A few days ago, someone wanted to raise $50,000 for a Sarah Phillips documentary. As we remember, Phillips got into all sorts of trouble while she was a columnist at ESPN and a gambling columnist at Covers.com. But this proposed documentary didn't set out to wrestle broader themes like creepy scams or the vagaries of cyber presences. Nah, it just wanted to tell you the story about a misunderstood person named Sarah Phillips:
Phillips was a rising contributor at the Worldwide Leader. She produced her first column for the website when she was 21-years-old in September 2011. Phillips was apparently very well regarded by those who personally knew her, according to multiple local columns in Oregon. Chris Singer, a former co-ed soccer teammate of Phillips, described her as being "nice, friendly [and] funny" to The Daily Barometer. Singer also described Phillips athletically as "[a] good soccer player."
By all accounts, Phillips was well on her way to becoming a star among sports writers and bloggers. In May 2012, that all changed.
Deadspin, a sports blog known for taking aim at ESPN's personalities, published a column claiming that Sarah Phillips may or may not be a real person.
Sigh. The movie set out to tell the true Phillips story since it was incomplete and "commenters began openly questioning Deadspin." And the moviemakers promised more than a movie about Sarah Phillips. They also promised access to her:
Phillips has been contacted for the past three months with interview requests from sports bloggers. Recently, she was contacted by ABC's 20/20 to provide her side of the story. Phillips has declined all requests.
This proposed documentary will take viewers inside the life of Sarah Phillips. Phillips will detail her experiences from unknown sports forum poster in December 2010, to ESPN.com contributor in September 2011, all the way to making international headlines in May 2012. Most importantly, the documentary will answer the question: Who is Sarah Phillips?
Actually, most importantly, if you contribute now, and contribute significantly, you'll get to know Phillips.
Pledge $100 or more
A personal video message from Sarah Phillips + previous levels of rewards.
Pledge $500 or more
One hour *group* video chat with Sarah Phillips + previous levels of rewards.
Pledge $2,500 or more
One hour *individual* video chat with the crew (including Sarah Phillips) + previous levels of rewards. You will also be credited as an *associate producer* of the documentary.
Group chats, individual chats! Fun! The Kickstarter post includes a video that tells you a little about the Sarah Phillips saga, a video that was originally made by the Slate News Group. Two observations: The video has been edited just so. It includes updated photos of Phillips, including her latest Twitter pic and one glamour shot. And it also deletes some notable lines from Slate's original video, such as:
But according to the website Deadspin.com, the young woman has since used her ESPN position to scam at least two people, demanding that they pay her for everything from fictional website advertising to bad gambling advice.
But that hasn't stopped Phillips from defending herself on Twitter. Quote, I made poor choices with who to trust. I'll correct that moving forward. It's not an excuse, unquote.
Whoever dreamed up the project obviously thought better of it. The project was soon removed from Kickstarter. Maybe because they had no access to Phillips?
And, coincidentally or not, Phillips has really ramped up her tweeting in recent days. Her updated Twitter bio certainly indicates that she's not running away from the scandal. She proudly describes herself:
Former columnist for ESPN.com: Page 2 & Playbook. Sarah.J.Phillips@mail.com
USA · http://search.espn.go.com/sarah-phillips/