The Outspoken Offender Story
The Early Years
The Outspoken Offender story begins in West Yellowstone in 1995. The Outspoken Offender (“TOO”) worked at KYWS AM radio as an afternoon disc jockey.
After only a few months, he relocated to Idaho where he worked for the number one radio station at the time. TOO enjoyed working as their evening disc jockey, live remote radio host, and production coordinator through the mid to late 90’s.
Before The Arrest
In 1999, TOO took his passion for weather to a local TV station where he was employed as their morning weather anchor. TOO helped take the morning show ratings from number three to number one in just a few months. After a short TV stint in Eugene, OR, TOO was requested back to Idaho as the evening weather anchor.
Wanting to move into the Salt Lake City, UT news market, TOO took a chance and applied for a traffic reporter/weather fill-in position. He got the job and for 6 months, he reported the traffic live from the TV news helicopter. His position was short lived due to layoffs and cutbacks.
Struggling with media’s constant layoffs and uncertainties, The Outspoken Offender was hired as a part-time radio disc jockey in Salt Lake City. This was also short lived due to more layoffs within the company. Bonneville Communications had decided to simulcast their AM news station on their FM frequency, leaving the entire radio staff without jobs.
Frustrated, TOO decided to start his own TV show project, a late (very late, 2am!) night talk show that was featured on Utah’s UPN affiliate. Just as the new TV show gained momentum, everything came crashing down for The Outspoken Offender’s story…
A Major Life Change
In 2006, TOO was arrested for child and teen modeling websites that contained sexually explicit material. Though non-nude in nature, according to the Federal Court, the photos contained inappropriate clothing and posing for the age of the models. TOO was officially charged with a computer related sex offense in 2007 and was incarcerated through January, 2012.
With his release from a federal half-way house during the spring of 2012, TOO knew that his chances of returning to broadcast news would be extremely difficult. He had applied for several radio and television stations in 2012 and 2013, but with a sex offense on his record, no broadcast employer was interested. Struggling to find work of any kind, TOO finally found a warehouse job Salt Lake City, UT. He was then later hired as an Office Coordinator for a local church.
The Power of Film
In late 2013, TOO began to develop his film company, Metamora Films. Acknowledging and taking full responsibility of his past mistakes, he knew that he wanted to take his very bad choices and attempt to make a difference in the community. With full sincerity about turning his life around, he began production on his first documentary film entitled, “What Makes Me Tic?”, a film about living with Tourette’s Syndrome. The film won several online awards and was picked up by an educational distributor.
The following year, taking inspiration from a script that he had wrote in prison, TOO directed, “Last Day With Lizzy”, a short film dedicated to his then estranged daughter. The narrative which was shot in 12 hours in the Millcreek Canyon with local actors and crew, was an official selection of the Logan Film Festival and won additional online awards. The film was also featured at the Park City Showcase in late 2014.
Feeling like he had finally found his life’s calling, “The Forgiveness Journey”, a documentary on the process of forgiveness was released on February 25, 2015 at the Broadway Centre Cinemas to a crowd of over 125 people in downtown Salt Lake City. Owning up to his sex offense in the film, The Outspoken Offender talked about his own story and the loss of his relationship with his daughter due to his arrest and conviction. Stories of people who were also struggling with forgiveness were also featured, along with interviews from spiritual leaders, authors, and doctors. The 73-minute documentary is currently being distributed by Parallel Lines, an educational film distributor based in Los Angeles, CA.
The Power of Voice
In 2016, TOO recognized the immediate need for prison reform, awareness on post-prison issues, the effects of incarceration on families and children, and the ever growing sex offender registry in America. “Solitary Nation”, a podcast focusing on these important issues, is an interview style currently on it’s third season. With past interviews from marathon runner, Charlie Engle, Khalil A. Cumberbatch from Just Leadership USA, and national public speaker, Frank King, the podcast is an important media tool not only promoting change, but positive, post prison stories.
The Struggle For Housing
TOO’s most successful film project to date, NOT FOR RENT!, is a feature length documentary film about the the rental housing market. The film which was officially released on April 5, 2017 at Weber State University, is a feature length film highlighting individuals and families who are struggling in finding rental housing due to their prior felony convictions. In one particular case in the film, Tonia, who has a felony dating back almost 30 years, faces discrimination from several Northern Utah property managers. With over 95% of the American prison population being released at some point in the future, millions of ex-inmates struggle with ‘red tape’ and strict criminal history rental requirements property managers and landlords enforce. TOO states in his director’s statement,
“I urge you to watch this film. It’s a film that educates and inspires. It will open your eyes to a hidden form of rejection faced by millions of people in this country.”
The documentary film is doing very well with wins at national film festivals including Best Documentary at the Red Finch Festival, and a successful educational/conference circuit with various live screenings in Utah and Toronto, Canada (June, 2018).
The Kraftwerk K9 Job Incident
The Outspoken Offender story continues when TOO moved to the Pacific Northwest. The move occurred in April of 2017 which proved to be a challenging one. With a job offer working in video production for Kraftwerk K9 in Rochester, WA, TOO looked forward to a change of pace in a more rural setting. Literally 12 hours after his federal probation expiry date, he packed all his belongings and his dog Lucky and headed to the Pacific Northwest. The position came with a temporary free house rental on the 20-acre German Shepard training facility. Just days after becoming the video production director, things quickly turned ugly. TOO was asked to fill out a background check which was never discussed 30 days prior during a two day, in-person interview (and acceptance of the position) with owner, Wayne Curry. Panicked and worried that he had nothing left to fall back on, TOO filled out the background check the best he could. He admits he only told the half-truth. The form had asked if he had ever been convicted of a felony…TOO checked “Yes.” The questions didn’t stop there:
“Have you ever been convicted of sex offense?”
TOO checked “No.” Three days later he was fired. Wayne Curry berated him, locked him off the property, denied TOO access to his personal belongings that were still inside the rental house, and scorned him in person and over the phone. The situation became so heated, TOO requested an escort from the Sheriff in order to remove his belongs from Curry’s property.
With only $500 in his pocket and frustrated beyond belief, The Outspoken Offender headed out of town to decide what his next step would be. Luckily, a few days later a friend of TOO’s allowed him to stay at their home until he was able to get back on his feet.
Digital Marketing and Videography
Ten months later, after numerous employment and housing rejections, TOO was finally offered a place to live and a job with a digital marketing company. Without holding back any information on his felony and sex offender status, he gladly accepted the position in the digital marketing client services department. His position would later evolve into the companies primary video production specialist.
After about a year, TOO left to pursue a videography business. Applying his digital marketing skills, he designed a WordPress website, improved SEO, and reached out to other client vendors. His hard worked paid off. The videography company was a success for several years until the COVID-19 pandemic forced TOO to close his business due to massive cancellations and refund requests.
From being nominated in 2017 for a Utah Film Award for his short documentary, Life Under The Horseshoe, to covering the Sundance Film Festivals in Park City, Utah, to national public speaking, and developing his own online Metamora Film Festival, TOO’s mission is to take a negative experience (his 2006 arrest), and to encourage others to look towards success even though they may face difficulty social stigma and rejection.
“The rejection and judgement can difficult”, TOO says. “I just ask people to try to get to know me first before making a judgment. We need to open up difficult conversations about ex-felons, sex offenders, employment and housing restrictions if we are going to ever going to reduce America’s prison population.”, TOO adds.
To this current day, TOO admits he still faces rejection from employers and landlords because of his felony record, now 15 years old. He’s also recognized that since his felony is classified as a sex offense, people automatically assume the worst, eventually denying him access to jobs and housing.
With challenges, hope and determination, The Outspoken Offender looks forward to new films and projects as the years progress. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with his English Springer Spaniel, ‘Lucky.’