She coulda been a celebrity

Posted: Apr 26, 2006 12:05 AM

Nobody wants to play second string, and exotic dancers are no exception to the rule.

Which becomes a problem when, by fate or misfortune, you're cast in the media drama du jour as ... The Second Dancer.

Always a stripper, never a star.

Not if you're Kim Roberts - the other dancer at the Duke University lacrosse team party last month when three guys allegedly raped the other dancer hired for the event.

That's Kim. Roberts. Kimroberts. Kimmmmmm RRRRRRRoberts. Got it?

Robert wants, badly, for you to remember that name. Because, as it turns out, the worst thing that might have happened to the accuser may have been the best thing that ever happened to Kim Roberts.

Or so she apparently hopes.

For a few days, it seemed as though no one would notice or remember Kim Roberts. She didn't see anything, after all, and for a while she said she didn't believe the accuser's story, according to defense attorneys for the accused Duke students. Thus, she faced the unthinkable - being un-famous, an un-celebrity. Un-known.

It is no longer enough simply "to be," as the Bard once posed the human conundrum. Today one must "be known." Celebrity is the goal line, and Roberts is no one's cheerleader. Nor anyone's fool.

Suddenly, the divorced mother had a novel idea: It coulda happened.

So naturally, she contacted a New York public relations firm, the very same that represents Lil' Kim, the incarcerated rapper of whom Roberts reportedly is a fan.

In an e-mail to 5W Public Relations obtained by Fox News, Roberts wrote:

"Although I am no celebrity and just an average citizen, I've found myself in the center of one of the biggest stories in the country. I'm worried about letting this opportunity pass me by without making the best of it and was wondering if you had any advice as to how to spin this to my advantage. I am determined not to let any negative publicity about my life overtake me."

Signed, "The 2nd Dancer."

First off, never write an e-mail you wouldn't mind seeing on Fox News. Maybe Roberts doesn't mind, as those who pursue celebrity seldom concern themselves with the reason for fame, only the fame itself.

And, of course, the financial rewards one hopes to reap as a result. Roberts was clear on that score.

"Why shouldn't I profit from it?" she said when questioned about her willingness to profit from her colleague's alleged rape - or the ruin of two young men who may be innocent of the charges. "I didn't ask to be in this position ... I would like to feed my daughter."

I'm all for feeding one's children. And surely, rising to instant celebrity potentially offers a better menu than does dancing for dollars.

I know we're not supposed to question a person's character these days. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do and boys will be ... no, wait, that's wrong. Girls are virtuous because they're stripping to feed their children; boys are evil because they will pay a virtuous single mom to strip. It's all so confusing, isn't it?

Probably more to the point, Roberts' query to the PR firm, which has declined to represent her, coincided with her new slant on events that night.

"I was not in the bathroom when it happened," she told the Associated Press. "So I can't say a rape occurred - and I never will. Later, after her own criminal record was raised, Roberts said, "In all honesty, I think they're guilty ... and I can't say which ones are guilty ... but somebody did something ... that's my honest-to-God impression."

Who wants this story? Bidding starts at $25,000. Do I hear $25,500? Anyone? Anyone?

The $25,000 figure isn't random, but is the precise amount Roberts was convicted of embezzling from a Durham, N.C., photofinishing company a few years ago.

Coincidentally, around the same time Roberts was forming her new impression of what went down at the lacrosse party, a judge excused Roberts from having to pay a 15 percent fee to a bonding agent. Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, who is prosecuting the two Duke sophomores charged with raping the first dancer, signed off on the agreement.

I can't say Roberts is getting favorable treatment for becoming a better prosecution witness. I was not in the lawyer's office when it happened. So I can't say a transaction occurred - and I never will. In all honesty, I think somebody did something ... that's my honest-to-God impression.

It coulda happened. Or not.