Last month, we reported on the horrific video of two young girls being forced to fight in a New York City park. Soon after, we received a phone call from Michael Key, a Wisconsin businessman offering a monetary reward to whoever could identify the video’s perpetrators.
“I originally was going to post a $10,000 or $25,000 reward for these people,” Mr. Key said, looking back on his initial phone call to The Observer. “I had no doubt that somebody would turn them in. We’re in such a dog-eat-dog society that to post a $10,000 or $25,000 reward, somebody would turn them in in five minutes … Get me to the right people, and I will write the check.”
Thankfully, as WABC reported, the NYPD quickly identified and charged the teens who had filmed the video, and Mr. Key’s cash prize was unneeded. (The two teenage girls, aged 14 and 15, were charged as juveniles with child endangerment.)
But that doesn’t mean Mr. Key is giving up on his crusade against seriously twisted child abuse videos.
“There has to be a standard in our society that children have got to be off limits,” he said. “We’re just way out of control out here. We’ve turned into a giant reality TV show in this country, where everything goes.”
The Midwesterner’s money may have gone unused last month, but Mr. Key wants the nation to know he’s prepared to offer another reward the next time a video like this goes viral.
“I hope people will think twice about going forward on that stuff,” he said.
And Mr. Key isn’t alone—he already has a supporter in his friend and employee Mark Maccani, from Upper Michigan.
“That’s pretty upsetting that you have a group of adults that’ll stand their own and watch that and do nothing,” Mr. Maccani said.
Mr. Maccani said that he’s prepared to support Mr. Key in standing up against the propagation of abusive videos. “We sit back and watch this stuff go on on the Internet, but people have to start moving forward,” he said.
Listen up, people: the next time you’re feeling particularly soulless and decide to goad children into fighting each other on camera, beware: the men of the Midwest are going to hold you accountable.
As Michael Key said, “Be careful what you do, because there are people that are going to come forward and makes things happen.”