Amy Player is a con artist who is now living under the male identity Andrew Blake, running some kind of bogus “awareness” group called “It’s About Power”. If you have any contact with Andy Blake/thanfiction/Victoria Bitter/Amy Player/Jordan Wood, then you need to read this post and carefully go through all the links provided. Amy Player was convicted (details differ: apparently, it was actually some kind of plea bargain) of prior offenses for running a fake charity and was arrested for identity fraud.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Confusion abounds as to the exact nature of the “conviction” and there is a new blog post that goes into detail about the plea agreement.
Moreover, Amy/Jordan/Andrew’s former partners now have blogs going into great detail about their experiences, which in some ways are even sadder and more bizarre than anything I’ve heard before. Con artist or mentally ill cult leader? You decide. You can find discussion and links to same at this blog. It’s all so terribly sad. But I think I’ve devoted enough time to looking down this rabbit hole. Back to the original post. And I’m going to make this my last update, because even though my original involvement in all this was extremely limited, years later it continues to eat the brain. Proceed with caution.
Nearly ten years ago, a young woman named Amy Player bubbled up from the oubliette and conned a lot of people out of some money, time, and sanity. She accused her own family of trafficking her for sex (a lie she later retracted,) claimed to be on the run from the IRA, claimed to channel the spirit of Mr. Frodo, and claimed to be Elijah Wood’s cousin Jordan Wood. She also claimed to magically grow a penis.
Amy/Jordan was so convincing as Jordan Wood, she managed to dupe hundreds of devoted Lord of the Rings fans into believing that she was the very person she claimed to be. As if that wasn’t enough, she even managed to convince some of the actors in the cast of Lord of the Rings, and she set up bogus charity events and conventions that bilked fan and pro alike out of thousands of dollars. She managed to bamboozle cast members, stranding a bunch of them in an airport with no plane tickets, no money, and no hotels, after they had flown to the USA all the way from New Zealand to attend a non-existent convention.
After making a mess of her own life and the lives of many others, Amy came out as a transexual, found God, cleaned up her act, and left fandom forever. Out of respect for our trans friends, we will use the pronoun “he” from now on, even though I have doubts about the sincerity of Amy in all things, including the trans claim. (EDIT: Years after this was first posted, it’s now evident that the trans claim is one of the few truths Blake ever told. Considering his long history of lying about everything from terminal heart ailments to faking a history of child sexual abuse in order to get sympathy, not to mention the many false identities he adopted, I hope our trans readers can forgive the previously expressed doubt here. I apologize for the offense. Thanks to luxshine for bringing this concern to my attention.)
You may also remember Amy as the fanfic author Victoria Bitter. Find a complete rundown of Amy’s fannish antics at the link.
Jeanine Renne, one of many fans conned by Amy of the Many Guises, wrote a book about her experiences. You’ll find a short run down of the history of the con and what happened over a bit of earth here.
Recently, a fanfic author named thanfiction, with a very small following of Harry Potter fans trailing behind, was revealed to be none other than Amy Player. Thanfiction, who as Amy had sworn to leave fandom forever (the publicly posted apology, and stupendously smart and brutal take-down of same, here,) now uses the name Andrew Blake. He solicited gifts, donations, and sells really bad photoshop-traced art of celebrity snaps.
I realize that was a cheap shot, but it’s true.
Outed as Amy once more, Andrew claimed that he was not, in fact, Amy, but that Amy was his evil twin sister.
Then he admitted in writing to Jeanine Renne, that yes, he was Amy, and here’s $100 to STFU.
Then he claimed he was dying of a rare heart ailment and would not live long.
Then he claimed he spent much of his time on the astral plane protecting innocent children from an undead shaman wizard.
Then he claimed he was leaving fandom forever. Once again. Because it’s death or college.
At this point, I don’t even know how to wrap my brain around this mess.
But it gets even worse.
Andrew/Amy has a long history of meeting lonely women on the internet, conning them, convincing them to go along with his bizarre tales of abuse and drama, and then making hash of their lives. Adult women that they are, they are partially responsible for the ensuing chaos, but this time it got ugly. (EDIT: Those who chose to get involved with Blake, even after the many warnings, are responsible for that involvement, but they are NOT responsible for anything that happens after they give up their agency. Hey, if you actually believe this dude channels Frodo, and you leave your family on that belief, that’s on you. Unfortunately, dealing with a con artist makes any informed choice virtually impossible. And after you lose your power of informed choice, you can become a victim. Sometimes, a victim of something pretty ugly. Which is why fandom posts warnings about this sort of thing, so you can make a more informed choice.)
One of the cuckolded husbands of one of Andrew’s con victims snapped, went on a shooting spree, killing his “common law” wife, a guest in their home, himself, and allegedly shooting the extremely lucky Andrew in the ankle.
Despite this desperate wound, Andrew decided the appropriate way to remember his departed girlfriend is to go on a hike to bring awareness to the plight of battered women. By walking across long expanses of dirt. And he wants you to give him money. For his charity.
Over the strong objections of the murder victim Brittany Quinn’s family, who believe Andrew was instrumental in the death of their daughter. Brittany’s father, Robert Quinn, wrote to Jeanine Renne:
We knew from the beginning that there was something not right about “Andrew” but could never get Brittany to admit anything. She went downhill, changed and acted very out of character after she met him. We suspected for a long time that “Andrew” was pushing her to sell her things, borrow money and file court actions against her ex to get more money for “Andrew”. Andrew was always whispering in her ear when she had a conversation with anyone else while he was there and had a weird control over her.
Anyway, FYI “Andrew” has moved to Denver, CO and has started another charity fan page using Brittany and her memory to get attention and money for him. He has a facebook page called “It’s About Power” and a web site www.itsaboutpower.org. It is supposedly a site to prevent domestic violence raise awareness and as always some money and sponsorships for “Andrew’s” continued adventures. The NZ trip is off and the new scam is a hike “in Brittany’s memory” along the “Trail of Tears” in the South Eastern U.S.
As you have probably guessed, most everything that “Andrew” has written about Brittany and her family is overly exaggerated figments of his/her imagination. Brittany does have 6 brothers and 2 sisters, and did a great many things as she was home-schooled with her siblings. But most of the rest is extreme exaggerations, fanciful lies and the self-serving imaginations of this sociopath. Our family is coping best we can and working with the other victims families (including the shooter’s Dad, who lives at the house where the incident occurred.) to take care of each other and try to establish somewhat normal lives again…
I just want to make sure no one else ever loses one of their children, family members or friends to this evil and sick person again and try to put a stop to “Andrew/Amy” using Brittany’s memory and image to promote his/her scams.
Andrew has a history of making extremely dubious comments about women, trans people, and even the Irish. So you can tell he’s a sensitive guy.
This fandom is infested with girls. Little bubble-headed shipperchibbies who spaz all over me because I write from the perspective of a guy, as a guy.
I’m just going to let that hang in the air for a minute there.
I have been told that my guys are blunt, agressive, hot-tempered, that my fics are unnecessarily violent, that my guys aren’t sensitive enough about their own feelings and the feelings of the girls they deal with. Um, well, I hate to break it to you, Hannah Montana, but guys are like that, and moreover, war is like that. We do not speak the same language you do. Yes, we have all had those kinds of thoughts about the Patil twins. Seamus is Irish. There is no filter between his brain and his mouth, and when Padma twists herself like that to duck a jinx, he will make a lewd comment. He’s seventeen. At least half the time, his brain is in his pants or wanting to hit someone. It’s called testosterone, and we don’t deal with it well. That’s why they make boy bands, so you don’t have to deal with the real thing.
Quoted for irony.
This sensitive guy who, under his Amy identity, was nabbed for running a bogus charity already, is now running another one. Starbucks is listed as a sponsor.
His latest attempt to weasel out of his past is to now claim he’s not Amy at all, despite the prior confession and buckets of photo evidence to the contrary. People who are saying all these bad things are just out to get him, because he’s so popular, has so many followers (the blog has 6,) and as a force for light in the world, he attracts the dark. We’re all just his shadow.
I live big, live passionately. I have people who would die for me and people who would die for the chance to have me dead. I’ve seen 37 friends die violently. I’ve been shot 4 times. I’ve been stabbed, strangled, beaten, burned, left for dead…an internet brouhaha doesn’t register as anything more than a mosquito bite.
Then you won’t mind this one.
You know, I’ve got cops in my family who’ve seen less action than this dude. Then again, they live outside their head.
I don’t know what else to say here, except to encourage you to read the links, spread the word, and to consider very carefully before you go anywhere near Andrew Blake. The charity he runs is no charity. It is not registered anywhere. Do not give this con artist your money.
If you want to support an organization which helps battered women, CLICK HERE to check out the ratings of legit charities which do real work.
Fandom isn’t always a nice place. Be careful out there.
Please spread the word about this con via Twitter, etc. Thanks.
UPDATE: Oh how nice, a little clarification just got posted at the completely superfluous “It’s About Power” non-event.
“We are NOT a charity. We do not and have never solicited monetary donations nor do we accept them.
Under any circumstances.
The hike team has, however, sold items in order to fund their emergency cash as this kind of hike can be dangerous.
The only sponsorship we are currently requesting is 78lbs. of bison (or lean red) meat.”
Isn’t that special. Never claimed to be a charity? Never solicited donations? Pull the other one.
Backpedal faster, Andrew.
Someone really ought to tell these nitwits that a gift of property is just as tangible as a gift of money, and soliciting property is still soliciting.
There is no reason for anyone to sponsor this nonsense at all. Not even to feed the animals.
UPDATE For the reading comprehension impaired: If you’re one of those people who read the post, then walked away scratching your head wondering “Gosharootie, why wasn’t Amy Player/Andrew Blake convicted already?” then READ THE LINKS. Amy Player WAS convicted (plea bargained,) given probation and a fine, and forbidden from running any more charities in the state of Oregon.
Amy Player changes identities faster than a comic book villain, is continuously on the move, and has managed to convince people that Amy is someone Andrew doesn’t even know.
My family is loaded with cops. After contacting one in the general area to report, local authorities could not be bothered. While Amy’s family lived in Williamsburg, Amy’s dastardly deeds are across state lines. If the feds don’t get involved, Amy/Andrew will be very hard to catch.
Hate to break it to you, but crime is not as easy to prosecute in real life as it is on TV.
UPDATE October 5 2011: The latest nonsense is an attempt to raise $2000 to keep one of his pals in the USA. Someone who did not get a proper Visa, but did just conveniently marry a US citizen.
I leave it to you to decide whether or not there are better things to do with your money. There are a lot of better things to do with my time.
Since all this started a decade ago, I’ve blogged about it exactly twice. That’s enough. I only met Jordan Wood the one time, and then watched as he cut a maniacal swath through the lives of fans I cared about and professionals who really weren’t in a position to deal with the mess. I feel sorry for everyone and anyone who got involved and has been harmed. More than anything, sorry for the family of the former Amy Player.
There is nothing further I can do. I get emails and links about this, hoping I’ll fight their fight for them, husbands who claim Andrew destroyed their relationships with their wives, and I simply don’t have the time to go through all of this anymore. This kind of cultish fan scheming has been going on as long as I’ve been around, and that’s more than 25 years. My blogging hasn’t stopped any of it, but it has taken up a lot of my time.
If you have a serious problem, please get professional help. Call a doctor. Call a lawyer. Call the police. Far more manipulative and financially devastating schemes have been perpetuated in fandom, and almost every time, the culprit gets away with a slap on the wrist. I know its hard, I know its embarrassing, I know its time consuming.
I sincerely hope everyone who has ever been involved with this bizarre cult is able to get away and get the help they need.
NO MORE FOR ME THANKS, I’M DRIVING: I am not in a position to update this any longer. If you wish to follow this story from someone who is entitled to speak more than anyone else, this is a heartbreaking account. I cried reading this blog. And this, which everyone should read, such a brilliant analysis of everything that has gone down, and continues to go down. Very astute.
I’ve been stalked by more than my fair share of deranged fans who can convince people of anything and get them to do anything. Twenty years of abuse, before the fan was finally committed to a mental hospital.
There are wonderful, kind people in fandom, and there are broken, manipulative people who prize their status and power in fandom above all. And who will do anything to get the people around them to reinforce their delusions. And fandom, so quick to support the underdog, and so slow to realize what they’re doing is just enabling.
I’ve been there. And how.
Things get better, but not until you break away. And it’s not easy. I know.
Thanks for stopping by. Here is my home page. Because I have books to write and illustrations to make for real publishers, and this is not getting me any closer to my deadlines, folks. Good luck, and take care.
OK, Wankers. Stop playing these stupid games.
Today I received a note alleging that Andy Blake was delighted to pass the word that I had “backed down” from my “denigrating him”. This is a lie.
I have backed down from nothing, but have received a number of rather suspicious notes from third parties allegedly trying to “help” me through the maze of the scandal, and to warn me off of having anything to do with the victims involved, since they are obviously a bunch of liars.
Here is the exact text of the letter my assistant Zoe sent to one of these people, who professed concern about my “credibility” in quoting these moral reprobates:
Dear Ms J (name redacted),
Thank you for your kind note.
Ms Doran is a reputable illustrator and writer, and is not concerned about her credibility here. She is not going to go back and edit a blog post that is years old. She has had virtually no contact with Ms Renne, and as she has stated repeatedly on her blog, she has no further interest in blogging about, or hearing about anything to do with Andy Blake/Amy Player, or anyone else involved in that nonsense.
It’s unfortunate Sean Astin had problems with Ms Renne, but Ms Doran isn’t a party to the action and has no standing in the matter.
As you do not want to be involved against your will, Ms Doran has no wish to be involved against her will with whatever dispute you have with Ms Renne, unless you want us to post your note as some kind of caveat.
What a shocker we were not given permission to post ANY of these daffy letters.
I back down from nothing except the time sink of having to deal with this. I cannot and will not continue because I am busy and have three book contracts to complete. While Andrew and his ilk obviously love the attention, I am not going to give any of this any more of my attention, other than to let this post stand for all eternity. I back down from nothing, and retract nothing.
The letter made a number of unverifiable accusations against Ms Renne to which I cannot speak, because I have no idea what they are going on about, but could probably pick up the phone and call J Michael Straczynski to verify, since I work with him and he knows Sean Astin. We all have better things to do. I do not want to argue about it with some total stranger who cannot stand by their words in public.
I am no longer willing to be involved in blogging or vetting this matter. About once every six months this bubbles up again, and there are plenty of other online resources where you can find recent info. I’m not in a position to do so.
Also, I find it hilarious and pathetic that one of Andy’s deluded followers actually claims “one or two” people on this blog have sought out Andrew Blake to threaten him! Oh…really. Would that be one or two? Or a Baker’s Dozen?
No one on this blog (because that would be me,) has tracked you down, sought you out, or threatened you in any way, as you well know, you lying crackpots.
Get lost and get a real life. Yes, a real one.
And for the rest of you, good luck and take care, as always.