HOW DOES ONE PERSON BE A HITCH TO everyone?” That is the rhetorical question posed by Darby Romeo, 24, regarding Shannen Doherty, the 21-year-old Beverly Hills, 90210 star whose major-league fractiousness has been keeping Darby (she prefers to go by the one name) in business—literally. With her roommate, Kerin Morataya, 22, Darby is creator and publisher of The I Hale Brenda Newsletter, which is not about the life of Brenda Walsh, the young woman Doherty plays on the hit Fox series, but about Shannen’s seemingly endless run of hissy fits. The premier issue has sold 7,000 copies nationally at $1 apiece.
Darby and Morataya haven’t met Doherty, although they watch her show. Their real fixation is with L.A.’s alternative-music scene. They cover that in their four-year-old fanzine, Ben Is Dead (they are coy about explaining the title), which, like Brenda, is put together in their two-bedroom apartment and yields them an annual income of “pocket lint,” says Morataya. Last fall, as a joke, they faxed a one-page compilation of Doherty press clips to their music-industry friends, who passed it on to other media friends. That provoked a blizzard of faxes and phone calls, all attesting to dreadful brushes with Doherty. And so was the anti-Shannen newsletter born, under the legend: “If acting were her only crime, she could be forgiven.”
A pardon is not in sight. Darby and Morataya have printed up I Hate Brenda T-shirts ($12) and bumper stickers ($1). There are even plans for a Hating Brenda album by a group called Rump—including two girl rockers named Darby and Kerin Morataya.
The Doherty camp, not surprisingly, hates I Hate Brenda. “I find it pathetic that what they’re doing is at the expense of someone else,” says manager Michael Gursey.
It has occurred to the roommates that maybe they’re being dangerously bitchy themselves. “What if Shannen, like, read our newsletter and killed herself?” wonders Darby, who adds that—despite the line of anti-Brenda products—a second issue isn’t a sure bet. “But then people call and tell me all these horrible run-ins, and I feel better.”