Review of Shut Up and Dance

Here is a review of the Black Mirror episode Shut Up and Dance, in which hackers film a young guy masturbating through his webcam, and then force him to, ultimately, engage in a death match with another man. It turns out that the guy was masturbating to CP, and the hackers were pedo-hunters. In light of that, it’s hard to know what to make of the episode. The review suggests that we are meant to be cheering the hackers on, but I feel that it’s more ambiguous than that, and that part of the discomfort of the episode is that regardless of what you know, the hackers have still gone too far in their brutality. What do you think?

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  1. If I remember correctly–isn’t the young guy possibly a minor? I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’ve read the synopsis while trying to parse out a discussion; I remember reading that he was like, 17. Either way, his youth, I think, is meant to make it even more ambiguous in morality (because I mean… he’s so young, he could be reformed easier than others might be, especially if he’s only masturbated, which is supported even in our shitty pro-torture legal system generally coming down softer the younger and ‘least offending’ you are); I wouldn’t think the narrative wants you to fully support the pedo hunters, even if that’s your immediate reaction.

Plus, like, contextually:

  1. I think Black Mirror overall comes down on the side of “sometimes major survelliance-centric activities have Pros to the Cons, but are those Pros really worth Everything Else?” So: even though ‘has/is masturbating to CSEM’ is ultimately something to be prevented, did that Game he was subjected to do anything? Does it actually prevent or fundamentally stop anything? Or was it a case of a group of “pedo hunters” relishing in sadism from the perspective of “uh, well, we’re doing a public good, so”?

  2. Also, I feel like the fact he was in possession of CSEM instead of being a distributor or creator is a key from the writers that these so-called hunters are just LARPing the CIA. In my experience, it’s pretty widely known that the people who ‘have CSEM’ are not… really the people law enforcement go after–it’s those supplying the demand in some form.

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Pedo hunters protect kids. Yeah, they may not focus on the highest risk sickos out there, but they still help. The only people against pedo hunters are people with questionable moral compasses.

Pedo hunters want internet fame, or to feel like heroes above all else, they do it for themselves, not anyone else. The “evidence” they gather can rarely be used and they often hinder legitimate investigations.


I don’t think that’s the case. Many who were trying to get with a 12 year old were arrested on the spot. And yes the evidence can be used. Furthermore, some hunters do sometimes kill the ones they hunt which keeps our children safe.

Good to know where you stand. Personally I don’t support murder.


Vigilantism is a crime. Vigilantes are the criminals, who should have bounties on their heads. FYI, bounty hunting isn’t a crime. Your Hunters should end up being the legally hunted.


A former coworker of mine was pulled over for a traffic citation and later arrested for possession of a controlled substance after they found marijuana residue in his car. They later on found a plastic bottle full of urine in his car and added charges related to that.

That’s a lot.

He couldn’t afford a good lawyer, so the best his court-appointed defense attorney could do was muster up a plea deal where he would receive no prison time in exchange for community service and being put on the sex offenders registry for urinating in a bottle while in his car.

He took it and now isn’t allowed to be within a certain distance of a school and has to explain to people why.
Anytime he moves, a letter with his name, face, and address is sent to his neighbors.
When you look him up on the registry, it simply reads “CRIMES AGAINST NATURE/PUBLIC INDECENCY”.
I would post it here, but I don’t want to draw attention to him and he politely asked that I respect his decision to keep a low profile.

When I see these vigilantes, going around assaulting people, I immediately think of my coworker and those like him. The law is tricky. The courts are basically modern-day coliseums, depending on the case, and like the gladiators of old, prosecutors will spill an ocean of blood to get where they need to go. That’s not to say that those who prosecute crimes aren’t good people or don’t do good work, violent sexual predators do need to be held accountable for their crimes. But just because you’re accused, doesn’t mean you’re guilty. This fear and anxiety has clouded the better judgement of an otherwise impartial and objective community of jurists and allowed the sword of justice to be swung far more indiscriminately than before.

It’s safe to assume that the average person is blind to this fact, either by sheer ignorance or deliberately. From what I’ve gathered, these “pedo hunters” are generally less intelligent than that. So I don’t expect them to be very reasonable when picking out listings of people to assault.

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There is a fair share of reasonable pedo hunters, who either deal with ethical hacking of sites on the darknet, or investigate cases people send them with their suspicions, trying to get some informations and either notifying the authorities or talking to the person who displayed suspicious behaviour if they found no proofs of them participating in anything illegal, in hopes of convincing them “to seek help”.

But I doubt they will ever come in here, the ones I’ve talked to are fine with artificial alternatives, they propose them to the people they’ve talked to as a substitute to real CSEM.

It’s just that some individuals, especially those with low IQ, are completely unable to understand the complexity and problems that come with the concept of justice, and instead, pursue blind vendettas driven by their own personal benefit, and not the wellbeing of real children. Especially when they have some sort of platform on which they praise themselves as saviours of children. Such fame can become addictive I suspect.

And then you also have the child predators who became pedo hunters, to disguise their own actions against children, create distractions and take any suspicions away from themselves, because most people don’t even consider the possibility that world isn’t only black and white, and that a person who claims to be against pedophilia, might also be a predator. Usually, they have extremely exaggerated opinions about pedophilia, since they don’t understand why people hate it and instead rely on how they imagine other people think of them.

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