By A Texas Reader
At the Houston Chronicle.
OCTOBER 21--In a cynical and duplicitous attempt to capitalize on New York City’s documented racial profiling problems, a pair of bloggers have created a video purporting to show an NYPD officer stopping and frisking a pair of Muslim men for the crime of wearing traditional Islamic garments.
But the viral video is a sham, a staged production aimed to go viral and pile up views and YouTube channel subscriptions for its young creators, Brooklynites Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar, who get a piece of the revenue generated by ads that run before their videos play.
The duo’s video operation--which is named “TrueStoryASA”--has racked up 60 million YouTube views and has more than 661,000 subscribers on the video-sharing site. While most of the pair’s videos involve pranks, sidewalk attempts at comedy and social commentary, or “Muslim-related stuff,” their latest clip seeks to latch onto an issue that has troubled many New Yorkers and tainted the NYPD.
Titled “Racial Profiling Experiment,” the 2:53 video (seen above) was uploaded Sunday to YouTube, where it has already been viewed in excess of 135,000 times. The clip has received coverage in several publications, including the British newspaper The Independent and The Huffington Post.
[Akbar (left) and Saleh are pictured in the adjacent photo.]
The video opens with Saleh and Akbar loudly arguing as they walk down a Queens street. The men, dressed in jeans and t-shirts, shove each other and appear on the verge of exchanging blows. While this is transpiring, a purported NYPD officer stands just feet away. With his arms folded, the impassive cop--whose face has been blurred--does nothing as the pair seems on the verge of fighting. The scene is apparently being filmed from a parked car by a friend of Saleh and Akbar.
The video then jumps ahead 20 minutes, when Saleh and Akbar are again seen arguing on the same sidewalk. This time, however, Saleh is wearing a headdress and a white robe. Akbar has on a keffiyeh scarf and an abaya, a long shirt. In their YouTube description of the video, the men describe these garments as their “cultural clothes.”
This time, the quarreling duo is immediately confronted by the cop, who asks, “What’s all the arguing about? Why are you dressed like this?” Motioning to their clothes, he demands, “What is this?” In short order, the patrolman shoves Saleh up against the wall and directs him to put his hands up and “open your legs.” During the cursory search that follows, the cop feels something in Saleh’s pocket and yells, “What is this?
What’s in your pocket?” When Saleh responds that it is his phone, the officer asks, “Is this a gun? Is that a knife?”
Oddly, the officer never bothers to remove the item to confirm that it is a phone and not a deadly weapon. Also, the cop does not appear concerned that Saleh’s friend is hovering directly behind him.
After Akbar is later subjected to a similarly perfunctory frisk, Saleh does the reveal. Removing the headdress, he tells the officer, “I’m the same guy from before. I came 20 minutes earlier, we had an argument, we hit each other, and you didn’t do anything.” Then, referring to the pair’s new clothes, Saleh added, “And now when we have this, you gonna come and do something to us?”
Confronted about his racial profiling and illegal searches, the cop appears befuddled and stripped of his bravado. He is left to warn a passerby--whose timing is impeccable--to “Take a walk before I arrest you for obstruction.”
The video is a marvelously tidy example of the NYPD’s supposedly wicked ways. At the clip’s end, Saleh and Akbar appear to explain, “What you just saw is what we always go through when we’re filming with our culture clothing on.” Saleh then claims that the pair had been out shooting another video when “police happen to, like, follow us and racial profile us. So we stopped filming that video and we decided to make this video for you guys. And it happened in one chance.”
The video ends with a request for viewers to give it a “thumbs up” vote on YouTube, as well as a pitch for new subscribers to the duo’s video channel.
The purported “Racial Profiling Experiment” undertaken by Saleh and Akbar was filmed on 126th Street in the Willets Point section of Queens, across from Citi Field, home to the New York Mets. The video was shot on a street where many of the businesses--tire outlets, auto repair firms, muffler shops--have been closed or relocated as part of a city redevelopment effort.
An NYPD source who last night viewed the clip at TSG’s request said that an officer from the local police precinct (the 110th in nearby Elmhurst) would not be standing patrol by himself on a deserted street in the middle of the day. As for the purported officer’s frisking technique, the NYPD veteran laughed, “That’s not how they teach you in the academy.” He also remarked that it was “inconceivable” that an officer would ask a Muslim man, “Why are you dressed like this?”
By obscuring the purported cop’s face, Saleh and Akbar have sought to avoid the immediate debunking of their clip, which has already garnered in excess of 30,000 “thumbs up” on YouTube and more than 5200 comments. In their supposed effort to expose racial profiling, the video’s creators have inexplicably--yet conveniently--provided cover for the rogue patrolman, now an electronically blurred boogeyman.
A second source, a recently retired NYPD detective who also watched the “profiling” video at TSG’s request, branded it an “obvious hoax” intended to “smear” police.
If that was the intent of Saleh and Akbar, they appear to have succeeded. According to The Huffington Post, the video provides a “small glimpse into the ugly world of racial profiling.” The news site later updated its piece to indicate that the clip’s authenticity could not be verified, and that NYPD officials are reviewing the video.
Since the video was uploaded to YouTube, Saleh, Akbar, and their friends have been aggressively promoting the clip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “Spread the word and bring an end to Racial Profiling,” Saleh wrote. Sheikh told his followers that, “Racial Profiling goes against all equal rights.” He added, “Never expected a reaction like this.”
Saleh and Akbar have not responded to TSG messages sent via Facebook, where each man describes himself as an "Actor/Director."
10/21 UPDATE: In an interview yesterday with Capital New York, a spokesperson for Saleh and Akbar claimed that he had “behind the scene footage” proving that the profiling episode was not faked. Asked for additional details, the flack told reporter Azi Paybarah, “We can't give out details for follow ups--it breaches confidentiality.”
However, despite that shaky assurance, the videographers copped to their perfidy (albeit sneakily) after TSG exposed their hoax this morning. They edited the video’s YouTube description to report that the clip was a “Dramatization of previous events that occurred with us in our tradition clothing while filming in NYC. This video is not against the NYPD.” The video’s original description claimed that Saleh and Akbar were prompted to expose the NYPD after “we kept getting followed by Police. So we decided to film this social experiment on racial profiling.” The duo added that, “Too many innocent people get stopped and frisked” daily due to their clothing and skin color.
From their Youtube posting:
“Published on Oct 19, 2014
“This video is a Dramatization [sic; see explanation below] of previous events that occurred with us in our tradition clothing while filming in NYC. This video is not against the NYPD, it's just an example of what we have to go through sometimes when filming in NYC. This is to raise awareness for Racial Profiling.”
[The con men who made this video only changed their description to a “Dramatization” after they were caught committing a racial profiling hoax. One of their accomplices plays the fake cop in the video. Impersonating a police officer is a felony. Two or more people committing a crime together constitutes a conspiracy, which is also a felony. That’s why, after their hoax was exposed, they changed their description of the video to a “dramatization.” But they still committed a couple of felonies, not that they’d ever be punished for them.]
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‘I don’t know what I’m doing by telling you. I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Showreruns,’ said Hannibal Buress.
In a stand-up set in Philadelphia last Thursday, Hannibal Buress went straight for Bill Cosby's jugular, calling out the jocular icon on his myriad alleged sexual assaults.
"It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the f—ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” Buress ranted. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the ‘80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches. ‘I don’t curse onstage.’ Well, yeah, you’re rapist, so I’ll take you saying lots of motherf—ers."
Buress is referring to allegations that came to light back in 2006 when Andrea Constand, a 32-year-old former Temple University employee, claimed that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her in his Philadelphia mansion in 2004. In a civil lawsuit, Constand detailed how Cosby presented her with three pills, which he said were herbal medications that would help alleviate her stress. He insisted that she take all three pills and, once she began to feel drowsy and inert, led her to a sofa because she "could not walk on her own." Then the assault began.
If the image of this disgusting and premeditated crime being perpetrated by one of America's most beloved (not to mention family friendly) comedians wasn't revolting enough, what happened next was sure to trigger a nation's gag reflex. No fewer than thirteen witnesses came forward saying that they had also been drugged and/or sexually assaulted by Cosby, and were willing to testify if the case went to trial.
On November 8, 2006, Cosby settled the case with Constand—the terms of the settlement remain undisclosed, but we know that the plaintiff agreed not to discuss the incident any further; however, the other thirteen witnesses were bound by no such agreement. Many of their stories, along with their names, were published in reputable news sources like People and Philadelphia Magazine.
Even more shocking than these public allegations is how little they affected Cosby in the long run, and how the star was somehow able to preserve his reputation and legacy due to an indefatigably adoring public.
"When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.'"
As Buress explained in his set, "I don’t know what I’m doing by telling you. I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. Dude’s image, for the most part, it’s f–king public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit on stage and people think I’m making it up….That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it trust me. When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’”
Like all good comedy, Buress's bit combines the unexpected with the shockingly true. We don't expect to hear the beloved Bill Cosby called a rapist in a public forum, but we have to consider the whitewashing work that we as fast-forgetting fans have done in order to make that statement so shocking.
Consider Mark Whitaker's recent Cosby biography, Cosby: His Life and Times. The 468-page tome purports to be a definitive account of the comedian's life and career. It also fails to mention the 2006 sexual assault lawsuit. Nowhere in this epic biography does Whitaker mention that Cosby is an alleged rapist—nor does it shed light on the stories of the women who say that the comedian drugged them and sexually assaulted them without their consent.
As Gawker recently wrote, the allegations quickly became "something walled off from our collective understanding of Bill Cosby." In 2010, Cosby was honored with the Marian Anderson Award for "critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause." Anyone, be they a fan, a journalist, or an award-giver, who fails to view Cosby in light of these sexual assault allegations is deliberately deceiving themselves.
Truth is that it’s reasonable for Americans to accept a tiny increment of unsafety to spare W Africa a huge increment of harm— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 19, 2014
Salon.com has just published an article called “America’s virulent racists: The sick ideas and perverted “science” of the American Renaissance Foundation.” It is an excerpt from a book called The Myth of Race, written by Professor Robert Sussman of Washington University and published this year by Harvard University Press. It is also the most sloppy, tendentious, deceitful piece of writing I have seen in a long time. The language alone should raise doubts about the author’s objectivity. He describes me, my work, and associates as “shockingly ugly,” “hateful, dangerous, ancient, and outdated,” “virulently racist,” not to mention “neo-Nazi” and “white supremacist.”
This kind of hysterical name-calling is one thing; outright fabrication is another. People who want to call AR “shockingly ugly” or “virulently racist” find that what it actually says doesn’t come anywhere near justifying their breathless talk, so they start twisting and fabricating. Prof. Sussman is following directly in the footsteps of Dinesh D’Souza.
Some of Professor Sussman’s nonsense is easily exposed. However, the Salon excerpt gives no sources, so even though the entire body of work of American Renaissance is archived online, it is hard to track down exactly what I might have written that could be the basis for this claim, for example: “He [Taylor] complains that civil rights laws prohibiting racial discrimination have turned ‘common sense’ into a ‘crime.’ ” One- or two-word “quotations” are always suspect.
We will alert Salon.com and Harvard University Press to Prof. Sussman’s reckless disregard for the truth and ask for a retraction and an apology–short of which we will consider legal action.
I have gone through Prof. Sussman’s article and have highlighted–in order of appearance–only the most prominent outright errors, falsehoods, and distortions, as follows:
Prof. Sussman: “The American Renaissance Foundation is an extremely conservative right-wing organization that also publishes a monthly magazine of the same name, American Renaissance (AR).”
There is no American Renaissance Foundation. I am president of the New Century Foundation, which used to publish a monthly magazine called American Renaissance. AR content is now entirely on-line; we stopped publishing a paper magazine more than 2-1/2 years ago.
Prof. Sussman: “Jared Taylor (1952-)”
I was born in 1951.
Prof. Sussman: “the National Policy Institute, a self-styled racist think tank”
The National Policy Institute, of which I was one of the founding directors, has never described itself as racist.
Prof. Sussman: “Taylor has close ties with members of various neo-Nazi groups”
If anyone with whom I have “close ties”–or any ties at all–is a member of a neo-Nazi group, it is news to me. I will expect Prof Sussman to supply details.
Prof Sussman: “He is a frequent radio guest of Don Black’s . . . .”
To my knowledge Don Black has never had a radio program. His son, Derek Black, briefly had a radio program on which I appeared once.
Prof. Sussman: Frédéric Legrand, a member of the National Front, is a frequent contributor to American Renaissance.
Of the several thousand articles published in AR, Mr. Legrand wrote three. The last one was published seven years ago.
Prof. Sussman: “One of AR’s and Taylor’s favorite and oft-used quotes, recalling fifteenth-century polygenecist thought, is that of zoologist Raymond Hall from an early issue of Mankind Quarterly: ‘Two subspecies of the same species do not occur in the same geographic area.’ ”
There is nothing 15th century about the statement, which is widely accepted among biologists. If the gray squirrel is introduced into the red squirrel’s territory, it steadily replaces the red squirrel. E. Raymond Hall was chairman of the Department of Zoology at the University of Kansas. He made this observation in his two-volume classic, The Mammals of North America, first published in 1959 and revised in 1981. By my count, this quotation from Hall has appeared in three AR articles.
Prof. Sussman: Taylor believes that slavery may have been wrong but the alternative was “Negro pandemonium.”
I wrote that many slaveholders believed that the alternative to slavery was, in their words, “Negro pandemonium.” I was expressing their view, not mine.
Prof. Sussman: “the foundation’s goal is to demonstrate the purported superiority of the white race”
Prof. Sussman offers this sentence as a quotation from AR: “Blacks and Third World immigrants did not really belong in the United States and certainly could not be ‘real’ Americans.”
This sentence has never appeared in AR.
Sussman makes much of a poll of AR readers, helpfully adding that the poll was taken “before Obama’s presidency.”
Indeed, it was taken 17 years ago and consisted of 391 people. Full results are available here.
Prof. Sussman: “Samuel Francis, a regular contributor to AR”
Samuel Francis has been dead for 10 years.
Prof. Sussman: “Francis believes that the ‘phony’ rights of nonwhites should be revoked. These include voting, holding office, attending schools with whites, serving on juries, marrying across racial lines, serving in the armed forces, buying homes near whites, and eating at lunch counters with, riding on buses with, holding jobs with, or even associating with ‘superior’ whites.”
Prof. Sussman has deliberately twisted Francis’s words into their very opposite. Francis wrote this in 1995: “[E]quality before the law, does not mean political equality, the right to vote, or the right to hold political office, let alone social and economic equality, nor the “right” to attend the same schools, to serve on juries, to marry across racial lines, to serve in the armed forces, to eat at lunch counters, to ride on buses, to buy a house or rent a room or hold a job, to receive welfare, to be admitted to colleges and universities, to take academic degrees or to be promoted. All these are phony “rights” that have been fabricated through the corruption of our constitutional law and our understanding of it, and no citizen of any race is entitled to them.” [italics added]
The word “superior” never occurs in Francis’s article.
Prof. Sussman: “The American Renaissance conferences, which began in 1994, have become a gathering place for white supremacists, white nationalists, white separatists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, Holocaust deniers, and eugenicists.”
Could Prof. Sussman provide names rather than name-calling?
Prof. Sussman: “Arthur Jensen in an AR ‘conversation’ stated that the country’s attempt to build a multiracial nation ‘is doomed to failure.’ ”
Arthur Jensen did not say that. I did.
Prof. Sussman: “He [Jensen] also claimed that at least one-quarter of all blacks are “mentally retarded” and “not really educatable.”
Jensen said this: “Once you get below IQs of 80 or 75, which is the cut-off for mental retardation in the California School System, children are put into special classes. These persons are not really educable up to a level for which there’s any economic demand. . . . People are shocked and disbelieving when you tell them that about one in four blacks in our population are in that category–below 75.”
Prof. Sussman: “Glayde Whitney, as a contributing editor of AR, wrote a regular column in which he suggested that different races did not belong in the same species.”
Prof. Whitney never wrote that. Citation, please.
Prof. Sussman: “Lynn wrote in AR that environment has no effect on IQ scores and that differences between blacks and whites are entirely genetic.”
Prof. Lynn never wrote that. He has always recognized an environmental effect on IQ.
Prof. Sussman: “Levin also believed that whites would . . . once again discriminate against blacks in housing, employment, and schools. Taylor approved of Levin’s predictions and speculated that his inspired vision would lead to “policies strikingly similar to those of the pre-civil rights American South.”
See here for what Levin and I actually wrote.
Sussman: “At the 2000 AR conference, Taylor was greeted with a burst of applause when he speculated that whites may have lost so much ground in the last century because of Jews.”
I have never said that, whether at the 2000 AR conference or at any other time. In answer to a question as to what had caused the “demoralization” of whites–not loss of ground–I said that others have speculated to that effect. I also rejected Jewish influence as unsatisfactory, even as a partial explanation. A video of my 2000 conference speech is available here.
Prof. Sussman writes that to argue that AR has the right to hold conferences is to “condone the ability or the right of hate groups to gather and incite racial and class hatred.”
Prof. Sussman has never attended an AR conference. Readers can watch the lectures from the most recent conference online here and decide for themselves whether AR is a “hate group” or incites “racial and class hatred.” Prof. Sussman is unique, to my knowledge, in claiming that AR takes any interest at all in class.
Prof. Sussman: “Modern science now undermines all of their basic premises”
Perhaps Prof. Sussman will provide a bibliography of studies that “undermine” the work of Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, Linda Gottfredson, Tatu Vanhanen, Michael Woodley, Richard Lynn, John Baker, Nicholas Wade, Henry Harpending, Jan te Nijenhuis, Philippe Rushton, Robert Putnam, Walker Connor, and Frank Salter.
Prof. Sussman dredges up a hasty and now disproven allegation that Jared Laughner, who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, had some tie to American Renaissance.
All law enforcement agencies have conceded that there is no evidence for such a link.
Prof. Sussman: “when a group publishes a journal and holds conferences preaching pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and racial hatred and glorifies such hatemongers as Adolf Hitler, Jesse Helms, and David Duke . . .”
In the nearly 25 years that American Renaissance has been publishing and holding conferences, there is not one word that could be described as “pro-Nazi” or “anti-Semitic.” There is not a single word that glorifies Adolf Hitler, Jesse Helms or David Duke. Just a few minutes’ examination of our website and comprehensive archives would make this clear to anyone. Even Mark Potok of the SPLC, which is an organization that never misses an opportunity to say something derogatory about me or AR, has said, “Jared Taylor is not an anti-Semite.”
Prof Sussman quotes, as follows, from the summary of a conference talk that appeared in AR: “[Prof. Weissberg proposed] ‘A Politically Viable Alternative to White Nationalism’ [instead of proposing the complete elimination of nonwhites].
Professor Robert Weissberg did not propose an alternative to “the complete elimination of nonwhites” but to a “movement explicitly based on white racial identity.” What he actually said was apparently not wicked enough, so Prof. Sussman invented something else.
The title of Prof. Sussman’s book is The Myth of Race. He is clearly something of a myth-maker himself. If what he has written about me and American Renaissance is typical of his “scholarship,” nothing he has written in this book can be trusted. Harvard University Press–the university’s motto is “veritas”–should be embarrassed to have published it.