ABC News reports on the sentencing of Amy Fisher in 1992.
Yesterday’s Daily Beast story about former “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher kicking me off her porn shoot resonated with at least one reader: Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the woman whom Fisher shot in the face back in 1992, when she was married to Joey Buttafuoco, Fisher’s much-older lover.
Mary Jo, who now lives in Las Vegas with her fiancé and works as a motivational speaker, emailed me after she read the story, in which Fisher accused me of “torturing” her by asking her a single question about the crime that made her famous.
“I want to like shake her! And just spank her! And say: ‘What are you doing? You’ve got these children! You idiot!’” Mary Jo Buttafuoco said of Amy Fisher. “But it’d be like talking to a brick wall.”
I don’t know what I expected Mary Jo to be like when, later in the day, I talked to her on the phone, but whatever it was, it wasn’t the loud, booming, friendly—and very funny—voice that came over the wire.
“When I read how you described Lou [Fisher’s husband, who was sunning himself in a thong during my aborted time on set], I laughed out loud. That boob is 60 years old!” Mary Jo said cheerily.
• Nicole LaPorte: Amy Fisher Kicked Me Off Her Porn Shoot But she quickly became more serious, and got to what was really bothering her—what had inspired her to reach out and respond.
“The thing that jumped out at me was when she said [in response to a question about her criminal past], ‘People bust my chops all day long. People like you come in and torture me. That’s it. You know, everybody screws up in their life. I was a kid. What can I say?’”
“I, right away, thought, ‘Why don’t you say ‘I’m sorry?’” said Mary Jo, who wrote her traumatic story in the book Getting It Through My Thick Skull, which was published last year.
Fisher “has said it to me, on a show we did like three years ago, we met in a room,” Mary Jo continued. “And when I saw her in court in 1999, she said she was sorry. And I want to get this straight. It’s been very publicly acknowledged that I forgave her and helped her get out of prison. And when I’m talking to you now, I’m not taking that back. I had to forgive her to move on with my life.
“But when I read this—that’s half her problem. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead of addressing it, and saying, ‘That was a horrible thing I did. Can you believe what I did to that poor woman?’ She doesn’t realize that it would soften people’s attitude a little bit. I mean, she is what she is. But the fact that she’s now taking this attitude of, ‘I don’t want to talk about that.’ That’s exactly why we know who she is—because of what she did to me! Getting annoyed at someone who brings it up shows you that she’s learning nothing. Nothing.
“I watch this from afar and shake my head,” Mary Jo went on. “It’s hard, because she fluffs it off, and I’m still living with the injuries that that gunshot put in my head. When you’re shot in the head, it rips a lot of things out inside. I’m 55 years old, and [the injuries] are getting worse with age. The headaches, the distorted vision, the paralysis on the right side of my face. I get Botox injections to try to help release the paralyzed nerves… And she just says, ‘What can I say? I did a stupid thing.’ That’s not a stupid thing that she did. That’s a terrible thing she did.”
But for all her disgust, Mary Jo also expressed—in a both endearing and perverse way—a maternal instinct toward Fisher. At one point she said, “I want to like shake her! And just spank her! And say: ‘What are you doing? You’ve got these children! You idiot!’ But it’d be like talking to a brick wall.”
Her outrage stems from where Fisher has taken her life in the years since she got out of prison. There was the sex tape. There’s the stripping. And now there’s the porn. (Fisher recently created her own adult-film production company and is making a series of porn movies.)
All of which would be fine, Mary Jo said, if Fisher didn’t have three young children. “She has a 9-year-old,” Mary Jo said. “That’s how old my daughter was when [Fisher] tried to kill me. I’d like to say to her, ‘You’re screwing those kids up like nobody’s business.' When she says they don’t know what she does for a living, that’s bullshit! Bullshit. That 9-year-old knows exactly what’s going on. I know this because I have a daughter who’s now 27 and she’s talked to me about how she remembers everything, and the trauma that she went through.
“That’s my message to her. Like, you do what you do. It’s your body. Your life. But once you gave birth, it’s not your life anymore. It’s now about them. And that she’s married to a guy who’s 60 who should know better, who has two adult children of his own from another marriage…
“Amy hates herself. What this is, is self-loathing. She can not forgive herself for what she did to me. And that’s sad. As a result of that, she’s gotten into this hostile environment.”
I could feel Mary Jo, from afar, shaking her head.
Nicole LaPorte is the senior West Coast reporter for The Daily Beast and the author of The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks.