Mistaken for Pedophile
"How would your son like to come with me to the Museum of Natural History after everyone else has left, just the two of us, and he can touch anything he wants... I just heard it as you must have heard it and that's not good. Let me start again. I'm a palaeontologist, you'll be there with us and the touching refers only to bones... fossils!"It seems that, when comedy is concerned, sexual attraction to children is as good a source of laughs as anything else, especially when the person being persecuted is innocent (of that particular crime). It usually goes like this: A small child grabs the MacGuffin the main characters are trying to fetch, or is otherwise important to the plot in some way - they might be children of the boss to whom they have to suck up, or even a MacGuffin themselves. As the main characters approach the child, unaware of how to behave and how to act, it seems to onlookers (and to the viewer, if they weren't in on the plot) that the interest in the kid is of a sexual nature. The kid might scream, or parents/nannies might overlook the conversation and come to the wrong conclusion, but it usually ends with several parents chasing the would-be-creep with peppersprays, purses filled with bricks and TASER guns. If he's a villain, we laugh. If he's an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, we also laugh. If he's an actual paedophile, the trope doesn't really apply. Surprisingly, what never happens is any serious involvement of the police (it seems that overzealous parents are more than sure of their own creep-chasing abilities) or some sort of clarification that the character in question is not attracted to children. Guess they'll have to live with being mistaken for paedophiles all their lives. The victim is almost Always Male as because of the Double Standard, a woman doing the same thing would just be dismissed as playing around or being nice. See also: Lolicon, Shotacon, Mistaken for Index, Mama Bear, Digging Yourself Deeper, Pćdo Hunt, That Came Out Wrong, and Abuse Mistake.
— Ross, Friends, "The One Where Estelle Dies"
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- The second commercial in this video.
Anime and Manga
- In one episode of Ichigo Mashimaro, a door-to-door cosmetics salesmen is our mistaken-for-LKL victim for the day, due to a combination of Miu's false accusations, an innocent attempt to comfort Matsuri, Matsuri's failure to explain said attempt as such, and his eerie tendency to hit every house in a group of girls who hang out together. He gets a shiner (and incentive to quit) for his troubles.
- While the anime is ambiguous about this (except for the unaired last episode that was actively trying to be kept from airing) The Dr in the Excel Saga manga is most definetly not into girls, Despite hanging around playgrounds and watching young girl. Having been given a sour opinion of adult women by his overly sexual mother he came to appreciate the innocence of his young cousin, when his cousin grew up he tried to recapture the feeling he had.
- In Ice Revolution, tomboy Masaki wants to become more ladylike in order to become a better figure skater and to gain the attention of her Love Interest. She completely uses the wrong word choice when asking her much older coach for help in this regard with predictable results.
- In Kodomo No Jikan, Rin nearly gets Aoki-sensei arrested at one point, complete with "It's not what it looks like! I'm her teacher!" "That's WORSE!" exchange.
- In Recorder and Randsell, eleven-year-old Atsushi (who looks seventeen) falls victim to this several times (even gets arrested by the police) whenever some adults see him being close to his female friends. Thankfully, the local cops are a reasonable bunch.
- Yuki from Wandering Son gets mistaken for this by her boyfriend when he walks in on her being a bit too touchy with Takatsuki, who at the time was a fifth grader.
- In Maison Ikkoku Kyoko's father dons an overcoat, dark glasses, and mask to spy on Godai at his place of work. Unfortunately, said place of work is a day care center, and a cop happens to be passing by...
- Shinshi Na Meets Girl.
- Doranbalt of Fairy Tail. Erza is convinced that he's a lolicon, as seen when he pops out during her Imagine Spot of Jellal leaving her for being turned into a little kid. Probably the rest of Fairy Tail thinks the same after he chose Wendy out of all the mages as a partner for the S-Class trials despite there being no relation between them both.
- In the one-shot manga Forever Honey one of the neighbors is implied to think that Ozuka, a single Overprotective Dad who's a freelance photographer, takes illicit pictures of his daughter.
- When Seo first appears in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, she mistakes Gentle Giant Nozaki as a lolicon due to the latter's recent closeness with the tiny Sakura.
- In Log Horizon Shiroe took his friends and guild members, Akatsuki and Minori, to a cake-eating contest. Despite this not being a date, he was suspected of two-timing and, due to both apparently being middle schoolers, being a lolicon. One of his cakes even had "Die lolicon" iced on top.
- In Black Bullet, this happens to Rentaro a lot, because he works and lives with several of the Cursed Children and treats them like little sisters, but they often fall in love with him.
- Not played for laughs in Gunslinger Girl. It's made clear a lot of people at the Social Welfare Agency think the bond between the girls and their adult fratello is pedophilic. While most of the girls have crushes on their handlers it's almost always unrequited, with the exception being Petra who is a few years older than the other girls.
- In Chapter 41 of Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii, Bardouin jokingly flirts with his colleague Violetta's younger sister and is poking her cheeks when Nike, Neil and Violetta walk in on him - it looks suggestive enough for Violetta to go berserk and make him repeat endlessly "lolicons are criminals".
- Much to his dismay, Hiiro Okamura from Konjiki no Wordmaster is mistaken for a lolicon by the level-up system due to his uncanny ability to unintentionally charm young girls. It even grants him the Title "Little Girl Slayer".
- Played for drama in Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi, where this misunderstanding is used as evidence to convict Yuuki, a young man known for hanging around kids, of serially kidnapping and murdering three children. The real killer deliberately used Yuuki's reputation to pin the crimes on him, even going so far as to plant homosexual-related books in his room to explain the one male victim.
- Used in Fables in a manner similar to the Family Guy examples below. The Fables invade the apartment building of a reporter who was close to uncovering the secret of Fabletown and, after making the entire building unconscious thanks to Sleeping Beauty, take pictures of him with Pinocchio (who is actually much older than he looks) in compromising positions as insurance in order to prevent him from going forward with what he knows about them.
- When The Punisher is found hiding in the playhouse of Sheriff Bendix's daughter during Suicide Run event, he is mistaken for a creep and gets roughed up.
- In Scarlet Spider, Annabelle briefly thinks this of Kaine when she finds him keeping the teenage Aracely in his hotel room.
- One instance where the police does become involved is in the French juvenile science-fiction series Une épatante aventure de Jules by Émile Bravo. Here the young teenage protagonist is taken on a trip at light speed to Alpha Centauri and on his return to Earth, due to the effects of relativity, his family and classmates have all aged eight years while he only aged eight weeks. In the third album, Bastien, his best friend from school, who in those eight year became an adult, is waiting for Jules at the school gate, when suddenly several plainclothes policemen pounce on him an arrest him on the suspicion of being a pedophile. Jules trying to explain things only makes the police more suspicious, and in the end one of the scientists who conducted the expedition to Alpha Centauri has to be brought in to get Bastien released.
- The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S fanfic A Short Date has this as the logical conclusion of the Erio/Caro pairing given their massive size difference in the the later installments of the canon series. A kiss during a date at the amusement park results in the following scene:
Security Guard: Hey, you! I saw that! I'm taking you in.Erio: Huh? For what?Security Guard: Don't give me that! You, an adult, were doing inappropriate things with this minor!Caro: So... Do you want to explain or should I?
- Oblivion: In a thoroughly non-comedic example, Braig is publicly accused of molesting his girlfriend's young son, and there is rumored to be some evidence against him even though he is completely innocent.
- In Takamachi Nanoha Of 2814, Superman works side-by-side with and becomes a mentor to Nanoha, who become Earth's Green Lantern as well as a Magical Girl. Rumors soon spread that their relationship is less than appropriate. Lex Luthor naturally has a field day with this.
- In Hogyoku Ex Machina, Hollow Ichigo constantly expresses his attraction to Neliel. Everybody in Soul Society is horrified, until they find out about Neliel's adult form.
- In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Papa Smurf is believed to be this by Empath, or at least that's what is implied by what happens during his early visits to the Smurf Village.
- Six Brides For Two Sisters combines this with Relative Error when Princess Cadence and Shining Armor recall how they first met: she saw him walking away with the filly she was foalsitting with promises of fun and candy, but since Twilight and Shining don't have any family resemblance (despite being siblings), she jumped to conclusions. Violently.
- Earlier on, Rainbow Dash wakes up to find Twilight, Applejack and Pinkie Pie all laying on top of her, and assumes they all got drunk and slept together. When she looks around and sees Sweetie Belle (their friend Rarity's little sister) looking at her, she assumes the younger filly was also involved and freaks out, only calming down once it's made clear that nobody slept with anybody; Twilight had been teleporting around to all their homes to pick them up, and the last teleport had taken all six of them (including Spike and an unconscious Fluttershy) from Rainbow Dash's home to Rarity's shop.
- Happens to Dave in the Kick-Ass fanfiction Precocious Crush. Katie violently breaks up with him when her jealousy and suspicions about Mindy lead her to wrongly conclude that David and Mindy are in a physical relationship. The rumors begin spreading around school, and David's locker has "PEDO" spray-painted over it. To make things more complicated, Mindy really does have feelings for Dave.
- The Professional - Professional badass Jean Reno is kicked out of his hotel after a thirteen-year-old Natalie Portman tells the clerk that the two of them are lovers.
- Little Man - Thief with dwarfism is mistaken for a baby, and his partner in crime, for a kid-loving creep.
- Things Are Tough All Over - Cheech is in a laundromat sans pants because his only pair is in the drier, and freezing, so he grasps at his crotch and pants. A little girl notices him and long story short, he ends up needing to hide in a currently running laundromat.
- Jingle All the Way - Arnold's trying to get This Year's Toy for his son, and tries to win one in a raffle which used little balls with numbers as tickets. But after some struggle to get one with the other customers, the raffle-ball gets out of their hands and gets lost in a ball-pool. When he jumps in to get it back, parents attack him, thinking he's after the kids...
- School of Rock: After it is discovered that Dewey is not the class's actual supply teacher, he attempts to redeem himself by talking about how much the class means to him, culminating in him saying "I have been touched by your children, and I'm sure I've touched them". Needless to say, it goes downhill from there.
- Blades of Glory - The evil skaters tie up one of the heroes in a restroom stall. His attempt to get the next person to enter, a young child, to free him, only ends in the kid running away screaming, "Stranger Danger! STRANGER DANGER!"
- Rat Race: Rowan Atkinson's character is showing a baby the key to a 2 million dollar prize when he accidentally drops it into the baby's diapers... which leads to him getting thrown off a moving train.
- In The Wizard, Haley got herself and her friends away from Putnam by accusing him of being a pedophile. Loudly. In a crowded public area.
- In Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium, Eric and Henry The Mutant (don't ask) end up making friends. Henry learns to quit being so much of a boring adult, and let his inner child out through playing with Eric. Eric's mother comes home and assumes the worst, even though she told Eric to make friends — she clearly only meant ones his own age.
- Overzealous mass-hysteria regarding child abuse was criticized in the film The Man Without A Face, complete with a Tear Jerker example of Entendre Failure. Although there is some ambiguity as to whether something actually did happen. The book the film was based on was a good deal less ambiguous about it.
- In Daddy Day Care the protagonists are initially assumed to be child molesters just because they're men running a day care.
- Combined with homophobia in Say Uncle. It starts with one mother assuming he's a child molester just because he's gay and later the trope is played the usual way with other parents.
- M: Played for drama in this case; a man is lynched by a mob because there's a molester/serial killer who targets kids on the loose and he was known to play with the kids in the neighborhood.
- In Little Giants when the kids spot the bad guys spying on them they call the cops, telling them the two men are watching them for a different reason.
- Mystery Team makes two such jokes; first when a character implies that his father molests him; and second when another character states that his neighbor was arrested, "something about pictures of kids on his computer..."
- This is apparently the reason that Alan from The Hangover is not allowed within 200 feet of elementary schools, parks, and Chuck E. Cheese's, though it's implied that this punishment was because he likes to pick fights with children, not molest them. It's also implied that he was mistakenly labeled a molester after some worried parents saw him play with their kids in the park.
- In God Bless America, Roxy mistakes Frank for a pedophile when she first sees him spying on Chloe.
Roxy: Hey creepy. Isn't the whole schoolgirl thing a little played out?
- Happens to Trent in Lawn Dogs.
- In "The Brothers Solomon" the brothers John and Dean decide that the only way to get their dad out of his coma is to provide him with a grandchild, they decide to prepare for this by playing with kids, a mother comes by and takes her girl away from them thinking them to be child molesters, they try to explain that they just wanted to play with her and get her some ice cream, the next day they attend a hearing for the misunderstanding and because they are so innocent from living in isolation they have no idea why they are there.
- In Kickin' It Old School, Justin is adjusting to life in 2006 after waking up from a coma after 20 years. When he goes to the mall to buy some toys, he meets a young boy and asks what kind of toys and games he likes. He is trying to befriend the boy because he still has the mindset of a child. A security guard is watching and mistakes him for a pedophile; it doesn't help when he says lines like "You'll go in my foxhole and I'll go in your foxhole" (he was talking about playing army), and "I'll pull out my nightstick" (he was talking about playing cops and robbers). After he invites the boy over for a sleepover the guard then promptly tackles him.
- Happens to the protagonist in Truely Human. It doesn't end well.
- In Kick-Ass 2, everybody in school mistakenly believes Dave and Mindy have been seeing each other and are disgusted by him because she is only in 9th grade.
- From Naked Gun 2˝: The Smell of Fear:
Frank: I'm single again! I love being single! I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!
(everyone in the dining hall gasps)
Frank: I mean at the time I was dating a lot.
- In The Out of Towners, George Kellerman takes a lost little boy behind some bushes to search his pockets for money since he and his wife are stranded in New York with four cents between them and have had to sleep in Central Park. A woman nearby immediately calls for police, shouting "Pervert in the park!" George and his wife manage to outrun the mounted officer who responds.
- In Miracle in Cell No. 7, a mentally handicapped man sees a little girl slip and die when she hits her head. He tries to resuscitate her, but he gets arrested after the people who stumble upon the scene think he abducted, raped, and killed her. He is unable to defend himself thanks to his handicap. He gets brutalized by his fellow prisoners after they learn of the charges, thinking he is the lowest scum. After getting to know him, the inmates and guards realize it was just a misunderstanding and try to help him. Unfortunately, his name is only cleared several years after his execution.
- Played with in A Brother's Price: When Jerin Whistler is a guest at the palace, Princess Odelia takes him to play with her younger sisters, the youngest of whom are toddlers, while the eldest are primary school age. She leaves him alone with them, and no one even thinks that this could be, in any way, inappropriate. However, when one of the toddlers later tells Princess Ren that "Jerin can do magic", she is a bit worried for a moment. As she seduced Jerin earlier, and can think of only one magic-like thing he can do ... she hopes he didn't do "that" in front of the children. Turns out Jerin can do completely innocent magic tricks of the "make a coin appear out of thin air" one, and such.
- Sherwood Anderson's short story Hands plays this trope for drama.
- The novel A Map of the World centers around a school nurse and the dramatic downward spiral her life takes after she's accused of child molestation by a parent with a personal vendetta.
- Once Lori has found evidence someone was in the woods in Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter, she and her neighbours operate from the belief that a voyeur was watching the boys, possibly with pedophilic intent. Emma and Kit warn their staff at the riding school to increase their vigilance when their students use trails in the area. As it turns out, the person who wasn't even male wasn't watching the twins at all, but merely happened to be seen by them.
- Dayton Nickles, a friend of both Lee George and Christine Taylor in Michael Dorris' A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, was accused of being one in Christine's story when he took a teaching job outside the reservation. This situation was played for drama, as it was one of the things he didn't want anybody else to know.
- The Curse of Chalion: Cazaril's whip scars from his time as a galley slave cause this to happen to him, as whipping is the standard punishment for pedophiles in Chalion.
- In Doctor Sleep, Dan Torrance goes through great lenghts to avert this trope when he meets up with Abra. Still, Abra's father is quite suspicious of him when they first meet.
- In Woken Furies, Takeshi Kovacs gets mistaken for a pedophile due to hanging around Isa, a fifteen-year-old Playful Hacker who is working for him and who happens to dress in a very Stripperiffic style for her age.
Live Action TV
- Psych: Sean and Gus scour a playground looking for a babysitter for the captain's newborn child and are mistaken for creeps.
- Friends loved this one, which makes one wonder whether some of the writers had to deal with confusions like that in real life...
- Joey's acting during a toy's comercial looks like that of a sexual predator as he's holding his crotch to control the pain from his hernia. The line "Hey Timmy, I've got a surprise for you..." really didn't help.
- Ross' attempt to take Rachel's boss' son in a tour of the museum, alone, to get her back her job, is mistaken as a creepy proposal due to the misuse of the word "bones." See above quote.
- Ross, after hearing the pizza delivery girl complaining that her new haircut makes her look like an 8-year-old boy, tries to flirt with her with the line "I happen to like 8-year-old boys."
- Ross tries to buy a sofa which says, "Kids welcome," but at the same (seductively), "Come here to me," - prompting Rachel to ask in horror, "You say that to kids!?"
- Ross's girlfriend's father distrusts Ross after learning that Ross had taken Rachel to her prom even though he was an adult and she was technically underage (only one year younger than him). Later, when the group claim Ross volunteers at a children's hospital, Phoebe has to clarify "But not looking for dates!" Oh, and the girlfriend in question is one of his former students, which doesn't exactly help (even though she's not underage).
- Desperate Housewives - Lynette hires a guy from her office to "kidnap" her kids in order to show her husband that they don't understand stranger danger. The poor guy ends up getting tased by Mrs. McCluskey.
- Desperate Housewives has another example of this played for drama: Lynette goes to a new neighbor's house to thank him for saving her life, but he is not at home so she snoops around. In the basement she finds several pictures of young boys in bathing suits and comes to the conclusion that he is a child molester. She first tries to tell the police but because there is nothing illegal they cannot do anything about it. She then tells all the neighbors and they have the typical mob reaction attacking him. His terminally ill sister who he lives with and is taking care of then informs her that he teaches swimming and they are boys that have done the best and he has the pictures because he was proud of them. Then she dies from the stress. When a remorseful Lynette tries to apologize to the man, he tells her that he actually is a pedophile but he kept his urges in check for his sister's sake. Before moving away he mentions that now he has no reason to hold back anymore, and it's all because of Lynette. Whether or not he really is a pedophile or just said that to punish her is never confirmed.
- The Office (US) - Michael Scott's online dating username in the US version is "Little Kid Lover" - the previous name of this trope. (Explanation: He wanted to convey that he is good with children. Oops.)
- In Listen up, sitcom starred by Jason Alexander, had the protagonist following his daughter to find out why she was mad at him... during her soccer game...
- The IT Crowd - One of Jen's boyfriends is actually named Peter File, prompting a large amount of heckling by Moss and an incident with the parent of a small child at an airport after his name is called over the PA.
- Moss says this would not be a problem in America where it's pronounced differently, though this is not strictly true (the short E pronunciation is more common, but depending on the dialect not exclusively so).
- In an episode of House, House is investigating the case of a young brother and sister who are developing early puberty (along with other, deadlier symptoms). After much guessing, House decides to go to the girl's kindergarten to find the source of the illness, since she was the first to be "infected". Cut to a girl in said kindergarten class picking up a ball and looking up to see House asking in the creepiest way possible, "Do you have hair in your special place?" (of course, knowing House, he was probably trying to terrify the girl on purpose).
- A very light version in the episode where Chase kisses a 8-year-old cancer patient. Presumably, his teammates don't really thinks he's a pedophile, but their reactions are priceless.
- Their actual thought process appears to be less "oh my God, Chase is a pedophile" and more "oh my God, we can make fun of Chase by pretending to think he's a pedophile."
- A very light version in the episode where Chase kisses a 8-year-old cancer patient. Presumably, his teammates don't really thinks he's a pedophile, but their reactions are priceless.
- Bones - Booth and Bones are investigating a children's beauty pageant, looking for a killer with uneven hips. Bones, being Bones, gets right to it and grabs the nearest person to check before Booth can stop her. Of course it's a little girl, who screams, "Molester!" Booth smooths things over with the security guard who sympathizes against the over-reaction in light of the murder investigation (he advises that they just WATCH the pageant in order to observe all the kids).
- In Burn Notice, Michael pays a bunch of Street Urchins to pretend that a Mook tailing them was a molester to the policeman standing nearby in order to get said mooks off his back.
- For extra hilarity, the mooks were FBI agents, and when one of them reaches for his wallet & identification, both cops pin them to car and immediately cuff them, thinking they were reaching for a gun.
- The Daily Show, as seen on the picture above. They later tried other variations like "Jon Stewart Looks at Children's Things" and "Uncle Jon Wants to Show You Something".
- "Jon Stewart's Windowless News Van for Kids".
"Jon Stewart's Story Hole for Kids. Remember, it's our little se-" Oh, come on! Who writes this??
"Jon Stewart Jizz-ams In Front of Children".
"Jon Stewart Looks At Kid's Junk."
- The Colbert Report has its own version, "Stephen Colbert's Balls for Kidz".
- In the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Table Read" Larry meets a nine-year-old girl and her mother tells him that she has to take her to the doctor, because she has a vaginal rash. The girl takes a liking to Larry, and constantly sends him text messages; Larry once loses his patience and sends her an angry response, and has to make up for it with inviting her for lunch. Later, he develops a rash too, and when his doctor asks how he might got it, Larry says: "I've been seeing this nine-year-old girl and she kinda has a rash on her pussy...Um, you know, I took her to lunch the other day, and we had a fight, and we made up, and we hugged. It's gotta be her." The doctor calls the police on him.
- In the episode "The Doll", he hugs a little girl, forgetting that he tucked his water bottle in his pants.
Mommy! Mommy! That bald man is in the bathroom and there's something hard in his pants!
- In the episode "The Doll", he hugs a little girl, forgetting that he tucked his water bottle in his pants.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon sharpens his social skills by making friends with a little girl at a bookstore. Leonard ends up dragging him out of the store because there are security cameras.
- While looking for a partner for Dennis in "The Jerusalem Duality", Leonard, Howard and Raj turn to Penny, requesting (quite desperately) a "hot 15-year-old girl with a thing for smart guys." Needless to say, Penny slams the door on them in disgust.
- My Name Is Earl: The Right Choice Ranch, a summer camp for troubled boys, tried a number of slogans which sounded really wrong, like "Touching Bad Boys Since 1963", "Bringing Boys To Their Knees Since 1963", and "Forcing Boys To Turn Around Since 1963". By the time an adult Earl came back for a list item, they'd apparently given up: "We Don't Do Anything Inappropriate To The Boys".
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: In "Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender", Dennis tries making neighborhood relations to distinguish himself from the ex-con (who was put in jail for molesting children) who moved in nearby. Dee suggests he show the children fitness exercises, and take off his shirt to demonstrate how they worked on himself. Ego stroked, Dennis is convinced to do just that, and Dee goes directly to the fathers to point out the half-naked sex offender hanging around their children.
- In "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties". Frank gets offered to host a beauty pageant and agrees. So he can see some hot chicks. But it turns out to be a children's beauty pageant and the original host was a pedophile. So he starts to get worried people might think he's a pedophile. As the gang points out, his obsessive attempts, to try and prove he's not a pedophile, will just make him seem more suspicious.
- In "The Nightman Cometh". Dee stars in Charlie's play. She plays a Love Interest for Dayman. But Dayman is referred to as "little boy" and such and wears footy pajamas, even though he's a young adult. This causes Dee to worry about being perceived as a pedophile.
- How I Met Your Mother had "I don't want a girl, I just want a little boy!" and "Of all the women in New York you had to go out with an eight-year-old girl!"
Ted: Not what it sounds like, folks!
- In another episode, Ted has become a bit obsessed with caring for Marvin, filling the hole of a recently finished architecture project. Lily and Marshall eventually figure it out and lure him to an interview for a new position by inviting him to Marvin's swim class, giving him a lollipop to soften the blow. As he prepares for the interview, he says "I'll just give this (the lollipop) to one of the kids." Marshall anticipates this response and says "Ted, you're not the father of any of the kids here. Don't give them candy."
- In one episode of First Wave, a teenage boy who reads Crazy Eddie's website thinks his neighbor is an alien and gets Cade to come to his house. The kid's parents are quite worried when they find an adult man in their son's bedroom, become more worried when they find out they met on the internet, but luckily when Cade claims to be a reporter they buy it.
- On Parks and Recreation, April sends Andy to pick up her little sister at school. Andy shows up two hours late, so when he arrives in his van, April's sister calls the school security guard and says she doesn't know him. The guard asks him if he is trying to lure this girl into his unmarked white van, and Andy replies, "Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do! But she won't get in!" Andy then clarifies that it's not actually his van; he stole it from a friend, and he really shouldn't be driving because his license is waaaay expired. Cut to Andy on his knees being read his rights.
- Law & Order: SVU has had several episodes in which someone accused of abuse was actually innocent.
- Usually after Elliot Stabler, who despises pedophiles, persecutes them
- There was also an unusual case where the 'child' in question was actually Older Than They Look due to a disorder that permanently kept her body at an adolescent's age. Legally, she was of age to consent. There Should Be a Law was brought up.
- (An inversion): Saturday Night Live had a sketch on the season 37 episode hosted by Steve Buscemi in which a college phys. ed supervisor holds a press conference to announce that one of the coaches (Steve Buscemi) is not a pedophile (at the time of the episode, news of sex scandals involving college coaches molesting their players was all over the news, with Penn State and Syracuse being the popular ones), despite that he has a creepy mustache, lives with his mom, has never had a girlfriend (even implying that he could be asexual, since investigators found no evidence that he was sexually attracted to men or women), and has poor social skills with people his own age. Even the head of NAMBLA's local chapter (played by Bill Hader) stated that the allegedly creepy coach wouldn't be a good fit for NAMBLA if it turned out that he was, in fact, a pedophile.
- WKRP - Mr. Carlson is surprised when the Mrs. tells him she's pregnant. He's later sitting in the DJ booth, quietly ecstatic, and starts telling Venus about how much he'd like a little girl. Venus, unaware of events, gets a bit anxious, more so when Carlson decides a little boy would be just as good. At show's end, Carlson requests something so he and his wife can dance, and Venus puts on "Thank Heaven for Little Girls", still looking quite shaken.
- The opening sequence of the 2006 Emmys had host Conan O'Brien wandering onto the sets of several different shows. Towards the end, he walked into an empty house. . .only to be confronted by Dateline's Chris Hansen, at which point every truthful explanation that he gave only served to make him look more guilty:
Chris Hansen: I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.(voiceover) "Welcome to another edition of "To Catch A Predator"Conan O'Brien: Oh, God. Okay, it's not what you think. I'm looking for the Emmys. I'm hosting.Chris Hansen: Hosting? That's what you call this?Conan O'Brien: Yes, it's my second time. noteChris Hansen: So you've done this before?Conan O'Brien: Yeah, I did it one time and I liked it and I thought maybe I should do it again.Chris Hansen: (voiceover) Of all the predators I've met, this guy, screen name conebone69, was by far the creepiest.Conan O'Brien: Look ... (chuckles nervously) ... you think ... this is very easy to explain.Chris Hansen: Explain it then.(Conan dashes out of the house)
- In the British version of Being Human (UK) Mitchell, a vampire, is accused of being a pedophile after befriending a young neighborhood boy and lending him a tape which he believes to be an innocent movie but is in actuality a sex tape. He and his roommate are persecuted as a result.
- A similar thing happens in the US remake, although the kid steals the tape.
- An episode of Weeds gives a PTA meeting in which some of the members express concern over the fact that the wrestling coach is gay. Celia of all people is the voice of reason, pointing out that gay doesn't mean paedophile.
- In an episode of The Unit, Bob Brown sees a woman with her young daughter in a park and intentionally leads the woman to believe he's a paedophile because he needs them to leave.
- Modern Family: In one episode, Cam gives Manny advice over the phone on what to say to his date. Out of context, everyone around Cam assumes he is talking to a child he met on the internet. He doesn't help matters when he tells everyone "it's not what you think; I'm talking to an 11 year old boy".
- In another episode, Mitch and Cam are celebrating Cam's birthday, which is on February 29, leading to jokes about his age (because of course, he technically only has a birthday once every four years). At the end, Mitch makes a comment about "the eight-year-old I fell in love with," causing a nearby mom to glare suspiciously at them and take her young son away.
- In Victorious Robbie is beaten up by a group of mothers because he offered their kids ice cream that the gang didn't want. (It's a Long Story) The women chased him into an alley and beat him with sticks; he has a black eye for the rest of the episode.
- On George Lopez, George and his coworker attempt to test his son Max by trying to lure him into the coworker's white van. He doesn't fall for it, but a police officer does.
- In The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret , this happens to Todd several times due to his incredible propensity for sabotaging his own life and his employee Dave's willingness to help that along (he suggests Todd acquire the services of the firm "Young and Not Legal").
Todd Margaret: I need to jump on one of those Young and Not Legal boys. I don't want some old guy jerking me around, I want the youngest, hottest kid they've got.
- On ER, Morris attends his son's soccer match (via a sperm donation he made in college). The boy's parents, having not been told that their son had tracked his biological father down, grow increasingly worried and suspicious about this stranger who is constantly calling out to the boy and cheering him on. When they exchange hugs after he scores a goal, the enraged mother physically attacks him. Only when poor Morris is being led away in handcuffs does the boy speak up and reveal who he is.
- In an early episode of Seinfeld, Jerry is making idle chit chat with his masseuse and mentions a recent child abduction in Pennsylvania, then begins rambling about how you just never who could be some nut job looking to hurt you or your kid, even pointing out how he could very well be such a person. The woman gets so freaked out that she refuses to continue having him as a client. When he shows up at the office to apologize and explain, the woman flips out even more and screams at her visiting son to run into her office and lock the door.
- In the second episode of Blackish Andre wants to find some Black friends for his son. In his car he drives up to a bus stop where some teenagers are and asks them if they like chips and soda. When they get suspicious he says "Nothing weird. Just looking for some young Black boys to bring back to my house". A woman nearby starts calling the police he notices what he said and drives off.
- In The Inbetweeners, Jay and Neil force Simon to ask out some girls on the street to Will's party; turns out they're eleven. Cue them calling them Paedos and getting their older brother to beat them up. Actually inverted in the American series in which Jay goes out with a 12 year old; a line even the perverted British Jay would never cross.
- In a Christmas special Sam and Dean, two grown men, from Supernatural go near a Children's Santa's workshop, and get some funny looks. Sam doesn't help by saying "We came here to watch".
- The Talking Candy Bar Blues by Paul Stookey is a story told from the point of view of the poor Butt Monkey who falls prey to this trope set to some light musical accompaniment.
- Accidentally invoked by X Japan as a result of Values Dissonance, Society Marches On, and for the band's reputation of the time. In casting the female lead for the Celebration Performance Video, they chose a girl between 9 and 13 as a fan of the band, to go with the Cinderella theme and yet avoid the Unfortunate Implications of an adult female slave. In the video, her overprotective Moral Guardian mom is paralyzed by Loud of War, and the girl goes out for a night on the town with the band. However, nothing troubling is done to her, and she's treated as a friend, even more so than the other band members, there are adult women that the band is partying with, and she isn't even drinking or smoking with them. Nevertheless, the context of a young girl going out for a night on the town with five young unrelated adult men unsupervised, no matter what, is, now, outside of The '80s and outside of the context of the video itself, inherently Sick and Wrong.
- Micheal MacIntyre tells a story as part of his act how when asked by the Alpha Mum at a playgroup he'd brought his son to 'which one is yours?' he jokingly answered 'None of them' and the resultant uproar that caused.
- Bill Burr complained about this trope because of the massive amount of To Catch a Predator type shows that made everyone paranoid of sex offenders, since that meant he could no longer try to entertain kids in public.
- Love Never Dies has this in a meta sense: If someone wanders in for "The Beauty Underneath", then good luck explaining that it's not actually the seduction of a ten-year-old. The earnest reply of "Yes!" from Gustave (the kid) throughout doesn't help matters any.
- Ragna the Bloodedge from Blazblue - a gag that crops up in the main story once and repeatedly in the joke endings.
- In the remakes of Phantom Brave, you can play an alternative storyline called "Another Marona". In it, Ash is mistaken for a pedophile by Carona because of how protective he is of Marona, a position that the other phantoms believe, to his dismay.
- Invoked with Irie from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. He's constantly cooing over Satoko and saying he wants to marry her but behind his ditzy facade it's shown he only sees her like a daughter.
- Happens once in a while in the Super Robot Wars Z series, where Rand Travis is engaged to Mel Peter, who is 16 but looks younger due to her age being stunted by the Wounded Lion Sphere. In particular, in Z3 Tengoku-hen, mention of the engagement draws disgusted reactions from Clouseau and Kurz, with Rand muttering that he'll have to explain things later.
- The middle-aged Mercenary Gregor from Fire Emblem Awakening is first seen chasing after Nowi, who he wanted to make sure was okay. Problem is that Nowi, despite being about a thousand years old (and therefore one of the few characters in the game who is actually OLDER than Gregor), is a Manakete... which means that she appears to the world to be an adolescent girl. Who's dressed like a slave. Chrom, Robin, and Lissa see him chasing after her and assume the obvious.
Webcomics / Web Originals
- Penny Arcade did their take on this in this strip.
- And in this one.
- The Perry Bible Fellowship wrings a fairly cruel joke from this trope here◊ and subverts it here◊.
- This strip of Wondermark.
- This quote (sad/paranoid version) and this one (comedy version) at Overheard.
- On a Writing Excuses podcast on character voices, Howard Taylor described how, in order to get the speech patterns right on one of his younger characters, he paid attention to how his daughter and her friends talked to each other...
Brandon: ...You're following around little kids?Howard: NO! They came over to my house!Brandon: That's EVEN WORSE!Howard: I am not on that list!Brandon: ...YET.
- This Cake Wreck. Consensus seems to be that the Korean decorator wanted a word that conveyed the recipient's love of children and... yeah.
- In Unsounded, Sette calls Duane a pedophile in hilarious terms when he tells her she deserves spanking. Made even more hilarious when readers understand he is, by far, the least likely character to intentionally harm or distress a child.
- In Homestuck, Doc Scratch (who, being a cueball-headed demigod and a puppet, is asexual in every way) tells Rose (a 13-year-old girl) he likes her; naturally she construes it this way. Then he just keeps Digging Himself Deeper.
Rose: How young are the ladies you usually take a shining to? And does this mean you're attracted to me? Suddenly this conversation is kind of terrible.Doc Scratch: Of course I am not. Not in the way you mean. And anyway, you are applying standards of conduct frowned upon for your kind which make no sense to apply to me. I am an immortal entity with a large cue ball for a head, and no biological means of reproduction. [...] Try to think of me as one of your kindly human uncle figures. In fact, if I were in your presence now, I would offer you candy to prove it.
- In Goblins, Minmax humiliated his adventuring partner Forgath by yelling at a passing young (adult) woman "Hey! Thirteen and hot!" on a crowded street. The passersby didn't realise he was talking about her Charisma score, not her age.
- Looking for Group: long story short, Richard is stuck in a tree and Cale is trying to get him out of the trouble. Then a lonely villager kid turns up to see what they are doing. Cale offers his hand for a hand shake in such a creepy way that the kid just runs away.
Richard: Nothing bad could ever come out of two adults chasing a child through the forest. I'm in. Make sure you constantly yell 'I just want to talk' in a deep voice.
- Zero Punctuation
"I find that 'I will die of an indistinct infection if I don't remain physically close to preteen girls' rarely goes down well in court."
Although I did stumble on some kind of Middle School outing at the War Memorial that was absolutely packed with kids, and my first thought was "Fucking jackpot!" Followed closely by the thought - "What the hell is wrong with me!?" I am a grown man excited by the presence of schoolchildren because I'm going to leave lots of little deposits in their trouser pockets and bumbags.
- And in his review of the 3DS, namely the StreetPass feature...
- In Supernatural The Animation Abridged, Dean takes a bullied kid to an abandoned warehouse and then dresses him up to teach him martial arts. Shockingly enough, the kid's vampire father concludes that Dean is a predator (Dean corrects it to hunter before he realizes what he's talking about) and attempts to kill him.
- Played for Drama in The Friendly Winter. Min-Seong is a tall seventeen year old boy with a the mental capacity of a seven year old. At least twice he's gotten into trouble for seeming to kidnap a little girl when he was really trying to help her.
- A Running Gag in Some Jerk with a Camera. Chris Hansen keeps misconstruing what Some Jerk says as something sexually inappropriate about teens or children.
- South Park sort of subverts this in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA". First, Mr. Garrison upon being arrested for meeting with Cartman blurts out that he doesn't want love from young boys (he slips and states he likes men his own age, before making an unconvincing assertion of heterosexuality). Also, Mephisto admits to being a member of NAMBLA, and tells Cartman he would fit right in. Mephisto, however, meant the North American Marlon Brando Look Alikes (featuring men who all look like the fat, bald version of Marlon Brando as seen in the first Godfather movie and Apocalypse Now), who had an ongoing rivalry with the real NAMBLA(The North American Man-Boy Love Association) over copyright issues over their name.
- The episode "Red Hot Catholic Love" sees the town's parents become concerned that Priest Maxi is molesting their boys, which he isn't. Maxi investigates claims of molestation within the Church and discovers he's the only Catholic priest in the world who doesn't molest children.
- Big Gay Al falls victim to the popular assumption that All Gays Are Paedophiles in "Cripple Fight" when he's fired as Scout Master. The parents who wanted him gone learn their lesson the hard way when his heterosexual replacement, Mr. Grazier, turns out to be an actual pedophile and child molester.
- Exploited by the children in "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", who call the cops and claim their parents molested them, just to have them taken away and live in freedom. The town turns into a post-apocalyptic hellscape within a matter of days.
- Family Guy
- The Season 6 episode "McStroke" contains an incident that is bizarre but still plays the mistaken impression of pedophilic acts for laughs: Stewie – a 1-year-old who is capable of adult thought and speech – is able to disguise himself as a high school student for a whole episode. He embarks on a relationship with Connie d'Amico – the show's Alpha Bitch who is fooled into thinking Stewie is a teenager named Zach – which goes bad when, trying to initiate sex, she makes fun of his non-sexually developed anatomy. Stewie gets his revenge on Connie by removing his disguise so that everyone in school, and the police, will see Connie kissing a naked baby.
- At one point, Stewie also attempts to blackmail Brian by putting nude pictures of himself on Brian's laptop and threatening to pass it to the FBI.
- An earlier episode has Peter in a job interview when this happens:
Boss: So where do you see yourself in five years?
Peter: (thinks) Don't say "doing your wife," don't say "doing your wife"... (aloud) Doing your... (looks at family photo on desk) son?
- American Dad! did it too. Steve decided to take some self-shot pictures in his underwear to give to a classmate he had a crush on. Then the police found them and assumed Stan took them.
- The Cleveland Show had this as well. Cleveland is often mistaken as this because of his close relationship with his son Junior. Not helped that his kid loves to kiss him in public and says suggestive things about him.
- Played with in Justice League. The episode Wild Cards actually has Batman suggest to Harley that the Joker is this. Harley assumes that Joker is dumping her for Ace when seeing him hugging and massaging her. The worst part is that Joker didn't deny it.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Duck!" (the one with the invisible duck that can only be seen by its victims, and makes fart sounds to make others think the victim is farting) Grim is seen trying to prove to children that he didn't fart by showing them his skeleton body while shouting "Look at my body!" He's arrested shortly afterward.
- The Venture Bros. used this on Captain Sunshine. With his rainbow-themed superhero costume, his Man Child tendencies, and his obsession with his deceased sidekick Wonderboy, it's no wonder that people assumed this about him. According to Word of God, he isn't a pedophile. He's just extremely emotionally scarred from losing his sidekick, and can't seem to cope with his loss.
- In The Fairly OddParents episode "Dinkle Scouts", Timmy's Dad can't take his scout troop to the movies for this reason.
- This can, sadly, occur in real life. And it is NEVER funny for anyone involved. Particularly for men who volunteer with children. Ask any man who volunteers with young kids regularly, almost every one of them at some point or another ran into this trope. Best case someone is making a 'joke' about it, but some people will seriously leap to this conclusion. In fact this trope is one of the reasons it's so hard to find males working with kids, as they're afraid of people leaping to conclusions like this. It's rather sad since many children in mentoring programs have no father figure and are desperate for male role models
- This can occasionally be an issue for anyone who adopts or fosters children of a different race. Since you're not the same race, 'obviously' you're not the father, so what are you doing giving that kid a hug and kiss!?
- Or even if you are the biological relative of a child of a different race. A white man was recently arrested while merely strolling through the park with his black grand-daughter, having been mistaken for her kidnapper by some busybody who simply couldn't fathom that these two people of different races where in fact related.
- And due to some discredited stereotypes that just refuse to die, gay men get hit particularly hard by this.
- A survey conducted by the NSPCC (in Britain) found that 64% of those surveyed feared this implication if they were to help a lost child, with roughly half saying they'd approach anyway, and the other half saying they'd stay close by to keep an eye on the kid.