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YouTube singer charged with felony
February 18, 2011 6:26 AM   Subscribe

YouTube singer charged with felony
posted by morganannie (140 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was hoping for a video link :(
posted by item at 6:29 AM on February 18, 2011


So, what song was it? And, yeah, 20 years? I was not shocked to find out that this happened in western Michigan...
posted by Ghidorah at 6:31 AM on February 18, 2011


Metafilter: Context free since 2011.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:31 AM on February 18, 2011 [28 favorites]


I don't understand. How is what he did a crime?
posted by rtha at 6:33 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the dumbest fucking thing.
posted by ghharr at 6:38 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


rtha, I believe it goes something like this:

Step 1: Stupid prank.

Step 2: Won't someone think of the children.

Step 3: Charge stupid prank doer with manufacturing, essentially, child porn. (The charge seems to be "manufacturing child sexual abusive material")
posted by Ghidorah at 6:39 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The video has been pulled from youtube.

The song he sang to the class was "Lunch Lady Land" by Adam Sandler.
posted by morganannie at 6:41 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


America's criminal justice system is out of control!
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 6:42 AM on February 18, 2011


rtha, the law in Michigan apparently has a stipulation for people who "make it look" like children were exposed to sexually explicit material.
posted by morganannie at 6:42 AM on February 18, 2011


"Anybody who thinks it's a prank has not thought about the impact that it could have on these very young children and their families as well as the entire community."

Clearly, though, the prosecutors have carefully considered the impact that jail time and (likely) being labeled a sex offender will have on Emory's life.

Horray for "justice!"
posted by uncleozzy at 6:43 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The song he sang to the class was "Lunch Lady Land" by Adam Sandler.

Oh, god. Are you kidding? 20 years seems like a light sentence relative to the crime.
posted by Think_Long at 6:44 AM on February 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't understand. How is what he did a crime?

Step 2: Won't someone think of the children.


That pretty much says it all, over reaction to what sounds like just a stupid joke, where the only trouble should be he didn't get releases signed by the parents of the kids for the video. Charging this as child porn just seems to make a mockery of the justice system, and wasted resources towards the real threat. Just my opinion though.
posted by usagizero at 6:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


How is what he did a crime?

Same goes for Bernie Madoff. He fooled people and when people get fooled, they take revenge, regardless of their actions or motivations prior to realizing they'd been fooled.

Granted, apples and oranges, but it displays the basic, low-brow emotional approach to the legal system manifested in slow-to-evolve cultures, and allowed by a DA who probably needs the votes. Also, Bernie's in jail because he wasn't big enough to either spread responsibility around and not fail.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:46 AM on February 18, 2011


Craziness. I doubt this will go anywhere.
posted by delmoi at 6:47 AM on February 18, 2011


Same goes for Bernie Madoff. He fooled people and when people get fooled, they take revenge, regardless of their actions or motivations prior to realizing they'd been fooled.

Right. He also took their money. Kind of an important point there...
posted by delmoi at 6:47 AM on February 18, 2011 [24 favorites]


“I like the way you make your body move. C’mon, girl...See how long it takes to make your panties mine...I’ll add some foreplay in just to make it fun. I want to stick my index finger in your anus.”

Am I the only one who doesn't remember these lyrics being in "Lunch Lady Land?" Is this from a live version instead of the album track? This story is just plain confusing.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:52 AM on February 18, 2011


He sang "Lunch Lady Land" to the class to get them to laugh.

Then he sang something else to an empty classroom. They aren't saying what the second song was - whether it was still sung to the same tune or not is unclear.
posted by morganannie at 6:53 AM on February 18, 2011


He sang "Lunch Lady Land" in front of the class, then edited the other in.
posted by holdkris99 at 6:53 AM on February 18, 2011


I do agree that the post should have more context but have no idea how someone sane would do it without editorializing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:55 AM on February 18, 2011


Yea, sorry about the lack of context but I didn't want to come off on one side or the other.

Here is the law.
posted by morganannie at 6:57 AM on February 18, 2011


He sang "Lunch Lady Land" in front of the class, then edited the other in.

Someone should warn the Breitbart crew that their craft carries a 20-year felony in Muskegon, Michigan.

Madoff stole money and made a fool of many rich people. All the other junk marketing bankers got a bailout, an apology for being the victims of aggressive borrowers and a new play clock. In retrospect, a bad analogy, but I was trying to draw the connection between what is an obvious reprisal in tune with shotgun weddings and other crimes of honor, stealing someone's fire.

A No Trespassing warning would suffice for Mr. Emory along with a reminder that fifty years ago his actions would've lead to a lynching.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:00 AM on February 18, 2011


A No Trespassing warning would suffice for Mr. Emory along with a reminder that fifty years ago his actions would've lead to a lynching.

Why? Is he black?
posted by dirigibleman at 7:03 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is why we have courts, to determine if he is in fact guilty.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2011


Stephen Colbert better stay away from Western Michigan.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2011


Tomorrow's headline: "Movie Actor Charged With Murder for Pretending to Kill."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:06 AM on February 18, 2011 [24 favorites]


Law & Order: SLYT
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:11 AM on February 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


A No Trespassing warning would suffice for Mr. Emory along with a reminder that fifty years ago his actions would've lead to a lynching.

They had the Youtubes back then?
posted by electroboy at 7:14 AM on February 18, 2011


Granted, apples and oranges

I'll say. I could live the rest of my life on that many apples and oranges.
"Assuming the video is the result of clever editing on Emory’s part, the sheriff said, they would like to find out how and why “he did this.”
Here's a hot tip, Sheriff: A) probably with iMovie and B) for the lulz.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 AM on February 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why? Is he black?

Does one have to be black to qualify for a lynching fifty years ago? If I'd written "a stoning" would that imply he is of the Muslim faith? "A defenestration" would automatically imply that he was Czech, but there are many other famous window-tossings as well, so it's not safe to assume anything.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:19 AM on February 18, 2011


"It clearly falls within a criminal statute, and I think anyone who thinks it's a prank has not thought about the impact that it could have on these very young children and their families -- as well as the entire community," Tague said.

Wait a minute--wait, wait wait...

So this guy edited together a YouTube video that made it look like he'd exposed kids to an obscene song when, in fact, he hadn't? And that's considered a child pornography offense? Meaning, the guy could end up branded as a dangerous sex offender, who has to live under bridges the rest of his life because he can't get a job or live anywhere near kids?

Have Dave Chappelle's attorney's been put on warning? Because his show has done the same thing. What about Daniel Tosh's show? Or--or the million other shows and movies that do this?

All it takes to make doing what this guy did cross the line into child pornography is not getting releases signed by the kids? So it's down to one piece of paper work that makes the difference between child porn and middle-brow late night TV entertainment? I can't stop asking questions, because I'm having a hard time believing I'm getting this straight.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:20 AM on February 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Looking a bit at the law linked above, apparently the idea of this is to target not only actual child porn but simulated child porn. That seems odd, though I guess I see what they were doing there. Even so, with the facts we have here (and we don't have many, since we can't actually see this "terrible" video) it seems like a claim that he simulated anything like child porn is totally out of the question. I mean, talking about sex acts with children isn't, and shouldn't, be illegal.

There's a lot to choose from, but for me the very worst thing about this story was this bit:

“When asked whether Emory should receive jail time, one parent said: ‘Yeah, he's a big boy. He's smart enough to know not to do something like that.’”

Ouch. Your parents agreed that you should be locked up for 20 years? Man, when this finally court and the judge throws it out (as she or he should) it sounds like his parents have basically removed themselves from his life. I mean, I know if my parents had pulled this kind of shit and called for my imprisonment, I wouldn't really be in a mood to talk to them ever again, particularly if this had occurred when I was 21.
posted by koeselitz at 7:20 AM on February 18, 2011


Does one have to be black to qualify for a lynching fifty years ago?

Please, saying someone would have been lynched? In the United States? Talk about loaded. Talk about ignoring historical context in choice of language.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:21 AM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, the horror. I'm sure that John Valby requires ID with proof of age from every single audience member before he performs. SLYT, NSF work or pretty much anywhere else.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:21 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Taking a look at the language of the statute, we see that simulating exposing kids to certain acts is covered under the law here.

But it's not clear which of these "Listed sexual act[s]" is relevant:
"Listed sexual act" means sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, passive sexual involvement, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity.
"Sexual excitement" is defined as the condition, real or simulated, of human male or female genitals in a state of real or simulated overt sexual stimulation or arousal." I assume that's out.

"Passive sexual involvement" is more promising, but clearly doesn't include merely (simulating) saying lewd things to a child.
an act, real or simulated, that exposes another person to or draws another person's attention to an act of sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity because of viewing any of these acts or because of the proximity of the act to that person, for the purpose of real or simulated overt sexual gratification or stimulation of 1 or more of the persons involved.
So...I think his performance must have included simulated masturbation?

But it's not clear to me that even that is enough for this to fall under the statute. For that paragraph to come into play, won't they need to argue that this was done "for the purpose of real or simulated overt sexual gratification or stimulation of 1 or more of the persons involved"?

In any case, shame on that article for implying it was the suggestive song lyrics itself that qualify this under the child porn statute. I'm sure it was pretending to masturbate.
posted by nobody at 7:22 AM on February 18, 2011


20 years in prison is obviously an absurd over reaction. But I have to admit it would be pretty upsetting if it was YOUR young child depicted laughing and singing along with an adult crooning "I want to stick my index finger in your anus," in a Youtube video for all the world to see, possibly as long as they live.
posted by crackingdes at 7:23 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


koeselitz, I think the parents being quoted belong to the little kids, not the merry prankster.
posted by item at 7:23 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The charges are quite clearly a major overreach-around. Doesn't anyone remember the short-lived Wonder Showzen (nee "Kid's Show") that ran on MTV?

That (IMHO, hilarious) show made liberal use of juxtaposing sexual references with B-roll of childrens' reactions. And it aired on a major television network. Loaded, I'm sure, to the hilt with risk-averse lawyers. YouTube singer guy will be fine, and more famous for the attention.
posted by thebordella at 7:28 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Looking at the law posted it seems this might be the part they use :

(ii) It was not created using a depiction of any part of an actual person under the age of 18, but all of the following apply to that depiction:

(A) The average individual, applying contemporary community standards, would find the depiction, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

(B) The reasonable person would find the depiction, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

(C) The depiction depicts or describes a listed sexual act in a patently offensive way.


So I guess its up to the "reasonable people" in the court to decide if the video
(A) appeals to the prurient interest -- Which is open for a lot of interpretation.
(B) Has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value -- Odd that it doesn't list satirical
(C) Is patently offensive

I hope the judge throws it out but I could see a conviction depending on how good the lawyers are...
posted by ibfrog at 7:29 AM on February 18, 2011


If we knew more about the contents of the video, it would be helpful. The article doesn't really explain what specific violations he's alleged to have made. But one would hope it includes more than simulating the use of sexual language; if he grabbed his crotch in some kind of parodic Michael Jackson gesture, would that be enough to qualify under the law? Because I'm pretty sure the Chappelle show did that, too.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2011


Has anyone seen this video? Does anyone know if this "prank" was even funny?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:32 AM on February 18, 2011


20 years in prison is obviously an absurd over reaction. But I have to admit it would be pretty upsetting if it was YOUR young child depicted laughing and singing along with an adult crooning "I want to stick my index finger in your anus," in a Youtube video for all the world to see, possibly as long as they live.

Yes. And using a person's likeness without their permission is illegal. But to pervert laws designed to protect children to cause great harm to someone else and erode freedom of speech? I have more respect for someone who smacks their kid and gives them a black eye.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:32 AM on February 18, 2011


This is complete and total bullshit.
posted by empath at 7:33 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


When asked whether Emory should receive jail time, one parent said: "Yeah, he's a big boy. He's smart enough to know not to do something like that."

Hey newspaper, how about citing names, instead of printing "one parent said"? Anonymity is for whistleblowers and dissidents, not complaining parents.
posted by crapmatic at 7:34 AM on February 18, 2011


Here's some video

And to be clear, Mr. Emory appears to be mainly Caucassian, although someone may have edited the video, and yes, I still believe that if the first grader's parents had been able to get their hands on him right away, they probably would've lynched him. Which is what they're trying to do to him with a vague interpretation of the statute in the kangaroo court they're convening.

Hopefully the people of Muskegon, Michigan will come to their senses before they become the butt of many jokes.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:37 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is this not protected under the first amendment?

Won't someone think of the children.

Oh, right...
posted by the_artificer at 7:40 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


kangaroo court

Let me be clear, I think these charges are outrageous. But your hyperbole is even more so. First, the term above doesn't mean what you appear to think it means. Second, what makes you certain of this Muskegon lynch mob of elementary school parents? These comments are almost as ridiculous as the charges against Emory. Please, for your own sake, just stop.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


A kangaroo court or kangaroo trial is a colloquial term for a sham legal proceeding or court. I read that on the Wikipedias. Are the actions against Mr. Emory in the name of the law not a sham? Should you ignore my comments for your sake, oh person of condescension?
posted by jsavimbi at 7:49 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


NOW I WILL SIMULATE A JOCK STURGES PHOTO ON METAFILTER

O O O
/|\ /|\./|\/
/ \ / \ / \


* twirls mustache *
posted by everichon at 7:54 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone seen this video? Does anyone know if this "prank" was even funny?

I am totally with you that prosecutions should hinge on whether or not thet alleged crime was funny, but I am not sure the courts of Michigan are as progressive as you and I.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:56 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


jsavimbi: “A kangaroo court or kangaroo trial is a colloquial term for a sham legal proceeding or court. I read that on the Wikipedias. Are the actions against Mr. Emory in the name of the law not a sham? Should you ignore my comments for your sake, oh person of condescension?”

Well, I'm not IvoShandor, and I don't know if I would call you out on this – frankly, a bit of outrage over this seems understandable – but I do think you're jumping the gun a bit. At least I hope so, for Mr Emory's sake. I mean, isn't the hope that this won't be a kangaroo court? That the judge will take one look at this and throw it out summarily? Given that proceedings haven't actually started – he's only been arrested and held – we don't know yet whether this will be a "kangaroo court" at all, and I think we have reason to hope it won't be.

Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part, but that's how I feel, anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 8:00 AM on February 18, 2011


using a person's likeness without their permission is illegal

Illegal? I would tend to think this is not illegal, as I do this every day. Can you be sued? Yes. Can the plaintiff win? Probably not just on lack of permission grounds alone.
posted by bugmuncher at 8:05 AM on February 18, 2011


Please, saying someone would have been lynched? In the United States? Talk about loaded. Talk about ignoring historical context in choice of language.
I'm pretty sure white people were occasionally lynched back in the day.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2011


I'm pretty sure white people were occasionally lynched back in the day.

True, although not as often. From Wikipedia:

Between 1882 and 1968, the Tuskegee Institute recorded 1,297 lynchings of whites as well as the 3446 lynchings of African Americans during that period.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:11 AM on February 18, 2011


apparently the idea of this is to target not only actual child porn but simulated child porn

Won't someone think of the imaginary children?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd bet this'll turn into /b/ tards posting info about and harassing the parent tards. These loony parents make an attractive target for internet vigilantism because paranoid parents have collectively caused so stupidity, and this incident far out strips most such parental insanity. I'd hope the guy's lawyer knows to ask for a change of venue after that shit storm hits.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:24 AM on February 18, 2011


Not sure to what degree you're willing to allow a miscarriage to go, but the fact that he was jailed and then released on a surety bond, not his own recognizance, while being charged with a felony seems to suggest that the local police, prosecution and magistrate are blowing this matter way out of proportion and are intent to punish an individual to the full extent of any law that they can interpret to fit Mr. Emory's actions. If those aren't the proceeding of a kangaroo court, I don't know what is.

I'd say let a cooler, non-hysterical presence step in, provide some supervision and help the community reach the consensus that Mr. Emory is an opportunistic a-hole and that the school administrators should formulate and implement a process that would discourage this type of behavior in the future, all without making use of the judicial system to repair broken egos.

Also, does anyone think the locals will go after YouTube for this, or are they immune from this sort of thing in the state of Michigan?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is about bunch of people who believe that, because they are upset about something, they must be the victims of a felony. It is also about a group of public servants who will try anything to be on the side of the righteously indignant.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:39 AM on February 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


And Wonder Showzen was much, much worse, but Viacom remains in operation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:39 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


But to pervert laws designed to protect children to cause great harm to someone else and erode freedom of speech? I have more respect for someone who smacks their kid and gives them a black eye.

Beating a child causes less harm than the alleged "perversion of laws"? Really? Who is hurt by this video?

Does one have to be black to qualify for a lynching fifty years ago?

Please, saying someone would have been lynched? In the United States? Talk about loaded. Talk about ignoring historical context in choice of language.


My grandfather went to the lynching of two white men in San Jose in 1933; two men had confessed to murdering the son of a local business owner, and were dragged from their jails cells and lynched in the park. (The Nazis apparently used photos of the event -5,000 people attended- as propaganda showing support for by thugs and criminals. The man murdered was half-Jewish.) So the reference in this context is to the history of mob behavior to criminals when the law is not being served, rather than to the systematic terrorization of black Americans. Historical context is not being ignored by the use of the term, particularly as mob lynchings in other parts of the world continue. Use of the term is going to imply something different to people who have familiarity with it in a wider context than American racism.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:41 AM on February 18, 2011


Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.
posted by straight at 8:41 AM on February 18, 2011


I am a crappy editor.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:42 AM on February 18, 2011


If those aren't the proceeding of a kangaroo court, I don't know what is.

This is a kangaroo court. And I was quite condescending, sorry about that. What we're seeing in Muskegon is over-zealous police work and over-zealous prosecutors, this, however, does not mean the legal proceedings that follow will be a sham. Also, yes, some whites were lynched but clearly the overwhelming amount of lynch mob victims post-Reconstruction in the U.S. were black, and it is within this context that lynching is generally understood.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:44 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.

I don't mean this in an antagonistic way, but can you expand on that? It's something that is very alien to my mindset, I suppose. I guess if someone did this with (I have a hard time thinking of it as to) a child of mine, I'd laugh because I cannot rightly imagine anyone seeing it and not realizing it was edited.

Like, you take the kid on Wonder Showzen who says: "A patriot is someone who takes a bullet for the president...to the president." I can't fathom anyone hearing that and thinking that a child actually said those words in that order into a microphone. So I guess I'm not seeing the harm here?

Again, I'm not trying to argue. It's just very different from how I see the world and I think additional perspectives are always a good thing to try to understand.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.

You do realize no actual child anus' were fingered right?
posted by the_artificer at 8:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.

Frankly, that's fucking crazy.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:46 AM on February 18, 2011 [24 favorites]


This issue came up thirty years ago regarding the film The Tin Drum. The film contains a scene of a child watching two adults have sex. The Ontario Censors in Canada found this outrageous and the film was banned.

Unfortunately for Canada, no one told those morons about the magic of editing: the kid was not even on set the day the sex scene was filmed. The OCB called it child pornography and looked like idiots for not understanding the medium which they were supposed to be passing judgments on.

Is it possible that in the age in which we now live that there is an adult in North America who doesn't have the brains to understand how editing works?

On preview...

Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.

Yes. Yes, actually. It appears there is.
posted by dobbs at 8:48 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out.

I'm going to be charitable and assume you didn't read the article. No children were exposed to Adam Sandler lyrics. Children were depicted on an obviously-edited YouTube video as being exposed to Adam Sandler lyrics.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2011


Just so we're clear, none of the kids heard anything explicit. Helps to read the article.

Then, later, without anyone else in the room, he was videotaped performing an explicit song, then edited it to make it appear he sang to the elementary students.
posted by pwally at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2011


straight: "Frankly, if someone had done this to my girls when they were that age, the only place in the world he'd be safe was locked up in a penitentiary. And I'd be standing there waiting for him 20 years later when he got out"

And then, how ever many years later, when you got out of prison; I'd be standing there laughing at you.

No, not really. I'm not a loony.
posted by Splunge at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Use of the term is going to imply something different to people who have familiarity with it in a wider context than American racism.

It isn't that I am ignorant of the use of lynching outside of American racism, your own example is American and not to do with race or whatnot (apparently). I mean, Joseph Smith and all, right? Even my own example of a kangaroo court involves what was essentially an extra-judicial lynching of white men. But I do think that using the term "lynch" concerning U.S. justice is generally going to dredge up Jim Crow and the post-Reconstruction South. If you're talking about the United States, which we are.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:56 AM on February 18, 2011


Is it possible that in the age in which we now live that there is an adult in North America who doesn't have the brains to understand how editing works?

Many, many, many people. Anyone who works in location shooting for film and television will tell you stories of restaurateurs who have their restaurants used for a scene but who are surprised to find that a five-minute scene in a movie takes longer than five minutes to shoot.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2011


Do we need a law against sexually pornographic depictions of real children? Yes.

Do we need a law against splicing non-sexual images of children into pornography that does not depict children? I guess, maybe.

Do we need a law against splicing non-sexual images of children into rude song performances? What are you smoking?

It doesn't seem obvious to me that the law against the former stuff is required, practically speaking, to prohibit the latter stuff. But even if it is, laws need to be intepreted to be applied, not just by judges but also by cops and prosecutors. They failed here. This guy's crime is just about worthy of a verbal warning.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2011


Yes. And using a person's likeness without their permission is illegal.

What law is this?
posted by inturnaround at 9:07 AM on February 18, 2011


What law is this?

I've probably talked too much on this thread already but I do believe this is only actionable in civil court. I don't think it's actually a crime. The poster above might have been confused.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:10 AM on February 18, 2011


I'm going to be charitable and assume you didn't read the article. No children were exposed to Adam Sandler lyrics.

Yes, I read the article. My beef is with the guy using kids for his obscene joke without their consent. If he did that with my kids, I'd be very angry. I would probably not literally camp outside the penitentiary, or engage in any other vigilante justice, but I'd stay awake nights thinking about it.
posted by straight at 9:12 AM on February 18, 2011


I can see the parents being vewy vewy angry. This current generation of parents do seem to range deep into hysteria at the slightest hint of maybe. But is mommy and daddy getting their panties in a bunch a torte, these days? The kids aren't harmed.

Children accidentally discovering adults having sex is a standard source of humor, and has been around longer than I have. Humour is art.

This was not intended in any way to appeal to the "prurient interest". It is humour.

And I think it's really cool that Muskegon now has such a fun kid's entertainer to tour through out the region, giving free performances. I think he's good at it, and suspect he actually loves doing it.

And anyone screaming about not trusting this guy around kids is obviously not paying attention. Utterly trustworthy, essentially good natured. He sees this humour because it is exactly opposite of reality. You don't sing those words to kids, and if you did, they sure don't respond the way they do on the video. So everything is quite funny.
posted by Goofyy at 9:20 AM on February 18, 2011


(A) The average individual, applying contemporary community standards, would find the depiction, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

If the average individual finds this to be pruriently interesting, the average individual is a far more horrible person than I ever imagined.

I hope for the sake of his defense he has the original empty classroom footage and all of his editing files, so he can say "OK, this is what they actually saw me doing, and this is what I did , and this is how I did it, with this program." Take them through every tedious step of the process.

I mean, I can certainly imagine prosecuting him for something, because yes, if it were my child or my classroom and somebody used that footage in this way without my consent I would certainly be wicked furious. But unless he was actually in the room actually singing that song to the actual children, 20 years is fucking ridiculous. There isn't even any "simulated" child endangerment - it's just a bad prank, and if being unfunny were a felony, I would be posting this from solitary confinement in Oxford.


As an I am heartened to find I am not the only person who found Wonder Showzen unfunny and mean-spirited. It was like someone took everything I like, processed it through The Bizzarro World, and gave it to some fifteen year old bullies to finish after they rubbed dirt on all the puppets. I had so many people tell me "OMG HAVE YOU SEEN WONDER SHOWZEN YOU WOULD LUUUVV IT" only to be utterly mystified that I didn't think it was the greatest work of satirical genius ever to appear on television.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:22 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My beef is with the guy using kids for his obscene joke without their consent. If he did that with my kids, I'd be very angry.

He didn't do anything obscene with the kids. He made a joke video with *footage* of the kids.

Would you stay awake at night thinking about vigilante justice or did you mean something else?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:24 AM on February 18, 2011


This case is unsurprising in a society where
i) many people have difficulty separating reality from TV, and
ii) people like having something to be outraged about.
posted by normy at 9:43 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hopefully the people of Muskegon, Michigan will come to their senses before they become the butt of many jokes.

I live in Muskegon, and we are the butt of many, many jokes already.
posted by chocolatetiara at 9:44 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


being somewhat of a local yokel, i would be remiss if i failed to note that tony tague is a big grandstanding douchebag with more important things to do than prosecute youtube jokesters.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:53 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not that 20 years isn't completely ridiculous, but a little common sense goes a long way. If people are trusting you with their kids, understand that they will be more that a little pissed if you abuse that trust even in relatively benign ways.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:03 AM on February 18, 2011


He didn't do anything obscene with the kids. He made a joke video with *footage* of the kids.

Again, I understand completely what he did and did not do. And what he did would make me very, very angry if he did it using footage of my children without their consent (which these kids are too young to grant).

As a parent, I wouldn't feel I had the right to use footage of my own children this way. A stranger definitely does not have that right.
posted by straight at 10:11 AM on February 18, 2011


Your parents agreed that you should be locked up for 20 years? Man, when this finally court and the judge throws it out (as she or he should) it sounds like his parents have basically removed themselves from his life. I mean, I know if my parents had pulled this kind of shit and called for my imprisonment, I wouldn't really be in a mood to talk to them ever again, particularly if this had occurred when I was 21.

It wasn't one of his parents that said that; it was the parent of one of the kids in the video.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:15 AM on February 18, 2011


I would like to plant a little surveyor's flag for Wonder Showzen somewhere between "LOL" and "greatest work of satirical genius ever to appear on television", more towards "LOL".

Or is this a yes/no question?
posted by everichon at 10:37 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm a parent, too, and while I'd have been upset when I first saw the video--and even though I might still be a little angry with the guy once the situation was fully explained to me--I could never for one instant sincerely believe that charging the guy with a criminal offense let alone one related to producing child pornography--qualifying him for national sex offender registries, I would imagine--is in anyway a sane, legally-sound or proportional response to this incident. He was a young kid who goofed up trying to make a funny video; there's no indication here that he was anything more or less then a little irresponsible.

I think this is just another politically motivated attempt to tar YouTube and the internet generally with crimes against humanity to help build the case for more governmental control over content and content providers.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:57 AM on February 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Or it's a prosecutor eager to prove he's hip to the new legal challenges that the internet poses.

But either way, this seems like a really cynical waste of everyone's time.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:58 AM on February 18, 2011


I have a practical question about how he pulled this off: The screencap I've seen shows him sitting in front of a chalkboard, with guitar. So that's where he filmed the non-obscene song and the footage of the kids.

How, then, did he get access to the room without the kids so that he could sing the obscene song in front of the chalkboard?
posted by jbickers at 10:59 AM on February 18, 2011


Recess?
posted by morganannie at 11:04 AM on February 18, 2011


How, then, did he get access to the room without the kids so that he could sing the obscene song in front of the chalkboard?

Good point. Someone at the school had to know he was planning to use some kind of editing trick, because no one is alleging he accessed the empty classroom without permission. There would be breaking and entering charges as well in that case. This implies someone in a position of authority at the school must have been supervising his solo performance while the kids were out of the room. At the very least, someone had to authorize his use of the room and let him in on both occasions. Who was that, and why aren't they on trial, too?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:05 AM on February 18, 2011


A teacher he knew at the school agreed to let him come in and videotape.

Hope that teacher has a good union rep, because his or her friend just shit all over their job security. Obviously a felony charge is an overreaction, but this was still a profoundly stupid thing to do.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Ah ha. Now it starts to get a little clearer what this is about.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:09 AM on February 18, 2011


Nah--that can't be it. I'm sure the prosecutor's just hoping to earn cheap political points for being technology-vigilant because trying to use this case as evidence of what those evil teachers are up to is a real stretch.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:11 AM on February 18, 2011


“I feel like a jackass.”
posted by clavdivs at 11:40 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was in Muskegon on July 4, 1976. I'd love to say those were the days, but alas, it wasn't that hot then either (but I ate 6 hamburgers).

Fun aside, just give the kid a break and some chances.
posted by Namlit at 12:09 PM on February 18, 2011


> allowed by a DA who probably needs the votes

Mike Masnick over at Techdirt has written quite a bit about "Grandstanding DAs"
posted by mmrtnt at 12:24 PM on February 18, 2011


inturnaround: "What law is this"

Many states have such laws. See here for some basic background.
posted by lex mercatoria at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2011


As a parent, I wouldn't feel I had the right to use footage of my own children this way. A stranger definitely does not have that right.

Yes, yes he does.

I think it's astounding that there is a perception in the US that no one can use a picture or video of you without your consent. There are limited circumstances where you can pursue civil action against companies or individuals who misappropriate your likeness or invade your privacy and what not, but there is no general blanket prohibition against it. I think the belief stems largely from the fact that TV producers/news crews, photographers, etc will commonly ask for a release before taking your picture or video, but this is done to provide an iron-clad defense in the case that they are sued, in other words, it's sufficient but not necessary.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:29 PM on February 18, 2011


Well, I'm a parent, too, and while I'd have been upset when I first saw the video--and even though I might still be a little angry with the guy once the situation was fully explained to me--I could never for one instant sincerely believe that charging the guy with a criminal offense let alone one related to producing child pornography--qualifying him for national sex offender registries,

Yeah, I like to hope I'd eventually feel this way too. This is why we have prosecutors instead of angry parent lynch mobs. Too bad the DA in this case doesn't seem to know the difference.

I think it's astounding that there is a perception in the US that no one can use a picture or video of you without your consent.


Fine, it's protected by the First Amendment. He shouldn't go to jail. But lots of speech that's legal is still morally wrong and I feel a lot of sympathy for the parents calling for his head. But, yeah, the DA shouldn't listen to them.
posted by straight at 1:35 PM on February 18, 2011


But lots of speech that's legal is still morally wrong and I feel a lot of sympathy for the parents calling for his head.

This is why we have civil courts. Stable societies are not built on people waiting outside the penitentiary after the 20 year sentence is up.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:50 PM on February 18, 2011


But lots of speech that's legal is still morally wrong and I feel a lot of sympathy for the parents calling for his head.

Did you read the interview posted with him a few comments ago? Where the cops came to his door and demanded to know where he was hiding children's panties and childporn, and then he proceeds to weep and says he feels like a jack ass and talks about how he took the video down, the interview that includes his fairly profound apology and pictures of him crying?

This kid might be over eighteen, but he's someone's child, too. And Christ, do I feel for him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:01 PM on February 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hey newspaper, how about citing names, instead of printing "one parent said"? Anonymity is for whistleblowers and dissidents, not complaining parents.

Printing the parent's name removes the anonymity of the child who was the subject of the prank. It is a general practice of many newspapers (including all the ones I've worked for) not to print the names of parents when discussing crimes committed against their children.

Note: I think the crimes committed here were more on the order of privacy violations than of child pornography, but I think the general principle of preserving the privacy of crime victims who are legal minors by not publishing the names of their parents is a good one.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2011


This is why we have civil courts.

Exactly. Except that the Youtuber in question has a job at Applebees in addition to his geetar routine, so I don't think the plaintiffs would see anything of value come out of a civil case. Again, the need to express one's outrage over a perceived slight trumps common sense.

I sympathize with the parents to an extent, but what they're trying to do to this guy is way, way beyond the rational response. Blacklist the guy, annoy his employer, bitch at the school stupervisors, but even suggesting that this guy is something of a sex-based criminal is criminal in itself.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:09 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


^^

Indeed, indeed.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:18 PM on February 18, 2011


Back again to try to grab some clarification.

If you believe what Evan did was a terrible thing - even if you don't think he should go to jail but should face negative repercussions of some sort - does it change your opinion to know that there were two separate disclaimers on the video explaining how it was made and pointing out that the kids in the video never heard the explicit lyrics?

Or if it doesn't change it, does it have any effect on it at all?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:26 PM on February 18, 2011


If he posted a web page with the lyrics on one side and a picture of a child on the other half, would that also be felonious? How would it be different?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:30 PM on February 18, 2011


Every one of those parents should be ordered by the judge to write a 500-word essay on the topic of "mob mentality".
posted by zardoz at 2:48 PM on February 18, 2011


But lots of speech that's legal is still morally wrong

This is precisely what is so great about the first amendment. Freedom means freedom, no matter whom you offend or disagree with.
posted by reductiondesign at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2011


Well, it's good that they've got the Paedofinder General on the case. Lord knows there are paedophiles all over the place, and all of them must be rounded up immediately.
posted by koeselitz at 3:34 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I have to admit it would be pretty upsetting if it was YOUR young child depicted laughing and singing along with an adult crooning "I want to stick my index finger in your anus," in a Youtube video for all the world to see, possibly as long as they live.

Nowhere near as upset as I'd be if some ambitious DA wanted to make an example of my 20 year old child by locking him up and throwing away the key as punishment for an adolescent prank.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:29 PM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you believe what Evan did was a terrible thing - even if you don't think he should go to jail but should face negative repercussions of some sort - does it change your opinion to know that there were two separate disclaimers on the video explaining how it was made and pointing out that the kids in the video never heard the explicit lyrics?

If it's so harmless and innocent, why didn't he ask the kids parents for permission to use them in his hilarious video?
posted by straight at 6:26 PM on February 18, 2011


Because he's a 20-year old kid and getting permissions never crossed his mind?
posted by plastic_animals at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2011


He lied to the school about his intentions, so he knew that he was doing something wrong.
posted by straight at 6:39 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's so harmless and innocent, why didn't he ask the kids parents for permission to use them in his hilarious video?

I'm sorry but I can't answer this as I never claimed what he did was either harmless or innocent. I asked if the two disclaimers changed anything, in your mind.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:51 PM on February 18, 2011


So the parents in this case want to martyr the fellow for faking the sexualization of their kids but then you have parents who let their kids do this. What the hell?

This kid should be released and sent on his way. Being paraded around as a OMGPREDATOR will probably screw him up royally. He'll never want to be around another child for the rest of his life.

I get that the parents are upset about seeing their kids in the video and that's fine. He shouldn't have done it and should apologize. That being said, it absolutely terrifies me that these people don't have the wherewithall to realize that their kids weren't actually there. Fuck. TV has been doing edits like this forever, do these same people believe that the avatar people were really blue or that the hobbits were really 3 feet tall? Movie magic is awesome but, listen people, it's an illusion. Someone needs to put on a luchador mask and make a video revealing the secrets behind the magic or something to try and get through to these idiots.
posted by M Edward at 7:10 PM on February 18, 2011


I asked if the two disclaimers changed anything, in your mind.

Still not okay, because he is using the legal minors' images in a dirty joke without their consent or their guardians'.

Not a felony to me, but not okay.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:23 PM on February 18, 2011


As I've said repeatedly, I read the article. From my first comment, I was aware he didn't actually say/sing explicit things to kids and that the video itself was probably pretty clearly a fake.

My outrage is entirely about including footage of kids in a video like this without their consent. The sexually explicit part makes it worse, but I'd also be outraged if Wal-Mart tried to use footage of my children without their consent to sell shoes.
posted by straight at 7:25 PM on February 18, 2011


straight: “My outrage is entirely about including footage of kids in a video like this without their consent. The sexually explicit part makes it worse, but I'd also be outraged if Wal-Mart tried to use footage of my children without their consent to sell shoes.”

Well, I don't really have any outrage over this – nothing was done to anyone, and a bunch of kids who unwittingly appeared in a saucy little video that they likely won't see for a decade at least will be completely unharmed. Maybe we could all consider that for a moment: there are no victims of this 'crime.'

But if I were going to be outraged, it would be at this:

We live in a society where people are deathly afraid, not only of pedophiles, but of being called a pedophile. Innocent people have to worry about this constantly. Every week in towns all over the United States (and the UK) adults who are completely innocent are hauled in front of child protective services because they took a picture of their daughter at the swimming pool or their son taking a bath. Every week some parent or teacher or bus driver who has done absolutely nothing wrong is called out and accused of this most terrible crime, and then has to deal with the consequences. This ruins lives, and it does so nearly every day.

The worst part about all this is: it totally cheapens the actual crime of pedophilia. It makes that very unfortunate crime much harder to point out and prosecute; we're all so busy with the life-destructive media circus that we don't seem to know how to catch out and prevent actual crimes.

So there's plenty to be outraged at here. Here we have a bunch of parents who have callously and cynically bent the laws against pedophilia and child pornography to victimize a young man who, though he might have done something ill-advised, is wholly innocent of those crimes. That's a misuse of the legal system, and it's a cheapening of laws that are there to protect their children. If I were a parent, I would be up in arms about this; this sort of thing should not get confused like this.

And, again: this young man didn't harm anyone. It was ill-advised, yes, but it was just a silly song about sex. We need to accept that and figure out a way to deal with this that doesn't subvert important legal doctrines.
posted by koeselitz at 9:12 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


If it's so harmless and innocent, why didn't he ask the kids parents for permission to use them in his hilarious video?

The same reason you don't get someone's permission when you prank them or for April Fool's gags: jokes don't work that way.

Have you never laughed at Hidden Camera jokes or crank call pranks? You think permission is gotten first?

I read the article. From my first comment, I was aware he didn't actually say/sing explicit things to kids

You mean your first comment where you implied he deserved 20 years in prison and that you'd be waiting for him when he got out?

Jesus, lighten up, and get some perspective. The only thing this kid is guilty of is telling a joke poorly.
posted by dobbs at 9:48 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi: "Mr. Emory appears to be mainly Caucassian"

Oh! Is that the new hybrid species resulting from Caucasians and Cardassians?

East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "I'm going to be charitable and assume you didn't read the article. No children were exposed to Adam Sandler lyrics. Children were depicted on an obviously-edited YouTube video as being exposed to Adam Sandler lyrics."

Okay, wait, I'm confused. Was the Adam Sandler song the good song or the bad song? Because I looked up the lyrics to that lunch lady song, and if it's sexual, then damn am I ever naive.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:06 AM on February 19, 2011


The same reason you don't get someone's permission when you prank them or for April Fool's gags: jokes don't work that way.

But the joke supposedly isn't on the kids. They're supposedly completely disconnected from the "funny" part. Koeselitz claims to believe it'll be 10 years before any of them see it (I wish that were true). This video wouldn't be a single bit more or less funny if he'd had the consent of the kids involved and permission from their parents.

You mean your first comment where you implied he deserved 20 years in prison and that you'd be waiting for him when he got out?

I said I'd be very angry. And I also said that a parent's anger should have no bearing in the DA's decision whether or not this was a crime that should be prosecuted. I agree with Koeselitz that prosecuting this guy as a sex offender would be a gross miscarriage of justice.
posted by straight at 2:19 AM on February 19, 2011


Wake up, America, is it any wonder you are the laughingstock of the world....For the love of the baby jesus, the three stooges, and Groucho Marx, FUCKING RELAX!
posted by lometogo at 7:28 AM on February 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, what would they have done to [NSFW] Chris Morris?

This is absurd.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd also be outraged if Wal-Mart tried to use footage of my children without their consent to sell shoes.

And clearly the appropriate reaction is would be to throw Wal-Mart's advertising staff in jail for 20 years!
posted by en forme de poire at 10:02 AM on February 19, 2011


I she be your edit window
posted by en forme de poire at 10:02 AM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


And clearly the appropriate reaction is would be to throw Wal-Mart's advertising staff in jail for 20 years!

And don't forget: Brand him as a sex predator so that he'll have to notify everyone in whatever neighborhood he lives in that he's a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, and won't be allowed to live within a 1000 feet of a school or daycare, and his name and likeness will appear in sex offender registry websites accessible to the public.

Basically, destroy his life. That's the right thing to do.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:59 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, is that Monty Python scene where John Cleese teaches a classroom full of young boys about sex ed by having sex with a woman in front of them now considered child pornography?
posted by Marla Singer at 3:32 PM on February 19, 2011


So, is that Monty Python scene where John Cleese teaches a classroom full of young boys about sex ed by having sex with a woman in front of them now considered child pornography?

I doubt it'd get past the legal department today.
posted by acb at 5:18 PM on February 20, 2011


I'd be pretty mad if someone did this to a kid I know, and 'did this'll means juxtaposing sexual lyrics with video of them.

But I think charging this guy with a crime is wrong. He should apologize, in person, to any family that wants to hear it, and that's all
posted by zippy at 7:51 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


News story with more lyrics.
posted by morganannie at 11:41 AM on February 21, 2011


News story with more lyrics

So basically he's facing jail because of a lack of intelligence. Way to go.
posted by Namlit at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2011


Marla, the problem with your example (and with those of en forme de poire and M Edward) is that in the Monty Python Sketch, the Brass Eye sketch, and even in that hideous "All The Single Children" video, the kids and their parents were aware of what's going on and the parents gave their permission.

Personally I question whether parents should be allowed to give consent for things like that on behalf of children too young to really understand the way adults are perceiving what they're doing, but this guy had neither the consent of the kids or the parents.
posted by straight at 2:51 PM on February 21, 2011


but this guy had neither the consent of the kids or the parents

Isn't using someone's image without attribution a civil matter, though? If the parents had sued him, I would have still been rooting for them to lose, but I wouldn't have been nearly as surprised. In comparison, I think that charging him with a sex crime is utterly bloodthirsty and vicious.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:37 PM on February 21, 2011


(s/attribution/consent/g)
posted by en forme de poire at 3:37 PM on February 21, 2011


I agree, en forme de poire.
posted by straight at 10:08 AM on February 22, 2011


morganannie: "News story with more lyrics."

Okay, those lyrics along with those images would definitely be cringeworthy, and if my kid was in the video, yeah, I'd probably be upset. I'm not sure it's worth a felony. Maybe a little community service to make him think more carefully in the future and benefit the community.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:21 PM on February 24, 2011


Straight, the problem with your explanation is that having the parents give permission merely makes them complicit in the "sex crime," if that's what it is. The young man who made the video probably made an error of judgment, what he did may even be an offense of some kind (civil or criminal, I can't say), but if what he did specifically falls under the very serious charge of a sex crime, then the parents' consent has absolutely no bearing on the matter.
posted by Marla Singer at 9:38 PM on February 24, 2011


(Except, as I said, to make them complicit.)
posted by Marla Singer at 9:40 PM on February 24, 2011


Civil infringement, probably yes (although with fairly minimal damages). Making this a sex offender charge is lunacy, especially since the intent to produce pornography clearly isn't there so the mens rea test will almost certainly fail.
posted by jaduncan at 12:00 AM on February 25, 2011


Marla, I've repeatedly said that no matter how hypothetically angry I'd be at this guy if he did this to my children (or how much I sympathize with the parents calling for his head), he doesn't deserve to be charged with a sex crime. That distinction between the parent's anger and whether or not the state presses charges is kind one of the foundations of our legal system.

And I also agreed with your point about the parental permission when I said "I question whether parents should be allowed to give consent for things like that on behalf of children too young to really understand the way adults are perceiving what they're doing, but this guy had neither the consent of the kids or the parents."

When parents allow 7-year-old girls to dance around in what would be sexually-provocative outfits if they were adults, I'm not willing to call it a sex-crime, but I think the kids' right to consent has been violated. They're doing something they might choose not to do if they had an adult's understanding of how that kind of dancing is perceived by adults.

However, I'm not sure I'd support a law banning parents from making those kinds of borderline decisions for their children, I'm afraid the overall effects of such laws would be worse than the problem they'd be trying to solve.

I'd be more comfortable with laws that would prevent someone besides the parents making such decisions on behalf of minors, for instance if a schoolteacher had little girls dancing in skimpy outfits or participating in a skit with sexually-explicit jokes without their parents permission. What this guy did was even worse because he didn't have permission of the parents or the children. But even if these were crimes or civil offenses, I definitely wouldn't consider them "sex crimes" on the level of child pornography.
posted by straight at 10:48 AM on February 25, 2011


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