Does anyone out there feel sorry for Richard and Mayumi Heene, who will do short jail stints for their Balloon Boy hoax ? It’s hard to squeeze out a drop of sympathy for these exploitative parents. But it does seems as if the judge decided to make an example of them by sending them to jail, and I wonder how the interests of their kids are served by these 30 and 20-day sentences behind bars. Far more fitting was the judge’s stipulation that “Mr. Heene is in fact prohibited from receiving any form of financial benefit - whether it be media, a book, an article he writes - anything of that kind that stems from this incident.” Mayumi Heene can’t sell her story for four years and she has to write a letter of apology. Those are the punishments that satisfy in a crazy, publicity-hounding case like this: zero profit plus a tablespoon of shame.
Photograph of Richard and Mayumi Heene by Chris Schneider/Getty Images.