He’s sold over 100,000 songs on iTunes, his “Bed Intruder” YouTube video has more than 35 million views and his Halloween costume has sold out twice. So should we surprised Antoine Dodson is now promoting a mobile phone app that tracks sex offenders?
BeenVerified.com, the for-profit maker of a “sex offender tracker”, has “partnered” with Dodson to promote the iPhone and Android app that uses the phones’ GPS features to display the locations of registered sex offenders along with detailed information on where the offender is residing.
Sex offender registries are notoriously blunt and invasive tools. Depending on local definitions of “sex offender,” the registries can include, say, a 17-year-old boy who violated age-of-consent law by having consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend or a gay man ticketed for cruising a park. There’s also that small matter of the foundational idea of our justice system: You’re supposed to serve your punishment and then get on with your life, not get marked with an electronic scarlet letter. Not to mention the violence and discrimination the registries routinely fuel.
But Dodson of course owes his Internet fame to his angry outburst when a TV news reporter asked about an attempted sexual assault on his sister. That makes him an ideal spokesperson for BeenVerified.com’s app. And he continues to show remarkable savvy in exploiting—and extending—his moment in the spotlight.