You know how, sometime, when you’re watching a film/TV drama or reading a book, it turns out that one of peripheral characters in the story ends up being much more interesting than any of the leading players?
Well, its seems that for the attention that yesterday’s investigative piece on the Playfoot Chastity Ring case has attracted, there may well be an element to this story even more bizarre than that of the UK franchise holders of a US evangelical chastity campaign using their daughter as a legal stormtrooper for god.
One of the more curious elements in yesterday’s story was the matter of the apparent partial unpersoning of Denise Pfeiffer, Silver Ring Thing’s erstwhile ‘Media Consultant’ on SRT’s website. As you may recall, SRT’s website displays a picture of Pfeiffer identifying her as their media consultant, but her text profile has been removed from the ’staff’ page, despite summaries from Google search spiders showing that this profile did exist and was once clearly on display.
Up to a couple of hours ago, the mystery of Ms Pfeiffer’s disappearing profile had been left hanging on a conjectural poin, which rested on the possible inconvenience of a photograph from a 2006 lingerie modelling photo-shoot that features prominently on Pfeiffer’s profile page on an on-line model agency website.
That was then, this is now and following several email exchanges and a fair bit of digging by both myself and Tim Ireland, it seems that there’s rather more to Pfeiffer than was initially apparent, very little of which is going to come as good news to the Playfoots (Playfeet? Hell I don’t know) or Silver Ring Thing.
First things first - let’s quickly dispose of any trace elements of ‘plausible deniability’ surrounding Pfeiffer’s involvement with the Silver Ring Thing franchise. She was directly involved in bringing the programme to the UK in 2004, at which time she was described as its ‘Assistant National Director’:
In 2004, SRT began expanding operations into the United Kingdom, with mixed results. While some teens in the UK embraced the message of abstinence, others rejected and even ridiculed SRT for being anti-sex. Critics have stated that it seems unlikely that abstinence programmes will attract widespead support in the UK but the group’s Assistant National Director for the UK, Denise Pfeiffer says there is a real need for such a movement in the UK to curb the ever-increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies, both of which are the highest in Western Europe. (source)
Pfeiffer also appears to have handled much of the promotion for the first SRT ‘tour’ of the UK:
THE SILVER RING THING SET TO WIN UK TEENS FOR GOD AND CHASTITY
By Denise Pfeiffer
The Silver Ring Thing – a faith-based abstinence program which has been tremendously successful in the USA – isheading to the UK and Ireland for an eight-venue tour. The tour will take on the same format as previous hugely successful tours in the US, moving the chastity message out of the church or school health class and into a club-style atmosphere which will capture the young audience with its high-tech sound, lighting, special effects and comedy.
In addition to this, at each venue there will be a seminar for parents, which will inform and educate them on how the epidemic of sexually transmitted infectionsiscrippling teenagers. Every day thousands of young people are infected with a new STI. Parentsand teenagerswill learn how saving sex for marriage is the best and the only healthy, faithful and moral way forward for young people living in today’s society.
Source: pp7, Christian Voice newsletter (May 2004) - yes, THAT Christian Voice.
An article that also helpfully advises the newsletter’s reader(s?) that:
(The cost to purchase a silver ring in all United Kingdom Silver Ring Shows is £10. It is also recommended that students bring additional spending money for snacks and SRT merchandise.)
People are encouraged to organize and pre-register a group of 5 or more, to help confirm attendance quotasfor each area. 300 or more people must be pre-registered by June 1, 2004 for each scheduled location so the program can be confirmed.
And she did the post-tour publicity as well - this time on the website of the ‘Christian Family Network’, in which she provides a touching tale of life on the road for the STR Tour Crew.
After all, it seems to many as though this can’t surely be hard work – travelling with those of a like mind to other countries and promoting a message you believe in. But hard work it had certainly been. Many would be surprised at just how hard these youngsters have worked to bring their message of self-restraint to the sex-obsessed British. Shows would finish at 9.30pm and it would take another two hours to clean, pack and, hardest of all, carry the equipment out of the building and onto the waiting lorry.
After that, they would travel in extremely cramped conditions, through the night to their next destination, arriving there in the early hours of the morning. Sometimes that end destination would be a comfortable room provided by a supporter of the cause, but on other occasions they would have to settle for something more basic such as a shared dorm at a youth hostel.
Early morning starts an essential requirement in a country where getting lost was all too familiar, the crew would often be surviving on less than four hours sleep per night. No surprise then, that early visitors to venues could find bodies curled up in sleeping bags whilst others stepped over them to set up the equipment. In addition to this, each of these youngsters or their parents have had to contribute at least $400 to their airfare. In fact, contrary to some reports, only a small proportion of the SRT’s funding comes from the Bush administration – most of their funding comes directly from donations.
Awww - most of the funding comes from donations… like the $400 a throw, these kids had to put up to come to the UK to work these shows. Pay to play is obviously alive and well in god’s own country…
You get the picture here? Whatever her current involvement (or maybe non-involvement) in Silver Ring Thing (UK), she’s in no sense a minor player in bringing the programme to the UK, nor indeed is chastity until marriage her only sales pitch - when she’s not flogging silver rings to teenagers, she owns and operates a website called Celibrate, which promotes celibacy in all its forms, as its aims and objectives make plain:
Celibrate aims to:
provide support, encouragement, advice, information and acceptance for everyone living without sex, whether a virgin, asexual, chaste or celibate, for whatever reason…
increase awareness about asexuality and endeavour to have it recognised as a sexuality in its own right.
And in case you’re still thinking that is all just more of the same religion-inspired professional virgin shtick, Pfeffer spells out her own position in this post at another abstinence website - ambrosian.org:
Did anyone see the article re: “I cant have sex” in Woman magazine earlier this month or the article “I Want to Stay a Virgin Forever” in the Daily Mail recently? If so, I’d love any feedback, since both were about myself and I would like to contact others who are asexual: Denise, PO Box 5054, Leicester, LE2 3EE.
This was posted by: Denise Pfeiffer, 25 (source)
Now I don’t know about you, but personally I find the idea of woman who’s big ambition in life is to win a Darwin Award lecturing teenagers about sex and sexuality just mite disconcerting, reproduction (and therefore sex) being, well, somewhat essential for the continuation of the species. She thinks asexuality should be recognised as a form of sexuality in its own right, others may see it as, at best, a phobia and at worst, a suitable candidate for a sectioning order - and if you’re a parent your view is somewhere between those option then the thought of letting Pfeiffer loose on a bunch of impressionable teenagers is just the kind of thing to give you the screaming ab-dabs.
Of course, no post dealing with asexuality would be complete without a reference to the Prince of Plastic Surgery, Michael Jackson, and sure enough Pfeiffer is bit of a fan of Jacko, as this spirited defence of the man (?) against the evils of Channel 4 documentary makers shows:
One of your criteria for complaints is that a programme is not impartial. This was not only devoid of impartiality, but seemingly also devoid of any human feeling towards a man who has not yet stood trial for the alleged crime. Those people chosen to put their views across were deliberately chosen because of their belief that Michael Jackon is guilty of child abuse - the former accuser’s uncle, the constant focus on the former accuser, Diane Dimond (reporter on Hard Copy who has been completely hostile with regards to Michael Jackson for the last ten years and has resorted to broadcasting many provable lies in order to blacken his character), a hostile psychiatrist, former ranch employees, people likely to be bitter because Michael is no longer in contact with them…the list goes on. DESPITE the fact that Emmanuel Lewis, Macaulay Culkin, Frank Cascio and all other boys mentioned say that absolutely nothing went on, the narrator constantly made suggestions throughout insinuating that Michael is indeed guilty.
(Source [second post in thread] - mirrored from MJCafe.net forum)
Personally, I like this bit…
This programme was tabloid junk in the extreme, and a case for the prosecution. It was prejudiced, biased, subjective and obviously deliberately shown to influence the public just before the trial begins. Therefore, it was also extremely insensitive.
“Therefore, it was also extremely insentive” - so there!!!
Of course, there are fans and then there are FANS:
Also in 1994, a British-born Michael Jackson fan, Denise Pfeiffer, was charged with making obscene calls to the father of the boy who accused the pop star of molesting him. (source)
So far as can be ascertained, we are talking about the same Denise Pfeiffer here - she was deported after this incident.
Pfeiffer’s next appearance in on-line dispatche, places her is even more curious company (no seriously), that of a Clive Potter, who like Pfeiffer lives in the Leicester area.
Several internet postings from 2000 onwards describe Pfeiffer as Potter’s girlfriend, which sounds ordinary enough until you also discover that Clive Potter is a senior figure in the British National Party, a former parliamentary candidate in Leicester East North-West Leicestershire, President (last year, at least) of its fake Trade Union, Solidarity and also President of the BNP’s religious front operation, the self-styled ‘Christian Council of Britain‘.
Most of the reports linking Pfeiffer to Potter date from around 2000, and come from anti-fascist activists:
Leicester’s Mardi Gras event has been cancelled after Denise Pfeiffer, an ex Mickey Mouse saleswoman, NF supporter, fanatical Michael Jackson fan (since he became white) and former model told them to beat it. Denise Pfeiffer and the ‘Silent Majority’ tell us they are not homophobic, but are simply promoting family values. This is quite strange considering Denise Pfeiffer scaled a 8ft fence lined with spikes, entered a house and then proceeded to threaten the family of Jordy Chandler, who happens to be the boy Michael Jackson paid £15m after allegations of abuse.
Not everything in this situation is black and white, for instance, the ‘Silent Majority’ share similarities with the Jackson Five due to there being only five of them.
The plug has been pulled on the Mardi Gras after threats from the National Front and pressure from Leicester’s answer to Eva Brown. Leaflets printed by the NF proclaimed ’sexual deviants and perverts are coming to Abbey Park to promote their sick way of life’.
All is not lost though, Unity Against Prejudice believe that NF supporter Denise Pfeiffer is just forever blowing Bubbles and they are to stage an alternative Mardi Gras which, they believe, will be as easy as ABC. Denise, denies reports that ‘Billie Jean is not my lover’ although she freely admits ‘I’m bad, I’m bad, I know it’.
A starry eyed Unity Against Prejudice spokesperson told SchNews “we’re hoping for sunshine, moonlight, good time, I blame it on the boogie. - We’re sure it’s going to be a thriller. (source)
Obvious, usual cautions should be applied with unverified material, but the backstory to this, the cancellation of Leicester’s Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Mardi Gras following threats of violence from the Far Right is backed up by this July 29th 2000 report from the Anti-Nazi League’s archives (scroll down the page) - although in this case Potter is cited as the main ringleader.
Quite what the status of Pfeiffer’s relationship with Potter might be today (and don’t all say ‘fucking frustrating’ at once) or even whether the two remain in contact is entirely uncertain, although as late at 2003 it looks very much as if Pfeiffer might have assisted Potter by helping him to get work as an extra on a short film production called ‘The Country Murders’ in which Pfeiffer (who’s also an actress) played the character ‘Gail Hope’.
Gary Roberts [James Allen]
Clare Hanson [Kate Beck]
Emma-Jane Redman [Jemma Moss]
Denise Pfeiffer [Gail Hope]
Teresa Hodson [TV gallery production assistant]
Michael Aggio [TV news director]
Darren York [floor manager]
Kenneth Huggett, Kirsty Morrison [couple]
Peter Hurley [driver]
Stephen Elliott, Andrew Hodson, Margaret Hodson, Val Kerrigan, Clive Potter [extras]
Details on Pfeiffer’s alleged flirtation with the Far Right are, admittedly, sketchy, but still one cannot help but picture the virginal Ms Pfeiffer and her beau enjoying a romantic, candlelit dinner before repairing to the piano to duet on a selection of tunes from Wagner (The Ring, of course) followed by a rousing chorus of ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me‘ from Cabaret - none of which is particularly relevant to the main narrative here, but the Wagner gag does give me an excuse to throw in, for entirely gratuitous reasons, this YouTube video of the greatest cartoon of all time. What’s Opera Doc
Right, where are we up to?
We’ve done the celibacy bit, the Jacko obsession and the Nazi boyfriend - and we’ve killed the wabbit!
That just leaves Pfeiffer’s media consultancy thing, which on her now deleted Wikipedia page, stated that she works for a UK ‘media watchdog’.
What do think that means? OFCOM? Press Complaints Commission?
No, it means MediaMarch, which was apositely described by Nick Barlow as occupying “the part on the Venn diagram where Mediawatch and Christian Voice intersect” - visitors from Iain Dale’s blog who’ve been asking in his comments where the Muslim angle is in all this might like to note that Sir Iqbal Sacranie attended one of MediaMarch’s gigs, or they could just visit Harry Place, which has all the Muslim ‘angles’ you could ever wish for.
And that, as they say, is that, apart from noting that Pfeiffer appears to have found the whole civil partnership’s debate a tad confusing.
Should cohabiting partners enjoy similar rights to married couples?
These proposals are the Government’s way of putting another nail into the coffin of the institution of marriage. The arrangements proposed would be open to abuse by those seeking to set up a home with a wealthy partner and then fleecing them in court later.
Denise Pfeiffer, Leicester.
The law will give homosexual couples the same property and inheritance rights as married heterosexual couples. But what of unmarried heterosexual couples? Is the government saying now that they have to get married to be afforded the same rights as homosexual couples? What about those who don’t feel it appropriate or necessary to get married, but who are still committed to one another?
And, of course, a big thank you goes out to Tim Ireland for pitching in behind the scenes and unearthing a fair old chunk of the source material for this post. This post of Tim’s from 2004, on the US SRT operation, is well worth a read, as is this 2005 article from the Washington Post on the little problem they had with the messy business of the constitutional separation of church and state (also via Tim).
Now that really is your lot, and if I were you I’d go back and watch What’s Opera Doc again.
Th-th-th-that’s all folks.
This intriguing addition in the comments from the excellent Sue D’Onym:
Evening Standard (London)
May 25, 1994
Jackson stalker put on probation
BYLINE: Liz Hodgson,Pat Malone
A BRITISH Michael Jackson fan who was bailed out by actress Lynn Redgrave after being arrested for threatening the family of the boy who accused the star of molesting him has been put on probation.
Denise Pfeiffer, 24, from Hinckley, Leicestershire, did not contest charges of vandalism and petty theft, and was given three years’ probation.
Pfeiffer, who spent about £7,000 following her idol around the world, plans to return to Britain within the next month.
She was arrested last month after her self-styled mission to save the tarnished star’s reputation went sour, and was charged with spray-painting graffiti outside the surgery of Beverly Hills dentist Evan Chandler, whose son Jordy is at the centre of the abuse investigations.
She was also charged with stealing keys to the office toilets and making threatening phone calls. In a pre-trial plea-bargaining agreement, the phone charge was dropped.
After her arrest Pfeiffer was jailed in the tough Sybil Brand women’s jail until Lynn Redgrave, 51, offered to put up her £10,000 bail.
Former office worker Pfeiffer took a string of menial jobs in Los Angeles to stay in the same city as Jackson, and held vigils at the courthouse where a grand jury considered charges against him.
Together with Ms Pfeiffer’s attempt to make the lingerie shot in the previous post disappear, set me off on a little more digging around for information, which threw up a rather interesting little fact.
According to her modelling profile, Ms Pfeiffer is currently 27 years of age, and this seems to fit with her CV on Actors UK (PDF), where she appears as Denise M Pfeiffer (and as an youthful Esther Rantzen lookalike) which doesn’t give her age but has a work history dating back to a recording contract with a minor label - Gotham Records - from 1997 - 2000, which her modelling profile refers to as follows:
She has been writing lyrics since the age of 12, had a recording contract as a teenager, and continues to sing and write songs in between modelling and writing assignments.
And this also fits with this short profile from a Shortopedia page on pop singers:
Denise Pfeiffer (b. Leicester, 1980), is a model, freelance writer and advocate of chastity. Orphaned at the age of six, she immersed herself in her two great passions in life, music and writing. She released her first pop single at the age of 17, entitled Can You Feel My Love on Gotham Records. At twelve, she became a Christian and remains committed to a life of chastity and sexual abstinence. She is now press officer for a UK media watchdog and the Assistant National Director for the sexual abstinence group The Silver Ring Thing UK.
Yep, born 1980 would make her 27 now - but it wouldn’t have made her 24 years old in 1994, when she was nicked in the States for hassling Evan Chandler, give three years probation and then deported.
Oooh decisions, decisions - who’s right here?
Well, let’s do a Loyd Grossman and look at the evidence - 1994 at the claimed age of 14 years of age:
1. Pfeiffer has spent £7,000 on going to Michael Jackson concerts around the world on her own and without any parental supervision.
2. Pfeiffer is described as ‘a former office worker’ who took a string of ‘menial jobs’ in dear old Last Ass to stay near to Jacko.
3. The Evening Standard puts her as having spent time in the now closed Sybil Brand Institute for Women, which sounds like a right shithole - none of this cushy Paris Hilton scream-until-you-puke business for our Ms Pfeiffer:
The Sybil Brand Institute (in full, the Sybil Brand Institute For Women) was a famous county jail in Los Angeles County, California. The facility was named after Sybil Brand (May 8, 1899-February 17, 2004), a noted local philanthropist and civic leader.
It was built in 1963 as a minimum to maximum security facility and was the primary Los Angeles County women’s correctional facility. Though designed to hold 900, its peak occupancy was 2,800. It is located at 4500 East City Terrace Drive, in Monterey Park, California.
It is perhaps best known as the jail where Susan Atkins admitted to fellow inmate Virginia Graham, that she and other members of the Manson family were responsible for the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. Another famous inmate was Susan McDougal, of Whitewater scandal fame.
It was forced to close in 1997 after sustaining extensive damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It has yet to be reopened or remodeled due to persistent budget shortfalls affecting both Los Angeles County and the state of California.
In the meantime, it has become a popular location for filming, hosting two or three productions per month. Movies and TV shows that were shot here include the Johnny Depp film Blow, Arrest and Trial, Gangland, The X-Files, and America’s Most Wanted. As a women’s prison, the interior walls are pink and are usually painted over before filming.
Do we go with Pfeiffer’s claim about her age or do we think that the Evening Standard article points to a bit of creative accounting leading to a terminological inexactitude of ten years in the date of birth.
Mmm - it’s a toughie, but my money’s on the Evening Standard.
Oh, and before I go, if you’ve got Real Player (and a tin ear) then I can give you this fine example of Ms Pfeiffer’s efforts as a would-be 1990s pop diva, called, appropriately enough ‘Love is a Lonely Word‘.
‘Shite’ is a better one.