Justin Massler, a.k.a. Cloud Starchaser, believes that he is Harry Potter, Superman, and Jesus Christ. These narratives, he says, are all one and the same, various retellings of his life story populated by supporting characters that also exist in the modern world. He has explained this theory of the world hundreds and hundreds of times, in nearly every email he sends to those who he believes to be the real-life Hermiones, Jessica Rabbits, Lois Lanes.
Massler (who goes by a number of pseudonyms, including Scott Massler, RL Harry Potter, and RL Jesus Christ) is a known threat among law enforcement as a dangerous diagnosed schizophrenic who has spent the past several years in and out of mental hospitals and jails. He has been primarily known for physically and cyber stalking a handful of people he believes to be supporting characters in his hero story, most notably Ivanka Trump and several of the Kardashians. Massler gained notoriety in 2010 when he bombarded Trump with hundreds of emails, texts, and tweets, bought her expensive jewelry from her own collection, and ultimately threatened to kill himself in Trump’s jewelry store if he did not receive a signed photograph of the heiress.
But the Trumps have abundant resources to ensure their safety. In fact, the family has hired a security detail to prevent Massler’s threats from becoming anything more, once hiring a bounty hunter to locate him and have him extradited from California to New York. The same is not true for his many targets who possess fewer resources: in particular, Lenora Claire, an art curator, entertainment personality, and casting producer who has earned enough notability to be vulnerable to creeps, but hasn’t made enough money to be able to hire her own security detail.
Massler became preoccupied with Claire in 2011 when she was named one of LA Weekly’s People of the Year. He had made his way to Los Angeles after making bail for one of his offenses against Trump, and likely spotted her and her gallery’s address in the magazine on that trip.
“This guy who was about 30 years old at the time shows up in a spacesuit,” Claire told Jezebel. “I’m not even kidding. Like, I can’t have a normal stalker.”
Claire assumed it was some kind of fun art prank, so she had her friend take a photograph of him and they started talking. He complimented her hair, which he said was like the character Leeloo’s from Fifth Element. “Then he looks at me and goes, ‘And you’re a supreme being and I’m gonna stalk you.’”
She didn’t learn that her unsettling encounter had been with the same man who had been stalking Trump until gossip sites confirmed that Trump’s stalker had been extradited from Los Angeles back to New York just days later.
In 2012, Massler finally pled guilty to aggravated harassment and criminal contempt charges and sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation. While the ruling was a small relief, it didn’t do anything to deter Massler from continuing to harass Claire, who was repeatedly told by the police that the only action she could take was to file a report. She never did; she didn’t see what good it could do.
Claire was receiving “20-page, schizophrenic, nutty, handwritten” letters, along with hundreds of emails, tweets, Facebook messages, and YouTube comments from Massler. One tweet read, “@lenoraclaire Sometimes you have to be a friendly stalker for someone’s own good if you need to talk to them but they don’t understand why.” He even created several Google accounts under her name.
In one such email dated August 28, 2015, Massler wrote:
Lenora I figured it all out: I really am Jesus Christ and the real Clark Kent/Superman but the people from Phillips Exeter Academy which is the real Smallville High School have all been literally brainwashed to not think or talk about this. i just ran into some people from Exeter here in Waikiki and I asked them about it and they froze up and stopped talking in the exact same brainwashed fashion that Scientologists do when you ask them about Xenu, like I know what brainwashed people act like as it is really easy to see if you go ask Scientologists about Xenu since they are all brainwashed not to think or talk about Xenu so I ALWAYS ask every Scieftologist [sic] I see at every Scientology center how I can reach the secret Spaceship Level where you fight Xenu as Space Heroes with Tom Cruise as commander and they always act brainwashed like they don’t know anything when they all clearly do. Now Lenora I’ll try to rescue you from brainwashing because you really have great tits and I’m sure that if I could unbrainwash you and you could see I’m really the real Clark Kent/Superman you’d totally be into me so I could tittyfuck you and cum all over your face which is the goal here.
One of the difficulties in reporting on Massler’s obsession with Claire is the absence of certainties about his location. Claire has generally been based in Los Angeles for the past several years, but Massler could have been anywhere from New York City to Waikiki, where he allegedly spent some time, to Los Angeles. Massler’s activities have never been dependent on place—YouTube videos depict him speaking into a computer in what seems to be an Apple store or a library.
Claire tells me that Massler’s obsession has cost her work—even her good friends are reluctant to recommend her for various jobs because they know that he could easily flood anything posted on the internet with violent comments, or target others for choosing to associate with Claire.
“At times he’s fascinated with me, fixated. Other times he’s angry at me for some weird infraction that I’m not even aware of,” Claire said. “Then, a couple of months ago, they started escalating to essentially rape threats.”
Jezebel first started reporting this article in mid-October, just three weeks after Massler sent an explicit death threat—not to Claire, but to her boss, a reality television casting producer who would prefer to remain nameless. In an email, Massler warned:
“Do not continue to pursue any kind of relationship with Lenora Claire or we will kill you. Lenora is part of the messiah’s operations for the future of Israel now and you are unworthy to be part of this or be in his company. If you continue to pursue a relationship or social influence over Lenora you will be killed.”
Shortly after, Claire told Jezebel, he sent her boss a proposal for a reality show based on his experience as a celebrity stalker.
She finally went to the Los Angeles police with the concrete threat in hand—surely they would be able to protect her now that there was an explicit threat, she thought. But there was still nothing they could do; police refused to track his ISP address or file a restraining order, Claire told Jezebel, since Massler is a homeless vagrant, and in order to place a restraining order against someone, you need to know his address.
“They didn’t do a damn thing,” Claire said. “It’s really impacting my life. I’m a public person in that I do events and I curate art shows and I do signings, but I haven’t done anything like that because he’s made it out here before.”
Instead, she used her media connections (which she admits she is lucky to have) to get on a cable show called Crime Watch. The show paired her with Los Angeles District Attorney Rhonda Saunders (who quite literally wrote the book on stalking, as well as California’s revamped cyberstalking law), who agreed to work on her case.
Saunders referred her to the LAPD’s threat management unit, which is specifically trained to deal with stalkers like Massler. In fact, they already were aware of him due to multiple celebrity complaints. The only reason Claire wasn’t initially referred to the unit was because the LAPD clerk she spoke with wasn’t aware that was what they were supposed to do.
“It’s not my goal to shame the LAPD,” Claire said. “I just feel like they should immediately be trained enough to say, ‘This is a legitimate thing, go over to this unit.’ And they failed me on that.”
Now, in regards to her case, Claire said she’s heard the term “mass shooter potential” more than once.
The legal definition of stalking, Saunders explained to me, is simple. The stalker needs to make repeated contact with the victim (following or harassing them at least twice), they need to make credible threats (which can be explicit or implicit), and they need to have the intent of placing the victim in fear. In California, those three qualifications are enough to charge someone with felony stalking and put the criminal in state prison. According to recent figures from the Department of Justice, 3.3 million adult Americans are victims of this kind of aggravated stalking every year.
Massler certainly appears guilty of the above infractions many times over. So why is he still at large?
“I can tell you, the mental health system in this entire country is broken,” Saunders said by way of preface. “It’s a revolving door. Right now I’m dealing with sexually violent predators who also have mental disorders, and they are locked up and then they are able to get out and they are put back on the street. There’s not enough beds in the hospitals, and there are people in the hospitals who really want to think the best and don’t look at the entire scenario and set these people loose.”
Stalking, in particular, is hard to prosecute because it isn’t incident-based, like a robbery or an assault. Instead, it’s a course-of-conduct crime, meaning that it is made up of a lot of actions over a period of time.
“Texting someone, calling someone, posting on someone’s social media page... individually, those typically are not criminal acts,” Michelle Garcia, director of the Stalking Resource Center, told Jezebel. “So it does pose a challenge for law enforcement that when they do get reports, there’s this initial belief that there’s nothing we can do about it because that in and of itself is not illegal.
“However, when we do look at our stalking laws across the country,” she continued, “when we see those individual behaviors as part of a course of conduct and they’re causing either that victim or a reasonable person to feel fear or substantial emotional distress, then we can start looking at them as the crime of stalking.”
Massler’s case is particularly tricky because he’s stalked a combination of celebrities and non-celebrities, often across state lines.
“When we look at a lot of the celebrity cases, often the victim and the offender are complete strangers,” Garcia said. “But when we look at stalking in general, across the United States in most cases the victim and the offenders know each other in some capacity.
“And in about half the cases it’s going to be a current or former intimate partner. So when we do look at most stalking in this country, most of it is done between people who know each other.”
Claire’s case is somewhere in between.
“I’m from New York, and it really bothers me a lot that New York doesn’t have a better stalking law,” Saunders told me, noting that most kinds of stalking are classified in New York as misdemeanors, meaning they legally aren’t punishable by anything over a year in prison. “It’s basically giving stalkers a tap on the wrist. They’re in jail for a couple of days and then they’re out again.”
She continued: “It’s the only law that prevents something even more horrible from happening, whether it’s a rape or a murder. Because, if we know what we’re doing, we can use this law to step in and save some lives.”
The two states’ laws are different in that California recognizes more actions as prosecutable offenses (including internet stalking), and treats stalking as a felony.
“In both states, judges can issue restraining orders. Once issued, any single contact, regardless of whether it is harassing or threatening, can violate the restraining order and result in arrest,” explained Carrie Goldberg, an attorney specializing in internet stalking and sexual assault cases, in an email to Jezebel. She went on:
Somebody convicted of stalking faces up to a year in jail in California, which can be increased to as much as four if the stalking violates an order of protection or the stalker is a repeat offender. In New York we have four different degrees of stalking depending on how serious it is and the prior stalking history. At its most serious in NY, it can lead to a maximum sentence of four years, but at its lowest, it is a misdemeanor Class B which gives the judge the leeway to sentence between 0-3 months.
“In California and in a lot of other states, there’s a provision in our penal code,” Saunders explained. “We can prosecute cases that either originate in California or where the effects are felt. So someone is making phone calls, someone is sending emails, someone is sending letters, let’s say, from New York to California, and this is fairly common in celebrity cases... they could prosecute it in New York or we could prosecute it because our victim is here.”
Massler has only ever been convicted in New York, and is mentally ill and seemingly insufficiently treated, which is why his stint in jail did little to provide any lasting relief for his victims.
“The [cyberstalking] laws are ineffective and they need to change in order to reflect the technology,” Claire said, noting the law’s archaic insistence that restraining orders be served in person or by mail. “If you can send a foreclosure over email and it’s recognized as a legal document, then why can’t you serve a protective order? If you can threaten me in my life over email, why can’t I protect myself?”
Claire told me several weeks ago she was under the impression that LAPD’s threat management unit has reached out to the FBI. Meanwhile, the unit was supposedly also tracking his movements in order to make an arrest (by stalking Claire and dozens of others, Massler has officially violated his probation).
Claire is, incidentally, good friends with Miya Matsumiya, a musician who recently received publicity—wanted and unwanted—for her @perv_magnet project, which documents her decade of cyber harassment.
“She wanted to open up a dialogue about cyber harassment, that was her purpose,” Claire said. “I’m trying to lobby for laws. After this happened to me, I was like, change needs to happen. It isn’t as though I’m coming forward after four years [because] I need attention. My goal is to frighten people and let them know that this could totally happen to you. And if it does, the system currently set in place doesn’t really help or protect you.
“Let’s try and create laws that are proactive instead of reactionary.”
On November 5, Claire informed Jezebel that she had finally heard from her contact in the LAPD that Massler is nowhere to be found and is virtually untraceable. His numerous Twitter accounts have been suspended, which means his harassment died down for a few days, but he soon began a campaign of harassment on multiple new Facebook accounts.
The last Claire heard from the detective assigned to her case was in an email sent the same day:
I spoke with the New York officer that arrested him regarding the Ivanka Trump case but he was not able give me any info regarding his whereabouts. I was able to talk to a probation officer that has his mothers info. I called his mother but she stated that she has not spoke to him in a couple of years. Whether thats true or not I couldn’t tell you. I left my number with his mom but I have not received a phone call.
Regarding the case, Northeast Detective Gale is the Investigating Officer. I thought I could help you find him so you could get a restraining order. Gale would be the officer that would handle any filing
I hope this helps
The LAPD threat management unit has been reviewing Jezebel’s request for an interview since October 26.
“Nobody has helped me,” Claire said in a recent communication. “I’m going to finish filming [Crime Watch] soon and that’s the story. People in my situation are just fucked and that’s scary and horrible.”
“I’m living in constant anxiety from my boss getting death threats to now almost daily sexually explicit emails,” she said a few days later, noting that she didn’t want to block Massler to accrue evidence for the police. “The system fails victims.”
Claire and Saunders plan to travel to Sacramento to lobby for stricter protections as well as the creation of a federal stalker database, which would be similar to the sex offender registry. But until then, civilians and victims of stalking will have to be their own advocates. Many police departments are still insufficiently informed about how to deal with these reports.
“The only solution is to educate the public,” Saunders said. “A lot of victims feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I never should’ve said hello to him.’ Or, ‘I never should have been nice at first, it’s all my fault.’ And it’s not. That’s one thing we’ve gotta emphasize to these victims. They have done nothing wrong. The problem isn’t with them. The problem is with these stalkers.”
The Stalking Resource Center recommends disengaging with the stalker (although Saunders recognizes that can be easier said than done), as even negative contact can reinforce the offender’s behavior. Saunders also recommends reaching out to local victims service providers, as well as keeping a record of every interaction with the offender (SRC has a log you can print out and use).
If you’re getting emails, letters, or voicemail messages, don’t throw them away, advises Saunders. Every piece of correspondence from a stalker is valuable evidence that juries need to see or hear, and that may help convince a police officer or clerk that your case is worth their attention.
Finally, don’t be afraid to report your crime.
“Come to the police department, if you don’t get satisfaction ask to speak to a supervisor, a detective. Because you go to the front desk sometimes of a police department and there’s a young rookie there or even a civilian. They don’t get it. But hold your ground and just say, ‘I want to talk to a watch commander, I want to talk to a detective.’ And just stand firm. Don’t let them brush you off because it can lead to a really dangerous situation,” Saunders said. “We need to take it really seriously.”
In a recent blog post titled, “God has conspired to ruin my life,” Massler wrote:
“Like I’m a really simple guy, all I want out of life is a girl I love who has big breasts and that’s it but it’s like God just won’t let me get it even though that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life. I mean I could be married now to a wife with really big boobs if only God hadn’t conspired to ruin my life but maybe one day I’ll overcome it.”
He continued: “I just have to hope that if I go on one day I’ll meet the woman who’s right for me and she’ll have a really awesome rack and it will all have been worth it in the end somehow I guess.”
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Austin Young/lenoraclaire.com, screenshot via Youtube