Time to assess real Hollywood Celebrity Protection. Do you want real Executive Protection or an Untrained Buddyguard?
There are a lot of security and protection companies out there that do not want to work for celebrities. This is due to a number of factors such as celebrities often having a range of untraditional demands, a reputation for being finicky and disorganized. Plans can change at the drop of a hat or they can make unpredictable plans or decisions in the spur of the moment. Not only does this make them difficult clients, but it can also result in increased threats and potentially dangerous situations.
Unlike CEOs who will have a regimented and regular schedule week to week, celebrities often have changing schedules and itineraries and are meeting new people on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Executives, even those who are more high profile, have a smaller number of people around them that the executive protection agency can keep tabs on and thoroughly vet.
Recently, the celebrity drummer, Travis Barker, ended up going to the hospital due to a medical emergency. His security detail when following the ambulance ended up going to the wrong part of the hospital. This shows a basic lack of planning and awareness on the part of the security detail. It also could have been a life and death situation where every minute was important on getting Travis emergency medical care.
A high quality celebrity protection team will have an in depth understanding of their client’s local neighborhood and city – and know exactly where the nearest hospitals are and how to get to them quickly. Time is always going to be of essence in these types of situations, whether it is a health scare or an injury from an altercation with a dangerous individual. Failing to go to the right part of the hospital can cost precious minutes and the client could end up in a much worse shape, or even dying.
These above factors contribute greatly to the negative perception of Hollywood protection held by security and protection companies in other parts of the United States.
Private Executive Protection
In Hollywood, there is a very small number of extremely high quality executive protection companies. Then, there are the rest of the companies which are unreliable and untrustworthy without the training and knowledge required to actually keep celebrities safe. For example, these companies often use contractors instead of hiring their own agents and do not even bother to have training programs.
They also fail to foresee the myriad of challenges that come with protecting high profile individuals like celebrities. For instance, an ad hoc untrained security detail will have absolutely no clue how to handle a risky or volatile situation with the paparazzi or the increased risk of stalkers. All types of difficult issues, like use of force problems, can arise when untrained and unreliable security companies are operating. The liability can fall on the celebrity too which is the last thing you want a client dealing with.
Considering the crime increase in Los Angeles – including the celebrity hotspot of West Hollywood – high quality, reliable protection is more important than ever. The West Hollywood Mayor and city council have decided to further defund the policy despite the alarming escalation in a 137% crime increase, resulting in much slower response rates from the police – if they can even show up at all. Certain crimes are not even going to be on the police radar because they will not be prosecuted effectively. This leaves celebrities very vulnerable to being targeted for crimes like burglaries.
Why Buddyguards are Dangerous
Celebrities need to look very closely at their protection team and actually question whether the team could stop intruders from getting onto their property or carrying out a home invasion and burglary.
Unfortunately, some celebrities do not understand what quality security and protection looks like. Many times, celebrities will request the biggest agent available, but this simply does not make sense. Size has nothing to do with whether someone is a good and effective protection agent. Instead, celebrities should be asking for someone who is experienced and very well trained–with the right type of training.
Military and law enforcement training is not directly applicable for executive protection, despite what some companies might claim. If they come from these backgrounds, clients absolutely need to check that they have been cross trained with specialized executive protection training.
When celebrities choose the wrong type of protection agent, they often end up with an untrained buddyguard. This is where things can go very wrong as professional boundaries are crossed and become confusing. There are instances of buddyguards becoming friends with their clients or even romantically involved.
When this happens, the agent is often asked to do irrelevant tasks and chores around the home, like picking up food or taking a dog for a walk. The result is a buddyguard who is not even protecting his client and has become distracted by fame and the perks of being friends with a celebrity. As professional boundaries get more and more breached, the buddyguard may start to take advantage of the client, stealing from them or overbilling them for their services.
Choosing the Right Protection
It is undeniable that protecting celebrities is a different job and requires specialized training and a deep awareness of unique risk factors at play. The untrustworthy protection companies do not compare and will leave their clients exposed to numerous risks and dangers. That is why is it essential that celebrities choose an executive protection company that is known in the industry for providing specialized services and hiring agents with the right training.