N.J. judge slapped with ethics complaint for ‘inappropriate’ TikTok videos

By: - July 5, 2023 4:02 pm

An ethics committee has filed a formal complaint against state Superior Court Judge Gary N. Wilcox for “inappropriate” TikTok videos. (Photo courtesy of the N.J. Courts)

A New Jersey state Superior Court judge is in trouble after he allegedly posted videos to TikTok of himself lip-syncing racy songs in the courthouse, lying half-clothed in bed, and in other situations a judicial ethics panel found objectionable.

Judge Gary N. Wilcox, who’s assigned to the Bergen County vicinage, posted 40 videos over a two-year period to a public account under the pseudonym “Sal Tortorella,” and 11 of them “were inappropriate and brought disrepute to the Judiciary,” the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct wrote in a 5-page formal complaint filed Friday and announced Monday.

The videos were objectionable because of their content (profanity and references to violence, sex, and misogyny), location (the courthouse, his judicial chambers, or a bed), or his physical appearance (in his judicial robes and/or partially unclothed in bed), the committee wrote.

The committee gave multiple examples of videos it found inappropriate, including one in which Wilcox, in a suit and tie in front of law books in his chambers, 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? Come on. Come on!”

“By his conduct in posting these and similar videos to TikTok, respondent exhibited poor judgment and demonstrated disrespect for the Judiciary and an inability to conform to the high standards of conduct expected of judges. Such conduct undermines public confidence in the Judiciary,” the committee wrote.

It also violates the judicial code of conduct, including one rule requiring judges “to conduct their extrajudicial activities in a manner that would not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge, demean the judicial office, or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties,” the committee noted.

Wilcox, a Harvard University graduate who was appointed as a judge in 2011, was first admitted the bar in New Jersey in 1989.

He couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.