OC District Attorney’s Public Shaming of Johns Draws Likes and Dislikes from JohnTV

“The original Video Vigilante” likes some things about Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' recently implemented “public shaming” of those who buy the services of prostitutes. But Brian Bates also has some problems with an online page that features the names and mugshots of johns.

Rackauckas has asked every Orange County police agency to forward the booking mugs of those who solicit prostitution so they can be posted on orangecountyda.org.

Some, like the ACLU, have been critical of a strategy they believe employs banishment over rehabilitation. Others who are fighting human trafficking applaud the public shaming.

Bates, the creator of JohnTV, is among those fighting human trafficking, having used his video cameras since 1996 “to spotlight the graphic reality of street, forced and organized prostitution.”

In a recent johntv.com post, Bates lists what he sees as the pros and cons of the OCDA's shaming strategy.


1. That the Orange County DA's office is actually taking a public stand against the demand side of prostitution and human trafficking.
2. That they are waiting until an individual is convicted before using tax dollars to publicly shame them through public record and publication.
3. Identifying information also includes the punishment the person was sentenced to.


1. The public shaming policies of the Orange County DA's office is not clearly posted on their website.
2. Most of those identified on the website do not have an accompanying mugshot–critical in avoiding misidentification.
3. Identifying information does not include the person's date of birth–critical in avoiding misidentification.
4. Identifying information does not include a middle name–critical in avoiding misidentification.
5. Identifying information often does not include the date the person was arrested nor the date they were convicted.
6. JohnTV does not like that there is apparently no effort to identify pimps and/or human traffickers as they do the johns.

Naturally, Susan Kang Schroeder, the district attorney's chief of staff, defends the new enforcement tool, saying in the JohnTV post, “These men have to understand when they purchase a woman like she's a commodity, they're probably purchasing someone that has been trafficked. … They need to stop doing these things, and this is part of the consequences of the action.”

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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