I don’t doubt that Russia must be a difficult country for the LGBT community to live in, what with its President and many of its peoples having an anti-gay stance. However, I don’t know that I entirely buy this video of two young men holding hands and being violently assaulted not once, but twice in the span of a walk around Moscow.
The footage, created by Russian pranksters from the ChebuRussiaTV YouTube channel is posted under the American title “Reaction to gays in Russia social experiment” and has attracted over 7 million views in only four days.
The two men holding hands do not identify as gay. But they wanted to show the rabid effects of their Moscow community against homosexuals and the like.
Something strikes me as off about it though. Maybe I’m completely off base in my guess, but I spend my days watching these videos and there seems to be a common thread with this sort of thing.
Here’s what I imagine happened: These guys came up with a great idea to document the roughness of Moscow against the LGBT populace. So they went and held hands while filming it. A few people said generalized things, maybe some words of disgust or an occasional homophobic slur. But nobody did anything crazy. They knew they didn’t have enough compelling footage to make the sort of video that would attract millions of views, so they staged a few violent encounters. After all, it’s not out of line with what could happen to a young gay couple in Moscow.
My reason for thinking that is, aside from the gut reaction I have — having seen so many of this type of video — is in their use of face blurring. Notice that some people aren’t blurred and some people are. And all the ones who do anything obscenely vile are all blurred. When people use face blurring, they typically say it’s because they haven’t gotten the rights to use someone’s presence on camera. But it also can be used to hide an identity … as in, to obscure the face of a friend who is playing the role of a bone-headed thug.
I think the video came from a good place — they wanted to document “the horror,” but “the horror” doesn’t always show up, camera ready. As I usually say with videos like this that I think are staged: what you are doing is dangerous because it undermines the real issue. If you get caught faking something, it makes people less willing to believe a real video on the matter and trivializes the issue at large.
What do you think? Real or fake, tell us why.