Brooklyn D.A. Organizes Press Conference, Then Tells Photogs not to Publish Photos

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes


A Brooklyn district attorney invited Miss America and a group of children to his office Thursday for a press conference regarding child abuse.

Then, after all the reporters and photographers left, he sent them an email stating they are forbidden from publishing photos of most of the children in attendance.

Some of the journalists receiving the email from Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes took it as a veiled threat considering his position of authority.

A reminder to all the media that attended, or will report on, this morning’s press conference with Miss America Mallory Hagan, that all images of the faces of children at the event must not be published in any way. The only two exceptions are the two children who tried on Miss America’s crown.

Granted, some of the children in attendance were victims of sexual abuse and the media and the legal system always strives to maintain their anonymity.

However, they could have easily posted photos without identifying them as sexual abuse victims.

And it seems kind of ridiculous to invite children to a press conference only to claim they can’t be photographed.

The New York Post ended up not posting any photos from the press conference.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Difdi

    I’m curious…what could the guy possibly do if they published them anyway?

    • Carlos_Miller

      Blacklist them from the next press conference or deny relevant information the media requests.

      • Difdi

        Last I checked, a public official retaliating against someone for exercising a constitutional right was a federal crime.

  • Luc

    Another douche bag DA. Oh wait, aren’t they all psychopathic douche bags…

  • Jude I⚡caяiot

    Well, gee, thanks for wasting everybody’s time man!

  • Steve Steves

    I’m having a hard time working up any outrage over this. In reading the Post story, this appears to have been a staged event specifically for abused kids. I can understand not outing them to the public. And I’d assume the DA, by saying ‘this is a reminder’…the topic was already brought up to the reporters.

    • twency

      It was a press event. The press was invited to come and take pictures and report on the event. If the DA wanted to shield victims of sexual abuse from the press he either shouldn’t have invited the press, or shouldn’t have invited the victims.

      Even if the press was advised in advance It makes no more sense than having a confidential witness in the relocation program present at the announcement of a mob boss’s indictment.

      • Jon Quimbly

        In D.C. and NYC, access to certain press events can be limited (space constraints), so the press secretaries make them invite-only. That’s not illegal, it’s an “appropriate time and place” interpretation of the 1st Amendment. But it does allow them to filter out perceived ankle-biters.

        Nearly every White House administration I can remember has applied pressure to specific news publications by revoking Capital press passes.

        • Jon Quimbly

          Sorry, please ignore – posted this reply to the wrong thread. :)

  • rich

    So the da allegefly knew these children had been abused violated thier anonymity invited press to take pictures of the children he was supposed to protect and tgen tries prior restraint how many violations of the law does it take to be prosecuted

    • Difdi

      Apparently at least one more than he committed, given the doctrine of absolute immunity.

  • Hazel Nuts

    Why are you people complaining? The DA is being perfectly reasonable here.

    Photographing childrins is a vile, abusive, hateful act that should be reviled by any reasonable person.

    Using childrins as props for a political event is beautiful, soulful, and enriching.

    • Difdi

      Of course, take pictures of that beautiful, soulful and enriching event and suddenly it’s vile, abusive and hateful…

      As if any politician would bother with a beautiful, soulful and enriching event if nobody was watching…

  • Colin

    While the DA is being stupid, that is not a crime. Obviously.

  • Rebecca Rosenberg

    Whoever organized this activity and invited the children to participate would have given the parents certain information. Among that information would have been either a release, allowing their children to be photographed and for those photos to be published, an assurance that no photographs of their children would be published, or notification that participation would include possible publication of photos. The kids and parents have the right to choose whether or not they want their photos taken & published. If they were given a choice and opted out or were told there would be no photos, then those assurances should be honored.

    There are valid reasons why a parent might not want photos of their kids published, especially in major news outlets. If parents are told upfront that photos will be published, they have the option of not letting their kids participate. It sounds like that didn’t happen here, so the kids’ privacy will be protected.

    Victims/survivors of domestic violence, stalking, and other crimes, especially those who are children, have a right to privacy that supersedes the news outlet’s right to make money.

    • Difdi

      You don’t need a release to report news. If you did, police announcements about catching specific criminals would be illegal without a release too.

  • LastManOutTheDoor

    All the press involved can simply agree among themselves to skip, that is blackout, his next media event. Everyone is then even and life can go on, no hard feeling right?

    • jch9596

      The press could also go ahead and shoot themselves in the foot. The job of teh press is to report the news. If one news agency boycotts the DA, I can assure you they will be the ones left out because the others will get the story.

  • jch9596

    Honestly, we might not know all the story. These kids may have been actual abuse victims at one time and/or the DA might not have had their parents or guardians permission. I’m a former TV photog and I was asked plenty of times not to shoot the faces of kids at a school or an office where I was invited to be at. This was not a cause for concern and I didn’t show the faces of teh kids.
    In some cases, we would also blur out faces, but I would typically shoot it in a way where faces were not shown. As a father, I understand this. As a photographer, I also understand it.

  • Common Sense

    I don’t really know how effective Mr. Hynes has been as a DA, but does anyone else find it odd that earlier the same month he announced he would be running for re-election? With all the time he has been in office, 23+ years, he chooses just a couple of weeks later to take a stand on child abuse?

    Yes, the media does respect the rights of children who are victims. However, this knuckle head invited victims to a PRESS CONFERENCE. So how much is he really wanting to protect victims?

    Maybe he should have asked for a group of school children, who were NOT victims to attend. Or maybe not even have the children there if he felt this would be an issue. After all, it appears to be a political STUNT more than a true sympathetic elected official (please excuse that phrase as I don’t really believe there are any of those, but wanted to make a point).

    Just my two cents.