Recently, a YouTube video caused outrage after two filmmakers showed how they were subject to raw and insulting profiling by a New York police officer as Arabs. They posted the video and called for people to rise up against such profiling. The problem is that it turns out to be a hoax. Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar appear to have staged the entire scene. They have now achieved the very opposite of their intentions. They have undermined efforts to show that profiling is a serious and prevalent problem. Instead, many in the future may question the legitimacy of future stories or videos — much like the equally juvenile antics of the National Report that we have discussed previously.
The video below shows how a police officer was not concerned in watching the two men fight in ordinary street clothes. However, the men say that when they reenacted the same scene “just 20 minutes later” dressed in Muslim clothes, they were immediately stopped by an officer who asked them why they were dressed like Arabs and frisked them.
“We were filming another video for our channel with our cultural clothing but we kept getting followed by Police. So, we decided to film this social experiment on racial profiling. Too many innocent people get stopped and frisked every day because of what they wear or their skin color. We’re against people stereotyping others because of what they wear or what skin color they are. Hope you all can spread the message and help bring an end to this.”
It was not a “social experiment” but a staged event.
Their manager, Bill Kanj, insists that he did not know it was a hoax until recently. In the meantime, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has demanded an apology from the two men. CAIR previously distributed the video as an example of outrageous profiling by the NYPD.
The men may not care about the damage done to the cause. Their video operation named “TrueStoryASA” has racked up 60 million YouTube views and has more than 661,000 subscribers on the video-sharing site. Yet for real civil libertarians and videographers, this type of hoax is highly damaging and makes it more difficult to get people to trust such films in the future. “TrueStoryUSA” has now shown that you cannot always trust that such films are the true story. They further succeeded in embarrassing not just CAIR but a host of sites committed to fighting profiling. Quite a dubious achievement.
Source: Smoking Gun