How would you deal with a blackmailer? (don't need answer fast)

Listening to a sports radio station the other day, I heard a story about Mark Jackson, coach of the Golden State Warriors and an ordained minister, being blackmailed. He had an affair with a woman, and years later (when he became a minister and got a high profile job as a coach) she emerged with an accomplice, who asked for $5,000 for photos and a CD of voicemails. Of course, the blackmailer re-emerged a little later wanting more. LSS, Jackson eventually went to his employers, confessed to his wife, and participated in a sting that got the blackmailers arrested.

This got me thinking. What would I do if someone approached me in a similar way, especially if I was of some stature and privilege?

First, if the transgression is minor (sexy pictures of me and my spouse, rude emails) I simply wouldn’t play. Nobody cares about these things. The more noise you make about it, the more people pay attention. I’d say, “Do what you want,” then go to the press about being blackmailed to get the sympathy on my side.

If the issue were more serious (doing something illegal, an affair) again I’d probably calculate the impact of it coming out over playing along. I generally have a pretty boring life, so I don’t think there would be a reason to say “oh shit, I’d better pay these guys off.”

However… if it was a really sketchy situation (my devotee affair with a C4 SCI person, with a stash of wheelchair porn and tons of cocaine), I might look into having “friends” of questionable business ethics threaten the blackmailer. Have them tailed or followed, and let them know (through a sketchy emissary) that I could follow them, at any time, and they would never be safe from my investigating skills… or worse. Like find out where their family lives, show pictures of them coming and going… in essence, you screw with me, I will screw with you ten times worse.

Anyway, that’s what I might do if I was in Mark Jackson’s shoes. What about you?

Depending on the threat, I’d either say “Fine, go ahead” or call the cops and then say “Fine, go ahead”. On the other hand, I do try to live my life in such a way that there’s not a lot of value in blackmailing me.

Pretend to go along with it, and then immediately call the cops and try to get them busted. Of course, I have the advantage that a reality show based on the darkest secrets of my past would probably get cancelled before the second commercial break.

If I were in Mark Johnson’s shoes, and had done something I genuinely wanted to keep secret - same answer. Paying blackmail doesn’t do any good - might as well bite the bullet, confess to my wife, and get it over with.


I wonder if the show based on Shodan’s darkest past would be cancelled due to moral outrage, or because it was boring.

I’m unmarried, but could never imagine cheating on my spouse. If I were in Mark’s exact situation (as a Pacers fan I get first-name-basis privileges), I would do what he did: Confess to the spouse, and get the blackmailers busted. Although I would never have paid them any money to begin with.

Put it this way - if the network scheduled the show to go up against the PPV event Beauty Tips from Madeline Albright and a PBS documentary on tissue paper, it would finish third.


If you’re David Letterman you come clean on live television and then work with the police to get the guy blackmailing you.

It’s recently come out that the manager for the Tokyo Giants had paid $1.3 million to some blackmailers to hide an affair.

Naturally, the news came out after someone tried to blackmail the Giants.

That’s the problem with paying, it will never end.

Paying the blackmailer is like feeding a stray, they will always come back. I would either try to get the cops involved, or storm about about quoting "Publish and be Damned! ". But I am so innocuous an attempted blackmail might make me more interesting

For something small, ignore it or go to the cops. For something big, point out that the usual way the police find out that someone is a blackmailer is when the dead body of the blackmailer is discovered, and is this really a career he wants to follow?

I can’t argue with this.

The police route is always the right one. Get in front of it, call them. By and large Blackmailers are people who think that they are smart who are willing to go to extraordinary lengths prove that they are stupid.

But I have no dog in this fight. As a person with few material goods, I have little to give. If you take away what little I have, then all that means is that I’d have nothing left to lose.

There is also a certain appeal to quoting the Duke of Wellington: “Publish and be damned.” Though the police route is not ruled out, either.

Hippy Hollow: As a character says in a novel I am writing:
"There are only two rational responses to blackmail: ‘Publish and be damned,’ or murder.

I’d use the Keyser Soze approach. I’d reveal all the information publicly myself, then kill all but one of the blackmailers. Since I don’t have a real reason to leave one alive, after I tell him I’m not going to kill him, I will anyway.

I’d call up my cousin Vinnie. Vinnie would take care of it. After all, we’re FAMILY.

I really can’t answer this, because I would have to theorize something to be blackmailed for. Murder? If I’m already a murderer, I can kill a blackmailer. Adultery? Never been married, but I can imagine myself up a a family – how much do I love my imaginary family?

Oh yeah, and even if I would pay blackmail, I can’t imagine I have enough money to satisfy a blackmailer, so I’m have to theorize up a high-powered high-profile career for myself.