Earlier this week, a Reddit user posted a weird series of questions about “The Sex Offender Shuffle,” a comedy video Scott Gairdner (Conan, Funny or Die) made in 2009. The Reddit user asked a bunch of questions under the impression that the video, a faux-’80s video of a group of sex offenders legally required to perform a “Super Bowl Shuffle”-esque song and dance about their crimes, is real:
[AMA Request] Cast Member from the Sex Offender Shuffle My 5 Questions:Why does this video exist, considering the trouble it must’ve been to create in the 80’s?Who was this video made for?How did you obtain this position as cast member?Do you keep up with your fellow cast members?Who funded the video?
I think I can shed some light on this subject. My name is Todd Hughes- my aunt Laura appeared in the video you’re referring to, though against her will. It’s been a difficult subject for my family, but I’d love to help clear up some misconceptions.In the late 80s, Miami’s Sexual Predator unit began cracking down harder than ever on sexual misconduct. While sex offenders had long been forced to go door-to-door, a new policy was proposed: sending videotapes to Miami neighborhoods. This would give residents a convenient reference of local sex offenders’ faces and voices. Over time, the idea morphed into a cruel mockery of the accused parties. In early videos, convicted sex offenders were forced into demeaning costumes and humiliating hats. Eventually, Officer Raymond H. Karr hatched the idea of writing degrading hip-hop raps for the accused to perform.Between 1986 and 1988, dozens of “Sex Offender Shuffle” videos were created. Sex offenders who had already served their sentence were forced to rap and dance, often at gunpoint. My aunt Laura was forced to participate, in order to be eligible for home ownership in North Bay Village. She was handed a crude rap implying that she “touched her cousin”, though the actual circumstances were far more complicated. While a blood test proved that one of her volleyball students was a relative, their relationship was completely consensual. Regardless of the circumstances, NO ONE should be forced to rap against their will. Eventually, the ACLU stepped in. They helped SOS participant Marc Burmholdt sue Officer Karr, who promptly fled the country. In June 1988, Miami police chief Clarence Dickson was forced to resign, though it was presented as voluntary and unrelated to the SOS scandal.For years, our family thought they had buried this terrible chapter. But in 2009, the footage from my aunt’s “shuffle” was posted to Youtube and presented as viral found footage, making a sad mockery of my aunt yet again. Thankfully, there was a silver lining. While organizing a (sadly-unsuccessful) class-action suit against Youtube, she reconnected one of the other SOS participants, Samuel Pound. Today they are married, and together they own and operate a sand store outside Los Angeles.I hope this was relatively interesting. I’m just tired of people believing the video was some kind of comedy spoof. I want the world to know the Laura Hughes-Pound I know- a warm, loving, tender, incredibly affectionate aunt.