WorldStar did not reply to interview requests Friday. But the website's founder, 38-year-old Lee "Q" O'Denat, recently told a New York Magazine interviewer that he believes his operation is providing a public service.
"You've got a lot of people who stay indoors all the time, looking at their computers and whatnot," he said. "They don't know what is going on right outside their house, in their backyards. We're showing the reality of the situation, giving them a dose."
Although rappers and musicians pay for their videos to appear on the site, amateur videos are uploaded by viewers. O'Denat also said in the interview that rather than encouraging violence and criminal behavior by making celebrities out of some of those who are seen perpetuating it on videos he showcases, the website discourages crime.
"The night got a million eyes. It is a surveillance society. Go out and do some dumb crap, there's a good chance you're gonna wind up on WorldStar for everyone to see. So maybe you'll think twice," he said.
Seymour says there is more to the WorldStar debate than merits of showing violence.
"Sure, sometimes you're just watching with your mouth hanging open, thinking, 'What in the world is this?'" Seymour says of the site. "But in the end, a place like WorldStar is saying that — for good and bad — people in these urban environments deserve to be seen, and there deserves to be a witness to what is going on in their lives."
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