Social media users are sharing a video in which a man says he works for Black Lives Matter (BLM) and has been told by its “CEO” to get a white woman to kneel and apologize for her white privilege. The video – in which the woman is seen complying with the request – has provoked outrage, fueling angry rhetoric against BLM, a movement that campaigns against racism towards the African-American community. The alleged author said it was intended as comedy and confirmed he was not a representative of BLM.
Some tweets commenting on the video read, “Disturbing and disgusting” and “Either this is a set up or the woman is terrified. This is fascism’s darkest re-enactments and not at all a freedom that we all must fight against. I understand that people are angry but this has gone too far.” Others attacked BLM directly, with comments calling them “embarrassing and Insulting to Black people” ( here) or claiming “This is an example of why "black lives matter" will never be successful" (here ).
This isolated clip that has gone viral on social media ( here , here ) is part of an almost two-hour video ( bit.ly/2MsgJuw ) posted by a user named Smooth Sanchez. The man filming approaches other passers by and makes similar orders ( bit.ly/2U8LIQI ) . The viral moment is visible at 43 minutes into the video, which was streamed on June 1, 2020.
In the video, the man filming is heard saying, “since I work for that company, my CEO has told me to come out today and bring you on your knees”.
The user who posted the video has since confirmed in an Instagram post that he is not part of BLM ( archive.vn/h3dc3 ).
Moreover, BLM is not a company. “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada” ( bit.ly/373z22H ), its website states. It does not have a “CEO”. Its co-founders, Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza started the movement in 2013, after the death of Trayvon Martin. The co-founders recently told the New Yorker BLM “has always been somewhat decentralized” and operates in a horizontal manner: “We have always said the power goes on in the local chapter because they know what is going on”. ( here )
The author of the video, who refers to himself as “Smooth Sánchez” on his social media profiles, has publicly suggested this video was intended as “satire” and “comedy”, clearly implied in tweets (visible here: archive.vn/65YRy , archive.vn/xqq6A , and archive.vn/xeqmL ). In one tweet ( archive.vn/emQtj ) he writes that “I’m The Creator of This Vid” and, “Comedy ..... I Was Trolling” (“trolling” is a popular term defined by Cambridge Dictionary as “the act of leaving an insulting message on the internet in order to annoy someone” ( here ). He confirmed to Reuters that he is not a member of BLM, and he was "just trolling".
Sanchez has posted similar streams of himself "pranking" people on the streets, prior to recent protests. These are visible in his YouTube channel ( here ) and include titles like “Public Prank Trolling IRL [in real life]” and “NYC IRL April fools Live”.
False. The man in this video is not a representative of Black Lives Matter.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .