10/16/07 -- OKC, OK - The last two weekends, JohnTV.com has sponsored 'Mug Shot Movie Nights' on South Robinson Ave., in South Oklahoma City.
Brian Bates, aka the Video Vigilante and founder of JohnTV.com, says the reaction by the community and media has been overwhelmingly positive.
"I really didn't know what to expect," said Bates. "Naturally when you're taking your message to the offenders themselves you'd expect alot of vocal criticism and even threats, but that didn't happen.
For the last two weekends, Bates and a small group of business and property owners in the Robinson area gathered at the corner of SW 36th at dusk. As the sun sat and the street hookers and Johns prepared to infest the surrounding community, Bates and his volunteers erected a huge movie screen. On that screen appeared the police mug shots of men who have been convicted of prostitution related crimes.
Bates says the goal is to bring the message and a warning directly to the offenders themselves.
"These men convince themselves that nobody notices what they are up to and that prostitution has no victims," said Bates. "This project dispels those myths and reminds the Johns that what they are doing is abuse and it could cost them their job, their reputation, alot of money and their marriage."
Bates says that each night he was approached by at least a dozen citizens that simply wanted to shake his hand and voice their support.
Bates says he hired armed security for the last Mug Shot Movie Night, but has yet to feel he or his volunteers safety is at risk.
"Criminals don't like the spotlight, they are like roaches and they run when you shine it on them," said Bates.
Bates says they will continue this project one to three times each month.
- KFOR News Channel 4's coverage.
- KWTV News Channel 9's coverage.
- FOX News (cable)
- KOKH News Channel 25 (video not available at this time).