Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial

A Media Feeding Frenzy

On the advice of her attorneys, Ginny hadn't been saying much to the media. She granted a few limited interviews but, for the most part, she kept quiet, not wanting to risk saying anything that could create doubt in people's minds and be used against her. But, unlike Ginny, Jack Sidote was relishing his fifteen minutes of fame. He granted interviews to so-called "men's magazines" and national network TV stations, including one that aired on CBS in which he called Ginny a "no-good bitch" and a "whore." It was even reported that he was trying to sell his story rights to a book. The result was that his side was the one most often heard and read and Ginny was made to look like evil incarnate; a scheming, seductive siren who led him astray from the respectable life he'd led prior to meeting her.

Journalists who went after Ginny's story, Ellen Hawkes wrote in Feminism on Trial, discovered biographical facts that "indicated less a passive woman than someone who, for whatever reasons or goals, had changed herself dramatically several times in her life. Her metamorphoses seemed to occur at turning points that didn't just happen, but that Foat herself chose, often coinciding with the choice of a mate. In that sense, even her feminist conversion had the look of a love affair, her life suddenly given over with the same passionate intensity to the romance of sisterhood, her identity totally redefined with her new commitment. These involvements in her life had roused her to new roles . . ."

In the meantime, the feeding frenzy of the media circus was in full swing. As Ginny's plane approached New Orleans International Airport, radio reports of her imminent arrival were being broadcast. On landing, the reporters and cameramen were all over her, pressing her for comments. One reporter, with more temerity than the others actually asked her if she was guilty and, when she refused to answer, he shouted into his microphone, "She's not answering!" as if that was an admission of her guilt.

Driven from the airport to Gretna, just across the Greater New Orleans Bridge from New Orleans, Ginny was remanded to the Jefferson Parish Jail. The media circus continued there until she was taken to her cell beyond the reach of reporters. Two hours after being incarcerated, she had her first meeting with Reed and Glass. The next day she was brought before Judge Robert Burns of the 24th Judicial District Court. He set bail at $125,000, which was put up by a prominent woman physician from New Orleans. Ginny was free, pending her trial.

Out on bail, Ginny had to return to California and straighten out some personal matters. She was also talking to a number of individuals about a book and movie deal related to her story. Her legal expenses were threatening to climb into the six-figure range and receiving payment for telling her story, she hoped, might help defray some of those expenses. According to one report, she later received a $150,000 advance against royalties for a book about her life.

Ginny also had to get to New York to see her father who had suffered a heart attack. By the time Ginny arrived Gus had sunk into a coma and was on life support devices in a hospital in Poughkeepsie. Faced with the decision of whether or not to "pull the plug," the family decided to let him go. He died in May 1983.

 

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