A screenshot from a viral video of man berating a young hassidic boy.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT)
A video of an adult man berating a small hassidic boy over his appearance was pulled from Twitter late Sunday night, but not before it had been viewed more than 1 million times and liked more than 100,000 times. The same video was deleted from Facebook on Monday after complaints continued to roll in.
The video featured an unseen male behind the camera who comes across a young boy on the street who appears upset. The boy's hair is closely shaved except for his long sidelocks, in keeping with hassidic tradition.
"I'd be crying if I looked like that too bro," the man says to the little boy. "That's f*cked up what they be doing to you."
The boy, who appears to be about three or four years old, stands silently staring at the man while he continues talking.
"You probably had the full wash and set - they should be fired if they ain't cut your sh*t," he added. "F*ck it though bro, it's your life."
The video appears to have been taken by a man named Quai James, who first posted it on Facebook on Saturday.
"Had to really let my son know how i felt about the whole Jewish Haircut... Pray for the lil homie," James first wrote. He later edited the post, and removed the word Jewish from the caption. But by Monday afternoon neither the video nor James's Facebook account were accessible. Screenshots from users who had reported the video showed that Facebook removed it for violating its community standards.
A spokeswoman for Facebook confirmed late Monday that the video "violates our bullying policies and we took it down upon investigating."
A Twitter account in the name of James later responded to a New York Post reporter on Monday apologizing for the video.
"I truly apologize for posting that video of the young man," James wrote. "I never meant to come off as a racist. I have nothing against any race or religion. I posted the video just for a few laughs i didn’t think of how sensitive... the video actually was. I never meant to offend anyone."
The same video was tweeted out by @_LoveMeSomeJess on Sunday, and was retweeted close to 40,000 times. But many were angry at the content and reported it to Twitter as abusive.
"Wtf kind of person speaks this way to a child - to a CRYING child - and what kind of sick f*ckers like and share this," Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor at the Forward
, tweeted on Sunday. "This is what happens when we allow an entire community to be spoken about like they are subhuman: it becomes ok for a grown ass man to approach a crying child and make fun of him....What's so upsetting is the glee with which his dehumanization of a tiny child was met, the lipsmacking delight with which garbage people on the internet gobbled this up."
New York City council member Brad Lander wrote that the video was "gross viral anti-Semitism" and it is "critical to push back against this small-minded & dehumanizing hate."
Mordechai Lightstone, the social media director for Chabad.org, appealed to Twitter to remove the video.
"I love Twitter and the community it builds - but a video of someone making fun of a small child for his religion is too much," he wrote.
Writer Emily L. Hauser tweeted on Sunday that "I think a lot about the fact that people forget that Jews were regularly killed, over the course of centuries, for their names, noses, or haircuts up until a single lifetime ago. Murderous antisemitism is neither made-up nor ancient history."
Late Sunday night, the tweet was gone, and the woman who posted it claimed that she deleted it herself. She also said that - despite the many reports - her Twitter account had not been suspended, writing "LMAO THEY TRIED SO HARD." She later noted that she deleted the tweet after some people called her place of employment to register complaint.
A press representative for Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.