Updated with Editors Note: Cobra Malt Liquor Through a Straw

A lot of you objected to the publication of a photo that rider Matthew took on the 19-Polk, of someone who he thought was a dead-ringer for Whitney Houston. Your comments are really valuable to us at Muni Diaries as we constantly walk the fine line between democratic forum and editorial integrity. We don’t often turn your posts away because we want to create a place where you can tell your stories, but we definitely don’t want to do this at someone’s expense. We’ve taken the picture down but left the text of the story here in the post. Agree or disagree with our decision? We want to know. Please tell us in the comments section. – Jeff and Eugenia

Original post:

Muni rider Matthew writes to tell of a possible celebrity-sighting on a San Francisco bus.

Tell me this wasn’t Whitney Houston! She was a “BOBBY!!” shriek away from a dead ringer.

Seriously, her makeup looked professionally applied, if a little too glittery for 3 p.m. If she wasn’t so wasted and her top wasn’t so stained with spilled liquids, I really would have thought it was the Diva Herself. God I hope those stains were just her drinks…

“Whitney” fell asleep long enough for me to snap her photo. She woke up soon after to root around in one of her bags for another Cobra Malt Liquor (which she drank through a straw, because as you can see, she is a LADY).

I can snap photos and poke fun because lord knows I’ve been that drunk lady on the bus a time or thousand.

Matthew has just become the first Muni-razzi. Seen any celebs or dead-ringers on Muni? muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

15 comments

  • Mavis L.

    She has no dignity left, so..like…it’s okay to take advantage of her?

  • Like…who says she has no dignity left?

  • I don’t think I’ll ever find a post interesting or funny when someone secretly takes a picture of another human being on the bus then mocks them on the internet.

    I’d like to think we can all do better than that. Much better.

  • jazzpaige

    You are so wrong for posting this lady’s photo on a blog and to talk about her is this wrong. Please people keep you rude pictures and comments to yourself next time.

  • eugenia

    A lot of you objected to the publication of this photo. Your comments are really valuable to us at Muni Diaries as we constantly walk the fine line between democratic forum and editorial integrity. We don’t often turn your posts away because we want to create a place where you can tell your stories, but we definitely don’t want to do this at someone’s expense. We’ve taken the picture down but left the text of the story here in the post. Agree or disagree with our decision? We want to know. And thanks, for making Muni Diaries a good learning experience for us. – Jeff and Eugenia

  • Mavis L.

    Thanks, Muni Diaries. I agree with your decision. Writing about the experience fine, and the commentary was great, but visually outing someone like this was rude. Thanks for showing some class.

  • Mike

    If you are out in public you have no expectation of privacy. It was a bad decision to remove the photo.

  • I’m surprised someone was offended, but I can respect their point of view.

    SF is a city full of cameras. Someone will take your picture if you go out in public looking and/or acting crazy.

    If you care to see the picture, it’s on my blog (http://fruitybachelor.com/2009/08/whitney-houston-sighting.html).

  • She was drunk on a bus, sipping malt liquor through a straw. She was not subjugated to circumstances beyond her control. She did look like Whitney and it happens to be the current joke now – faux Whitney sightings. And her face was not visible. Not understanding the problem.

    • That was what we thought when we first published the photo – I hadn’t expected such a dust-up. If her face were visible we definitely would have blurred it out or not published it. I can sort of see both sides of the argument here.

  • cgiven

    Totally disagree with the decision to take that photo down. I mean, you have a photo posted of a used cherry flavored condom – no one objected to that? If I were you I would keep posting until a letter from an attorney comes in. THAT’S pushing the envelope. Furthermore, having people outraged is good publicity. You can’t please everyone.

    • But the picture of the cherry flavored condom isn’t making fun of a specific person. I think the objection isn’t that these photos are gross, but that we’re doing it at someone’s expense, and in most instances it’s someone who probably can’t talk back to us here. But where to draw the line?

      I’m comfortable with having published photos such as 1. a woman breast feeding on the bus. 2. bus driver smoking inside the bus, 3. young man using the bus rail as a stripper pole. These are all real examples and some readers did not like that we published those photos.

      For me the issue isn’t about “expectation of privacy” because I think that if you are on the bus or any other public space, there isn’t a reasonable expectation of privacy. Personally I think the issue is, how much does this photo add to the story? How essential is the photo to telling the story? And am I being an elitist asshole?

      On the other hand, I am all about pushing the envelope – go big or go home, I say.

  • Sasha

    While I agree with some of the comments on the appropriateness, and mean-spiritedness of posting an image of a person subjecting them to ridicule, this photo was okay. Her head is down and her face is not viewable, and therefore unidentifiable. This one is okay to publish.

  • Mike

    After seeing the photo I think it was even more ridiculous to take it down. WTF?

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