Stop right there, criminal scum refers to a popular quote taken from the Bethesda Studios fantasy title The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
It is uttered by the guards of the game, whenever the player commits a crime.
The various lines of the guards had spawned a series of memes, which include “stop right there, criminal scum” or stop, you’ve violated the law.
These are used online as a way of calling out on someone who’s broken the rules, similar to the Wait, That’s Illegal format.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released in North America on March 20th, 2006.
Guards in the game would often confront the player if he or she committed a criminal atrocity, and their dialogue lines would become a popular reference.
Memes would be created by these lines already in 2007, spawning YouTube parodies, such as The Imperial Guard Song.
The guard lines would be often parodied and referenced in later years, from sites like Reddit to Urban Dictionary and Tumblr.
“Stop right there, criminal scum” had also spawned an interruption-type bait-and-switch meme format, where people are shown erotic content, only to be confronted by an imperial guard.
- Nexusmods.com – Stop right there criminal scum at Skyrim Special Edition
- Fandom – The Elder Scrolls Wiki
- Know Your Meme – Stop Right There, Criminal Scum