Four People Who Spilled Huge Secrets But Were Ignored
Keeping a huge secret can sometimes feel like sitting on a massive, metaphysical bomb. You don’t know when or if it will go off, but it would have career-ending, freedom-ending or even history-altering implications, and the only way to avoid getting your figurative genitals blown off is to tell someone. (At least then, you choose to blow your genitals off.)
Imagine, then, if you had to suffer through all that only to be brushed off. Sure, you keep your genitals, but at what cost? Okay, this metaphor got away from us.
One of Tupac’s Murderers Wrote a Whole Book About It
In September 2023, Las Vegas police announced they’d arrested a suspect in the 1996 murder of Tupac Shakur, and everyone collectively opened their calendar apps to check what year it was only to realize they shouldn’t know what a calendar app is yet. This wasn’t a case like the Black Dahlia, where nobody knows what happened. We all knew there were people out there who knew, but this was a “taking it to the grave” situation. Why would there be a break in the case after all this time?
It turns out it was because the guy in question, Duane “Keffe D” Davis, published a whole-ass book, called Compton Street Legend, laying out his involvement in the crime. Specifically, he described being in the car with Tupac’s murderer (who has, predictably, since died) and handing him the gun he used. It turns out that counts as murder, too.
The twist: He published that book in 2019. He’d similarly incriminated himself in a BET interview the year before. After more than 20 years of silence, this guy was unburdening himself faster than Chunk in The Goonies, and it still took half a decade for the police to act on this public, written confession.
To be fair, did you hear about it? We blame his publisher’s marketing department.
Nora Ephron Told Everyone for 30 Years Who Deep Throat Was
The identity of the informant who helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein take down the Nixon White House from the pages of the Washington Post was kept under wraps until 2005, which is impressive considering what a pair of sloppy bitches Woodward and Bernstein were. The man we now know was Mark Felt was identified by his real initials in notes kept by Woodward, leading Bernstein’s wife — screenwriter of all the best Meg Ryan movies and general spark plug Nora Ephron — to deduce it was the FBI director.
Bernstein denied it to his wife’s face, but that didn’t stop her from telling anyone who would listen for the next three decades. “If I gave a speech with 500 people, and (someone) asked me, I told them,” she said. That included her son, who told a camp friend Deep Throat’s identity while they were in grade school, resulting in a 1999 article in The Hartford Courant featuring that friend’s claims that forced Bernstein and Felt to deny a decade-old playground rumor that happened to be true. Man, if only all newspapers were run like that.
Johnny Rotten Was Banned By the BBC for Spilling Jimmy Savile’s Crimes
Jimmy Savile is kind of like the U.K. Bill Cosby, a kindly older man who produced some of the best and most wholesome entertainment of his era (most famously Top of the Pops but also a series that was basically the Make-A-Wish Foundation for healthy kids) who also turned out to be a horrifying rapist. We’re talking as many as 500 victims, possibly making him the most prolific sexual predator in the country, and that’s as far as we’re willing to elaborate because seriously, Jesus Christ.
Johnny Rotten, meanwhile, was such a punk that he helped invent the genre. He was the kind of person who, in 1978 (the height of Savile’s “England’s dad” career), found himself discussing with a reporter all the celebrities he’d like to kill. “I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile,” he said, among others. “I think he’s a hypocrite. I bet he’s into all kinds of seediness that we all know about but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumors. I bet none of this will be allowed out.”
He was right, not just about Savile’s seediness but also the BBC not allowing it out. His comments were edited out of the interview when it was aired, and according to Rotten, “I found myself banned from BBC radio for quite a while.” It should be noted that he admits “they wouldn’t state this directly; there’d be other excuses,” and he was constantly getting banned from BBC radio for things like mocking and antagonizing the royal family. They take that stuff pretty seriously.
Harry Markopolos Discovered Bernie Madoff’s Fraud a Decade Before Police
Have you ever had a boss who didn’t seem to understand your job or indeed the industry you both work in? Say, the CEO of a tech startup who just wanders in, orders you to “make the next TikTok,” and then walks through a door you swore didn’t exist a minute ago and disappears for six months? Harry Markopolos had a boss kind of like that, but he was working for an investment firm in 1999, so his boss was shouting at him to do whatever Bernie Madoff was doing.
Instead of just performing the universal jerk-off motion once he was gone, Markopolos actually did look into Madoff’s investment strategy and determined that his rate of return and trading volume simply wasn’t possible. He dutifully notified the Securities and Exchange Commission, but due to what he described as “regional turf rivalries” and the “incompetence” of lawyers who don’t really understand finance, his report went unresolved. He kept reporting for the next several years and eventually compiled a 21-page dossier outlining 30 signs that Madoff’s investments were fishy, only to be dismissed with sideways glances and “cuckoo” hand gestures.
In the movie that will someday be made about this, a rogue SEC agent will finally say “Wait a minute, I think this guy is on to something,” but that never happened. Madoff had to lose all his money and confess his crimes to his sons, who turned him in to the police, before anyone would believe he wasn’t on the up and up. At least Markopolos got to publish a book with the sexy title No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller and will probably be played by Ben Affleck, so it all balances out.