Arizona aims to Twitter shame '#Deadbeat' parents who fail to pay child support

Already two fathers, who owe nearly €240,000, have been publicly shamed on social media

Arizona, Deadbeat, Twitter, Ducey

[Twitter]

The governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, has taken to social media in a controversial move to name men who fail to pay child support to the estranged mothers of their children, by tweeting out their names and faces using the hashtag #Deadbeat.

While speaking at the annual ‘State of the State’ address in Phoenix on Monday, the Republican politician warned fathers “out there who aren’t meeting their obligations” that a public shaming was on the cards.

“For too long, you’ve been able to remain anonymous,” the governor said, “able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame.”

Known to the press as the ‘Hashtag Governor’, Ducey went on to outline his proposals, saying: Effective immediately, the state is going to begin posting the photos, names and money owed by these losers to social media, with the hashtag 'deadbeat.'"

Within hours, the Arizona Department of Economic Security had already tweeted its first “deadbeat” dad, alleging that “child support evader” Aaron Ace Anderson, a father of two whose last child support payment was made in 2006. Anderson, described as having an eagle tattoo on his upper arm and a skull on his thigh, owes $171,000 (€158,000) to the mother of his two children.

A second #deadbeat, Carlos Archunde, has also been named on the official Twitter account of the Arizona DES.

While several civil-liberty bodies have expressed concerns over the use of a digital platform to disseminate personal information, governor Ducey was steadfast in his attitude to the programme.

“If you don’t want your embarrassing, unlawful, and irresponsible behaviour going viral, man up and pay up,” he said.

Elected to the highest state office in Arizona in 2014, Ducey has previously been on the receiving end of harsh criticism over his use of social media; last September, after police caught a suspect in a number of random shootings on a motorway, the governor tweeted the following:

A Phoenix criminal defence attorney, Mike Black, said at the time of the tweet, "When he says, 'We got him,' you don't 'get' somebody until they're convicted or plead guilty.”

"He's assuming this young man is guilty," Black added.

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