New Jersey Judge Under Investigation for Rapping Along to Nas and Busta Rhymes on TikTok

New Jersey judge Gary N. Wilcox shared videos on the platform under an alias, in which he rapped along to several "inappropriate" songs.

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Judge Gary N. Wilcox of New Jersey is under investigation after he posted various videos on TikTok of him rapping along to music from Nas and Busta Rhymes, among others.

As reported by The New York Times, a complaint submitted to New Jersey's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct shows that Wilcox used the pseudonym Sal Tortorella to share around 40 videos between April 2021 and March 2023. Of the content he shared through the public account, at least 11 were considered "inappropriate and brought disrepute to the Judiciary." Some of the songs he lip-synced along to included "Get Down" by Nas, "Touch It" by Busta Rhymes, and Rihanna's "Jump."

The complaint accuses Wilcox of showing “poor judgment" by posting the videos, which "demonstrated disrespect for the judiciary and an inability to conform to the high standards of conduct expected of judges.” He is set to face a hearing which could result in disciplinary action, including the possibility of dismissal from the bench. “I don’t think that at the end of the day anybody is going to believe there was any desire to do any harm here,” argued his lawyer, Robert Hille. "Hindsight is 20-20.”

Wilcox was specifically criticized for the videos in which he rapped along to lyrics that contained “profanity, graphic sexual references to female and male body parts, and/or racist terms." One of the videos featured Wilcox walking through the courthouse, while another showed him in his judicial robes. In one video, he stood up in chambers and lip-synced, "All my life, I've been waiting for somebody to whoop my ass. I mean business! You think you can run up on me and whip my monkey ass?"

The account has since been removed from TikTok, but as the complaint notes, he had as many as 100 followers on the platform at one point. "These are mainstream performers," added his lawyer. "This is music that's out there in the public. And clearly it elicits a different response depending on who is listening."

The case is expected to attract a lot of attention from free speech activists, said American Civil Liberties Union member Alexander Shalom. “Judge Wilcox is entitled to due process,” said Shalom. “As he goes through that process, there will be lots of significant issues raised about free speech and free expression and what actually does impugn the stature of the judiciary.”

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