Mike Rowe, the TV host best known as the face of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," got into a debate with an attorney over privacy rights recently during a discussion at a liquor store.
The 52-year-old detailed his run-in this week on Facebook, explaining that it all started when he was in line to pay and noticed a sign with a security image photo of a man and the headline, "Shoplifter."
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The following conversation than ensued, according to Rowe's Facebook post:
"Good for you," I said to the owner. "I wish every store in the country did this."
The guy in line behind me held a different view. "Really? How would you feel if you were in that photo?"
"Well, I guess I’d feel like a shoplifter who got publicly shamed," I said.
"Yeah, but what if you didn’t do it? How would that make you feel?"
"If I were falsely accused I would feel angry. But why would the owner put my face in his window and identify me as a shoplifter if he didn’t have proof that I was in fact a shoplifter?"
"Mistakes happen," said the guy in line.
Soon, a lawyer who was also in line chimed in to say that the "shoplifter" in the photo could sue the store owner for damaging his reputation.
"I could argue that the man in that photo — were he my client — suffered irreparable harm to his reputation and public standing. I’d argue that [the store owner] here was the proximate cause of that damage," the lawyer said, according to Rowe. "Moreover, the level of potential harm caused by this photo goes far beyond the punishment typically handed down for this kind of petty crime."
Rowe and the attorney then got into a discussion over what would happen if Rowe posted the same photo to his own Facebook page. Then you, too, could be sued, the lawyer told him.
So, in an apparent effort to prove a point, the TV personality decided to go home and do exactly that.
"After careful consideration and deliberation with [the store owner], I’ve decided to post the photo in his front window," he explained in the Facebook post. "But upon the advice of my own attorney, I’ve concealed the identity of the no-good shoplifting scumbag in the white tee-shirt and jeans. I realize this defeats the purpose, but that’s what things have come to in my world."
Rowe's post has since spawned more than 13,800 shares and 71,000 comments.
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