Letter to the editor: Michael LaFever

Variety recently ran an article about Gavin de Becker’s new book “Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism.”

I am sure your readers appreciated learning more about this national bestseller written to improve the nation’s ability to deal with risks — both real and imagined.

But there are a few issues to deal with:

1. The article failed to tell readers that all of Mr. de Becker’s profits from the sale of “Fear Less” go to charity — and tens of thousands of dollars have already been donated to Victory Over Violence, a Southern California organization that assists victims of violence.

2. Contrary to an implication in the article, Mr. de Becker does not ever publicly discuss — or even identify — clients of our firm. Permanent confidentiality is a foundation of our service, and Mr. de Becker has not ever voluntarily appeared in any news story that referred to any client, nor has he made any public statement about any clients.

3. The article implies that Mr. de Becker saw an opportunity for a book after Sept. 11, and wrote “Fear Less” in six weeks. In fact, he was working on the book for more than a year before the terrorist acts of Sept. 11. It was to be his third on the topic of fear and risk, and all that changed when he observed the nation’s extreme fear after 9/11 is that he accelerated the process of completing and publishing the book.

4. The article incorrectly describes Mr. de Becker’s start in his career, and leaves readers uninformed about his credentials, such as being a three-time Presidential appointee, advisor to the CIA and the U.S. Supreme Court, his service on the Governor’s Advisory Board at the California Dept. of Mental Health, his designing threat assessment systems used by Congress and by the governors of 11 states, or his current work as a senior fellow at UCLA’s School of Public Policy and Social Research. Of particular interest to Variety readers is his 25 years of work on behalf of media figures and media companies, including his writing California’s Threat-Trespass Law to help those pursued by stalkers.

— Michael LaFever

president and principal,

Gavin de Becker & Associates

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