From predator to prey

From predator to prey

02 October 2014 | Pic PR

Channel 4’s Documentary ‘The Paedophile Hunter’ aired on television this week causing a bit of a media frenzy and dividing opinion.

Stinson Hunter, the self styled paedophile hunter, and friends have been documenting sting operations posing as underage girls in order to catch out online sexual predators. His controversial methods caused a degree of uproar in the press and on social media.

Stinson, although a little rough around the edges, has been very clever and effective in building his own profile and putting his ‘work’ in the limelight. Initially starting with a camera phone and merely a few shares on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, he has grown into what you could regard as an internet phenomenon, with thousands of followers, likes and shares. In the film he referred to himself as “Just one idiot in a bedroom that has started something that’s really important”.

Whilst carrying out his ‘covert operations’ he has started the process of building a personal brand that portrays his passion/ borderline obsession with catching these individuals. In my opinion, the documentary was very well produced but felt rather disturbing and creepy at times and left me wondering if Stinson gets some absurd pleasure out of posing as minors.

With an agenda in mind Stinson styles himself as a journalist and is now concentrating on building his brand further. In the documentary he states, “I don’t care if I get sent to jail, it’ll raise my profile even more – it’s free publicity!” He seems to be both thinking and acting from a PR point of view, gaining as much media attention as he can, whether good or bad.

Although his vigilante techniques may seem unethical and as such are disregarded by the police, it has proven to be successful and he has now got much of the public hooked. But, whilst it seems to work, shouldn’t he leave it to the professionals?