As we've reported, Colorado's Gerald Foos says he spied on the guests of his Aurora motel for decades.
Now, according to the eighty-year-old retiree, he is receiving unwanted attention of his own, in the form of threats against his life.
The threats come on the heels of an April 11 feature story in the New Yorker by Gay Talese, titled “The Voyeur's Motel.” In it, Talese describes how Foos installed special ventilation screens into the ceilings of rooms in the (now defunct) Manor House Motel on East Colfax Avenue so that he could secretly watch his guests from the motel' s attic. Foos was particularly interested in sexual acts and kept a detailed journal of his observations, which he considered an academic study. From 1969 until he sold the motel in 1995, Foos was never caught.
Talese first learned of the voyeur in 1980, but waited until he was given permission by Foos to go public with his story in 2013 (a move that has drawn some criticism). Now, in addition to his recent New Yorker article, Talese is releasing a book about the subject on July 12, with permission from Foos, who provided the full manuscript of his journals in return for a commission from the book's publisher, Grove/Atlantic.
Since the article ran, however, Foos tells Westword that he has been receiving threats and has been working with local police to safeguard his home.
His comments echo a statement that Gay Talese recently made to Slate.com in which Talese said he was “worrying about the death threats to the voyeur my writing has just exposed. Many mean-sounding people here in Denver are warning him not to leave his house — and, for three days, he hasn’t. The police had been notified, they are patrolling the area around the clock.”
When Westword reached Foos by telephone for comment, he confirmed that he was receiving threats but wouldn't elaborate on the nature of them, or in what form — calls, e-mail, letters — they had arrived.
Early on during the conversation, he was also suspicious of the call's nature.
"You been one of the guys that's threatening me?" he asked.
"Your voice sounds familiar."
"No, I'm a reporter with Westword, like I said.'
"Well, anybody can say 'I'm a reporter.'"
"No, I am not threatening you, sir."
"Oh, okay. That's fine."
Foos went on to say that the reason he could not share more about his situation is because he is under a media embargo until Talese's book is published on July 12.
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"After July 12, certain people with money in their pocket can talk to me. That's the only people and the way it's gonna be. It's gonna be costly,” Foos said.
“If people want to really know about the life of the voyeur — if they want to know that I'm the greatest there ever was in the world — after the 12th of July, I will pick out certain people, maybe even do an exclusive with someone...I'm not sure yet.”
As for the continuing threats?
“I'm trying to catch them.” Foos said. “But I'm under contract. I shouldn't have even told you what I told you."