Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Challenge to the Dr. Drew Show (and why most opinions about the Jared Fogle case aren't worth a five dollar footlong)

Everyone has been having a field day with the revelation that former Subway sandwich spokesman Jared Fogle is pleading guilty to both possession of child pornography AND having sex with a couple of teenage prostitutes. Of course, we've had to endure more five dollar footlong comments in the past 72 hours than in 15 years of Jared's Subway ads. 

The New York Post engaging in its usual fashion. 
But aside from the juvenile humor and the endless barrage of stories shoveling the piles of bovine excrement to mountainous proportions from folks looking to put in their two cent's worth into the conversation (such as this tripe from "Hollywood jail consultant Larry Levine"), very little is being said other than fueling the flames of ignorance and hatred among the uneducated masses. 

Of course, I'd somehow get sucked into this media circus, if only for a moment. 

After returning for an extended trip to the great state of Oregon to visit a friend/ fellow activist and enjoy some well-deserved R&R, I was finally getting back into the swing of things. (Of course, even on my "vacation," I still took calls and emails from registered citizens in need of advice as well as engaged in a couple of protests. Then again, I find public demonstrations a great stress reliever). I missed an email so I got a text from the producer from the Dr. Drew Show. The subject for my segment was Jared Fogle, of course. I wasn't really ecstatic about the subject matter but since this was to be my FOURTH appearance on Dr. Drew's HLN brouhaha, why reject the challenge and the chance for exposure for Once Fallen, right? 

Unfortunately, I experienced a bit of a technical issue no thanks to McAfee's Virus Software deciding that the best time to pester me with updates was 9:30pm, just as I'm having a live Skype interview. Because of that unexpected problem, I wasn't sure that what I said was even aired, but I was later assured my comment made it on-air. I figured (rightfully) that I'd only have one moment to say what I feel is important, that because of the stigma of being called "sex offender" is so great, there are barriers to those who recognize they need help for sexual deviancy but cannot find the help. (I must admit, because of the technical difficulties I flubbed the words but I managed to get the words out, though not as eloquently as I just typed). So it wasn't my best performance, and I'm sure they knew I was having technical issues so they never returned to me.

HOWEVER, I so wish I was able to rebut the statements that came after my statement. 

First off, I have to say, who the hell is Omarosa, and why is she a panelist? I'm willing to bet when you hear the name Omarosa you probably envision a samurai, but no, she's just a washed-up reality star best known for being a nasty piece of work on the first season of Donald Trump's old reality show "The Apprentice." This is the washed-up reality star had to say:

"I disagree. There is a lot of outlets. If you have a problem, there are doctors, psychologists, sociologist, you can go and turn yourself into the police. The problem is that people saying that they do not know, you really do. Because if you get street justice, it is a lot worse than what you are going if you turn yourself in."

Dr. Drew, THIS is why you don't get washed-up reality stars to join in on serious discussions. 

Allow me to explain why Omarosa's comment is stupid. First, no one is going to turn themselves over to the police or even talk to a shrink if they are having deviant sexual thoughts. Why would anyone put themselves through such abuse? Lets say someone has deviant thoughts but has not acted on them and is disturbed by them. Say this man goes to a shrink to get help. Say this man has a wife and kids. This man tells the shrink about these issues. What do you THINK will happen to this poor guy? This man will be reported to the police (Geez, has ANYONE ever heard of CAPTA, aka "mandatory reporting of child abuse" signed into law by Richard "I'm not a Crook" Nixon?). He will be investigated and his name is dragged through the mud. Ultimately, even if it has been determined that the man never acted on these feelings, he will be labeled, shamed, and threatened by people in society. Who in their right minds would rat themselves out KNOWING this is the end result?

Dr. Drew himself wasn't any better. In fact, in my four times on the show, I have yet to see him get a factoid about sex offender right. I'm being a little harsh on my gracious host and all, but his attitude on the show was too dismissive. "Go to Sex Addicts anonymous, S.A. Go there now," the doctor says. I support these Anonymous groups and all, but SA and related Anonymous groups tend to deal primarily with sexual addictions of a general nature. It is hard to imagine that guys who "merely" cheat on their wives or spend time watching adult transvestite midget bondage porn will be willing to share space with a guy baring his soul about an attraction to children. Yes, there ARE online groups like "Virtuous Pedophiles" or "B4U-Act," but they are not as easy to find as you may think. Also, these groups have been attacked by online vigilante thugs like Perverted Justice and Anonymous and at times, members of such groups have been outed and personally attacked

I could rip Drew over calling 17 year olds "children," but that's a rant for a different day. However, I will say that in some states, having sex with a 17 year old is legal. 

This stereotype is getting too old. I think
it is time we retire it. 
The truth is, we've been so adept at treating the sex offender as "monsters" that we've enabled those with sexual deviancy engage in cognitive dissonance. "Monsters" are old men wearing wrinkly trenchcoats with pockets full of candy and puppies luring kids into rusty vans. Thus, when Uncle Mike or Father John or kindly Mr. Smith are accused of sex crimes, those who know them can't believe. Why, they're nice guys! Jared Fogle had such a great story and a million-dollar charity helping kids get skinny! But now that he's outed as a sex offender, people are saying they "knew it all along," "he looked creepy," and the like. No, folks, you DIDN'T know, so sit down and grab a tall glass of "Shut The Hell Up." 

Thank God the Washington Post had the decency to write a bastion of reason in this sea of incompetence!  (I strongly advise you to CLICK HERE AND READ IT!) Admittedly, they proved my points a bit better than I did on the Dr. Drew show. It does point out that our trained response to sex offenders is actually impeding our understanding of them. Calling all sex offenders "monsters" certainly does a great disservice to the discussion. No amount of TV panel discussions with D-Listers, entertaining as they are, will amount to the price of a Subway sandwich. 

If Dr. Drew (or any other TV show) wants to have a REAL discussion about sex crime prevention, there are few things you need to do. First, replace Omarosa with a bona fide expert like Fred Berlin, Karl Hanson, Emily Horowitz, Jill Levenson, Richard Tewksbury, Lisa Sample, Eric S. Janus, or the researcher with arguably the coolest-sounding name in the research business, Crysanthi Leon. Of course, Once Fallen should be in it. If you want the other side to be represented, then being on some celebrity advocate like John Walsh, Mark Lunsford, or even Ron Book and his airheaded daughter Lauren to the show. Lets pit folks with more than a passing interest in the topic against each other. Sure, I'd still be arguing with idiots, but I'd take Walsh over Omarosa any day. At least we'll stay on topic. And most of all, that show will be as informative as it is entertaining.

So to the "New" Dr. Drew show, I just pitched my idea for you. You've had me on four times now, so I know you can make this happen. It might even be your best show ever! Maybe.