Sunday, June 03, 2012
In Search of the Real Gloria
The first press conference in recorded history was held by Moses.
Descending from the mountain, he said "Do I have news for you. From God's lips to your ears."
Scribes at the scene wrote it all down and headlined it "The Ten Commandments." The rest is history.
These days press conferences burst forth like weeds every day, conducted by paupers and presidents, jocks and jurists, and a lot of folks in between.
Some of it is important. But much of it is orchestrated by self-aggrandizing media freaks whose sole purpose is to stroke their egos by hoarding the spotlight.
Take, for example, Donald Trump. And Gloria Allred.
Trump is like a human infomercial run amok. Under the guise of having something important to say, he is usually found peddling a book or promoting a TV show. He likes to pose as a political kingmaker. In fact, he is a liability.
Allred is more difficult to figure. A tenacious lawyer, she has been involved in important and meaningful litigation during her long career.
But she seems hell-bent to make a fool of herself by elbowing her way into every celebrity sex scandal and gender bias dispute that comes down the chute.
She is now referred to as "celebrity attorney Gloria Allred." Perhaps "notorious" would be a better choice of words.
Worse, she has been described as the only celebrity who stalks the paparazzi.
When we last heard from Allred, just this past week, she was orchestrating a press conference for a New Jersey women who was dismissed from a temporary job at a New York lingerie warehouse because her male employers felt she was too busty and dressed too provocatively for the workplace.
It was a temporary job, she only worked a couple of days and her bosses were Orthodox Jews. Nonetheless, maybe there's a case here.
But the woman in question, Lauren Odes, 29, shows up at the press conference wearing, according to media reports, a form-fitting sequined black dress and black leather, sequin-studded boots. She then proceeds to pose like a Miss Budweiser contestant.
The case of a woman wronged is no longer a press conference, it's a circus. And when it is over, ringmaster Allred and her traveling media show moves on.
This is not new territory. Two years ago, Allred represented Debrahlee Lorenzana, allegedly fired by Citibank for being too sexy.
Lorenzana told the New York Daily News recently, "If I could turn back time, I would have not chosen Gloria Allred as my lawyer I thought because she was a woman that she would really fight for me (But) the only times I saw her was when the media was there."
Allred swings from significant to silly. She represented the woman who accused GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment, a case which ended Cain's political aspirations. Then she represented Mandi Hamlin who claims she was humiliated when TSA agents forced her to remove her nipple rings in order to board an airplane.
She represented former adult film star Ginger Lee who allegedly exchanged e-mails with Rep.Anthony Weiner. Weiner resigned amidst revelations that he had been "sexting" with a variety of women outside of his marriage.
But she also waged a publicity campaign against Madonna, demanding she record a pro-choice song to make amends for what Allred had determined was the anti-abortion message of the hit "Papa Don't Preach."
Sex scandals? Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, John Travolta. She's ended up in the middle of all of them.
But Allred also forced the Sheriff's Department to stop shackling female prisoners who were in labor, advocated for AIDS victims who had lost their jobs, battled the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on behalf of a victim of sexual abuse and got the California Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage before it was overturned by Prop. 8.
She got newspapers to print the names of "deadbeat dads" many of whom were subsequently located. She represented actress Hunter Tylo who claimed she was fired from her role in "Melrose Place" because she was pregnant. Tylo won $5 million.
So is she a warrior doing battle for gender equality? Or a brazen opportunist who never met a camera she didn't like.
She's clearly an enigma. But love her or loathe her, rest assured we'll see her again soon.