The following is true to my knowledge and recollection.
For a little over two weeks, I have been showing up outside Fuzzy Door Productions, petitioning for #OccupyFamilyGuy, which SUGGESTS the producers hire an all-female staff of writers for ONE episode next season. This idea lends a predominantly male-written platform to women, as a social experiment and proclaiming the statement “Women ARE Funny.” Loud and clear.
Last Thursday, a security guard approached me on the public sidewalk. The guard said his name was Ahmadinejad, told me this building wasn’t Fuzzy Door Productions, and he’d never met Seth MacFarlane. I was confused. The IMDBpro page for Fuzzy Door Productions listed that address. Was the internet lying or was this security guard? Who knows? I’ve seen a Ted-style teddy bear in the window… so.
Monday, July 22nd, 2019. I showed up at (what I believed to be) Fuzzy Door Productions in Beverly Hills in the afternoon. The parking garage is open, there’s no gate. I walked up to what I assumed was the front door of the building. Before I could touch the door handle, Kevin, a security guard I’ve met before, opened the door and said “Hi”.
“Hi, Kevin,” I replied brightly! “I would like to speak to someone in charge, please.”
“I’m in charge,” Kevin replied, smiling.
“No, you’re a security guard. I would like to speak to someone who works at Fuzzy Door.”
“You can’t be here. I already told you that,” Kevin replied, still smiling as we were walking toward the public sidewalk.
“Yes, but the other security guard said this wasn’t Fuzzy Door, so I was confused…”
“We already told you to go away. I’ll arrest you if you don’t go away.” Kevin wasn’t smiling anymore.
“You can’t arrest me, you’re not a police officer.”
“I can make a citizen’s arrest for trespassing.”
“Why would you do that?” I responded, on the public sidewalk by now.
“Because you have no business here,” Kevin said, smiling again.
“I have given Fuzzy Door PLENTY of business! I have watched thousands of hours of Family Guy and The Orville. I am an Artist and I want to collaborate with Artists I love!” I felt like I was pleading, but I may have been shouting (passionately, not angrily). I forgot to mention I bought the Ted DVD at full price when I was next to broke so I could watch the special features.
“Have you tried the proper channels?” Kevin asked, in a dickish tone.
“YES! I called, I emailed, I tweeted, I did everything but sit on the sidewalk with my ideas until someone notices!” I was definitely yelling by now, but I was on a public sidewalk. Freedom of speech? He could have led me to the sidewalk and walked away. He kept engaging.
“We told you to go away.”
“YOU told me to go away. I want to speak to your supervisor! I am a customer and you are being BAD at customer service right now!” I wanted him to go away and let me write about this while sitting under the tree. Kevin just smirked and started to text someone.
“Why don’t you like me, Kevin?” I asked, genuinely despondent.
“I don’t like you or dislike you, I just think you should move on and try somewhere else,” Kevin said, looking up from his phone.
“Do you feel threatened by me?” I asked, concerned.
“No,” Kevin said, a slight edge to his posture.
“Have I offended you?” I asked.
“No,” Kevin said, prancing uncomfortably.
“Is it because I am here working for Women’s Rights?” I asked, looking into his eyes.
“Women have more rights than ever,” Kevin said, smirking and looking down at his phone again.
“What’s your boss’s number?” I asked, pissed THE FUCK off right then.
“I can’t give you that,” Kevin said, retreating back into the building.
“FINE! I’ll Google it!” I said, sitting on my bag under the tree outside Fuzzy Door Productions (I think). As I tweeted my experience, I saw a healthy-looking young man in a BMW park in a handicapped parking space in the garage with no placard.
“Hey, you have no placard, you can’t park there!” I shouted, from the public sidewalk. Kevin came out again, as the dude looked confused by the sidewalk monitor.
“Don’t engage with Kristin,” Kevin said.
“I’m calling the cops if that guy doesn’t move his car! There’s a sign right there, $250 fine!” I shouted, at my wits end with the male entitlement I saw before me. The guy moved his car as I continued to tweet. I was about to take out an Issac Asimov novel and read a chapter or two to calm down. A police officer showed up and asked for my ID.
“Why?” I asked, as sitting on a public sidewalk and tweeting is not a crime.
“Because there’s been a complaint and it will be a lot easier if you cooperate and show me your ID.” The cop said. I stood up.
“What’s the magic word?” I asked in my best Mary Poppins tone.
“Please?” The cop indulged. I handed him my ID and two more cops showed up. Damn, a woman sitting on a sidewalk trying to get a writing job must be the most dangerous thing going on in Beverly Hills. The first cop talked to Kevin as I stood on the public sidewalk and explained my cause to the two extra police officers. One of them laughed at my #OccupyFamilyGuy idea and I took that as a good sign. Another asked why wasn’t I trying to get an agent.
“Everyone just fired their agents. Production companies saying they don’t take ‘unsolicited submissions’ is a bullshit brush-off. NO writers are solicited right now. My script deserves to be read.” I orated to the cops and the security camera. The first cop showed back up and told me to put my hands behind my back. “Why?” I asked, genuinely confused. Kevin had called the cops on me to no avail before.
“Because you’re being arrested for criminal trespassing.” The cop replied.
“But I’m on a public sidewalk!” I protested as he put me in handcuffs.
“That doesn’t matter. The security guard said you keep coming back and disrupting their business…” The cop made me sit on the curb and wait for a female police officer to do a pat-down.
“I’m not disrupting their business, I’m trying to make it BETTER! I already told Kevin if it was a choice between going to jail or leaving, I’ll leave!” I couldn’t believe this was happening, but I cooperated. I disclosed my anxiety medication in my bag and told them they were welcome to search me for weapons. The only thing I had in there was a novel, a notebook, and a mechanical pencil. Those are my (nonviolent) weapons of choice. And antiperspirant because this is July in LA and I was wearing black.
Already in handcuffs, feeling humiliated, I started shouting at passers-by: “Help, I’m being arrested for trying to write while in possession of a vagina! Put it on YouTube!” Nobody cared.
“Do you really think that’s helping your case?” Said the sunglasses-wearing cop who cuffed me.
“What does it matter now? Everyone may as well know what’s going on.” I replied, unafraid of his shaded stare.
As I was being driven away, cuffed in the back of a cop car, I looked up into the center window of the building with the Ted-style teddy bear. Several girls looked out, grinning, not in a mean way, more like enjoying the drama and (I hope) cheering me on. I even saw the salt-and-pepper head of director Jon Cassar (I think) looking thrilled. I’ve convinced myself he was proud of me. I mouthed the words “HELP ME!” At all of them.
The lady police officer who brought me to the jail told me “We’re not arresting you, we’re just carrying out a citizen’s arrest on Kevin’s request. They’ll probably just issue a desk citation and let you go.” I was taken to the Beverly Hills Police Station and searched. They took my dress because it had straps and gave me an orange paper jumpsuit and blue slippers with ironic happy face emojis embossed on the toes. No one else I saw during this experience had to wear orange. Everyone else was in blue. They looked at me like I had murdered someone. I felt like a goldfish.
I sang show-tunes to myself in the holding cell, bored out of my mind, composing this piece of writing in my head as it was happening. A female inmate was upset she wasn’t in the same cell as her boyfriend/co-defendant. I blew her a kiss through the slatted window in the door. She smiled and giggled. I did the same.
A guard took my information. He didn’t understand what I meant when my response to “Occupation?” Was “Writer.” He put “other” on the form. Another younger, soft-spoken Hispanic male guard took my fingerprints and I brightly pointed out the Ted sticker on the paper towel dispenser. “Hey, I was trying to work for that guy, that’s why I’m here!”
“Please keep your hand still.” He asked me as he rolled both of my hands over a scanner that said: “Place writer’s hand here”. For Pete’s sake…
He asked if I wanted to call anyone.
“No one cares about me,” I responded, before explaining why I love The Orville. I only know my mom’s number by heart and she wasn’t exactly on board with my causes yet.
I smiled for my messy-haired, makeup-less mugshot like I was planning to put it on twitter, which I did. I was handed a blanket, a sheet, and put in an overnight holding cell. I was confused again. “I thought I was just supposed to get a citation and leave?” I asked.
“No, you won’t get that until tomorrow at least, so enjoy your sleep.” Said the young man who scanned my handprints before locking me in a cell alone. The depression I experience can make me feel trapped and alone. I had no idea how maddening it is to be locked in a cell with no books, no paper, no pens, no phone, no computer, no tv, no radio, no people… just silence and my thoughts. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.
I heard Dylan Brody’s voice in my head “Listen to your breath, it’s been with you from the moment of your birth and it will be with you to the moment you die. Listen to your breath…” I tried to meditate to the echoes of his voice in my head. This was the first (and hopefully only) time I’ve ever been arrested. I tried to sing again, but nothing really came out. I willed myself to sleep and dreamed of Al Yankovic, of all people. He was wearing a pin-striped suit and making out with a much younger woman. “Good for them…” my dream-self thought.
Tuesday morning, I was missing a dose of my anti-depressants with a migraine. Turns out it was the Sargent who arrested me and he was the first to respond to my calls for help. He told me I was going to court the next day to have a judge tell me not to go back to Fuzzy Door Productions.
“Tomorrow?!” I almost shouted, out of surprise. This was taking way longer than I had ever expected and I was uncomfortable as hell, not to mention, I had committed NO crime. Three days was too much for this nonsense. I told him I won’t be going back to Fuzzy Door Productions.
“We’re not gonna take your word for it.” He said, before brushing off my pleas for my medication. From his multiple mispronunciations of my antidepressant to his obvious disdain for my anxiety medication, this man did not believe in drugs of any sort and I felt judged for my mental health issues. He locked me back in the cell, which didn’t have a working water faucet.
I rang the call bell again until a black security guard with a neat afro reluctantly moved me to a cell with a working faucet and gave me IB profin for my headache. I was given peanut butter and jelly for breakfast, a baloney sandwich for lunch and some plastic-looking fruit. Little boxes of milk and orange juice like elementary school. I nibbled the food out of boredom more than hunger. I’d never wanted to plant my face in a cheeseburger harder in my entire life.
A nurse took my vitals and asked me the mental health questions required for commitment. I was honest and I passed. I was told I would have to go to “county” if I wanted medication. I told them I don’t like the sound of that and I can stick it out.
I learned there are only so many hours in a day I can physically force my body to sleep. Given no pillow, just a sheet and a blanket, I wrapped the sheet around my head to block out the 24-hour incessant florescent bulb pointed at me (and the camera watching me) and tried anyway.
I dreamed of the remake of “Doctor Dolittle” with Eddie Murphy, specifically the scene where he’s performing surgery on a tiger. “There! It’s gone! The pain is gone!” The tiger (voiced by Albert Brooks) gave me a sense of vicarious relief. I dreamed of the book version of Sirius Black explaining what kept him sane in Azkaban was knowing he’d done nothing wrong. I dreamed of Princess Leia, trapped in a holding cell after her father blew up her planet, her home, everyone she’s ever known and loved, right in front of her. Her sassy response upon storm troopers opening the door made me feel calm.
I woke in the afternoon to the woman who’s smile I conjured with a blown kiss, crying in the next cell, begging to call her mom. I realized they left the door open to my cell and there was a phone and a shower in the antechamber before the (locked) hallway. I called my mom. Got her on the third try.
“Hey mom, I’m in jail.”
“Yeah, I gathered that.” Mom sounded pissed.
“It’s for some bullshit. I was on a public sidewalk when they arrested me for ‘trespassing’. The security guard was mad that I was there working for women’s rights. I’m fighting the hell out of this!” I exclaimed, pleading with her to be on my side.
“Kristin! It’s a place of business!”
“Yeah and I’m a customer! I love their shows and I want to collaborate! All I did was walk up to a security guard and ask to speak to someone in charge! That’s not a fucking crime, MOM!”
“Ugh. What do you need me to do?” Mom acquiesced.
“NOTHING! Just tell my friend Renee on Facebook where I am, she’s in town this week and she wanted to do something, but now I’m in jail.”
“Fine.” Mom said.
“Thanks, Love you!” I pleaded.
“Love you. Bye.” Mom was still pissed at me for getting arrested.
Bored and anxious, I decided to call one of the bail bond numbers taped to the window. I explained my story and my cause as succinctly as possible. The guy told me to be polite, I’ll probably get out that day, and keep fighting the good fight. That made me feel a little better.
When given dinner of the WORST microwave burrito I’ve ever had the misfortune to chew out of hunger-misery, I asked the guards if I’ll be given that desk citation or I’m really going to court tomorrow. They assured me the Sargent already made that decision. I resigned myself to another night of fitful sleep on the plastic-covered mattress.
Wednesday morning, I was handcuffed and taken to the LAX courthouse in a white van with the other woman, her boyfriend on the other side of a partition. “Pyramus and Thisbe” popped into my head, which was between my knees out of motion sickness. The woman and I were led to a cell with half a dozen female inmates, most of whom staked out a spot on the concrete bench along the wall, curled up and snoring uncomfortably. I did the same for as long as I could before a guard showed up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. No milk or juice, just sink water. I was getting dangerously dehydrated out of fear of germs.
Two of the women started talking about their theft charges. Still the only one in orange, I gained the attention of the entire room by saying “Do you want to know what I did?” For some reason, I got the “Did she murder someone?” Look because of my solo-orange jumpsuit.
“I walked up to a security guard and asked to speak to someone in charge. I’m being charged with criminal trespassing.” I responded flat and expecting disinterest.
“That’s some bullshit!” One of the women responded, immediately on my side. Feeling immense relief and instant camaraderie with the women in the cell, I asked non-judgmental questions about their lives, I told them about Dylan Brody being a character created by Seth MacFarlane. They were intrigued, seemed to believe me, and were especially interested in the sexual aspects of my relationships with Seth’s characters, but that’s for a whole other blog… His talented tongue kept coming up…
A female inmate in street clothes showed up and cringed at the name Seth MacFarlane. She said he had been stalking her for years. Meg Griffin was based on her. Hayley Smith was based on her. All these Hollywood movies were based on her. She was the Queen of the Vatican and she’s going home to be crowned. I listened to her story out of ravenous writer’s curiosity. I started to cringe when she used the “F-word” (and I don’t mean “Fuck”) and almost shut down when she started dropping N-bombs. Trying to change the subject, I told her I believed Kali from “Stranger Things 2” was based on my friend Kali Va.
The Queen said satanist pedophile Freemason-Mormons were stalking her and they’ve taken her children into space, where they raped them. I expressed concern for her and her children, but I explained to her that wasn’t the Seth MacFarlane I knew and she was wrong about him in particular. She was the Queen and she acted like it. I laid back on the concrete bench, rested my feet on the payphone and said: “I’m not the Queen of anything, I just want to write.”
Late in the day, they called the Queen and me to the courtroom. I was dehydrated, hungry and utterly uncomfortable. I was hanging in there because I was looking forward to writing about this experience. An over-worked looking female public defender met me behind plate glass. I had a flashback to one of my earliest memories, visiting Uncle Jimmy behind plate glass while sitting on my mom’s lap. Uncle Jimmy seemed happy to see me. I was happy to be moving this process along.
I told the public defender my name, address, phone number and my side of the story. It didn’t seem to register that I was at a production company trying to get my ideas through the door and that I was working for women’s rights, but she knew the second charge of “harassing or intimidating a business” was going to be dismissed because I was on a public sidewalk when arrested.
I was led into the courtroom, still in my orange jumpsuit, in handcuffs. The public defender did her best to explain my side of the story, forgot to mention I was there expressing my first amendment right to petition for women’s rights. The lawyer on the other side (I’m not sure WHO he was representing) tried to argue that I attempted to enter the back of the building and refused to leave. That was completely untrue. I shook my head in protest and asked the bailiff if I could say something. “Talk to your lawyer.” She said.
The public defender got the charge of “intimidating or harassing a business” dismissed and I got a court date for August 8th, as I pled Not Guilty to trespassing. I appreciate the public defender’s efforts, but I will be calling every FEMINIST AF lawyer in this town, trying to find someone willing to take the case and argue my side with the WHOLE truth. I don’t blame Fuzzy Door Productions. I don’t blame Seth MacFarlane. I blame Kevin, who said out loud “Women have more rights than ever.” Why the FUCK would I go to these measures if that were true?
After court, I joked with the ladies in the cell that my charge was “Criminal Dick-Shrinking”. A little after 6pm on Wednesday night, I was released from LAX courthouse wearing a black paper jumpsuit over my orange jumpsuit. Over-drawing my business account (sorry, Bank I’ll pay it back!), I paid my phone bill and called my friend Renee, who was leaving town as I called. The property that made it to LAX with me did not contain my keys to my apartment or my clothes.
I called the Beverly Hills police station and asked when I could pick up my property. Tomorrow. Ugh. I had debit cards, $10 cash, my ID, my phone (no charger), my anxiety meds, my Michael Kors ballet flats (80% off at Off Broadway Shoes), and two layers of paper jumpsuit. My friend Amy was at work. I had no choice but to check into the cheapest motel I could get to in my dehydrated and half-starved state. I ordered Dominos, took a shower, wore a bedsheet toga while I asked other motel-dwellers for a charger till I found one (with an LA Times logo? Should I have asked that guy if he worked for them?)
I laid in the soft motel bed and watched “Ratatouille” on Freeform while I devoured a Domino’s chicken sandwich with a side of boneless chicken (PETA be damned, I was protein-starved!), and washed it down with a bottle of Coke. Taking two of my anxiety meds, I felt more at ease than I had been in a long time. I tweeted, Instagrammed, and Facebooked snippets of my experience to the world, comfortably awaiting the morning when I’d have to take the bus back up to Beverly Hills in the black jumpsuit to get my stuff.
After acquiring my clothes, keys, and purse from Beverly Hills, I decided to walk back to my apartment in West Hollywood. I asked folks along the way for change for the bus and food. I ended up getting over $20 before I reached the Zen dispensary, where I bought the cheapest gram they had and asked about petitioning outside, as Carrie Fisher was a cannabis supporter and I would adore partnering the #AStarForCarrie project with a business I love.
Petitioning alone on Hollywood Boulevard while dressed as Princess Leia got me a dangerous amount of sexual harassment along with 3,000 signatures and not enough money to live on, let alone raise the $50,000 for Carrie’s star. Petitioning outside Fuzzy Door Productions got me jailed by their sexist gatekeeper. I would much rather establish a symbiotic business relationship with a security guard several feet away, who believes in my cause.
In light of these circumstances, I haven’t given up on #AStarForCarrie or #OccupyFamilyGuy. I feel weirdly cleansed by this experience. I found a reserve of strength I didn’t know I had. I’ve been shaken out of a nasty depression and I can see clearly where to go from here. There are SERIOUS flaws in our criminal justice system that I now have personal experience to shed light upon. I still love Seth MacFarlane and I want to collaborate with him… and more if he’s willing 🙂