Jeremy Meeks mugshot Jeremy Meeks mugshot

Opinion: What If Jeremy Meeks Is Innocent? Why Online Mug Shots Are A Dangerous Practice

Jeremy Meeks won the Internet this weekend—even though he’s in jail. The man whose model-like features inspired hashtags like #felonbae and #feloncrushfriday had his mug shot posted on the Stockton, California Police Department’s Facebook page on Thursday and it quickly went viral.

There was outrage that a criminal was being lauded for his looks. And of course there were endless memes and jokes. The media churned it all up, telling and re-telling the story of his arrest and his extensive criminal history.

Those complaining about the reaction to Jeremy Meeks’ mug shot focused on the insanity of lusting after someone with a rap sheet. TMZ screamed out, “Jeremy ‘Dreamy McMug’ Meeks—A REALLY bad dude.”

But there’s a bigger question lost in the debate on whether or not it’s okay to salivate over a felon’s mug shot.

Why is his mug shot online in the first place?

In the US, those arrested for a crime are innocent until proven guilty. But the fallout from Jeremy Meeks’ mug shot fame has meant that his past arrests and general status as a convicted felon have become an ingrained part of his narrative before he’s even had his day in court.

The Supreme Court has ruled several times that mug shots are a matter of public record. But should that include those not yet convicted of a crime? In today’s world, having your mug shot posted online is a punishment that can follow you forever (some companies charge as much as $900 to have mug shots removed from their sites even if you were found not guilty).

Several states in the country are in the process of passing bills that will allow only mug shots of those convicted of a crime to be posted online. Other states, including Utah, do not allow mug shots released to companies who charge to have them removed.

If you were wrongly accused of a crime and later found not guilty, how would you feel if the mug shot taken when you were arrested was online and remained there indefinitely? What if a potential employer did a search for you, (an exceedingly common practice), and saw a mug shot? Even if you were found not guilty, do you think your image would remain tainted? Now what if that mug shot went viral? Think you’ll ever be able to rehabilitate your image?

Just because Jeremy Meeks has a rap sheet doesn’t mean he’s guilty of the charges he’s facing right now. The fact that he served time in prison doesn’t mean he’s guilty either. His mug shot posted online and his arrest record reprinted in media outlets doesn’t change the fact that at this very moment, he’s considered an innocent man by the American legal system.

According to data gathered by the Center on Wrongful Convictions and The Innocence Project, it’s estimated that 1% of all prisoners—20,000 people—were wrongfully convicted.

Jeremy Meeks was driving a car that allegedly had marijuana and a cache of illegal weapons in the trunk. And yes, his previous criminal record doesn’t help his case. But neither does the fact that a photo taken while he’s still technically innocent has gone viral and helped to cement his guilt in the eyes of many who clicked that "Like" button.

If Jeremy Meeks ends up going to trial, it will be hard to find an impartial jury. All because his mug shot got enough press to make him an Internet celebrity before he could even get bailed out.—Aliya S. King

Aliya S. King's is the author of two novels and three non-fiction books, including the New York Times Bestseller, "Keep The Faith," with recording artist Faith Evans. She had written for VIBE since 1998. Find her at aliyasking.com and @aliyasking.

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Snoop Dogg To Appear On ‘Red Table Talk'

On Feb. 26, Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk will host Snoop Dogg in a conversation that’s sure to make headlines. The “Signs” rapper will join Jada Pinkett-Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith for a conversation surrounding his rant toward CBS This Morning’s Gayle King.

The discussion will tackle “the culture of disrespect between black men and black women,” according to Smith’s Instagram notification. The feature arrives weeks after Snoop Dogg spewed his disdain for King’s early February interview with Lisa Leslie where the journalist asked the former WNBA player for her thoughts on the late Kobe Bryant's 2003 sexual assault case. The moment appeared insensitive to several spectators, leading Snoop to refer to the King as a “funky dog head b**ch."

 

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@snoopdogg is coming to @redtabletalk Wednesday, February 26th to have an in-depth and insightful conversation about The Culture of Disrespect Between Black Men and Black Women. Join us❣️

A post shared by Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapinkettsmith) on Feb 21, 2020 at 7:00am PST

Since that moment, Snoop Dogg has apologized to King, taking responsibility for acting “in a derogatory manner based on emotions.” According to the Associated Press, King accepted Snoop’s apology and noted that “as a journalist, it is sometimes challenging to balance doing my job with the emotions and feelings during difficult times”

 

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Had a talk with my momma thank u mamma 💕🌹 2 wrongs don’t make it right time to heal 🙏🏽💙 @gayleking Peace ☮️ n love Praying for u and your family as well as Vanessa and the kids 🙏🏽✨🌹 🕊

A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Feb 12, 2020 at 1:35pm PST

Snoop Dogg’s episode of Red Table Talk will air on Facebook Watch on Wednesday (Feb. 26) at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET.

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Scott Gries

Whitney Houston’s Hologram Gears Up For European Tour

Whitney Houston’s hologram is hitting the road for a European tour, eight years after the music legend's death. Earlier in the week, Houston's hologram popped up on the British TV show This Morning to perform “The Greatest Love Of All” and fans are already shuttering at the teaser of what the show will look like.

Video of the performance has been circulating the internet and appears to show a grainy ghost-like holographic droid belting out one of Houston’s best known hits.

Whitney Houston’s Hologram video pic.twitter.com/Lfwh00U7ue

— WHITNEY HOUSTON daily (@AllAboutWhitney) February 19, 2020

The production is a collaboration with BASE Hologram and features dance routines from choreographer Fatima Robinson.

Houston’s sister-in-law and former manager, Pat Houston, asserts that the tour will be exactly as the late music legend would have envisioned. “Now is just the right time,” Pat told the Associated Press. “In the spirt of Whitney, I know we’re doing all the right things right now. This is something that she wanted to do. I get very emotional watching this because it is so, so close to what she wanted. The only thing missing is her, physically.”

Fans are less than excited about the jaunt.

I'm not saying the Whitney Houston hologram tour will be a hot mess, but they are suggesting she had as much grace as a malfunctioning The Sims character wafting away a fart on #ThisMorning pic.twitter.com/9uJJCnCfTZ

— Mr Adam Remain 🇪🇺 (@MrAdamR) February 19, 2020

Whitney Houston hologram on This Morning. Looks nothing like her, and doesn’t look at all real. Just looks like a big TV screen playing a slightly laggy video of a lookalike.

— Charles Thomson (@CEThomson) February 19, 2020

I wish I WOULD see on somebodies snapchat story of them being at a Whitney Houston hologram concert . https://t.co/JxQVVm71BK

— Trevor Norris (@trevor_norris0) February 19, 2020

Houston's digital doppelgänger joins holograms of Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E and Ol' Dirty Bastard. An Amy Winehouse hologram tour was expected to launch last year but never got off the ground.

“An Evening With Whitney Houston: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour” will include hits like “Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

The tour launches in England on Feb. 25 and runs through April. U.S. dates are expected to be announced at a later date.

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The USC Annenberg School For Communication And Journalism Celebrates Commencement at The Shrine Auditorium on May 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

USC Will Offer Free Tuition For Students From Families Making Under $80,000

USC announced a new effort to make attending the university affordable to students from middle and low-income families. The school will offer free undergrad tuition for families making less than 80,000 a year, USC president Carol L. Folt announced on Thursday (Feb. 20).

Thanks to the new policies, owning a home will not be counted in calculating the student’s tuition needs.

“We’re opening the door to make a USC education possible for talented students from all walks life,” Folt said in a statement. “This significant step we are taking today is by no means the end of our affordability journey. We are committed to increasing USC’s population of innovators, leaders and creators regardless of their financial circumstances. Investing in the talent and diversity of our student body is essential to our education mission.”

The announcement comes as USC remains embroiled in an admissions scandal that became public last year.

As for the new policy, USC will increase undergraduate aid by $30 million annually which will expand financial aid for more than 4,000 students. The new policies will be implemented for incoming students beginning in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021.

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