A promotional video featuring a toddler with a beer bottle to his mouth has landed the child’s father and the filmmaker in prison.
Lionel Hart Sr., 55, of East Bay Street, and Jonathan “Daddi Whites” Russell, 38, of Blair Estates, both pleaded guilty to a charge of cruelty to children at their arraignment before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes.
They were arrested after a video went viral of Hart holding his two-year-old son as Russell put a beer bottle to his mouth.
Russell, a filmmaker, said the video was supposed to be a commercial for a liquor store and he initially thought the concept was funny.
However, he removed the video soon after he uploaded it due to “backlash”.
According to Russell, the beer bottle really contained soda.
Russell told the magistrate, “My videos are kind of abnormal, but this was a really bad choice by me, and I really wasn’t thinking down the line. I just thought it would be funny. I’ve done thousands of videos and this is the worst video I’ve ever did.”
Hart said he met Russell for the first time when the video was recorded. He also claimed that he didn’t know what was in the beer bottle.
Forbes found this claim incredible.
He said, “You don’t know this gentleman and he’s handing something to your child and you don’t know what it is?”
Hart replied, “I was wrong for that.”
The magistrate said the Child Protection Act allows a maximum sentence of two years in prison for the offense.
Forbes said that he will not give either convict a “slap on the wrist” for their “unacceptable behavior”.
He said that the three-month sentence “would remind each of you, that in the future, when you are dealing with juveniles, your responsibility is to the child”.