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?