WASHINGTON, June 21, 2016 – Do you believe that people fear the truth? Does the truth make people angry? Does the truth warrant threats of violence and death upon the messenger?
In the case of YouTube creator Joey Salads, the answer to these questions is undoubtedly yes.
On Monday, June 13, the day following the Orlando terror attack, Salads posted a video entitled Terrorism, Radical Islam vs Radical Christianity.
In a video that Salads claims is a “social experiment,” he has a friend dress up in Muslim garb and proceed to run around and toss a silver case at people while yelling “Allahu Akbar!” In the second part of the video, Salads, in his everyday street clothes, runs around and tosses the same silver case at people whilst saying “Praise Jesus.”
The “victims” reacted pretty much just how you’d think. The people who encountered the apparent Muslim appeared to panic, and the people who encountered the apparent Christian appeared confused, but not frightened.
There are a lot of people who are not at all happy about this video.
To be completely fair, If the guy depicting the Muslim had to wear the clothes he did, then the guy playing the Christian should have dressed in the robes of a priest or other Christian authority figure. It’s not that surprising for someone to react with alarm at seeing a guy dressed like the Muslim running full speed at them, silver case or not. In Salads’ video, there’s at least one encounter in which the victims seemed startled rather than frightened.
Comments on the video that are still up and available are brutal, full of hate and saturated with ignorance. As Salads is called a racist too many times to count, it’s readily apparent people still don’t understand that Islam is not a race. About every one in five comments suggest that Salads should kill himself and/or express the desire for him to die. Some people respondents ask him to take the video down, while others say he should be arrested.
Here’s a sampling:
The controversy doesn’t end there. In retaliation for the video, the well-known YouTube star was actually assaulted by one angry viewer. Just one day after Salads posted the controversial video, he posted another on his video-blogging channel entitled It got real, I was attacked. Sporting a black eye, he is visibly upset.
Salads wonders aloud why what is essentially a prank video has quickly inspired such a passionately malicious response, rambling on about how people are misunderstanding the intentions behind his video. Salads also mentions that his personal information has been exposed and passed around the Internet—a malicious tactic known as doxing—and that people want to kill him.
Why is this particular video causing people to lose their minds, aiming their rancor towards a YouTube creator who, for all intents and purposes, was simply trying to spread awareness about what is currently a hot-button issue for the country?
Is it because he posted the video the day after the Orlando terror attack? Is it because of the way the fake Muslim was depicted in the video? Is it because someone could have gotten hurt running away from the threat of the “bomb?”
Perhaps posting it in the very early aftermath of the Orlando attack wasn’t Salads’ best decision. But what it really comes down to is this:
The truth hurts.
Islamic terrorism deniers will naturally hate this video because it illustrates a point they refuse to believe or even consider: that there is fear in the hearts of Americans when it comes to Islamic extremism. The average Americans confronted in the video had every reason to be frightened when someone wearing Middle Eastern clothing tossed a case at them and yells “Allahu Akbar!”
Maybe, just maybe, there is really something to fear when it comes to a random encounter with individuals who appear to be attached to violent extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Watch the entire video. At first it is just silly; people react in a negative way to the jihadi cry, but realize there is no real threat fairly quick. However, when the same is dropped with the words “Praise Jesus” the response is annoyance, but not fear. There is a lot of truth in this.
In the end, we must remember: People aren’t blaming the so-called victims for responding the way they did when confronted by the provocation staged in Salads’ video. They’re blaming the video’s creator, himself, and the number one reason for this is because he confronted them with a truth they’re not able to handle.