It’s not every day that you see a judge lip-syncing songs with “inappropriate” lyrics on TikTok, and it’s certainly not every day that you’ll see a judge doing so while wearing his robes and in his courthouse. But welcome to New Jersey, because that’s exactly what’s been alleged in a judicial ethics complaint against Superior Court Judge Gary N. Wilcox.
Wilcox, a criminal court judge in Bergen County, stands accused of uploading approximately 40 public videos under an alias (“Sal Tortorella”) from April 2021 to March 2023, and according to a judicial conduct complaint, those videos allegedly “undermined public confidence in the judiciary and violated judicial rules.”
What was so bad about the TikTok videos in question? As noted in the complaint, Wilcox was lip-syncing to songs that not only referenced sex, violence, drugs, and misogyny, but the songs also contained “profanity, graphic sexual references to female and male body parts, and/or racist terms.” On top of that, in one video, the judge can be seen in his bed while “partially dressed.” NBC News has additional details:
In one video, Wilcox was in his judge’s chambers with law books behind him. He wore a suit and a tie and lip-synced the following lyrics, the complaint said: “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!”
In another video, Wilcox wore a “Beavis and Butt-Head” T-shirt while he walked through the courthouse as rapper Nas’ “Get Down” played. The song, the complaint said, included derogatory lyrics and made gang and drug references that included killing a doctor who treated a gang member.
In one post, Wilcox wore a “Freedom of Speech” T-shirt and lip-synced to a song that referred to spilling cognac on a $200 suit, the complaint said.
Wilcox is represented by Robert B. Hille, who offered this statement on his client’s behalf: “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. Hindsight is 20-20.”
Best of luck to Judge Wilcox as he deals with this ethics complaint. Hopefully the Supreme Court of New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct doesn’t “run up on [him] and whip [his] … ass” too hard.
Check out the complaint, below.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.