History of the ’90s podcast: Long Island Lolita and the Tabloid Decade
On this episode of History of the ’90s, host Kathy Kenzora looks back at how tabloid media had a feeding frenzy over the story of Long Island Lolita.
In May 1992, a high school senior on Long Island, N.Y., went to the home of her much older ex-lover and shot his wife in the face.
Seventeen-year-old Amy Fisher had been having an affair with 37-year-old Joey Buttafuoco for 18 months and was angry that he wanted to end the relationship.
Within days, Amy was dubbed the “Long Island Lolita,” and the story exploded in the media around the U.S. Fisher and the Buttafuocos became household names overnight, while tabloid newspapers and TV shows scrambled to dig up dirt on anyone involved with the story.
This type of down-and-dirty pseudo-journalism was extremely common in the ’90s — just think Lorena Bobbitt, Tonya Harding, Heidi Fleiss, Hugh Grant, George Michael and Pee-wee Herman.
David Kamp, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine, wrote about the phenomenon in 1999 and dubbed the ’90s the Tabloid Decade.
In this episode, Kamp explains that the coverage of tabloid stories in the ’90s was weirdly out of proportion, thanks in part to the popularity of tabloid TV shows like A Current Affair, Hard Copy and Inside Edition.
The Amy Fisher story was no exception.
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