bad ideas

New A&E TV Show Gives Pastor 8 Minutes to Shame Women Out of Sex Work

Photo: CBS News

A new reality show greenlit by A&E and tentatively titled 8 Minutes will follow “cop-turned-pastor” Kevin Brown as he meets unknowing sex workers in hotel rooms and tries to convince them to quit the trade in — you guessed it — eight minutes. “They’ve got eight minutes to talk her out of prostitution,” executive producer Tom Forman told Entertainment Weekly. “If she says yes, that’s great. If after eight minutes she hasn’t, they give her a phone number and tell her they’ll always be there, but they cut off the intervention.”

The controversial show stems from a 2013 article in the L.A. Times documenting Brown’s work with both law enforcement and his church to “rescue prostitutes.” While helping women extricate themselves from abusive situations is admittedly very noble, hinging that work on the notion that all women who exchange sex for cash do so because they are forced to is decidedly not. And according to Forman, though Brown tries to stage interventions specifically targeting women who are forced into prostitution, he rarely has any evidence that that is indeed the case, instead operating on a gut feeling. “He doesn’t know when he calls,” says Forman. “But after 20 years on the job, he can decode an ad or solicitation or posting on the Internet like no one you’ve ever seen.” Okay. Sure.

Forman also says that Brown only has about a 50 percent success rate, which is remarkably low if you consider he operates under the assumption that all sex workers are helpless victims waiting for a pious dude to swoop in and rescue them from their terrible fate. Even if he does have 20 years of vice police work under his belt, why would a random stranger be able to talk a woman out of her job? Why would it even occur to you that you’re capable of doing that? The entire show banks on Brown’s hubris, a know-it-all condescension that assumes he could accomplish such a thing and that he is righteous in doing so.

8 Minutes manages to simultaneously strike two nerves the Twitter hoards cannot ignore — mansplaining and concern-trolling — so it’s sure to inspire mass ire before it even hits postproduction. Meanwhile, some are already gleefully banking on a hypothetical scandal.

Man Tries to Get Sex Workers to Quit in New Show