Movies

Surprised by Ronni Chasen Media Feeding Frenzy?

| by Hollywood Elsewhere

Last night Hollywood Reporter guy David Ciminelli pointed to a KTLA news report saying that ballistics tests of a gun that belonged to Harold Smith, the ex-con loser who shot himself last week when Beverly Hills detectives approached him as a "person of interest" in the murder of Ronni Chasen, "reportedly show that the bullet used by Smith in his suicide is not the same type of bullet used to kill Chasen."

Smith may have just been a wacko, but the ballistic test means nothing, of course. Anyone involved in a hit knows that you either leave the weapon at the scene with no prints, or you throw the weapon into the ocean or a lake or bury it out in the desert, and that you sure as hell don't carry it around so you can use it to shoot yourself if the cops pay a visit.

Meanwhile Chasen's brother, director-screenwriter Larry Cohen, has told N.Y. Times reporters Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes that Smith "was a 'deranged person' who lied about any involvement in the high-profile case, and suggested that his sister may have been a victim of road rage."

And on another, entirely unrelated front, longtime indie publicist Reid Rosefelt has penned a lament about the tabloid feeding frenzy sparked by Chasen's killing. I agree with Rosefelt about the ick, but then no one should be surprised or shocked by this.

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"Oh, come on, Reid...this is tailor-made for the stinkies," I replied after reading his piece. "You know what the media world is like these days. It would be bizarre if they weren't pouncing all over this thing in as many ways as they are. You couldn't create a more lurid tabloid-type story if you dreamt it up. Five in the chest on Sunset Boulevard? A questionable fringe type shoots himself when the cops come calling?

"The only thing missing is sex, or some kind of love-gone-wrong angle involving an angry ex-boyfriend or something along those lines. If this had happened in the early to mid '50s Confidential would have been all over it for weeks and months on end.

"When a sudden and violent death happens, people feel threatened, and in the absence of leads or solid facts, they naturally speculate. It's somehow comforting to do this, and very human, when you think of it."