Twitter, as a platform, has played host to a multitude of subjects, from elections to activism. Now, the social media platform will play host to shaming “deadbeat dads,” reports CNN.
During Monday’s State of the State address in Arizona, governor Doug Ducey announced that the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) will start shaming fathers who owe child support. More specifically, the agency will post their names, pictures, and how much they owe.
“For too long, you’ve been able to remain anonymous, able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame,” said Ducey. “Well here’s a new one for all the deadbeat dads out there: effective immediately, the state is going to begin posting the photos, names and money owed by these losers on social media, with the hashtag ‘#deadbeat.'”
Ducey ended the address by issuing quite the ultimatum. “If you don’t want your embarrassing — unlawful — and irresponsible behavior going viral: man up, and pay up.”
If you thought that Ducey was kidding around, the DES already shamed the first dad:
— AzDES (@ArizonaDES) January 11, 2016
Ducey’s strategy is something the DES has been doing on its website since 1999, when a law mandating the agency to post names and pictures of those who owe child support was passed.
Since Monday’s State of the State address in Arizona, the DES has posted images and information of two other dads who owe a combined $98,300.49 in child support. In total, according to Ducey, “deadbeat parents” in Arizona owe $1.74 billion in child support, a staggering figure that the Arizona governor and the DES hope to lower with what essentially amounts to public shaming.
Whether such a tactic will work, however, is a separate conversation. For one, Ducey’s rhetoric implies that all fathers who owe child support choose not to pay, when the real reason could be that they don’t have jobs, a sentiment echoed by Arizona House Minority Leader Eric Meyer.
“These are parents who, for whatever reason, may not have jobs, and there are lots of Arizonans who may not have jobs, so if you don’t have the money to pay the bills, yeah, you’re a ‘deadbeat dad,’ but [the families] are not going to get any money anyway,” said Meyer.
In addition, Meyer brought up possible legal concerns circling public shaming, particularly with the complication of future legal cases and the instigation of vigilante acts against suspects, though Ducey’s office said the Arizona governor will still move forward with the public shaming of fathers who owe child support.