Florida teenager Jennifer Mee garnered her 15 minutes of fame by hiccupping, non-stop, for approximately five weeks in 2007. Now, according to ABCNews.com, Mee, known the world over as the “Hiccup Girl,” has been charged with first-degree murder, the result of a “robbery gone wrong.”
Mee (now 19) allegedly “lured the victim” to a house where two other men were waiting to rob him. When the victim fought back, he was shot several times in the ensuing melee and died at the scene.
The “Hiccup Girl” and her co-suspects could now face the death penalty.
Jennifer Mee isn’t the only celebrity du jour to learn the hard way that, while fame is fleeting, infamy is forever – and lonely.
A Real Riot
While the “Hiccup Girl” was making the obligatory rounds on the talk show circuit, we barely noticed the passing of the 15-year anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles race riots. According to Time.com, the event that sparked the civil unrest was the acquittal of a group of white police officers who were caught on tape beating Rodney King, an African-American man who allegedly resisted arrest after leading police on a high-speed chase down a Los Angeles freeway. King became a household name when he rhetorically asked, “Can we all just get along?” in response to the violence.
King’s brief time in the spotlight was later overshadowed by a failed rap label (Time reports that he squandered much of his multi-million dollar settlement on the project) and a lengthy arrest record, including charges of domestic abuse, DUI, indecent exposure, and drug abuse.
Who says figure skating isn’t a contact sport? In 1994, Nancy Kerrigan was brutally assaulted while practicing for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Her knee severely damaged, she was forced to drop out of the competition. Tonya Harding, Kerrigan’s closest rival at the time, captured the championship.
Harding soon became the focus of intense media scrutiny during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and her fall from figure skating champion to villainess and, later, convicted criminal seemed to occur in a Norwegian minute when her ex-husband was charged with the assault and Harding was linked to the crime.
In an in-depth interview with the former skating star, Oprah Winfrey noted that shortly after the Lillehammer games, Harding “was convicted of conspiracy to hinder prosecution” in the Kerrigan affair. Domestic violence charges in 1998 and an arrest for drunk driving in 2002 followed.
Ballooning Out of Control
The ’90s were fun, but nothing beats the sheer spectacle of a hoax that captures the attention of the nation and is magnified by the power of the Internet Age – and nothing captivated us more in 2009 than the saga of the “Balloon Boy” and his attention-seeking father.
After 6-year-old Falcon Heene appeared to admit to the world that his parents’ weather balloon story was actually “for a show,” it was as if the world could smell the beginning of the end of demented dad Richard Heene’s time in the limelight. According to CNN.com, Richard Heene pleaded guilty to “a felony count of attempting to influence a public servant,” served jail time, and (as reported recently by Radaronline.com) is now selling back scratching posts.
Like so many others who have gone before, “Hiccup Girl” will be nothing more than a passing sensation, relegated to future “Where Are They Now?” blurbs on obscure blogs and easily forgotten as the fickle public mind seeks new fascinations and flavors of the month. So it goes in the age of the instant – and often tortured – celebrity of the moment.
Russell Goldman, “‘Hiccup Girl,’ 19, Charged with First-Degree Murder.” ABCNews.com
Madison Gray, “The L.A. Riots: 15 Years After Rodney King.” Time.com
“Tonya Harding’s Skating Scandal.” The Oprah Winfrey Show
“Feared Lost in Balloon, Boy Found at Home.” MSNBC.com
“Heene Reports for Jail in ‘Balloon Boy’ Hoax.” CNN.com
“‘Balloon Boy’ Dad Richard Heene Now Selling Back Scratching Posts.” Radaronline.com