Police investigating after Montreal woman calls out anti-Semitic video posted to TikTok
Montreal police are looking into an anti-Semitic video posted to social media platform TikTok.
It comes after a local woman spoke out about the video, trying to get it removed form the platform.
The video follows a viral trend that has become popular, responding to videos asking people to “tell me X without telling me X.”
In this case, the original callout asked people to “tell me you’re Jewish without telling me you’re Jewish.”
A man responded to the callout with his own video, saying in French, “I’m not Jewish, but I want to adopt one.”
“I even made them a bed so that they can feel at home,” said the man in the video, opening his kitchen oven to show a pillow and blankets, referencing the large crematoria used to dispose of the bodies of Jewish people killed by Nazis during the Holocaust.
Lauren Lieberman, a member of Montreal’s Jewish community, called out the post, which has since been removed.
“My grandparents were in the Holocaust,” said Lieberman, who told CTV News the video left her “speechless.”
Lieberman, who has more than 22,000 followers on social media, rallied her base to report the offensive video.
“I have an obligation to stand up to anti-Semitism and all forms of hate,” wrote Lieberman in a post on Wednesday. “Online hate is at an all-time high, especially with people cowardly sitting behind their keyboards.”
Lieberman says she reached out to the original poster to explain why she took issue with his post, and to ask for a public apology.
The poster did release an apology on Tuesday, writing that it was not his intention to discriminate against anyone, “but rather to make you laugh.”
“Some found it funny, but several people who lost members of their family during [the Holocaust] took it very badly and I understand their point of view,” he wrote.
“I would also like to take the time to say sorry to each community or person that this video may have affected, views and followers count less than the wellbeing of a person in my opinion.”
CTV News tried to contact him, but did not hear back.
MONTREAL POLICE INVESTIGATING
Montreal police say their hate crimes unit is investigating the video. A police spokesperson told CTV News they are still in the process of verifying the source of the content to determine whether it falls within their jurisdiction.
Lieberman said she’s found other anti-Semitic posts on the platform, including a trend where some users dressed up as victims of the Holocaust, adorning striped uniforms like those of concentration camp prisoners.
“[They] wear the striped pyjamas, put a number on their chest and put sad music and act as if they were a Holocaust survivor, and it was a trend for a while, and no one saw it. It wasn't in the news, TikTok didn't ban it or shadow ban it. That's really where the issue is,” she said.
'SAFE COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT'
While Faceboook and Twitter have banned people for offensive content, including former U.S. president Donald Trump, tech experts say abhorrent content is often left alone on TikTok
“It's owned by a Chinese company,” said Carmi Levy of Info-Tech Research Group. “It basically does what it wants and it gets away with it.”
A TikTok spokesperson said on Wednesday afternoon that the video violated its community guidelines and is no longer on the platform, adding that it removes hateful content and works with a number of Jewish organizations to weed out anti-Semitic content. The spokesperson pointed to a hashtag from last year, #holocaustchallenge, that was removed from the platform. When users searched for the hashtag, they were redirected to TikTok's community guidelines.
"There is no place for anti-Semitism on our platform or off it. TikTok's mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy and we do not tolerate content that promotes hateful behaviour. We are committed to promoting a safe community environment and remove content that violates our Community Guidelines," the spokesperson said.
- With files form CTV News Montreal's Rob Lurie