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I am publicly in close proximity to someone famous for my job and with a modest (~15k) Instagram following because of that, I've experienced most of this behavior to one degree or another. I was completely unprepared for it and it really freaked me out.

I love the Bill Murray quote, and I've been living by this, also from the article: "You want everyone to know your name and no one to know your face.” It really seems to affect people that I don't post selfies and pics of myself anywhere....second to requests to be put in contact with the famous person to whom I'm obviously connected, people really want to know what I look like. As someone who is fairly private as well as nothing special in the looks dept, I'm in no rush. I'm googleable because of the absurd name under which I started, but most people can't or won't put in the effort.

I've definitely concluded that in my particular case, some respectable form of following on IG is necessary (I'm a photographer) and I certainly won't get rich, but damn I was utterly not ready for nor was I expecting 5-screen-long tales of woe and death and disease and pleas for help and mercy along with the same kind of "I know what you did and I'll expose you" shit several times a week.

I hate to admit this but I wrote 3 of these woe—and-misery letters in the late ‘90s, when I was a teenager.

One to Bill Gates, one to Bill Roper, and another to Chris Metzen.

I didn’t send them expecting a response, and didn’t even really consider that. The act of writing it down and throwing it out there just lifted my mood somehow, like throwing coins in a fountain.

I didn’t choose Bill Gates, Bill Roper and Chris Metzen because I was expecting anything from them. I chose them because they were significant to me, and connecting what I was going through to them somehow provided relief and made things feel surmountable.

Not saying that’s how a perfectly healthy brain thinks, but that’s how teenage me felt at the time.

The people writing you might be the same way?

Next time you get one of these letters, just think of yourself as the fountain they’re throwing the coins into.

I'm surprised a photographer would be such a target, even if they identify themselves with a well-known (and somewhat controversial, I suppose) figure. TIL!

Reading stories like this just makes me that more determined to never be well-known. Not that I'm in any particular danger of that, mind you, but still...

I was surprised too. It's a variety of "I need X to speak at my charity event," "hey can you give X my contact info," "here's my nude selfie and my number, please tell X," to "X is impersonating himself on social media and swindled me out of thousands of dollars, I'm going to report you and everyone else."

Ironically, being relatively faceless has burned me as well. I have a fairly common name, so when someone else with the same name made a shitty comment on some board on Facebook, I had days of being attacked, getting DMd to kill myself, brutal comments on all my posts...it was hours and days of cleanup and banning people.

The worst is probably having a somewhat unusual name that overlaps with a notorious person who could at least plausibly (especially to somewhat off-kilter randos) possibly be you.

I went to school with someone who shared a name with an individual who is in a high-profile public legal spat in NY involving another high-profile NY personality. (Not going to say who or you can figure out the name with modest Google-fu.) My classmate got various death threats etc.

Ever seen The Big Lebowski?

I wonder, why the clean up and banning ?

The fact he’s a photographer doesn’t have anything to do with the downsides mentioned. Could just as well be any family member or a close friend of the famous person

There is a famous Marilyn Monroe quote where she commented that she could turn the Marylin Persona on and off

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