Paris Hilton is dealing with the cops again, and this time it doesn’t have to do with cocaine in (allegedly) her purse. On Tuesday, police arrested an intruder on the property of her Los Angeles mansion, her second security scare of the year, after a man allegedly wielding two knives on her porch in August was charged with burglary. “So scary,” Paris tweeted at the time. But until Hilton goes into seclusion in an isolated location, “my advice to her would be beef up your security,” says former police officer Carson Thompson, founder of Protection 4 the Stars, whose clients include LeBron James, R. Kelly, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Thompson talked to NEWSWEEK about celebrity security and what it’s like protecting Brüno. Excerpts:
How often do celebrities need security?
Constantly. A lot of the clients get comfortable: “I’m good tonight; you can go home.” That’s when things happen. I constantly check your doors, make rounds on the property, walk down the street, take pictures of the cars, see what cars are usually on the street.
So you’re like the secret service. How do you protect a client?
Simple things. If LeBron [James] wants to go to a restaurant, I find out where the bathroom is ahead of time. I also locate how many exits there are in case we get bombarded.
Why do you check the bathroom?
Some bathrooms have nooks and crannies. We make sure it doesn’t have any cupboards where a body can hide. You don’t know how crazy people are. You have to go inside their crazy minds.
Give me a story.
I was with a client—I can’t say who, but he was a recording artist. We had the whole floor of a hotel. Some person got up through the elevator and came to the room wearing a maid’s uniform. But we noticed she was also wearing heels. Most cleaning ladies wear something more comfortable on their feet. One of the guys stopped her and said, “Hey, is this a new getup?” Once we started questioning her, things didn’t add up.
What did she want?
We don’t know exactly. “I want an autograph. I want a picture. I’m your biggest fan.” We move that person away from endangering our client.
Paris Hilton had an alleged prowler at her house this week. What’s the difference between a prowler and a stalker?
A prowler is someone that they’ve never seen before, looking around. A stalker knows your birthday, where you’re going to be, your shoe size, what you wore yesterday and the day before.
Are stalkers more dangerous?
Most of them are not dangerous. Our research says they’re not there to kill. They’re just so infatuated with you—your life, your hair, your beauty. It’s an obsession. An attraction. A sexual type of thing. That’s what a stalker feeds on.
Do you have any clients who use Twitter?
One of our football players, Martellus Bennett. I always tease him about Twitter.
What do you tell him?
I tell them if they want to tweet, [they should] “tweet behind.” Which means when you say, “I’m at the gym,” you actually left the gym an hour ago. If you don’t want to interact with your fans, don’t give them a timeline to interact with you.
You’ve also done security for Sacha Baron Cohen. Is he in character or out?
Sacha is never out of character. I was in Brüno.
How did that happen?
We were shooting the movie in Dallas. They told people in an audience, “We want to talk about parenting issues.” Once Sacha came out and told them he traded an iPod for the black baby, there are a lot of things in the movie you didn’t see. That crowd went apes--t. These people yanked the stroller, yanked the baby. It was just chaos. They were storming the stage. They were trying to take the baby from Sacha, trying to hurt Sacha.
Do you ever get injured?
Yeah, you get scratches. We want to be less forceful. We don’t want to hurt anyone.
How expensive is it to hire an agency like yours?
It can be very expensive. It just depends on the contract. It can be hourly or yearly.