Does Web Site Promote Celebrity Stalking?

ByABC News via logo
March 15, 2006, 4:34 PM

March 15, 2006 — -- It may be time to add celebrity to the list of potentially dangerous jobs in America.

The celebrity news blog takes Gawker Stalker, its celebrity-sighting feature, to a new level. Earlier this week, the site began using the Google Maps tool to show exactly where and when a star was spotted just moments after a sighting.

Jessica Coen, the Web site's editor, told the New York Daily News, "The celebrities, I'm sure, are not going to like this any more than they like being trailed by papparazzi."

Essentially, Gawker Stalker allows anyone to track -- and follow -- a favorite celebrity around New York City.

As the Web site's instructions say: "Sightings are sent in by readers who use this feature to enact their ill will upon innocent, unsuspecting celebrities and their golden-haired children."

Some publicists have said they don't find the new feature very amusing.

"I understand that Stalker Gawker is supposed to be a joke. However, people around the country don't take it as a joke," said Brad Zeifman, celebrity publicist and vice president at Susan Blond Inc. in New York. "They will find their favorite celebrities, they will put them on this Web site, and then there will be legions of fans following these celebrities."

In one example, a blogger writes about seeing musician Dave Matthews at 628 Broadway: "Just saw Dave Matthews strolling past the urban outfitters ... sort of window shopping, chatting with friends, with a coffee cup in his hand."

An adjacent map pinpoints the location with a photo of the Grammy-winning musician.

Another poster finds radio shock jock Howard Stern and his girlfriend, Beth Ostrosky, on Columbus Avenue: "Saw them walking with their arms around each other and laughing, heading south. They were both ridiculously tall, and she's a lot more attractive in person than in photos. He has clearly had a LOT of work done."

Some worry the Web site will encourage fans to act like papparazzi or peeping Toms.