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Small Crime to Big Time: An Australian Celebrity Self- Abduction (From Crime and the Media: The Post-Modern Spectacle, P 206-218, 1995, David Kidd-Hewitt and Richard Osborne, eds. -- See NCJ-168074)

NCJ Number
N Sanders
Date Published
13 pages
This paper reviews the events of a hoax abduction of a small-time celebrity in Australia to illustrate one of the likely spin-offs of the media's attention to dramatic crimes.
When Fairlie Arrow, a torch singer and song stylist at Jupiters Casino on Queensland's Gold Coast, disappeared from her Isle of Capri home on December 15, 1991, the media immediately reported that she was in the clutches of "an obsessed fan." On ABC-TV on December 17, Arrow's husband elaborated on the concept of a "fatal attraction," asserting that "if you look at what show biz is about, it's really about what you aim for ... You aim for people to like your image." At the time of her disappearance, however, Arrow was finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the image to which she aspired. In recent times her work at the casino had to be supplemented with hoofing at lesser venues. During the days when Arrow was being touted as a victim of an obsessed fan, she was in fact in control of her and the media's time in a state of self-exile. Between December 15 and 17 she was comfortably accommodated in a motel room five kilometers from the Gold Coast. She was enjoying the television coverage, until the motel's cleaner recognized Arrow and reported this to the police. Although Arrow continued to try and convince skeptics of her victimization after her self-exile was concluded, she ultimately revealed the abduction hoax in early January 1992, commenting that staging the disappearance was "better than being dead." The eagerness with which the media cover dramatic crimes motivated Arrow to seek her 15 minutes of fame and a bolstering of her public career. To some extent, her plan worked, thanks to the media's eagerness to draw the public to the drama of her story. 49 notes