The post featured mugshots of the ten women selected, their names, cities, crimes and victims’ ages and gender.
Blog editor Richard Connelly, who wrote the “10 hottest women” post, explained in his apology that the post originated as a response to the “idea about how people have a preconceived notion of what dangerous predators ‘always’ look like — slovenly fat guys in T-shirts asking kids if they wanted a ride.”
Connelly went on to suggest readers would get that the post was “fully intended to shock” by his “over-the-top intro” and “outrageous headline.” Gawker-owned blog Jezebel criticized the post, specifically Connelly’s claims that readers should have figured out the meaning behind the post. Jezebel’s criticism reads:
“How strange that people might have read this as ogling predators as opposed to showing that they look just like other people! We should be apologizing to him.”
Connelly also commented that while another headline such as “10 sex offenders who don’t look like sex offenders,” may have generated less controversy, it “seemed boring.” He added that the headline and post were “an attempt to catch attention (and yes, eyeballs and clicks.)”
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He wrote that by including the ages of victims and these photos, he thought the post would inform readers that “normal-looking” and “hot” people can be “capable of monstrous things.” However, Connelly suggested his post was accused of “glamorizing or trivializing child rape,” a point that he admits he sees after the fact.
“Glamorizing or trivializing child rape? It did not cross my mind that I was doing that. It should have, it now seems clear. That was never the intent. I hope that would be obvious, but it seems not.”
Connelly indicated that his apology is “half-hearted” and that he didn’t mean to offend.
“No one ever likes apologies to ‘anyone who was offended’ because they seem halfhearted. I can only say the intention was to shock (in what I hoped would be a positive way) and not to offend. To a lot of people, I failed miserably. I can understand that, and I apologize to them.”
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault’s deputy director Torie Camp commented “This kind of thinking that female sex offenders are harmless seductresses rather than predators or perpetrators can set us back decades,” Huffington Post reported.
Huffington Post also questioned if the Houston Press would next run “a calendar of the state’s sexiest pedophiles” or “most eligible sex traffickers.” Likewise, the New York Daily News noted that one commenter questioned if the Houston Press would next report on the “10 most handsome rapists.”