ass."

Well, nobody ever saw architect/mom Laura do exquisite super-ornate hand beading like on that gray and gold dress or perfect feather jackets, either, but nobody ever accused her of being unable to pull workmanship like that out of HER ass. Clearly, the "had more time" argument applied to her performance but it seems not to have occurred to her that it applied to Jeffrey's as well.

Face it, Laura let her competitiveness get the better of her and acted badly.


Non-lawyer Laura-lovers thought she didn't do anything wrong if she really believed that he cheated, while the lawyers concluded that she acted in reckless disregard by not simply asking Jeffrey if others helped make his collection.

That should not be used as support for your position. It's not verifiable, and has very little authority. "Oh, these people on this other message board all agree with me! So I must be right!" Come on, that's lame.

Anyway, the crux of your position is that Laura accused Jeffrey of one thing (not doing his own work), while Jeffrey was found guilty of another (not having receipts). That is a specious distinction.

It's well known that PR finalists can outsource work as long as they pay market wages for the labor.

Every contestant has a different skill set when in comes to constructing clothes. Jeffrey's work clearly featured construction elements that required outside assistance - that fact alone doesn't mean he cheated, and Laura knows that. The question is whether the market value of the outsourced work and the value of the materials add up to the spending limit.

The budget limit is an essential element of the final collection, so documenting your spending is a key requirement. Jeffrey failed to do that.

Why did Jeffrey drop the issue after the competition? Let's consider a few things:

- Personally, if I was Jeffrey, and was falsely accused of cheating, I would go to the ends of the earth to scrub my name clean. On the other hand, if the accusations were NOT false, I would drop the issue and just be glad the damage wasn't worse.

- Jeffrey's excuse for not having receipts (and not being able to locate them later) was that the work was done by a "mom and pop" shop that was lax about receipts. Later, video footage was found in which Santino was at the very same shop. Based on the footage, it was not a "mom and pop" shop at all - it was a very large and professional company.

- Even if this shop doesn't issue receipts for their work (which is 100% unlikely), if you're working on a PR final project, why wouldn't you ask for one?

Jeffrey's excuses don't hold water.

And with respect to whether Laura should have confronted Jeffrey personally first is LUDICROUS. As a fellow contestant, she needed to go to the judges/producers first for these types of concerns, so that they can evaluate the situation impartially.

The fact that you believe that Laura needed to talk to Jeffrey first indicates that you don't have an objective perspective. (And the legal phrase "reckless disregard" does not in any way apply to this situation.)

I think you're viewing the situation from an emotional perspective that has nothing to do with the facts. Basically, your whole argument is:

- Laura accused Jeffrey of not doing his work. But the only thing he's guilty of is paying for others to do it, but not having receipts. So he's completely innocent.

- Other people on another message board agree with you. And they're lawyers. (And non-lawyers don't agree with you, because ... they love Laura and are apparently stupid?)

So let me just end with two things:

- You don't have to be a lawyer to have a valid opinion on this issue.

- You're clearly not a lawyer. If you're going to use legal terms, please learn what they mean.


To the contrary, I am a lawyer. You clearly aren't.

You'd rather say that Laura acted reasonably. And, in fairness to you, most people would think exactly that. But what people might think is reasonable and what the law requires when a reputation is at stake are often quite different. The law treats damaging another's reputation harshly when that person isn't a public figure. (Note that, at the time this was being filmed, Jeffrey wasn't a public figure.) Intentionally tattling behind somebody's back to the boss or some other person before verifying your facts could actually get you into a crapload of legal trouble.

As for your hypothesis that if Jeffrey HAD an actionable claim against Laura, he would have followed up on it - not necessarily. He chose not to pursue the matter and just let it go in a gentlemanly manner. I think that's laudable.

As for his getting or not getting a receipt, it should be clear that he was a bit of a slob when it came to recordkeeping. It's not relevant whether the place would have provided a receipt or not at the time he got the work done - the whole point is that Jeffrey was oblivious to the need to sort his receipts, make sure he actually had them all, and present them in an organized manner.

And once again you miss the point. Yes, Jeffrey broke the budget rules without realizing that he had done so. But the whole point is that that's not what Laura accused him of. She pawed through his rack of clothing ON CAMERA, pointing to the extraordinary finishing on several of the garments, and in essence claimed that he couldn't possibly have done that himself. If she had done so directly to Jeffrey, it would not have been slander [orally is slander, in writing is libel]. But she called his reputation into question (one element) to a third party (a second element), intentionally (a third element), without verifying the facts first (often referred to as "in reckless disregard of the facts", a fourth element) first to the other two contestants, and then to Tim Gunn. (The exact description of the elements varies somewhat from state to state.) It is my personal conclusion, based on what the show "showed" us, that it was reckless disregard, particularly when Laura initiated the conversation with Tim, because Jeffrey was standing right there and could have set Laura straight had she but asked him about it. She chose not to do so. Instead, she eased Tim Gunn out of Jeffrey's earshot to make her allegations without tipping Jeffrey off. Only later, when Jeffrey asked her why she did that rather than just ask HIM about it, did she finally admit that if she had asked Jeffrey first and listened to his explanation, "none of this would have happened."

It was somewhat of a face-saver for Laura that the review of Jeffrey's bills uncovered a totally different violation of the rules (i.e., missing a receipt and going over budget). But the point is that Tim Gunn made it very clear on camera that, as to the claim that Laura HAD raised, they found that Jeffrey HAD NOT cheated in the MAKING of the clothing.

In her competitiveness, Laura acted stupidly, IMO. She could have gotten really burned. As I recall it, once the Bravo board started seriously dissecting the slander issue, she suddenly began to publicly "explain" her actions as in no way suggesting that Jeffrey had not done the work himself. Whatever. We saw what we saw on the program.

As well, I'd bet a year's salary that Bravo's lawyers approved that presentation of the issues on that episode, to make sure that Bravo didn't get sued by either Jeffrey or Laura. The narrative laying out the possible slander issue was unusually focused and clear, and used the contestants' own words and actions on camera to tell the story. From a lawyer-viewer's perspective, that was one helluva powerhouse episode.

Enough. Back to the peanuts, already.


Obviously, none of us have all of the details and we were not shown everything that went on and all that was said or the timeframe. BRAVO had an agenda and that was to make good TV. Laura did not originally voice her concerns about Jeffrey on camera, it was all reenacted on the balcony after the fact for the cameras. And then there was the story about Jeffrey and Laura's mothers becoming friends and calling each other during and up to the runway show and Jeffrey's mother told Laura's mother that he hadn't finished anything and didn't know how he was ever going to manage to complete it. Also remember Angela quoted as saying on the day of the Runway show that Jeffrey was angry with his mother and wasn't even speaking to her..........anyway, we only know about a tenth of the facts so it is impossible to say who was right. But if part of the challenge was to make 12 outfits on a budget of $8000, why wouldn't you add up and total your receipts as you go along so you have an idea of where things are and how much money you have to pay people who are doing the specialty work? .....Unless the deadline is here and you aren't finished so you just grab a few items form your Costa Nostra line to fill in the gaps.......I'm just saying....


To the contrary, I am a lawyer.

God help your clients if that is true. Because you do not know what you're talking about.

[orally is slander, in writing is libel].

If it's broadcast on TV, it's usually libel. Did you become a lawyer before TV was invented?

Do you have a law dictionary? Look it up. It's easy.

But she called his reputation into question (one element) to a third party (a second element), intentionally (a third element), without verifying the facts first (often referred to as "in reckless disregard of the facts", a fourth element)

First of all, the 4th element only applies if Jeffrey was a public figure. But according to you, Jeffrey was *not* a public figure at the time. So you are contradicting yourself, and about 85% of your analysis is moot.

But to humor you, let's say that the 4th element does apply.

(1) It is not up to Laura to investigate on her own whether Jeffrey cheated.

If a contestant suspects that another contestant is cheating, s/he should report that to the ruling authority, so they can evaluate the situation fairly. It isn't up to the contestants to try and sort out the situation for themselves.

The fact that you somehow think that Laura's failure to interrogate Jeffrey herself amounts to "reckless disregard for the truth" is ridiculous. She pursued the truth - by talking to Tim, which is the only right way to do it.

(2) You really don't understand the "reckless disregard of the facts" element at all.

It is not Laura suspecting Jeffrey but failing to disprove her own suspicions. It is *willful ignorance* - e.g., Laura has no clue if Jeffrey is a cheater or not, but chooses not to verify it one way or the other because it would subvert her ultimate purpose of damaging his reputation. But this is not the case here: Laura was genuinely suspicious of Jeffrey (as were the other contestants), and voiced them.

So, in sum: the 4th element doesn't even apply here, according to your own arguments. And even if it did, this case doesn't meet it. Not even close.

And yet you've based your entire analysis on the 4th element. It's pretty sad.

As well, I'd bet a year's salary that Bravo's lawyers approved that presentation of the issues on that episode, to make sure that Bravo didn't get sued by either Jeffrey or Laura.

If you're so sure about that, why did you spend so much time arguing that Laura could have been sued by Jeffrey, and Jeffrey simply didn't sue her because he was such a "gentleman?"

I guess you would have lost that bet ... against yourself.

Intentionally tattling behind somebody's back to the boss or some other person before verifying your facts could actually get you into a crapload of legal trouble.

Not if your suspicions were genuine, even if mistaken. And once again, the "falsity" or "reckless disregard for the truth" elements only apply if the plaintiff is a public figure.

If Jeffrey was not a public figure (as *you* assert), he needs to only show that Laura was negligent. But since her actions don't even meet the "reckless disregard" standard, she would certainly not be found negligent, either.

Please learn the law before you practice it. Seriously.


And once again you miss the point. Yes, Jeffrey broke the budget rules without realizing that he had done so. But the whole point is that that's not what Laura accused him of. ...

the review of Jeffrey's bills uncovered a totally different violation of the rules (i.e., missing a receipt and going over budget).


What the hell is the difference?

omitting receipts = trying to pass off other's work as your own

Which is what Laura accused Jeffrey of.


The two are not equivalent!!!!

Significantly, there was no hiding of any work. That's the part you seem to be stumbling over. The editors, however, went to great lengths to parse out this issue, and they did an extraordinary job.

When Tim Gunn first discussed Laura's allegation with Jeffrey, Tim and Jeffrey proceeded to go through Jeffrey's rack together. Tim pulled out the garments one at a time, scrutinized them, and quizzed Jeffrey about his work. It was during that review that Jeffrey freely volunteered that he had sent out the pleating on the leather shorts. He made no effort whatsoever to "pass off" this work as his own. They discussed the pleating and that sending that kind of piecework out to a vendor was permitted under the contest rules. Significantly, this discussion occurred BEFORE Tim took Jeffrey's envelope of receipts for review.

Tim then came back and announced the verdict of the producers that Jeffrey had not cheated in the construction of his clothing. With great frustration, he then reported that Jeffrey had gone over budget and would need to remove something from the collection to get down within the budget limit. Also, he reported that the receipt for the pleating was missing and that Jeffrey needed to get it and turn it in very quickly. Jeffrey asked what would happen if he couldn't get it in time, and Tim replied that no decision had been made yet.

From that moment on, the issue was strictly one of documenting an expense -- an expense that Jeffrey had freely volunteered that he had incurred. Cost. Not cheating on workmanship. Nothing about "pulling that kind of workmanship out of your ass." It was about pulling that crumpled-up receipt out of his wallet or getting another copy, period.

As an aside, you know the Magical Elves well enough to know that if Michael and Uli had been the least bit convinced of Jeffrey "cheating" at this point, they would have filmed several bits showing them sniping about it and inserted those bits into the show right at this juncture. They certainly gleefully did that as the whole Keith Michael scandal unfolded. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if Uli had thought Jeffrey to be a cheat, she would have contributed some priceless comments on the subject. Yet here, we had nothing. Nada. That's because Michael and Uli were now firmly on Jeffrey's side and were comforting him as he worried his brains out about getting the missing receipt in time. They, too, clearly accepted that Jeffrey hadn't been dishonest about the construction of his clothes and hadn't tried to hide anything.

After Tim reported back that the receipt was missing, Jeffrey was then filmed repeatedly trying to reach the vendor who had done the work, and worrying his brains out about what would happen if he couldn't get the receipt in time. He was worrying that he might be totally banned from the show if he couldn't get the receipt. Also, when he wasn't on the phone, Jeffrey was quickly knocking off a little skirt from extra fabric in case the answer turned out to be the lesser penalty that he would just not be allowed to use the shorts. After Jeffrey finished the skirt, he realized that he had actually brought along a spare pair of leather pants that he had made, so he now actually had two choices if the shorts ended up being banned for lack of a pleating receipt.

When Tim returned, he announced that, since Jeffrey had not been able to get the receipt from the vendor for the leather pleating in time, the verdict was that he would not be allowed to use the shorts. Tim then asked what Jeffrey had decided to remove from the collection to bring the collection to within the budget limit, and Tim accepted Jeffrey's decision to remove the wigs.

As I said, the episode was scrupulous in laying out the timeline of the events that unfolded. Jeffrey freely discussed the leather pleating with Tim Gunn well BEFORE anybody realized he hadn't brought a receipt for it. Had Jeffrey actually brought a receipt for it, there would have been exactly no issue about the pleating work except for how much more Jeffrey was over budget.

In that case, if they had needed to ask him to remove something else besides the wigs from the collection, Jeffrey would have had the option to keep the leather shorts and ditch some other piece to make budget.

Peanuts! Let's get back to peanuts!


And to the other two anon posts:

That whole thing about the mothers discussing how Jeffrey was worried that he wouldn't finish? How is that any different than all the other stressed out contestants filmed on the "Tim visits" with just a few garments done and only weeks to go? Who would take that very normal fretting as evidence of cheating just because Jeffrey showed up with a collection that was actually done? For anybody who has ever put on a day and night push to finish a big project, do you expect to be accused of cheating just because you pulled out a really great job?

Criminy!

Also, to the critic on "libel," you're mixing up two things. This wasn't written in an article and published by Laura. It was spoken - key for slander. However else it may have been published to the world later on, it started as spoken, not written.

As for the rest of your "arguments" and attacks on me, they are all based on your inability to distinguish the expectations for behavior on the show from the requirements for behavior imposed by law. Yes, they can conflict. But the warning bells should be going off in your head when you try to submarine somebody else when you haven't yet verified the facts.

As to your other "legal arguments," good luck trying those in court. Clearly I believe you to be mistaken and I choose not to engage you on them any further.


Anonymous @ 4/11/09 7:31 AM

What the hell is the difference?

omitting receipts = trying to pass off other's work as your own

Which is what Laura accused Jeffrey of.


I thought this was the MAIN point of the entire issue.

He has his OWN company, where he could easily have his garmets made and pass the materials and labor off through his own company's expense.


For us non-lawyer types (Try saying that fast five times over...LOL!)

Here's the official definitions, from dictionary.com:

li-bel   /ˈlaɪbəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [lahy-buhl] Show IPA noun, verb, -beled, -belling or (especially British) -belled, -belling.
–noun 1. Law. a. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
b. the act or crime of publishing it.
c. a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.

2. anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
slan-der   /ˈslændər/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [slan-der] Show IPA
–noun 1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
3. Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.


Also, to the critic on "libel," you're mixing up two things. This wasn't written in an article and published by Laura. It was spoken - key for slander. However else it may have been published to the world later on, it started as spoken, not written.


Here's the definition (excerpt) from law.com:

http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?selected=1153&bold=||||

LIBEL - 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film ...

Tim pulled out the garments one at a time, scrutinized them, and quizzed Jeffrey about his work. It was during that review that Jeffrey freely volunteered that he had sent out the pleating on the leather shorts.

How does someone "freely volunteer" info. if he's being questioned under "scrutiny?"


I will say this, though.

Part of the reason I don't like responding to these attacks is that it takes some doing to unwind another person's argument to pinpoint the spot at which it goes wrong, then address that exact spot so you better understand my point of view.

For example:

[Quoting me and then trashing my point]"As well, I'd bet a year's salary that Bravo's lawyers approved that presentation of the issues on that episode, to make sure that Bravo didn't get sued by either Jeffrey or Laura.

If you're so sure about that, why did you spend so much time arguing that Laura could have been sued by Jeffrey, and Jeffrey simply didn't sue her because he was such a "gentleman?"

I guess you would have lost that bet ... against yourself."

1. I'm QUITE sure that Bravo went to great lengths to protect itself against a contestant lawsuit over possible "slanting" the story. This is probably the single most UNslanted episode you're ever going to see. Bravo was protecting its own butt by simply letting the story unfold directly from the mouths of the participants.

2. Bravo had no duty to protect Jeffrey and Laura from any liability BETWEEN THEM. It just laid out the facts, and the potential problem was clear for all the world to see.

3. Why did I spend time arguing that Jeffrey could have sued Laura? Because I think he had a legitimate cause of action. Bravo didn't cover HER butt, it just carefully covered its own.

4. That I spent time parsing the Jeffrey/Laura liability isn't "proof" one way or the other on the issue of Bravo's own potential liability, as the poster scathingly implies. As I said, Bravo did protect its own butt. Protecting Laura's butt was her own responsibility, not Bravo's.

It's frustrating to me when someone mashes together two unrelated points to "prove" that somebody else is wrong. It's also frustrating when an imperfect analogy is made to "prove" a point. For example, in the Keith Michael issue, the contestants actually saw the contraband books under Keith's bed. Should they have busted into the bathroom to get "proof" of him actually reading them? Uh, no. I'd draw the line there -- one might be mortified of possibly discovering him doing something else in the bathroom with the book. Let's not go there. They had already seen enough proof to bring it to the attention of the producers, anyway. But in this case, Laura had the opportunity to clear up her suspicions in a simple, non-confrontational conversation with Jeffrey. Yet she didn't. You can argue all you want that she just had to report her suspicions to the show. Yes, that's right, as to THE SHOW. But the key point here is that there was another whole overlapping layer of concern (the legal one) that she totally missed while getting herself so worked up.

Here's my take. Laura came in with an exquisite collection of evening wear that boasted superior craftsmanship. I'm betting she was extremely confident that nobody would come within a million miles of her craftsmanship with all those hand-sewn crystals and feathers and that she had the winner's prize all but sewn up, if you will pardon the phrase. I'm guessing that when she saw Jeffrey's superior craftsmanship, it came as a rude shock to her and her threat-o-meter about winning the contest immediately escalated into the red zone. She needed to do something! She just chose wrong, that's all. Could she have asked him if he really did all that? Of course she could have! Why didn't she? I repeat, why didn't she? It would have been so simple. He was right there. Clearly this woman is smart enough and diplomatic enough to ask about how he accomplished those beautifully bound seams and pants finishing without accusing him to his face of cheating? C'mon, people! Why she just didn't do that will remain an eternal mystery. For somebody who expresses herself so directly and forthrightly, she took the chicken way out, IMO. That it might have also had legal implications was something she didn't see at the time. Some of us watching the show did see it, however, as we clearly were meant to do. And, don't kid yourself. Not all of it was re-enactment. Some of it was in real time, and that's the seed of the potential legal issue between the two contestants.


And thanks to the poster who deduced that I went to law school well before the Nixon tapes and helpfully provided the definition showing how slander/libel has evolved in the electronic age.

It isn't my field of practice, but I'd hazard to say a potential double header?

Potential slander originally because it was a convo with two other people, and simultaneously potential libel because she knew that she was speaking to a future television audience?

Jeepers.

Whatever, suffice it to say, those were rocky shoals Laura was sailing in.

Just an aside; Did anybody watch the A-List awards and hear Tim Gunn say that the sixth season of Project Runway will be airing on Bravo? Whaaaa? I thought Le Miz was airing on Bravo and Project Runway was finally cleared to air on Showtime. Did something new happen, or was that bit filmed before Bravo decided to back down and just take big bucks to let Project Runway go?


Cynthia,

- You didn't understand that "slander" and "defamation" were not two separate things.
- You didn't know the elements of defamation. (By the way, the 3rd element is not "intentionally," but "damages")
- You don't understand why something spoken on TV is libel, not slander.
- You don't understand the distinction between defamation case elements for public figures vs. private people

See, something broadcast on TV is memorialized in permanent form and can be verified at a later time, just like something written. (Whereas slander is spoken, therefore fleeting, and more difficult to verify.) That's why if something's on TV, it's generally libel. But you're so stuck on "slander = speaking" that you can't see the forest for the trees.

I'm sorry to be pedantic, but do you see how this is the difference between a superficial understanding of the law vs. an in-depth understanding?

It's pretty clear that you're just google-searching along your way through this argument, perhaps hoping that no one is going to call you on it.

I realize no one expects to be held accountable for things they type in a forum like this, but ... hey. Whatever. You brought it up, you know. :)

Look, you obviously feel very strongly about Jeffrey and Laura, and that's fine. But you shouldn't make stuff up and accuse Laura of defamation without any basis.

(Ironic, right?)

Her actions do not meet the elements of that tort. And your keep saying, "oooh, there are 'legal implications,' I just know it!" doesn't change that.

Clearly [Laura] is smart enough and diplomatic enough to ask about how he accomplished those beautifully bound seams and pants finishing without accusing him to his face of cheating? C'mon, people! Why she just didn't do that will remain an eternal mystery.

It's not a mystery to me.

If a competitor suspects another competitor of cheating, it's best handled by the ruling authority. They are best equipped to uncover the truth, and it's the only fair way.

You can't expect two competitors, both interested in winning, to hash this out themselves. That doesn't make any sense.

And I'm not sure why you would prefer that Laura deceptively sniff around Jeffrey for clues. Is being an undercover narc better than just telling Tim her concerns?

And what if she did confront him? What is she supposed to do with the information she gets? She doesn't have the authority to do anything about it. (Except to tell Tim, which is what she should have done in the first place.)

If anything, she's actually interfering with the competition by trying to investigate an alleged rule violation on her own. It's not her place to do that.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Jeffrey were to sue Laura over slander, would he have to prove that her allegations caused some sort of damage that would have hurt his image/reputation/business some sort of way?

And since it OBVIOUSLY didn't, what kind of argument would have to be presented that she did "slander" him?


And thanks to the poster who deduced that I went to law school well before the Nixon tapes and helpfully provided the definition showing how slander/libel has evolved in the electronic age.

Oh dear. :)

I do want to apologize for that. Obviously there's nothing wrong with having attended law school a while ago. I was actually just trying to be snarky, and didn't even imagine it could be true. I got carried away. Heat of the moment, you know.

Genuinely sorry. And thanks for your good humor about it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Jeffrey were to sue Laura over slander, would he have to prove that her allegations caused some sort of damage that would have hurt his image/reputation/business some sort of way?

And since it OBVIOUSLY didn't ...


Well, I've made the case that this is actually libel. And in cases of libel, damages are presumed.

Also, there is another category of slander, called "slander per se," in which cases damages are also presumed. 2 examples of those are:

1. Any negative statement about plaintiff's business or profession
2. Statement that plaintiff committed crime of moral turpitude

I think Laura's accusation do qualify as "slander per se" (if it was slander, which it's not).

But all bases covered, it can be presumed that Jeffrey did sustain damages from Laura's accusation.


Anonymous said...
But all bases covered, it can be presumed that Jeffrey did sustain damages from Laura's accusation.

4/11/09 12:53 PM


Okay. But what kind of damage did he sustain?

He WON the competition.

And yeah, I knew that he pretty much blew the prize, particularly his deal with Banana Republic, but I think that had more to do with his "winning" personality rather than Laura's accustations.

:0)


"And I'm not sure why you would prefer that Laura deceptively sniff around Jeffrey for clues. Is being an undercover narc better than just telling Tim her concerns?"

You persist in mischaracterizing my words. What, you like poking me with a stick just to keep this idiotic conversation going?

Deceptively sniff around Jeffrey? I clearly advocated that she honestly and openly just ask him, not "deceptively sniff around."

And since when is "go tattle" the preferred manner of human interaction rather than "work it out between themselves"? Not that she had to work it all out, exactly, before reporting a suspected rules violation, but she should have had come actual facts to back up her suspicions. It seems to me that she owed Jeffrey some kind of fundamental human considerateness before she tried to torpedo his career in front of the entire world. And what you may not realize is that I was a HUGE fan of Laura before this episode. However, after seeing the sheer unfairness of her attack on Jeffrey, I now don't respect her. To me, that incident spoke volumes about her.

Again, what is so wrong with just asking him? During the show, she saw him do elaborately seamed outfits in on a short time fuse, while she turned in a lot of simple shifts with elaborate trim. How is it that she was so certain that her competition, an experienced designer with his own clothing line, couldn't do elaborate finishing with more time? Just because she never saw him do it doesn't lead ineluctably to the conclusion that he is completely incapable of ever doing it.

Was she really that arrogant? Or was she really so scared about the threat his work posed that she was frantically casting about for a way to get rid of him? We'll never know what went through her head. At heart, our difference in perception is that you think she acted responsibly in going to Tim immediately, whereas I think she acted in an appallingly immature fashion by taking such a cheap shot.


Too many anons in this convo! Four or five now, right?

Yes, Jeffrey did win the competition. But I do think he was sullied in the eyes of many who see the episode (which continues to rerun) and misunderstand what went on.

And many still do. Witness this entire convo.

Snarky - no offense taken!


"And I'm not sure why you would prefer that Laura deceptively sniff around Jeffrey for clues. Is being an undercover narc better than just telling Tim her concerns?"

You persist in mischaracterizing my words. What, you like poking me with a stick just to keep this idiotic conversation going?

Deceptively sniff around Jeffrey? I clearly advocated that she honestly and openly just ask him, not "deceptively sniff around."


I'm not mischaracterizing your words. Laura thinks that Jeffrey's cheating. If she questions him without telling him that fact, how is that "honest and open"?

You're suggesting that she investigate his cheating without telling him that's what she's doing. Sounds manipulative and deceptive to me.

-Snarky :)


Anonymous
4/11/09 1:09 PM Too many anons in this convo! Four or five now, right?

Yes, Jeffrey did win the competition. But I do think he was sullied in the eyes of many who see the episode (which continues to rerun) and misunderstand what went on.

And many still do. Witness this entire convo.

Snarky - no offense taken!



I'll call myself AnonA to distinguish myself.
:0)

And even though Jeffrey was and is not an exact "fan favorite" around these parts, (Personally, I think he has as many supporters as he does critics), the damange was done the moment done the moment he opened his mouth about:

a) his fellow competition, even when they were rather coridal to him
b)Angela's mother (but that's a whole other can of worms that I won't touch on any longer)
c)Banana Republic, who for some reason, decided not to do business with him, or vice versa.

Point is, the animosity and "damage" against Jeffrey isn't unwarranted, and it goes much further beyond Laura's accusations. And the Magical Elves at Bravo would also have to take some of the blame, because of how they edited him for the show to make him look like a total jerk. (Although I heard that he was edited to look "better" than he actually acted.)

-AnonA


Ok, I'll be AnonB.

Jeffrey gave a fascinating interview after the show ended in which he said he was deliberately trying to create an "arc" about his story. His plan was to start as shadowy, with the black hoodie, and slowly emerge with his story throughout the competition. Sounds to me like he had one heckova mind game all planned out when he got there.

As to the whole Angela and her mom thing - I once spent a day of reruns just trying to listen to Jeffrey's side of things. Yes, he came off as a totally unsympathetic character for most of the episodes, but it was stunning to hear that his words were always professional and surprisingly insightful about others. And after to really listening to it, I couldn't even fault him in his handling of Angela's mother, much as I might have wanted to.


And since when is "go tattle" the preferred manner of human interaction rather than "work it out between themselves"?

During a competition.

It seems to me that she owed Jeffrey some kind of fundamental human considerateness before she tried to torpedo his career in front of the entire world.

That is definitely the source of all your passion re: this topic. And I do understand how you feel, actually.

Yes, they're competitors, but they are also comrades, in a way. So you would think it's the honorable thing to do (or something like that) - to give him a heads-up, at least. Right?

I get that, I do.

But see, I think Laura genuinely believed that Jeffrey cheated. In that case, her primary purpose isn't to ruin Jeffrey's career, her primary purpose is to make sure the competition is fair.

Her actions make perfect sense to me. On the other hand, Jeffrey's actions do not. (If you can prove your innocence, why wouldn't you?)

See? It just goes on and on ...

Anyway, everyone feels one way or another about this very strongly, and nothing will change that. :) So let's just agree to disagree.

Glad we tabled the legal stuff. That was a doozy.

-Snarky


Anonymous said...
Ok, I'll be AnonB.

Jeffrey gave a fascinating interview after the show ended in which he said he was deliberately trying to create an "arc" about his story. His plan was to start as shadowy, with the black hoodie, and slowly emerge with his story throughout the competition. Sounds to me like he had one heckova mind game all planned out when he got there.

As to the whole Angela and her mom thing - I once spent a day of reruns just trying to listen to Jeffrey's side of things. Yes, he came off as a totally unsympathetic character for most of the episodes, but it was stunning to hear that his words were always professional and surprisingly insightful about others. And after to really listening to it, I couldn't even fault him in his handling of Angela's mother, much as I might have wanted to.

4/11/09 1:34 PM


Hello AnonB! AnonA here:

See, I heard that story too, and didn't buy one ounce of it. Everyone had some sort of strategy going into that show. (Santino had one quite similar to ALP's), but according to some of the contestants, Jeffrey was edited in a more "positive" light. And if that was the best that the Magical Elves could do with him, you can only imagine what it was like to be locked in a room with him 20 hours a day for a couple of weeks.

Not saying that Jeffrey wasn't trying to create a "character". I'm sure that he did, but some of his actions, PARTICULARLY after the finalists went home, after he won, and what he did post-win, aren't as "planned" as he tried to present after the fact.

He used his girlfriend and son to make himself look like the hero provider, and dumped them as soon as he won the competition. He still talked badly about Uli, even though she was really the most cordial to him, and he whored himself to Macy's, even though he snottily remarked that he would never have his precious garments sold there. Now you can say that he's doing what he can as a businessman, but there's a whole of truth in his self-parody.

And even though Angela's mom was a whiny pain, he wasn't professional, he was downright RUDE. A professional still wouldn't harp and blatantly insult their client after the whole mishap was over. Remember the "Starship Enterprise" remark?

All I'm saying is, if it looks like a duck...

-AnonA


Sorry, I should clarify that. I think Jeffrey's "mind game" was more about keeping himself focused and above the fray of the emotional vibes from the less talented candidates whose insecurity and panic vibes would reverberate around the room till they got aufed. He wanted to be mysterious so others would leave him alone and he could concentrate. He let out the information about his attempted suicide, his family, his little boy, and his clothing line little by little, on his own terms and in his own time.

This was a guy who was in control and focused on just doing a good job to stay in the game. Despite the off-putting visuals, he was actually one of the most professionally behaved people there.

Interestingly, in that same interview, he also disclosed that Laura had made several calls to him during the final collection prep months, allegedly just to check how he was coming on but rather transparently trying to undermine his confidence. He said he just ignored her.

I dunno, maybe his ability to ignore her provocation and produce a beautiful collection that threatened her prize is what drove her to distraction.

Whatever. Hope her career as a writer and opiner goes well.

AnonB


Anon A, I grant you all your points and yet still take the opposing view. Nice to disagree amicably, yes?

Anon B


Jeffrey gave a fascinating interview after the show ended in which he said he was deliberately trying to create an "arc" about his story.

He hurt real people's feelings while being (allegedly) a fake a-hole. So that excuse is meaningless to me.

-Snarky


Anonymous said...
Sorry, I should clarify that. I think Jeffrey's "mind game" was more about keeping himself focused and above the fray of the emotional vibes from the less talented candidates whose insecurity and panic vibes would reverberate around the room till they got aufed. He wanted to be mysterious so others would leave him alone and he could concentrate. He let out the information about his attempted suicide, his family, his little boy, and his clothing line little by little, on his own terms and in his own time.

This was a guy who was in control and focused on just doing a good job to stay in the game. Despite the off-putting visuals, he was actually one of the most professionally behaved people there.

Interestingly, in that same interview, he also disclosed that Laura had made several calls to him during the final collection prep months, allegedly just to check how he was coming on but rather transparently trying to undermine his confidence. He said he just ignored her.

I dunno, maybe his ability to ignore her provocation and produce a beautiful collection that threatened her prize is what drove her to distraction.

Whatever. Hope her career as a writer and opiner goes well.

AnonB

4/11/09 1:57 PM


Once again, I maintain his actions speak louder than his words.

We don't know what went on in those calls Laura supposedly made to Jeffrey. Maybe he interpreted her actions to undermine him as legit. Maybe that was his own paranoia and insecurity talking, maybe he smoked the wrong shit that day, nobody knows.

Either way, I never saw what she did as anything more of a legit concern, considering he did have more access to help, and could have easily hidden the expense under his own operations.

And if she did "slander per se", I don't see what damage it did. Personally, whatever downfall he experienced, he brought on himself.

But no matter, he's still got his business, and she has hers. And that's what they were both competing for, wasn't it?:0)

-AnonA


Anonymous said...
Anon A, I grant you all your points and yet still take the opposing view. Nice to disagree amicably, yes?

Anon B

4/11/09 2:00 PM


Indeed! :0)

Thanks for the discussion!

-AnonA


"Either way, I never saw what she did as anything more of a legit concern, considering he did have more access to help, and could have easily hidden the expense under his own operations. -AnonA"

See, that's my whole point in a nutshell! You assume that since he had his own little factory, he might have somehow surreptitiously taken advantage of that. Might have! What the heck is that supposed to imply? And it is intended to imply something. "Might have" somehow becomes "yeeeeeah, probably did," then morphs into "did, the dirty bum."

When Tim visited, Jeffrey took him to a back corner of the place and unwrapped layers and layers of plastic to expose his collection. He explained that he kept it back there so he could work on it in private. In response to a question from Tim (and I'd give my right eyetooth to remember what that question was), Jeffrey replied that most of his employees didn't even know about the contest or that he had a collection back there. He then went on to explain that he kept it walled off from the rest of the factory.

I took him at his word. Just didn't see any reason not to. He seemed utterly sincere and just intensely proud to be showing Tim his creations. This was a very private man, giving a glimpse into his dreams.

What struck me on that visit to Jeffrey's home was that here was a guy who was grounded like no other. His confidence was the solid gold real deal, forged from the depths of drugs and despair and having to claw his way back to a normal, useful life as a successful niche clothing designer to rock stars. Contrast that with Laura, a Noo Yawker, semi-socialite, who was (as all New Yorkers are) seemingly obsessed with appearance and probably infected with the constant thread of insecurity that runs through that obsession, starting an entirely new career, much older than the other contestants, etc., etc., etc.

She was grappling with identity and insecurity; he was not. Maybe his very lack of insecurity inflamed her own. Who knows. But if that isn't a recipe for an unfortunate response on her part, I don't know what is.

Kaboom! It was almost as inevitable as the sun rising each morning. Gotta hand it to the folks who cast that season, as well as the superior editing skills of the Magical Elves group.

When Bravo teased "Watch What Happens," they weren't kidding!

AnonB


Princess Leigh-Cheri

What happened between Jeffrey and Banana Republic? And he dumped his wife and kids after the shoe?!


Princess Leigh-Cheri

Shoe = show. Drr.


She was grappling with identity and insecurity; he was not. Maybe his very lack of insecurity inflamed her own. Who knows. But if that isn't a recipe for an unfortunate response on her part, I don't know what is.

AnonB,

Thanks for your message. For me, it neatly sums up the pathology behind the intense, blind devotion that fuels the very vocal defense of Jeffrey.

And I sincerely do not mean that in a disparaging way. It's great (and fun!) that we all still find these episodes that aired years ago so compelling. So don't ever change.

But in truth, I think it's good to be aware that you do not have anything close to an objective view on this situation. According to you:

- Jeffrey is "forged from the depths of drugs and despair"

- Laura is a "Noo Yawker ... seemingly obsessed with appearance and probably infected with the constant thread of insecurity."

Wow, you are truly brimming with emotion. :)

But you know, maybe you can step back a little and see that not everyone feels the way you do, so they don't see this inevitable "recipe" as clearly as you.

In my view, Jeffrey is a poseur who uses his sketchy past as an excuse for every asshole move he makes. While Laura is definitely the last person I would describe as "insecure."

Different strokes. That's all it is.

-Snarky


Snarky - I'm neither "brimming with emotion" nor have an "intense, blind devotion" to Jeffrey.

Sorry, I simply allowed myself to slip into my other writing style, which can get a bit over the top. I'm a dual career person -- I am also a professional writer, and tend to adopt the more colloquial and inflammatory "New York Post"-type style to create word pictures when wearing that hat.

And it's not that I love Jeffrey or hate Laura, especially. I am one seriously hard core cynical Noo Yawker, and I am just naturally cynical about Laura's professed motives, is all. But her crying jag and before she finally won a challenge did expose some serious insecurity, IMO.

I also think that Jeffrey was truly a different type of animal, though. While I can understand you see some of his behavior as asshole, I think it is difficult to impose our standards on somebody who has survived what he has. My impression is that he's made of solid steel underneath, now, and I admire his strength and centeredness. When I was stretched out on the sofa listening to reruns with my eyes closed, I was struck by how rational he sounded and how unexpectedly hilarious his deadpan comments always were. There was definitely a disconnect between the visual he presented to the cameras and who he actually was. I literally found myself beginning to admire him against my will, and it grew with each episode I listened to. Clearly others didn't get the same impression that I did, and we'll always disagree about whether he's a great guy, a complete jerk, or something in between.

Definitely different strokes. ;=)

AnonB


"And yeah, I knew that he pretty much blew the prize, particularly his deal with Banana Republic, but I think that had more to do with his "winning" personality rather than Laura's accustations.

:0)

4/11/09 12:59 PM"

That's both untrue and unfair. The reason you and another poster who mentioned this never heard of Jeffrey's success with the "Banana Republic internship" is that there was no such prize the year he competed!

Banana Republic withdrew as a Project Runway sponsor at the end of Season 2, and was replaced by Macy's starting with Season 3. The prize for the winner was also revised beginning in Season 3.

In Season 3, Jeffrey won a spread in Elle, a mentorship with INC (Inter-National Concepts), a year of representation by Designers Management Agency, a 2007 Saturn Sky Roadster, and $100,000.


Anonymous
4/12/09 6:52 AM "And yeah, I knew that he pretty much blew the prize, particularly his deal with Banana Republic, but I think that had more to do with his "winning" personality rather than Laura's accustations.

:0)

4/11/09 12:59 PM"

That's both untrue and unfair. The reason you and another poster who mentioned this never heard of Jeffrey's success with the "Banana Republic internship" is that there was no such prize the year he competed!

Banana Republic withdrew as a Project Runway sponsor at the end of Season 2, and was replaced by Macy's starting with Season 3. The prize for the winner was also revised beginning in Season 3.

In Season 3, Jeffrey won a spread in Elle, a mentorship with INC (Inter-National Concepts), a year of representation by Designers Management Agency, a 2007 Saturn Sky Roadster, and $100,000.


Thanks for the clarification, and sorry to the other posters for the mistake.

However, he didn't do the internship. Once again, his cheery demeanor prevailed.


-AnonA
:0)


"anon said: Yes, he came off as a totally unsympathetic character for most of the episodes, but it was stunning to hear that his words were always professional and surprisingly insightful about others. And after to really listening to it, I couldn't even fault him in his handling of Angela's mother, much as I might have wanted to."



Oh please. 'I hope you get cancer', professional? 'Feminazi', insightful? Give me a break. I could go on, but why bother? Anyone who watched the show heard all of Peanut's hateful, unprofessional and ignorant comments. The revisionist history doesn't wash.

These protests by anon are clearly an extention of the Jeffrey campaign that started right before the finale, when blogs were suddenly over-run by posters working overtime to rehab his image by pretending to be fans. We found out later that Peanut has a relative with a PR firm.

No doubt, still at work here as 'anon'.

--GothamTomato


"anon said: While I can understand you see some of his behavior as asshole, I think it is difficult to impose our standards on somebody who has survived what he has."




Again, seriously? Give me a break.

The people who have survived Jeffrey are more deserving of this pass, than Jeffrey himself. I've been told by two different designers that the editing on the show was, in fact, kind to him. In reality he was a lot worse.

There is no proof that any of the backstory he told is even true. (He is, afterall, an admitted liar).

The PR spin attempted here by 'anon' is transparent and doesn't wash. And as for all the talk of libel; By every definition posted here, Jeffrey committed libel himself - not to mention harrassment- against other contestants, so how could he sue Laura? (And besides, to win the case, he'd have to prove he actually did sew those designs himself and cannot. And I would bet money that the reason Bravo left that interlude in the show was because they had their own doubts, and they wanted to cover themselves in case someone came forward later with proof that he cheated).

--GothamTomato


But her crying jag and before she finally won a challenge did expose some serious insecurity, IMO.

...

She was grappling with identity and insecurity; he was not. Maybe his very lack of insecurity inflamed her own. Who knows. But if that isn't a recipe for an unfortunate response on her part, I don't know what is.


???

So a pregnant woman in a tough competition cries. And from that you conclude that Laura must be guilty of trying to sabotage Jeffrey?

That's a hell of a leap.

I'm all for different strokes, but not different planets.

-Snarky


Gotham Tomato said: "Oh please. 'I hope you get cancer', professional? 'Feminazi', insightful? Give me a break. I could go on, but why bother? Anyone who watched the show heard all of Peanut's hateful, unprofessional and ignorant comments. The revisionist history doesn't wash."

You overlook one signal fact: Jeffrey didn't say those things to her [Angela's Mom] face. Those were his mutterings when she wasn't around. And, I have to say, that stuff just cracked me up when I realized that his wit was so very, very dry as to almost be missed.

To her face, Jeffrey was very correct and professional. Granted, many viewers thought him surly, but if you listened carefully and objectively, he actually wasn't, IMO. Evidently, however, she couldn't deal with somebody who was trying to keep her at arm's length and remain businesslike. It was most unfortunate that such an apparently emotionally needy woman got paired with a guy who just wasn't a sycophant. Plus, if you remember, she was probably already smarting because she was one of the most overweight Moms and, mortifyingly, was, in front of the entire world, the very last pick -- not Jeffrey's fault.

Interestingly, at the time the original episode aired, I was a bit of a tub 'o lard myself. You'd think that, as a fellow large economy-sized woman I'd be sympathetic to Angela's mom and offended by Jeffrey's behavior, right? Nope. All her whining just irritated the hell out of me big time. Gotta say, any dreams Angela's mom may have had about a fairy tale transformation into the elegant, graceful princess were just NOT gonna happen. Once you're that big, you're pretty much just in sacks and shapeless shifts, what did she expect. Under the circumstances, I thought Jeffrey's design was a heroic effort to transform the sack, or at least make it look a little spiffier. Having despondently pawed through racks and racks of dreck and seen the vast and shapeless wasteland offered to much larger women (so effing depressing that I immediately went on a crash diet to dump all that flab), I give him high marks for what he tried to achieve in the very short time available.

Perhaps only Laura could have made hay with this situation by mugging for the cameras while sticking Angela's mom in a typical Laura sack with a v-neck deep enough to display some serious boobage (not necessarily something I'd want to see on this particular woman); others might have had the same reaction as Jeffrey or worse. Couldn't you just imagine Vincent and Angela's mom together? It could quickly progress from the cringingly uncomfortable to outright mentally ill. They both might have ended up in the booby hatch! And I don't even want to think of all the grossly offensive variations on the OPPOSITE of "that really turns me on" he would have come up with.

Jeffrey carefully and clearly described to her the time needs of the challenge, and IMO she just whined at him like she was expecting a personal couturier. He made it clear he couldn't change the design mid-challenge, had limited time to complete it, and needed to concentrate. She refused to leave him alone and kept picking at him. Please note that he didn't say to her face "Leave me the fuck alone, bitch!" I thought he showed remarkable restraint under considerable, annoying provocation. His later comments made it clear he saw the choice as catering to her feelings or concentrating on the challenge so he wouldn't get the boot, and that he chose the latter. Well, it's perfectly understandable that he chose that path, regardless of how it may have come off on TV to those who sympathized more with Angela's mom. I certainly got the distinct impression that she was a head case like her daughter [appeared to be]. And for all of Angela's moralistic harping on how you just don't do that "to somebody's Mom," I refuse to whitewash poor behavior just because the woman was somebody's mom. IMO, Angela's mom was stunningly inconsiderate of Jeffrey's time needs, blind to the reality that he was actually competing in a time-sensitive contest, and selfishly thought it was all about her.

And I have to say, I'm just astonished at all the crap I read here trashing Jeffrey. Did you all forget the backstory in the press that Jeffrey's wife was a former lesbian? Or that they had been having difficulty for some time and were putting on a good face for the cameras? I'm surprised that they made it work for as long as they did. Did he cynically "dump" her as soon as the contest was over? I doubt it. She had given up her career to stay home with the baby, and he was working day and night on the collection. Doesn't that sound like the classic recipe for marital difficulties?

You may think Jeffrey is a jerk. You're certainly welcome to your opinion. But to trash and dismiss somebody who disagrees with your opinion as just part as of a calculated "movement" to deliberately "rehabilitate" him just exposes your own intolerance to the opinions of others. What a total crock. You think I'm just part of a rear-guard movement? You would be incorrect. I emerged as a Sebelia fan on the Bravo boards as the show progressed, along with a slew of other Jeffrey fans in what was a far more balanced group of posters than have opined here.

I liked the guy, ok? Not at first, but definitely as the show went on. And I loved his final collection. And I was very impressed at how he handled himself in the face of Laura's playing dirty pool.

And, speaking of trashing, did any of you verify that Jeffrey didn't do the mentorship before trashing him for allegedly blowing it off? Last I heard, he had maintained a small apartment in the Village for years, and let his tenant go so he could use that as his base in New York City to attend the two mentorship programs he won. I personally don't know the answer. Did any one of you actually send him an email on his MySpace page to verify if he completed them before claiming he just blew them off?

I'm betting not.

Further, people here are trashing Jeffrey as a failure and total loser simply because they haven't heard of him succeeding at anything since Project Runway. But it may surprise you to learn that, in addition to Cosa Nostra, he started a second line called Good Vig, a lighter, brighter line, and recently sold his company and both lines to a major clothing manufacturer, where he will be lead designer for an entirely new take on jeans. I found that update by doing a Google search. So could any of you.

I'm just stunned at the level of intolerance toward anybody who admires Jeffrey and, perish the thought, would actually defend him. And it's actually the strong and dismissive hatred repeatedly expressed in the commentary here that provoked such a strong response from me, not any independent desire to be the flag-bearer for him.

Criminy!

AnonB, aka FF1


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