PROTECTING CELEBRITIES


The last time we posted a piece we explored considerations we look at when helping a high-profile celebrity client choose a vacation destination. As part of this celebrity protection theme, we planned on writing something about how we choose temporary residences for such clients and then we were going to explore special considerations taken into account when protecting celebrities.


But, not too long ago, Mr. Jerry Heying, CPP authored an article for Security Management Magazine titled “Celebrity Protection in the Spotlight. Mr. Heying is a 40-year veteran of the security industry and the chair of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International Executive Protection Community Steering Committee. After reading his article, which can be found here, we decided we could not say it better. So, with Mr. Heying’s permission, we are recommending you read his article in its entirety. And then read it again if this is a line of work you may be interested in pursuing.


Here are some key points that we think are important to emphasize.


THREAT ASSESSMENT


Anyone who has followed or worked with Overwatch Risk Solutions knows how much emphasis we place on Threat Assessments.


To quote Mr. Heying, “a good threat assessment—coupled with protective intelligence, strong operational plans, and diligent protection officers—can effectively guard most celebrities and keep them from harm’s way.”


In the end, keeping our principal away from harm is a big part of how we protect them


PAPARAZZI, SOCIAL MEDIA, FAN AND STALKER CONCERNS


“Celebrities thrive on attention, but it can be a double-edged sword. Ever- present

paparazzi make protectors’ jobs extremely difficult. An entire industry of tabloids and television programs has thrived by focusing on capturing a celebrity’s every move, especially if someone is involved in or linked to any type of scandal or controversy, such as an affair or high- profile divorce.”


This means the professional protection agent needs to continually monitor social media sites and press stories to both identify potential risks but also to see if the principal’s “brand” and reputation is being compromised. Our job is more than just protecting them physically. Just as with our corporate clients, a celebrity’s reputation and public image is crucial.


Also, as Mr. Heying points out, “most protectors prefer to be nameless and faceless ‘grey men’ who maintain a low profile, as becoming too well known can work against the protector by being overly recognizable themselves.” If your desire is to become famous, this is not the job for you.


And, of course, obsessed fans and stalkers present a challenge. There are many celebrities who have been hurt and even killed by obsessed fans and stalkers. Once an issue has been identified, it is incumbent on the security team to ensure extra precautions are taken to keep schedules and travel arrangements private and ensure residences (especially “temporary” residences such as hotels) and any popular places frequented by the celebrity have increased security measures in place.


AMATEUR VS PROFESSIONAL PROTECTORS

As Mr. Heying points out so simply, “many people in this business claim to be a bodyguard, pointing to their size, muscles, fighting skills, or their relationship to the celebrity— essentially, making it all about themselves and their ability to fight attackers. On the other hand, a professional protector does everything possible to avoid physical interaction through advance planning and problem avoidance, knowing all too well that there is no need to attract attention and it is generally better to blend in and keep a low profile. The exception is during highly publicized events, where standing out and being noticeable is a necessary deterrent to attackers.”


We could not have said it better, sir!


We highly recommend you take the time to read Mr. Heying’s article; very valuable insights from a career professional.


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