Jessica Dorrell, the woman found to have been involved with Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino, and in both the Sunday April 1st motorcycle crash, and in what Petrino called an “inappropriate relationship”, is officially a celebrity, at least online.
If you’re reading this and not sure who she is, the video below will help, then keep reading to learn why she became a celebrity:
Jessica Dorrell officially became a celebrity – a public figure – on Friday April 6th, 2012. It was that day, one day after the release of the Arkansas State Police report on the incident that included the name of “a woman” that was previously not only not mentioned by Coach Petrino, but Coach said there was no one with him, and that he was alone.
The woman’s name was Jessica Dorrell.
Given the overall importance placed on College Football in the South, what may have been second-tier news in California reached first tier status rapidly, and cable sports news organizations picked up the already hot issue, and helped make it hotter because Dorrell’s name took center stage.
Because of this, Jessica Dorrell’s position on Google Insight for Search went from zero all time to 100 on Friday. A 100 search intensity placed Dorrell in the same league as many A-List Hollywood stars like Madonna. Right now, Madonna’s average Google Insight For Search ranking is 54, whereas Jessica Dorrell sits at 28. But last Friday, Dorrell zoomed past Madonna – 100 to 58.
Will Jessica Dorrell Go Back To Unknown Status
The basic question is will Dorrell ever go back to being unknown. The answer is no. Jessica will forever be connected to this sex scandal. The only action she can take is to use her new platform of visibility to alter how she’s thought of in some way. In other words, she has to make herself known for something other than being sexually tied to Bobby Petrino, but know she can never not be known for being associated with him.
Bobby Petrino’s used to being a celebrity, so this hasn’t impacted him. Moreover, Dorrell has been a larger celebrity than Petrino, with his search intensity at just 54 (with Madonna) on Friday, and then dropping to 22 versus 35 for Dorrell on Saturday.
Given the naturally high degree of search activity related to blonde women online, then add to that Dorrell as a female athlete, then add to that the story of a sex scandal, and we have the perfect storm for Dorrell’s name to continue to draw some level of media coverage.
Remember, all of this happened without Dorrell’s active work to knowingly make it happen. It’s a fair bet that JD didn’t know enough about media to even think that, in her wildest dreams, this would happen. But it does not mean she can wave it all off with a “don’t bother me” or “don’t write about me.” Dorell has become a something that has a name: she an “involuntary public figure”.
An “involuntary public figure” is a person who, by definition is part of a group of:
people who become public figures “through no purposeful action of their own,” by their association or participation in some high profile event or controversy, though these are “exceedingly rare.” Gertz at 345 (1974). For example, inDameron v. Washington Magazine, Inc., 779 F.2d 736 (D.C. Cir. 1985) an air traffic controller was found to be an involuntary public figure because he was on duty at time of fatal crash, which was a major public event.
In other words, a person or persons in the media can basically say what they want to without fear of legal retaliations of libel. And in Dorrell’s case, because what she did offline impacted her online celebrity, Jessica can’t then claim that online conversations about her can’t be allowed.
Dorrell has a higher standard to reach in claiming libel. It’s not that she can’t do so, but she must prove that the persons writing about her have willing intent to do harm to her emotionally. That’s easier to do if the person’s just an Internet commenter and not a blogger.
If the reader remembers the name Rosemary Port, she’s the blogger and fashion model who famously called fashion model Liskula Cohen a “psychotic, lying, whoring…Skank,” but did so anonymously. Google was forced to reveal her name and because (as I wrote) Rosemary Port unknowingly violated a provision of the “Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act” that was passed in 2006.
Section 113. Preventing Cyberstalking … Whoever … utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet … without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person … who receives the communications … shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
So that’s a unique scenario where Dorrell could take action, but considering the sex scandal itself, it’s one that may come up for Dorrell more often than not. The harsh fact is if the commenter elects to challenge Dorrell all the way to court, and on the basis that her actions with Petrino led to a ‘justified’ description, it may force Dorrell to have her name elevated because of the Petrino affair, all over again.
To be clear, I’m not using that issue to aim words at Dorrell. Frankly, I think Jessica should be allowed to keep her job, and use her newly elevated name to help raise money for the University’s programs. That would serve to turn water into wine for her and for The University Of Arkansas.