TV & Movies

Why We’re Creeped Out by the Hot Criminal Trend

Icked out about society’s current obsession with attractive felons? Us too

(Photos: Left, Stockton Police; Right: Santa Cruz Police)

(Photos: Left, Jeremy Meeks, Stockton Police; Right: Sean Kory, Santa Cruz Police)

This year’s hot criminal trend most definitely qualifies as one of the Internet’s creepier memes. For whatever reason (or lack thereof), we seem charmed by felons that could credibly pass for male models—or at the very least, play the ‘sexy thug’ in an abysmal crime thriller.

The latest penitentiary pin-up is Sean Kory, 29, who People (unironically!) crowned the “new hottie thug.”

Kory was reportedly arrested at a Halloween party for attacking a man dressed up as a Fox News reporter. While he’s not exactly in dangerous offender territory, it’s hard to endorse his behaviour as “hot.” (More like hot-tempered.)

Before Kory there was Jeremy Meeks, a California con picked up for felony weapons charges last summer. His mug shot generated a frenzy of activity online and even resulted in the creation of the bizarro-world hashtag #FelonCrushFriday.

The interest in talking up criminal hotties isn’t just a backwater curiosity; it’s a mainstream phenom picked up on by outlets that should know better. E! Online created its own sexy felon slideshow, which featured 7 Mug Shots Hotter Than Jeremy Meeks’.

If you’re troubled slightly by all the interest given to hot cons—hey, how about getting interested in The Innocence Project, instead?—prepare to be really disturbed when you hear that former NFL player Aaron Hernandez also triggered a round of ‘he’s so sexy’ tweets when he was first arrested on charges of… first degree murder.

The interest in “hottie thugs” suggests we’re confusing crappy TV movie clichés about sexy bad boys with real-life examples, and mug shots with online dating profiles. (I have no idea what the reaction to Hernandez represents, however, other than a complete lack of intelligence and worrying absence of empathy for the victims.)

But we’re not talking about cheesy Hollywood hunks here. They’re men who have done things that make other people call the police in varying states of distress. That context is pretty significant and shouldn’t be the secondary story.