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Chris Hansen is an American TV journalist best known as the former host of MSNBC’s To Catch A Predator, a hidden-camera reality television show dedicated to publicly exposing online sexual predators by luring them with underage impersonators. On image-boards and forum communities, both the program and the host have been frequently referenced in the context of discussing pedophilia or online child abuse. On 4chan, Hansen’s likeness can be used to signal to moderators that illegal content may have been posted, similar to the usage of Pedobear images.
Career in Journalism
From November 2004 to December 2007, Hanson was the host of NBC series To Catch a Predator which featured hidden camera ambushes of sexual predators who had been lured to a house under the assumption that they would be having sex with minors whom they had been chatting with online.
When the predator arrived at the house, they would immediately be met by Chris Hansen who would say the now-famous catchphrase, “why don’t you take a seat right over there?"
Hansen has been criticized by many for using unethical tactics on the show to trap the people into being on camera. An article in the January 2007 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review accused the show of attempting to act as an agency of law enforcement. On February 7th, 2008, the political blog Counterpunch published an article arguing that Chris Hansen was impersonating a police officer, stating that the men who appear on the show end up “talking themselves into jail” because of his demeanor. A 2009 article in the academic journal Crime Media Culture by professor Steven A. Kohm argues that the show used “mass media humiliation” as punishment itself, in addition to whatever legal consequences there were for the actions of those who appeared on air.
Outside of serious commentary, the show was parodied on the October 3rd, 2007 episode of South Park titled “Le Petit Tourette.”
Due to his work on To Catch a Predator, Chris Hansen’s image became associated with flagging posts associated with inappropriate images of minors on 4chan as early as August 4th, 2007. This thread from /b/ (random) depicts Hansen wearing obviously fake disguises attempting to infiltrate the message board.
That year, Chris Hansen was mentioned in both a Halloween and Christmas themed threads on /b/, declaring him a representative part of the board’s culture. Hansen’s image has been used sparingly on other boards of the site, appearing in an archived /co/ (comics and cartoons) thread.
Outside of 4chan, there is a Chris Hansen tag on Tumblr and on Facebook, there is a fan page for titled “I hate it when Chris Hansen offers me a seat and has my chat logs.” which has over 11,000 likes.
A copypasta titled “Chips Handon” surfaced as early as December 29th, 2008 (shown below). It consists of a request for “PC” instead of “CP” and is filled with incorrect spelling and misuse of various 4chan memes. Paired with a poorly photoshopped image of Chris Hansen with a beard and sunglasses, the copypasta is intended to look like a trap for unsuspecting people to actually send illicit photos of minors to Chris Hansen. Chips Handon has been spotted on FunnyJunk, Reddit and the World of Warcraft forums.
Chris Hansen Cat
In March 2012, Redditor BrettBr0wn submitted a photo of a posed cat, seated human-like at a table with its arms crossed. The following day, Redditor DarkCoyote posted a thread to /r/AdviceAnimals titled “Introducing Chris Hansen Cat” which paired the photo with Hansen’s catchphrase “Why don’t you have a seat” (below left). A generator for Chris Hansen Cat images was created, pairing the phrase with feline-related puns and LOLcat jokes.
On June 29th, 2011, the National Enquirer reported that they had followed Chris Hansen for 4 months, and had video evidence of Hansen having an affair with a news anchor from Florida named Kristyn Caddell. The story was posted to Reddit the same day.
On June 30th, The Daily What posted a clip of the hidden camera footage that the National Enquirer had released. The video shows what is claimed to be Hansen and Caddell entering a Ritz-Carlton restaurant in Palm Beach.
Christopher Edward Hansen was born on March 26th, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan. He began his television career in 1981, reporting for Michigan NBC affiliate WILX. Over the course of the next twelve years, he worked for WFLA in Tampa and WXYZ and WDIV, both in Detroit. In 1993, he joined NBC News to work on the national newsmagazine Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric. Following this show, Hansen worked on Dateline NBC and To Catch a Predator. As of April 2012, he hosts MSNBC’s The Hansen Files. During his career, Hansen has won a multitude of journalism awards including seven Emmys, and four Edward R. Murrow awards. Online, Hansen maintains an unverified Twitter account and an official Facebook fan page which has over 11,000 likes as of April 2012.
Search queries for “chris hansen” and “to catch a predator” had their largest spikes in October 2007, around the same time as the first South Park episode, and again in January 2010.
National Enquirer – WORLD EXCLUSIVE: PREDATOR CATCHER CHRIS HANSEN CAUGHT CHEATING!