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Letters to the Editor

Pay to play: I read Bob Norman's article in the New Times with great interest ("Red Alert," September 20). As a downtown New Yorker who lived through the September 11 tragedy and as a passenger on Continental Airlines this weekend, I can assure you that nothing has changed.

The security at Newark Airport has not improved. The only noticeable change is that the restaurants do not have metal or plastic knives to eat with, even though you can go into the shops in the terminal and buy items that, to a hijacker, would be as good as box cutters. The pilots were in and out of the cockpit three times, and any halfway intelligent hijacker could have gotten onto my plane and copied the September 11 tragedy. As an airline passenger who travels over 200,000 miles a year and spends half his life in airports, I can tell you that the only answer is government-backed security at the airports and sky marshals on every flight. I hope you, the media, will keep the pressure on the airlines, and if it's a question of money (even though we, the taxpayers, have just given the airlines $10 billion), I am sure that a $10-to-$20 surcharge on all passenger ticket prices would cover the cost of sky marshals on every flight.

Keep up the good work.

John Neilson
New York, New York

All whites accepted... more or less: I was impressed with Adam Pitluk's article on me and my fellow kinsmen ("The Heart of Whiteness," September 6). Even though he is a Jew and presented his Jewish point of view, he also presented ours. It must have been tough for him to do the article, since my kinsmen and I are on the white side of the fence and he is not. The reason that we call our race the "white race" is because the term is not confusing like the term "Aryan" and because a white, circled cross is an age-old Celtic, European symbol that is called the Celtic cross and has been used by the Irish, Scots, and Welsh and is also the runic symbol for Odin's eye. And we have nothing against white Catholics. The conflict between the Klan and Catholics occurred because the Klan was Protestant, but that rivalry is long gone. We accept all white people. What Adam did was truly an example of freedom of speech.

Smiley 14/88
Lake Worth

Irish answer: The reference [in "The Heart of Whiteness"] to the religious and ethnic origins of the founder of New Times reveals... prejudice. What do Irish-Americans and Catholicism have to do with the article on neo-Nazis? We get your message, and Irish people don't like it.

John Welsh
Juno Beach

Screwed by New Times? I've worked as a scout for eModel.com for six months now out of various Houston offices. It hasn't all been roses and kisses, but I didn't think the people interviewed by Wyatt Olson reported accurately ("Hustling for Models," September 6). First, not all scouts who apply are accepted. Second, not all models are accepted. I wish all models were accepted, because that would mean I would make more money. I have been party to conversations in which employees were trying to think of a way to reject prospective models without hurting their feelings.

Some of the talent executives I've known have gotten upset with the interviews from the corporate office in which models were rejected. I've heard scouts complain a lot that many of their prospective models are rejected at open calls. It could be that since Ivette Mendive was with eModel.com such a short time, she wasn't aware that when talent executives tell prospective models attending an open call that "they'll call," they're actually rejecting them.

Finally, you should know that quite a few really large clients hire eModels. MTV has cast eModels for television programs, eModels have been hired for everything from Yoplait yogurt to American Express. There are no guarantees at any modeling agency that you will get work. I have scouted lots of people who went with other agencies, spent thousands of dollars on portfolios and classes, and never got work. So eModel.com should not be singled out because in eight months one person didn't get a call. Last month over 2000 models got contracts through eModel.com.

I appreciate your efforts at trying to inform people, but you may have misinformed them in the process. Perhaps a follow-up article is in order.

Sue Modikoane
Houston, Texas

Screwed by eModel? Upon picking up the September 6 issue of New Times, I noticed the small headline on the left of the cover that referred to the "Hustling for Models" story. After reading it in disgust and shock, I decided to write just to thank you for making this company known as a fraud.

About one month ago, I was "scouted" by an eModel agent and went through the motions described in the article of interview after interview. I'm sorry to say that my parents and I were swindled out of more than $400. After having paid our first monthly $20 maintenance fee to eModel, the only thing that we can be glad about is the fact that I picked up your article and found out the truth before we paid anything else to these bottom-feeders.

Thank you for your help. If you know of anything that I and others could possibly do, I would appreciate your further help. Thank you once again.

Kelly Micheau
via the Internet

Or screwed by someone else? I am a modeling agent in the Southeast representing about nine male models. Thank you so much for your article. My guys and I were bugged to death by eModel.com. They wanted to sign my clients, but I resisted because I just didn't think it was necessary to go through them. Anyway, there is another company in the modeling industry I am battling. It's called W.I.S.H. and is based in Pennsylvania. Go to their Website at modelrep.com. Their claims make eModel.com look tame by comparison. They don't state the quality of their "services," only the quantity. They keep e-mailing my guys through a modeling/talent Website called webtalent.com. I got a copy of their contract and... well, it was so open-ended that it really didn't guarantee anything concrete. The model even has to put up a security deposit, which he or she earns back through a profit-sharing program. It could be as little as a dollar a month. First they claimed it would take about a year, then they started saying two years and now three years to earn back the $275.

The photographers they use for their models (who come to your hometown) are of the mall or Wal-Mart type. When I asked them about these things, they threatened to sue me for libel. And they claim to be signing hundreds, even thousands, of models every week. In fact they refuse to tell me much of anything. They just repeat the same stuff over and over and over. They make it sound great, just like a car salesman. Check them out. Tell them you are a model, and send them your picture! When I tried to pin them down through e-mails, they got mad, and the owner called me an "Internet loser" and an "evil" person. Some company, huh? Thanks for your time.

Tony Whitehead
TNT Models
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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