A commenter wrote to me about my criticism of Laura Hoeppner, who wants to do a documentary about Chet.
The commenter wrote:
I have questions for Frank.
Did he really lie to the producers about victims?
Did he really tell them that certain victims wouldn’t speak to them unless he was involved?
I don’t believe for one minute Frank is in this game to only help people. That’s a great cover, but we all know that ultimately Frank is after a juicy story that can bring him more attention.
He wants to present the story as contrived and convoluted as he can to get more followers and to game notoriety and fame.
I don’t know how anyone can read these reports and not see that.
And I regretfully can’t seem to look away.
So Frank, what’s the truth? Are you an advocate for the victims or an adversary? What is your end game here?
I am not advocating for anyone. This story does not need contrivances or convolutions. This twisted story nobody could make up.
I will not judge who is victim, part victim, predator, part victim- part predator, and who is a consenting adult.
Too much crying ‘I am a victim,” makes a person weak. The world only sympathizes with strength and courage.
I am not law enforcement. I am not a victim advocate.
I present facts as I see them, the way I want to write them, and new facts may change my opinion tomorrow.
If my stories help someone get out, leave a bad place, stop some asshole from being an asshole. Or prevent someone from following that asshole or another asshole, I will be glad, but that is not why I do this.
I like to write and solve investigations. That is my reward.
As for Laura Hoeppner, she was dishonest. But so what? I run into dishonesty all the time.
I do not dislike Laura. I wish her well.
She came to me in October about doing a documentary on Ramtha. I told her I had a better idea.
She had never heard of Shoemaker. I pointed to my stories and explained how to make the documentary.
Laura was interested.
A few days later, she presented Myles Reis, a man she said won an Emmy for producing the second season of Leah Remini and Scientology.
I understood it was the first season that won the Emmy, and the second season bombed with Myles as producer.
The scandals were unfortunate—the suppressed episode about Danny Masterson. An attorney named Martin Singer allegedly intimidated the producers.
As long as I was a producer, no attorney would intimate me.
So I was willing to work with them.
They set up a Zoom call. It went well. They sent an agreement. I sent them a counteroffer. I wanted to have equal creative control.
They told me they would send the contract to their attorney and return with a counter to my counteroffer.
I was good with that.
They wanted to do a sizzle reel. I told them exactly how to do it to capture the story in six minutes.
It was November.
I got texts from Laura.
Laura: Update: we shared the contract with our lawyer and agents but we’d like to chat with you for more understanding before we offer our counters.
Laura: Hey Frank, we had our meeting with our lawyer today. We will have revisions by Thursday, fingers crossed! They’re a bit busy over there!
Frank: Sounds great Laura
Laura: Hi Frank, we are getting the revised contract tonight
Frank: Ok great. Look forward to hearing from you
Laura: Hey Frank. We still didn’t receive the revised contract [from their lawyers]. We just checked in. Hoping to have it soon and get going on everything together soon
Frank: Sounds good. I understand that things take time.
Laura: Hey Frank, they are still finishing up. Hopeful for tomorrow!
Frank: Sounds good.
December came. I heard nothing from Laura and Myles. But I heard from some of my sources whom I identified to Laura and Myles. Laura was contacting them to film.
While Laura asked me to wait as they “finished up” the contract, they were stalling me. They wanted to make the documentary without me.
I texted Laura and asked why she told me to wait, then went behind my back?
Laura: We sought counsel on how to make a show under parameters you were asking for and found it was not possible. Myles and I have been doing this a long time and we felt it wasn’t possible to meet the demands.
Frank: Why didn’t you let me know out of courtesy?
It seemed obvious they could not let me know. They were worried I might make the documentary without them.
They needed to get the jump. That’s business in their world.
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And if the first step is dishonest, where will the journey end?
Laura and Myles got into this because of me and chose deception to advance without me .
That is their decision.
The man they wish to make the documentary about made the same choice about honesty 50 years ago.
I want to advise readers on how to sign a good release and make an informed decision.
I do not care if people decide to sign a release with them and get burned, as long as they are informed.
I do not care if Hoeppner and Reis do the documentary.
By the time this documentary airs, if it ever does, it will be a year and a half or two years from now.
By that time, I will have done my work. The authorities will arrest Shoemaker. Or he will flee the country, or it may turn out there was abuse but no provable crimes.
Long before there is a documentary, I will finish my work.
And no one can take from me that I was the one who brought this story out, pulled it out of 20 years of dust and hiding. And put the heat on it and got the job done. And did it without fear of Chet or his minions. And others made documentaries and came out of hiding when it was safe to do so after I cut the path.