Pardon me, but your character is showing…
Companies that support reality programming are a bell weather of the culture. Reality TV programming is an expansive industry label, and runs the gamut from Michael “Mike” Rowe (Dirty Jobs), Adam Savage (MythBusters), Jake Harris (Deadliest Catch) to Thomas Quinn (The Devil’s Ride). The one consistent characteristic of these type of TV shows is the dramatization of “real” events and occupations.
And in The Devils Ride dramatization, there includes an element of criminality and deviance which is posed as “entertainment” and is a constant factor in their so-called everyday motorcycle club life.
Speaking of lifestyles and the failure to realize the impact on other people… Thomas “Gypsy” Quinn (age 43 ), ex-president of the Laffing Devils Motorcycle Club (now disbanded) and star of Discovery’s – The Devil’s Ride, was arrested August 28th on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a minor. Specifically he was arrested on suspicion of having oral sex with his minor stepdaughter. Mr. Quinn was arrested at 10am outside Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, CA. and bailed out the next day. I don’t have independent confirmation, but it’s been reported in motorcycle forums that the stepdaughter is a child of his ex-wife and that she was 10 years old at the alleged time of this event.
As all the facts come to light and if the arrest results in a conviction – I point this out because Mr. Quinn and his ex-wife have been in a contentious battle for custody of children (different children than the alleged victim), and this could be an attempt to pit one parent against the other through the kids “crying wolf” prompted by the ex-wife. Crazier things have happened and as of Sept 5th Mr. Quinn still has not been charged. He was supposed to be arraigned on that day, however San Diego’s District Attorney is still mulling over charging him. So, it’s prudent to maintain the innocent until proven guilty theme.
But, speaking of guilt — when a publically traded company Discovery Communications (DISCA) maintains tacit support (by its silence) of a reality TV actor accused of child molestation – its sending a powerful message. I’m not cutting Discovery Channel any slack on this. It’s my viewpoint that David Zaslav, CEO Discovery Communications or David Pritikin, Discovery Channel Executive Producer of The Devils Ride missed the opportunity to build a meaningful and authentic connection with its viewers. The company should have released a formal response about the arrest/allegations, but as is often the situation the economic incentive, and publicity has them instead remaining silent. SILENCE from the very same company who just released an award winning documentary, “Sin By Silence” to raise awareness of domestic abuse! In this post-Sandusky era of saying nothing to avoid bad publicity… that is shameful.
The lines between culture and commerce mean companies, their Reality TV programs and the actors often blur the lines between reality and representation, where the ability to determine what is real and what is not is increasingly brought under question. There have been a lot of critics about whether the Laffing Devils Motorcycle Club is real.
Child sexual exploitation be it fabricated or real is serious. I don’t know how this will ultimately play out for Mr. Quinn, but clearly it’s a sad family tragedy.
Photo courtesy of Discovery and Quiet Little Place Productions.